Take Control: Women’s Self-Defense Program
What do women want to learn from a self-defense class?
• “I want to feel prepared to respond to an attacker who surprises me”
• “Basics of self defense to have enough time to run”
• “Basic skills to defend myself from an attack or to escape a dangerous situation”
Over the course of three weeks in our Take Control: Women’s Self-Defense Program, women learned just to do that as part of a wellness-sponsored activity from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health.
Using the principles of Wing Tsun, women practiced over and over, how to punch with vertical fists, defend themselves with lan sau followed by elbow hits, do a front kick, and apply tan sau and jum sau to protect themselves.
Women had “aha” moments such as using one’s “gut” to react if someone enters the boundary of one’s personal space and what can be done to pre-empt a hit. Women were also enlightened to the concept of moving forward if the way is free and facing one’s opponent instead of pulling away.
By the end of the three weeks, women had this to say:
• “It’s possible to be prepared for an attack”
• “If a person enters my circle of comfort, I know how I can react once that space is broken”
• “Be calm and aware to defend myself rather than showing intimidation”
Most importantly, the best take-away for the women was they now had the option to think, plan, and react if necessary and BE in control.
The centerline theory is a fundamental principle in how we fight in Wing Tsun. From the beginning, we are taught to always protect our center because that is where all our important organs are (heart, throat, eyes, nose, etc). On the other hand, when we attack, we are taught to hit our opponent’s center because that is where they are most vulnerable. Thus, through punches, pak sao, tan sao, bong sao, and other wing tsun moves, we work our way in to hit our target.
Over the years, learning to go for the center has taught me other lessons. It has taught me to focus on reaching my goal and if get de-railed for a second, I can regain my center. If situations cause a shift in my life, I can re-direct my energies to get back on point and be centered. My centerline theory.
“Owning” my Wing Tsun benefits my mind, health, and spirit as I determine what level I want to take my martial arts. In this mindset, I am drilling my newly-learned WT self-defense form because I will make it my own with practice. Please check out the 45 sec video clip. Thanks to WingTsunKwoon who created this awesome WT self-defense form.
As a Wing Tsun practitioner, I am learning to enjoy the Wing Tsun moment.
What does this mean you might ask? It starts with being relaxed. You will not be able to enjoy the moment if you are tense. I imagine being like a sponge.I keep my limbs soft so that my opponent does not feel undue force but like a sponge, I am springy with energy. My limbs are alert so that I can take advantage of a “hole” that I may find in my opponent’s structure as we spar. I wait for the moment where my opponent makes a mistake: mis-directs his force, stiffens up, or structure falls apart. I absorb, re-direct my opponent’s energy and come back with an offense to devastate. This all happens in a split second, and it is a moment to enjoy.
I have written about the concept of “being aware” in self-defense and it is certainly a topic worth blogging about again.The more I learn about different self-defense moves in Wing Tsun and other martial arts, my observation is that the most simple moves that you can execute in no more than a second are the only moves you will remember in a threatening situation. In your arsenal of efficient and effective self-defense moves, choose what you are most confident in doing but repeat the moves over and over and over until it gets in your DNA and become automatic. In your process of learning, you will become stronger and be able to synchronize your moves. In a threatening situation, use your nerves of steel, assert yourself by executing your moves with all your might, and finish off your aggressor!
Here are the key concepts one more time!
S – imple to do
E – fficient to implement
L – earn
F – inish off your aggressor
A – utomatic
W – ing Tsun
A – ssert yourself
R- epeat, repeat, repeat
E – ffective
N- erves of steel
E – xecute with all your might
S- nchronize your moves