Richmond women – if you’re interested in fun private or group exercise programs where you’ll develop real-world fighting skill and the confidence that goes with it, come to the Saturday, Oct 22 Self-Defense Open House for Women at Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu

The following is a testimonal by Kat, a student in the Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu Women’s Program

I’ve been studying Ving Tsun only for about 9 months now at the Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy. When I was younger I studied Uechi Ryu, Tae Kwon Do for 2 years, and Shotokan Karate. I learned valuable skills studying these martial arts, but I also feel too much of my training went towards practicing traditions that had no real application in self-defense.

Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu Women's Program - teaching the Ving Tsun (wing chun) system

Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu Women’s Program – teaching the Ving Tsun (wing chun) system

My fellow students and I would spend a tremendous amount of time practicing certain forms, which were a series of patterned movements almost like a dance that were supposed to refine our techniques in a real combat situation. The problem was the techniques we did in our forms were almost completely absent during two person drills and controlled sparring practice.

I thought, why learn something under the heading of self-defense when it had no relevance to it? Contrast this to the forms in Ving Tsun which actually do utilize techniques that you’ll be using to protect yourself or your loved ones. Nothing goes to waste in our system. Efficiency is key.

Simplicity was also something lacking in my prior martial arts training. I’ve had to defend myself against being attacked before. As real and as frightening as these types of situations were, what I found out is that much of what I had learned (spinning kicks and flowery movements) were mostly extraneous to what I instinctively used to ward off an attacker. What felt most natural and instinctive were simple, linear, and reflexive movements – this is the bread and butter of Ving Tsun.

I didn’t use elaborate spinning hook kicks and jumping crescent kicks to thwart someone trying to hurt me, I just used a mid-level front kick – that was what came naturally to me – simplicity. One core principle in Ving Tsun is control of the centerline. This is important as all of the major organs are along the center axis.

Instead of wasting time following through on a technique like a roundhouse kick that goes from outside to inside the attackers centerline that takes more time to reach the target, just go right in for the center. This tenet is also consistent with a simple fact of geometry; the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

What I really like about our women’s program is that it correctly recognizes and transcends the “boys club” mentality that unfortunately plagues a lot of martial arts schools. Women can gain just as much if not more from self-defense training, not only peace of mind with having the tools to protect yourself, but also better health, fitness, and confidence that will carry over into other aspects of our lives as well.

The Women’s Program classes at Richmond Moy Yat Kung Fu allow us to practice these valuable skills without any of the downsides of a male-dominated space. Of course, I also attend the standard co-ed classes, too, but I find it’s nice that our school recognizes the need for a more egalitarian space for women to train in martial arts as well.

The final thing I will say about our school that really sets us apart from the rest is our “family style” approach to training. Many schools use a militaristic hierarchy through a belt system to organize students by rank. This atmosphere can sometimes be alienating and too competitive, perhaps even shift the mindset away from really absorbing the material at hand and instead focus too much on winning at the belt game. Instead, what we do is just focus on the process of our learning, no unneeded ego-filled pressures to distract us.

Family style also means recognizing our fellow students by our relationship to and descent from the woman Yim Ving Tsun, whom the art was named after. There are more than twenty schools around the US in three generations under the late Moy Yat’s disciple Grandmaster Moy Tung, who founded the Richmond Moy Yat Academy in 1986, so you’ll have kung fu brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles! Personally, I feel this is a very positive influence in terms of mindset when it comes to my study.

I feel more connected and responsible towards my fellow kung fu family and a corresponding sense of pride for continuing the legacy of Ving Tsun through Moy Yat Kung Fu. I recommend any woman who’s interested in self-defense, fitness, and whatever she may be missing to come check out this opportunity. I did, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever gotten involved with!

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