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Monday, April 29, 2013

Wing Chun Sparring - Do I Need To Spar?

Sometimes we encounter students that attend the Wing Chun class regularly but never want to attend the sparring classes. When I ask them why, they say “I’m not ready" or "I’m scared I might get hurt".

Some students have medical issues that prevent them from sparring, but generally all students about ages 6 and up should aim to spar at least once per week. Attending the sparring class is very important if you want to be able to use your skills outside of a drill setting. Remember, in the real world, an attacker will move unpredictably. For this reason, while drills and exercises such as chi sau (sticky hands) have their place, nothing compares to sparring for building the instincts and reflexes necessary for successful self-defense.

There's another reason sparring is very important: humility. In martial arts it's not enough to learn how to hit. We must learn how to get hit and accept these hits with patience and humility.

When practicing your fighting techniques in the sparring class, you’re building fighting instincts so you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. Over time, it all comes naturally to you. If you have to think about how to handle an attack when one comes, there’s no way you’ll survive it!

Or as Bruce Lee put it in Enter the Dragon: "Don't think! Feel!"

-Sifu Todd Shawn Tei