Self defence a state of mind


Sifu Stephen Lyons

A lesson can last an hour or so, or it can be a sentence or even a word.

I suppose that of all the lessons I learned from my teacher, the one that stood out the most was when he
turned to me and said

'Before you can defend yourself effectively, you must first learn how to fight'

Now I am by no means a born fighter, I don’t like it and if I had the choice I would never do it.
However in a world where chaos rules supreme, we cannot always be in charge of every situation.

There is a vast difference between fighting and learning how to fight, and for those who are not fighters
but wish to learn self-defence, the path can be somewhat of an eye opener.

Learning how to fight is not about beating the living daylights out of you training partner and vice versa,
it’s about footwork, positioning, body language, knowledge and the ability to think on your feet.

Most importantly do what you know. How many times have I seen a non boxer try to out box a boxer,
it doesn’t work and will more often than not end in tears. For unless you train boxing skills a reasonable
boxer will give most martial artists a hard time.

I often say to my class “A strike is not a strike unless its in range, you might just as well be waving your
arms around in the air”.

Wing Chun only works when in close, and although there are various methods of closing down an attacker,
a student’s fundamental hurdle is getting to grips with moving in on an attack.

Although this goes against your basic survival instincts of getting out of the way, if you keep backing off
from an attack you will get picked off eventually. So it is your mind that can defeat you rather than a lack of technique.

With your training partner, try moving in/intercepting some slow straight punches, step in at a 45 degree angle and place a palm strike on the rib cage. Repeat this on both sides and gradually step up the pace and vary the attacks, high, low, hook, upper cuts, jabs, crosses etc.

It is pointless training self defence against your own style (Wing Chun, Karate etc) because it is unlikely that you would be attacked on the street in this manner.

If you train against street style attacks your style will not suffer, if anything it will be enhanced.

Train safe, train smart.