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ralph haenel, hänelwingtsun, wing tsun kung fu instructor, author, publisher, self-defense expert Sifu Ralph Haenel, learning and teaching Wing Tsun Kung Fu since 1984
Changing lives, one punch at a time.
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Book "The Reality of Self-Defense!" by Ralph Haenel
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the reality of self-defense! - book by ralph haenel, wing tsun kung fu instructor

The Reality of Self-Defense! by Ralph Haenel: buy this book on Lulu.com

On Sale Now!
The practical strength training guide for Wing Tsun Kung Fu (Wing Chun, Ving Tsun) practitioners and fitness enthusiasts.
Now with bonus chapter: Kettlebell training! INFO

Strength training for martial artists, espcially Wing Tsun/Wing Chun practitioners, a book by Ralph Haenel, with kettlebell training chapter.

The Practical Strength Training Guide for Self-Defense & Martial Arts by Ralph Haenel: buy this book on Lulu.com

On Sale Now!
Siu-Nim-Tau, a Wing Tsun Kung Fu form for WingTsun (Wing Chun, Ving Tsun) practitioners and fitness enthusiasts.
Training notes on the journey between Kung Fu Beginner and Master INFO

Siu-Nim-Tau, a Wing Tsun Kung Fu form for Wing Tsun/Wing Chun practitioners, a book by Chris Chinfen

Siu-Nim-Tau, a Wing Tsun Kung Fu form by Chris Chinfen: buy this book on Lulu.com

Coming 2016
Kung Fu - The Workout; an easy to follow result driven guide for beginners and fitness enthusiasts. INFO

Century old Kung Fu exercises for all fitness enthusiasts, a book by Ralph Haenel

Coming 2016
WingTsun-CoreConcepts, Beyond tradition and technique - training concepts for Wing Tsun Kung Fu students and instructors! INFO

WingTsun-CoreConcepts a book by Ralph Haenel - Beyond tradition and technique, training concepts for Wing Tsun Kung Fu students and instructors

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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Friday, 30 March 2007
Traditional, Original, Modern, Modified? Which one is the right Wing Chun?
Part 3
In Kung Fu styles especially, you will often find the reference to the position of the instructor within the family tree as a sign of quality or authenticity. Although acknowledging traditions can be an important part of our learning process, as well as giving respect towards our elders, the family structure of Chinese Kung Fu on the other hand should not be used like an indication of superiority.

The issues, as quickly touched upon in the first two parts earlier in the blog, particularly the clash of “traditional” versus “modern” have been argued to death in many Internet forums. Many discussions are worse than extremist religious disagreements.

Not just in Wing Chun, in martial arts in general, it appears that there are more politics than in politics. The questioning of authenticity, the probing in traditions is frowned upon. It is difficult for many to accept that different opinions can coexist, even more so due to the involvement of large egos plus a supersized portion of testosterone.

The (martial) art in itself requests interpretation. Why? To begin with, the students, the future instructors, differ in size, height, strength, speed, weight, even life experience, just to mention a few factors. Think about the diversities regarding the educational background, even ethnicity, the personality, one’s creativity and even ability to express creativity.

A true master should leave his personal imprint in his martial art, as it is his obligation to hand down the basic framework of a martial art, to allow the next generation to similarly express themselves, to bring a martial art to life. Look in your prospective instructor for an honest willingness to teach openly, instead of old often misunderstand secretive teaching structures.

In the end martial artists, sifu’s are people like anybody else, even though some enjoy a glorification of their positions, even mystification. Quick example … Sifu: “I cannot spar with you my son, my techniques are too deadly.” And don’t think this is Hollywood fiction.

Think about it for a moment how scenarios, situations in which fights are born have changed. Not always for the better, now always for the worse, but morality, laws, society have changed. You cannot seamless transport the culture in which a particular martial art was born to a different time, a different place.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), a famous composer and conductor once said: “Tradition is the keeper of the fire, not the admiration of the ashes.” Keep it in mind and you have found the right Wing Tsun, Wing Chun or Ving Tsun.

