Stuff Sifu Says

“You must practice more!”

(Truth be told, Sifu Matt first heard this in Hong Kong from his good friend and older Ving Tsun brother, his “Sihing,” Sifu Albert Chan.)

And it’s true. The solution to nearly any problem in kung fu is more practice. When you come visit the school, you’re sure to hear that a lot!



Three Things About Movie Martial Arts Which Aren’t True in Real Life

It’s not unreasonable to say that martial arts movies have been one of the driving forces behind the arrival and spread of martial arts and kung fu in the United States. On one hand this has been great because it’s helped introduce generations of new people to many wonderful martial arts styles and families of kung fu.

On the downside, some movie martial arts may sometimes give some people misconceptions and misunderstandings about the realities of kung fu. This is problematic because when people are looking to study a martial art, all they may know is based on what they’ve seen in the movies.

Here’s three things people believe with enough frequency, that they walk into martial arts schools and ask about them:

1. You can fight 10 guys (or more) at once and win. Admittedly, this scene from the Ip Man movie is spectacular to watch but as the saying goes, “don’t try this at home.”ip-man-movie-poster-2008-1020698460

2. Flashy moves and fancy techniques are effective in a fight. Everyone loves Bruce Lee movies. They’ve started more than one martial arts career, mine included but they’re a veritable catalog of flashy and fancy.Bruce-Lee

3. You are unbeatable. The Matrix is an awesome movie. Love it. But Neo, sorry, no one is unbeatable.


This leads to unrealistic expectations on numerous levels. There are better ways to approach figuring out what style might be right for you and then for finding a qualified school with a teacher and atmosphere that feels right for you too. But no matter the style you choose, three things will always be true:

1. No one will ever fight ten guys at the same time and win. We should all try to be smart and avoid situations that could lead to something like that. One thing any real martial art, any genuine Sifu should teach you is humility and good sense. Humble sensible folks don’t go around starting fights and avoid places where they’re likely to erupt.

2. Simple, direct, straightforward techniques will get the job done. Ving tsun (pronounced wing chun) kung fu is famous for it’s center line theory. While the other guy gets fancy you can just hit him. Or in life, find simple direct solutions for every day challenges.

3. No one is unbeatable. There’s always someone bigger or tougher; or someone who’s just trained more. Or someone who got more sleep that day. And anyway, the real winner is the person who avoids the fight in the first place. Being a peaceful person, now that’s really unbeatable.

If you’re looking for a martial art to learn, we’re happy to talk to you about what we do here. And we promise, nothing flashy, just real, traditional kung fu in a friendly, informal environment. Call us. We’re happy to answer your questions. 1-773-301-6257 Thanks so much for stopping by.

Training the Mind in Martial Arts: Why is it Important?

So, you’ve been training some martial art now for a while.

You know the techniques, you know the concepts and theories of your style. You can spar under pretty intense pressure, so you feel confident you’d be able to defend yourself on the street, because in the gym all your techniques work just fine. Sound like you?

But, let me ask you an important question.

Body and Mind Training

You train your fist but do you ever train your MIND for dealing with a self defense situation? I mean a REAL self defense situation; one in which the other person is seriously trying to hurt you?

It’s one thing to do techniques in the controlled environment of your own gym. It’s quite another to perform them against an attacker who is only focused on one thing, trying his best to hurt you or kill you, for whatever reason. I can tell you from experience, if your mind is not ready for the confrontation, all those fancy techniques you think you have in your pocket, will mean nothing on the street.

Meditation is the Key 

Meditation is the key to training your mind, the key to being able to see and think clearly so that when faced with an actual attack on the street or where ever it happens, you will remain clear and focused. Only then will you have a genuine chance to effectively defend yourself or your loved ones.

In the old days of kung fu training, the old sifus taught that meditation was the essential key to training. They taught that the martial artist MUST understand and train his mind as well as his body.

Unfortunately, these days most martial arts teachers don’t know about this essential aspect of training. What they don’t know, they can’t teach. They can only show the physical techniques and don’t talk at all about how to understand the mind or it’s critical role in a saving your life.

The Problem with “Self-Defense” Courses

Yet, the world is full of “self defense” classes and courses. These courses, offer short-term training in a grab bag of fancy techniques. You depart with a certificate and the erroneous belief that now, after taking this short, fun course, that you will be fully able to defend yourself in a real life-or-death situation. Not once do they approach training the mind. These courses are dangerous because they set people up for disaster in the street.

Real self defense training, in order to be effective, must be on-going. It must involve in-depth training in a system of martial arts that includes the mind as well as the body. You must learn a formula for self defense, not just a dozen or so fancy techniques shown by a charismatic instructor, leaving you to figure which technique to pull out of the bag at the moment you need it…I’m sorry, but you had better just run…because it won’t work.

What We Teach at the VSTDA

At the Ving Tsun Self Defense Academy, we teach you how to train both your mind and your body because we are committed to offering effective self defense that works under pressure when your life may be at stake. We train you to understand how the two must be in tune with each other to empower you to make your Ving Tsun really work when you need it.

Meditation is essential for getting the mind to settle down, focus, and be in the present moment, so you can think and act from a place of clarity, not panic. Awareness is needed. Moment by moment awareness and single pointed focus of your mind. That training comes only from meditation practice. Learning to meditate will also change your life in other ways, helping you to relieve stress and stay focused on whatever task you are doing, in school, at home, in sports, etc.

So, if you want to learn kung fu that will work for you when you need it, come learn at the VTSDA. We’ll show you how to control your mind as well as your body, helping you realize your full potential as a martial artist and a human being.

Thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you at the Academy soon.

Sifu Matt Johnson