A question often asked among people who practice martial arts is if Ving Tsun uses this move or that move. We call this technique-oriented thinking. By that we mean a thought process which follows the logic 'when my opponent makes this move, then I can counter-attack with that move.' Another example of such thinking is “How do I stop a boxer, a karate expert, aikido-man? What do I do against a Thai-boxer?” This type of question can continue endlessly.
In technique-oriented thinking you try imagine which technique outdoes the other. Although this manner of thinking may be necessary for the beginner, eventually it must be put aside to make way for more abstract ways of thinking.
Try to imagine your opponent as a force that comes at you. You have your fundamental tools like mobility, timing, and feel for distance to handle this force.
A nice comparison is the simple way in nature that an animal attacks. Animals use general built-in fighting principles. Likewise in Ving Tsun one uses general principles and understandings to be able to deal with any opponent, irrespective of background.
The underlying principle is to strike your opponent as quickly as possible. When you can do this economically, then your chances of success are the best. If you cannot, you’ll soon discover your shortcomings. Technique-oriented thinking limits your possibilities. It is not the Ving Tsun system which imposes restrictions, rather it is our own ideas.
It is a misinterpretation that Ving Tsun holds a limited set of possibilities and that, for example, it is not Ving Tsun to grab an opponent. The moment you make Ving Tsun out to be a style, you will be defeated by the style - by becoming a slave to it.
For this reason Bruce Lee said 'Have no way as your way and have no style as your style'.
This does not mean that you must combine ten different styles into one, but that you mustn’t be like a robot in any style. While training techniques you must be very strict, but in real fighting you can be flexible in their application.
A beginner learns Ving Tsun in a very structured, systematic manner. All structures however become restrictive and must be put aside in favor of the total confidence in principles and feeling.
A practitioner must be learn to adapt his skills to every type of attack. To reach a point where you are not limited by a system it is a necessity that the practitioner put aside all ego so that he can react to an opponent. The Ving Tsun system cannot work effectively unless it is based on relaxation, flexibility and anticipation of the movements of the opponent.