 We have added 16 more photos to our online photo album. Now 52 photos on 4 pages.

Posted by ralph haenel at 8:16 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007 2:51 PM PDT
Thursday, 29 March 2007
Seminar update, ChiKung class, long weekend, Bootcamp video
Seminar update for members of Vancouver school:
- Some will be staying at the Holiday Inn at 3020 Blandshard St. in Victoria, on the web at
- We will take on Saturday the ferry leaving Tsawwassen at 11am. Fares (according to www.bcferries.com/):  
  adult weekend $10.55, fuel surcharge $0.80
  car weekend $35.00, fuel surcharge $2.85
- We plan on getting togther for dinner after the first seminar (2-6pm) on Saturday. Everybody is more than welcome to join us.
- Last minute plans to come to the seminar? No problem! Find all the information on our special web site at

First WingTsun-ChiKung class out of two:
- Join us on Monday, April 2nd for our first ChiKung class (7-10pm) featuring the Siu-Nim-Tau form. Don't miss a great experience and find out why we call it CorePower in Motion!
- Members join for free. Members on a drop-in basis and guests pay only $20. NO membership required for guests. Everyone is welcome!
Don't forget to bring a spare shirt and towel! Info at:

 Long Weekend (Easter):
There will be NO group class on Monday, April 9th due to the long weekend. Enjoy time with your family!

 Survivor BootCamp Nutrition Series #1:
Steve McMinn posted a new video. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoAF95LKPaY

Part 3 of our mini-article "Traditional, Original, Modern, Modified? Which one is the the right Wing Chun?" comes tomorrow on Friday, March 30th.

Looking for the date of the next Wing Tsun Open House?
Find it at
www.FreeSelfDefenseClasses.com, our special Open House web site with extensive section of answers to frequently asked questions. Now with video clips.

Posted by ralph haenel at 8:13 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007 11:09 PM PDT
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Traditional, Original, Modern, Modified? Which one is the right Wing Chun?
Part 2
I often hear remarks or read introductions on the Internet to the extend: "We teach traditional Wing Chun, not a modified version." or "Our school features original Ving Tsun, not a modern abridged copy." Besides the pure buzz words 'traditional' and 'original', their placement is usually intended to exclaim some form of animosity against certain competitors on the market.

On one side wing tsun kung fu, wingtsun, wing chun, ving tsun wing chun is always portrayed as extremely adaptive Kung Fu system, yet nothing should be changed? Look at how boxing, wrestling, judo, karate and many other martial arts have changed over the decades. You could turn it around now and say only ‘modified’ wing tsun kung fu, wingtsun, wing chun, ving tsun wing chun has gone with the times. Meaning a school, which is still ‘traditional’ or ‘original’ uses outdated tools. Too rebellious?
The late Grandmaster Yip Man for example has been known to change his teachings quite a bit throughout his different periods. Check out the available footage of the known senior students of Yip Man. Why do they all perform very different?

The truth is as always somewhere in between. What most people forget, martial arts are man-made. Nothing is cast in stone. ARTS have to, must change, adapt, and evolve. Otherwise a martial ART would be a dead re-production, a mere copy.

Wing Tsun is function par excellence. And yes, the basic principles, the concepts must be maintained. Well, some issues can only be barely touched in this brief form of a blog.

I had the luck to learn from several teachers, some are better fighters; some are better teachers, who also taught me how to teach. Shouldn’t this be one of the most important characteristics? What good is a great fighter, a traditional Sifu, a original student of Yip Man, what good would they be, if they cannot TEACH you, if they cannot bring out the best in YOU.

With all due respect, just because somebody learned from a martial arts legend, in whatever line of the family tree, it doesn’t mean a single thing, because it doesn’t make them a qualified teacher, who is educated in different learning and teaching methods.
More on Friday, March 30th in the final third part.

 We have added more photos to our online photo album. Now 36 photos on 3 pages.
Weekend Seminar Info for March 31st & April 1st. Don't miss it!

