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Four Principles Of Wing Tsun
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Wing Tsun Grading System

In Wing Tsun we are taught four main principles. These are:
1) If the way is clear forge ahead!
If there is contact keep glued to it!
If your opponent is stronger, give in!
If the opponent retreats, follow!
The first Fighting Principle: If the way is clear go forward

The fighter should always feel the urge to move forward, i.e. to move directly towards his opponent. This applies both to the arms (which are thrust forward) and the legs (which kick) as well as to the entire body (which should advance). A user of the Leung Ting system should always direct his energy towards the vertical axis of his opponent (forward-flowing energy), like a piece of metal attracted by a magnet.

If no obstacle is blocking the direct path of the Leung Ting fighter, he will always directly attack the opponent's axis with his hand or foot. Directly' means that the attack does not come from one side or at an angle, but that the fighter will advance and attack across the shortest distance, and without first drawing back the hand or leg. Among other things, the Latin word "aggredior" can mean "I am approaching somebody". With regard to its general approach, the Leung Ting system can superficially be called an aggressive self-defence system. However, we are not aggressive in the sense that we foam at the mouth with rage (or fear). This kind of (inherent) aggression would paralyse any reliable reactive capability and therefore be contrary to our objectives.

We have established that going forward with both hand and foot (forward-flowing energy) is the appropriate response to most combat situations.

The second principle: If you get contact stick to it

As soon as one of our arms contacts the opponent's arm, we maintain our pressure towards the vertical centre line and do not withdraw our arm. Both contact and pressure are maintained. Users of traditional self-defence methods will perhaps punch with their right and, if this is blocked, withdraw it to deliver a second punch or launch a kick. WT considers this approach to be fundamentally wrong. Our motto is: "If your attack encounters resistance, do not withdraw but stick to your opponent!" Anybody breaking this rule will expose himself to great danger if his opponent is an experienced WT fighter.

The third principle: If you meet superior strength give way

This introductory section will confine itself to the four most important reflex-like or deformative reactions which are initiated by pressure acting on our arms. Unlike "inborn" reflexes, these reflex-like reactions are not naturally possessed by every healthy person but must be developed by training (Chi-Sao lessons) with an experienced teacher. (In rare cases, they may be dormant and need reawakening). As soon as our adversary's arm contacts one of our arms at any point, and exerts even the slightest pressure, the vector (point of attack, magnitude and direction of the attacking force) will immediately cause this arm to deform itself or react reflexively without any conscious (and time-wasting) control input from the brain. The reaction is directly triggered by the adversary's attacking movement. This is what Bruce Lee meant when he said: "My technique is the technique of my opponent". In other words, your own action is the direct, reflex-like reaction to your opponent's action. Your adversary's attack forms your arm in such a way that it gives you protection 

Fourth principle: If your opponent withdraws follow through

Because of your permanent forward pressure you will immediately and automatically invade any gap that presents itself, like water. The fourth principle (if your opponent withdraws, follow through) is therefore the consequence of maintaining forward pressure.