Real fighting is not a sport. Something that’s in the cage or the ring is not real fighting, because you fight one person at a time, they have weight divisions, and they have referees and everybody to break it up. Real fighting is when your life is on the line, you may have multiple attackers, you’re getting beaten up, you have the opportunity to take a person’s eye out, and you do. Because you need to get out of there. You don’t know what’s going on or who’s who. So that’s real fighting – it’s all messed up.

Moy Tung Tan Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O'Brien

Moy Tung Tan Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O’Brien

In real fighting, people may cling on you. They’ll grab you and wrestle you, try to grapple with you. That does happen – it’s just the way it is. Long before there was a sport made out of that, that’s just the way some people fight. Some people try to pound you, go crazy on you. Some folks box, or use their karate, whatever.

The bottom line is, there’s all these moves a human being might do on you. In a lot of cases people clash, and they also cling up – clinging and clashing, arms everywhere. It’s crazy – they’re all over you, you’re all over them – but with Ving Tsun, you have technique that clears or traps their hands real easy. Because you practice Chi Sao a lot, the right way.

Ving Tsun understands that all fights happen close up – you have to get close to a person to grab or hit or kick them, so we practice a lot of exercises close up. We train different ways, with different energies, and then in a fight, too, Ving Tsun gives you options.

Moy Tung Dai Tan Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O'Brien

Moy Tung Dai Tan Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O’Brien

Take just the Fuk Sao technique – sometimes you practice with your hand being passive, and learn how to control someone’s hands without hurting them. Or you can be more aggressive, and if a guy rushes you, you can just step in and knock him out. Maybe I’m passive – I don’t know what’s happening, so I get my hands up, blocking and covering as fists are flying – passive, but on center. If you have to be aggressive, you get close up on somebody, and you make that covering hand aggressively shut down whatever they’re trying to do.

Being close up is very dangerous territory, and that’s why Ving Tsun practices Chi Sao so much. Even just to get your arms reflexive, and used to what response needs to happen, so in a fight you respond with the proper reflexes. You’re familiar with the zone of being close up, with fists flying – you’re used to this. Someone starts pounding on you, then you’re punching back, blocking and hitting at the same time. It might not look pretty or it might be the sweetest thing someone’s ever seen, but as long as it’s effective, that’s what counts.

Maybe you can knock them out with perfect form, but if you manage to get your arm in front of their punch while you’re punching them in the face, that’s all that’s important. Someone attacks you, you’re like “BAM!,” right where it hurts. Wherever you have to hit them, but mainly the face. If the teeth get knocked out, forget it. Nose broken, jaw broken – that’s where you want to go. That’s all you need. And it doesn’t even need to be hard, just a palm to the face – if a woman with Ving Tsun training does that, she can take the fight right out of a guy – Pop!

Moy Tung Lop Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O'Brien

Moy Tung Lop Dar on his student, Sifu Barry O’Brien

That’s why you gotta relax, cuz you gotta be able to just snap it out there. Something like that to the face, they can’t take it. If someone you don’t know is attacking you, your body will just do it. You hit with whatever you got, one hand, two hands, whatever. The main thing is that when someone comes to grab you and they’re all over you, you can just go straight up the middle to the face and drop them. Someone’s grabbing you, or they’re pushing you and they’re gonna punch you – go straight up the middle. That’s what you learn to do in Chi Sao, so that’s what you do in a real fight. That head’s there – hit the target.

Hitting the head is a hard thing to do, but in Ving Tsun martial arts training, you learn to bridge the gap, closing the zone, so you can get within head striking distance. And we’re comfortable, cuz we do so much Chi Sao. Even if you’re scared and uncomfortable because of the fight, your body is wired and programmed to get close and do what you need to do to end it.

If someone’s coming at you, you just blitz them in the face with chain punches, right away, no fooling around. Maybe, if your kung fu’s young, it’s awkward, but it’s still effective. And if you’ve been training for awhile, you just get in and lay them out. I don’t care who it is – if they’re attacking you, hit to the face til they go down. If they cover the face, hit the body – ribs, solar plexus, groin – then the face becomes open. That’s Ving Tsun – straight to the finish – Bam! Bam! Bam!