Posted by ralph haenel at 3:20 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007 2:52 PM PDT
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Traditional, Original, Modern, Modified? Which one is the right Wing Chun?
Part 1
Beginners are often bewildered about the choices on the market when looking for a Wing Chun school. It begins with the romanization of the Chinese system of Wing Tsun Kung Fu. What's the difference between Wing Chun, Ving Tsun and Wing Tsun? Wait a minute, want it even more confusing? In Europe, particularly in Germany you find even more variations starting with Ving Chun, Wing Tschung, Ving Tchun and many more exotic versions.

Let’s simplify it. Bruce Lee needed as the first an English version and chose Wing Chun. Other students of the late Grandmaster Yip Man immigrated to England and picked Ving Tsun. Grandmaster Leung Ting, who formed his own organization, secured WingTsun or WT as a trademark, today often listed as LeungTing-WingTsun™.

In Germany under the leadership of Keith R. Kernspecht Wing Tsun schools grew more and more in numbers and size throughout the end of the 70’s and 80’s. At the beginning of the 90’s the European Wing Tsun Organization EWTO began to explode, reaching numbers of over 2000 schools with an estimated several hundreds of thousands of students.
New organizations began to form, some more successful, others less, which led to the different spellings of Wing Tsun, to position themselves on a market with an enormous demand for self-defense schools.

In my schools I teach Wing Tsun Kung Fu, relating to the fact that I have studied WingTsun (WT), beginning in 1984, for over 16 years in various branches of the WT system. Today Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian branch, operates successfully as independent school.
Part 2 follows tomorrow.

 We have added more photos to our online photo album.
 Weekend Seminar Info for March 31st & April 1st.

Posted by ralph haenel at 5:09 PM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007 2:53 PM PDT
Monday, 26 March 2007
Missed Classes? Don't know how to restart? Problem getting going? Listen To Rocky Balboa.
We are all aware that many factors like a huge workload, a new job, moving, family situations, stress, even the flu, other spare time activities and even a temporary lack of motivation sometimes prevent us from participating in classes. And I am not even talking about your Wing Tsun Kung Fu training. This holds true for any hobby or activity.

Important is that one never feels that a comeback is impossible. Over the years I sometimes unexpectedly ran into students, asked them why I haven't seen them in a long time and in their reply it became apparent that they thought that they can't return or catch up. It's too late. How should I catch up? I lost the connection.

I have once jokingly expressed my sorrow for the unexpected and imminent departure from life. It resulted in a very puzzled response. My point is, how can it ever be too late to rekindle passion towards a hobby, how can it be too late to do what you love. Motivation we may all lack every now and then, but giving up? NO!

Remember Rocky Balboa. It ain't over 'til it's over. Find a interesting read in the underdog article by Sandy Struss: http://www.sandystruss.com/Rocky_Balboa.pdf

Find out what gets you going, what motivates you, what keeps your engine running. For me it is teaching, being for over 30 years involved in martial arts and after 23 years of Wing Tsun still enjoying to meet new people and passionately beginning to teach them the realistic self-defense system of Wing Tsun Kung Fu, as if it is my very first day.

Today (March 2007) I have added more photos to our Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver photo album.

Posted by ralph haenel at 1:00 AM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 1:15 PM PDT
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Wing Tsun Videos added
Following your requests we have just added a Wing Tsun Video section on our special Open House web site. Although a videoclip can be a funny thing. You must feel how a Wing Tsun expert uses to his advantage the strength, direction and even speed of an attack launched against him. It is also not visible how a advanced practitioner produces seemingly easy the, as I call it, steel spring-like power so unique to the Wing Tsun system.
Whichever martial art you choose, wherever you go for a trial class, visit an Open House, there are a few bases you should cover. Are your questions answered satisfactory? Are you encouraged to talk to the existing members about their experiences. Do you know your goals? Define what you are looking for, fitness, health or sport or self-defense. Don't necessarily trust a school which offers everything to everyone.
Although youtube can be a great way to watch video clips, be aware of the unfortunately at times unqualified comments of the many "keyboard warriors".
Common sense, a bit research and good manners will guide you to a school offering a friendly welcome and encouraging atmosphere.

