How Fit Do You Need to Be for Self Defence?

Group fitness classes in North London.

Ask any new student why they wish to train martial arts, and they will invariably reply “To get fit, and learn how to defend myself”. But how fit do you have to be in the first place to defend yourself? Is there a relationship between fitness and self defence and should you take it seriously?

It is sad to say but many Wing Chun schools do not take their fitness training seriously. Some barely train their fitness, while others limit exercise to the Wing Chun forms. Which is surprising since Wing Chun is meant to be a good well rounded fighting style for self defence. You are less likely to be able to defend yourself if you are not fit enough, and here lies the problem with most Wing Chun schools.

Wing Chun is thought of as a soft style of Kung Fu, which relies on the principle of bone alignment (called structure) to replace the need for muscularity and strength. In fact, Wing Chun is often advertised as a martial art great for women and small individuals because of this concept. Yet, fighting for self defence also requires good co ordination of body joints, cardio vascular fitness, and a determined mindset.

Ask any new student why they wish to train martial arts, and they will invariably reply “To get fit, and learn how to defend myself”. But how fit do you have to be in the first place to defend yourself? Is real self defence dependent on?

Fitness is not important when you start martial arts training for self defence. Afterall, it is unrealistic to expect ordinary people to be fit enough from the outset, but fitness training should be part of your self defence training regardless of the martial art that you practice.

At our gym we believe fitness training is important even for Wing Chun practitioners. Fitness training for self defence is vital for a number of reasons. Firstly, it gives you the chance to survive a physical confrontation without being exhausted to defend yourself. Secondly, when under attack there are a number of physiological changes that occur within the body, and these changes may be quite difficult to cope with if you are unfit.

When unfit you may struggle to breathe and maintain control over your body. This is likely to affect your ability to think clearly and fight back under stress.


How Fitness Training Should Help You in Self Defence

We believe that fitness is important and should not be over looked when training beginners in any martial art. At our gym we coach and develop our student’s fitness with specialised strength, fitness, and conditioning classes especially designed to improve fitness for Wing Chun Self Defence training.

We have found that the best approach to develop a good level of fitness for a combat athelete is to use a Functional Fitness methodology. Functional Fitness refers to multi plane, multi joint movement that represents functional movement. Think of your natural everyday movement patterns, e.g. picking up a bag, your children, bending over, or standing up. These actions are all natural multi joint movements and similar to fighting in self defence.

At any given gym you will find people doing standard exercises like bench pressing to bulk up and build muscle. These exercises are not functional and practical for fighting because they rely on a single plane of movement in isolation. Real combat relies on short bursts of multi-plane movement over a wider range of joints.  It does not matter how much you can bench press in the gym, blocking a punch or a grab from an awkward angle is a different method of using your body. Dealing with a large aggressive attacker in the street will rely on a good level of functional fitness, conditioning, and determination.

It does not matter how long you can run the treadmill at the gym or how much weights you can lift. These factors have no direct impact when being attacked in the street. For self defence you need functional strength and conditioning. You can still look good, get in shape, and loss weight, but you’ll be more capable of fighting for your life.



The London Wing Chun Academy is a martial arts and functional fitness gym based in North London. Open 7 days a week with gym and functional fitness equipment. Our gym provides group fitness and martial arts classes in Wing ChunSan Shou KickboxingBrazilian Jiu JitsuFunctional Fitness, and non contact Fitness kick Boxing. Visit our gym today for a taster class. Get Started Now >>

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