Wing Chun (Part 1): 'A Self Defense Art'

As the old saying goes: "Crime happens in seconds and police come in minutes."

In Chicago, residents  have been targeted in a series of strong arm robberies. With an understaffed police force, some victims have been left with no choice but to chase down their attackers. In most cases, they have been successful. However, a very dangerous situation can arise if one approaches a criminal without proper training. 

For those seeking a safer alternative, a self-defense art known as Ving Tsun (pronounced "wing chun") has become a viable way to protect themselves. 

At Ving Tsun Self Defense Academy in the city's Pilsen neighborhood, Matt Johnson (pictured right) teaches the art to students from all walks of life. He says that the system only contains 3 empty-hand forms as compared to other styles of kung fu which may have 20 forms and take longer to master.  

"The fighting style in [Wing Chun] is very close quarters combat. We don't have a lot of high kicking; we don't have a lot of fancy movement," Johnson says. "It's a system that's based on theory rather than an accumulation of hundreds and hundreds of techniques."

With over 25 years of experience, the man known as "Sifu" to his class goes to great lengths to make sure that he trains people who will not use their skills for wrongdoing. Prospective students must interview with him before being chosen for lessons so that he can gauge their level of sincerity. 

"You don't want to give [Wing Chun] to people who are going to use it in the wrong way. Some people have ideas of martial arts; they like to bully other people... use it for sport fighting and stuff like that," Johnson explains. 

"Wing Chun in its purest form is a self defense art."

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