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My Personal WingTsun Experience
By Mike Grosson (student at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, BC, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch)

"After almost 2 years of training in WT I know I made the right choice"

My background in any type of combat sport previous to the LeungTing-WingTsun system (WT) was basically a few months of boxing at the old Kingsway Boxing Club in the late 1970's.
The club included a young teenager who's father trained the fighters. The kid's name was Michael Olajide - who later went on to become the professional world middleweight boxing champion, eventually losing to Tommy Hearns. I watched all his televised fights in the 1980's. The father was a former Olympic medallist from Uganda. There were also some Mexican fighters at the gym. I left the club after getting cracked hard on the nose a few times in sparring... that and the fear of concussions, since I need brains for my regular career!

But nevertheless I'm still a huge boxing fan. Someone once told me I'm a walking encyclopedia of pro boxing history :-)

Many years later I started researching different martial arts styles with the idea of finding the most effective self-defense system on the planet. My only requirements were:

1) no acrobatics (fighting like 'Spiderman' in the comic books is not an option at my age)
2) contact is OK, but no regular hard shots to the head
3) must be very effective in a real-life defense situation

After almost 2 years of training in WT I know I made the right choice. For example - I had a really interesting session lately. Part of the class I was doing Lat-Sao (WT fighting exercise) with one of the newcomers. This chap has a background in Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do and other martial arts. The experience was unusually positive that evening for 2 reasons:

1) He wanted to try a few moves he had in his repertoire to get an idea how it would work with a WT practitioner (me in that case). I told him I wasn't an advanced student yet, so his stuff might work on me. Besides, we were supposed to stick to Pak-Sao & punch moves only for our drill. Anyway, my defenses and "softer" arms were able to penetrate his positions at will and counter everything he tried.
Eg. My Huen-Sao (to get free) immediately followed by soft touch to his face when countering his arm grab, etc. So he seemed to be even more impressed with WT at the end -- especially since he knows I am only an intermediate student.
I am really pleased that I could contribute to forming his good impression of WT, even with my still limited skills!

2) Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere I was applying much of what I knew I was supposed to be absorbing -- but until that session I didn't really know I could truly apply successfully against someone with a martial arts background.

I was thrilled! Looks like some of it has stuck with me anyway.

I also hope this new student stays on in the class.

Mike Grosson
October, 2000

Comment from Sifu Ralph Haenel, WT Chief-Instructor Vancouver, BC:
The essence of the article is an experience that most WT students come to realize at one point in their training - many do not realize the progress they are making nor the true effectiveness of their training and increased skills until they train & work with new students with/without martial art experience.
Do not underestimate the skills you are acquiring and do not underestimate the value of training with someone who has little or no WT experience at all. It is an opportunity to share your knowledge (you may be surprised by how much you know) and work with someone who doesn't know "how it is supposed to be done".

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