Posted by ralph haenel at 8:10 PM PDT
Friday, 23 March 2007
Vancouver video, Kung Fu at the beach, Hall of Fame
Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver was founded in 1994 as the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch. We had the pleasure to greet in our school over the past years many friendly, open-minded WT "tourists" from Germany, Italy, Denmark, England, Bulgaria, Switzerland and other countries. Been here? Miss Vancouver? Find a great videoclip at the web site of the City of Vancouver. Or check out some of the local web cams.
I know it's currently raining without an end in sight, but nevertheless Spring is here. Soon we'll be holding our annual Free Open Air Class at Kitsilano Beach.
New season, new shirts. For T-shirts, long sleeve T-shirts, Sweatshirts, hooded Sweatshirts and more check out our online store at http://www.wingtsunkungfuwear.com/ (www.cafepress.com/wingtsunkungfu). Choose from a variety of Wing Tsun Kung Fu apparel.
In the early 90's I started to teach a class of students in a previous heavily guarded sports center in former East Berlin. Some participants seemed somewhat familiar, until I found out that several of the new students had belonged to the former Olympic Gymnastic team of the GDR. Among them Maxi Gnauck, Gold medalist Olympic Games 1980, 3 times Worldcup champion, 5 times World champion, 4 times European champion. She was introduced into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2000.
It's never too late to start your training!

Posted by ralph haenel at 12:50 AM PDT
Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007 8:47 AM PDT
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Newsletter, Photos, Open House and WingTsun-ChiKung
All members of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver can sign in at the online 'members only' area and download the Newsletter for March.

The next Open House has been scheduled for Monday, April 23rd and Wednesday, April 25th (7-10pm). The special Open House web site with extensive FAQ can be found at www.FreeSelfDefenseClasses.com.

---> Important Dates:
- Monday, April 2nd, 7-10pm, WingTsun-ChiKung class part 1 Siu-Nim-Tau form
- Monday, April 9th, NO group class, enjoy the long Easter weekend
- Monday, April 16th, 7-10pm, WingTsun-ChiKung class part 2 Cham-Kiu form
here for more information on our WingTsun-ChiKung classes.

Our online Photo Album has been updated.

How important is Self-Defense today? Can a healthy confidence and self-control be a center part? Read the interesting Vancouver Sun article: "Why is everyone so darn angry?"

Posted by ralph haenel at 11:31 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007 11:49 AM PDT
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Books, Blogs and Newsletters
I received another shipment of softcover books "The Reality of Self-Defense". Copies are available for sale during group class, private lessons or at the upcoming Seminar Weekend. Find many readers opinions and reviews at www.selfdefensebookreviews.com.
I am confident that the special hardcover edition will arrive very soon. Thanks for your patience.
I have just started our online Photo Album. Many pictures will follow over the next weeks.
Find a nutrition video at Steve's blog at www.stevemcminn.com.
Our Vancouver students have access to a online 'members only' area. Besides links to many video clips, find ton's of previous newsletters for download also featuring articles about footwork, phases of a fight, Wing Tsun punching methods and more.
Welcome back Adrian, who just rejoined our classes after returning from 2 years in Europe.

Posted by ralph haenel at 11:15 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007 11:35 AM PDT
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Wing Tsun Kung Fu Seminar Weekend on Vancouver Island
Part 1 - Saturday, March 31st 2007, 2-6pm in Langford
Part 2 - Sunday, April 1st 2007, 9am-1pm in Victoria

The two-day weekend seminar will run under the topic "The Complete Core Concepts of Wing Tsun Kung Fu.” Realize the blueprint behind the first four Wing Tsun forms. Why are the forms in the order they have been passed down through the generations? It's a great opportunity to learn to think differently about the continuous learning process in Wing Tsun. Find all the information on our special web site at: http://realisticselfdefense.tripod.com/wingtsunkungfu_weekend.html

Posted by ralph haenel at 11:54 AM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007 11:50 AM PDT

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