Many people say one of the most difficult things in Wing Chun is learning how to relax. While I don't disagree with the fact that relaxing is an obstacle, I have to say from my years of experience as well as seeing how people in general react when fighting, that the toughest thing to overcome as well as to develop is having “Guts”
One of the 13 principles that Sifu Fong has gone over with us, is the idea of guts. And, in my opinion it is guts that either makes or breaks the fighter.   Where does guts fall into the equation of fighting? There are 2 parts in a fight where guts plays an important role. First of all, once the fighter is in the range to attack, at this point, he must move in and attack. As Sean Connery said in the Rock, "you must never hesitate." And, it is at this stage during a fight that guts either makes you move in or you end up hesitating.  Even closing of the gap separates the men from the boys, just spend some time watching and observing MMA or boxing, and you’ll notice that its almost the norm to move in and anticipate that your going to get hit.  Your focus determines your reality in the fight, when you move in, you still maintain a guard, but at the same time, you don’t anticipate for an attack.  Your job once you decided to move in is to focus on taking him out.  If you close the gap anticipating a counter or that your going to get hit, guess what it’ll more then likely happen.
The second way guts can affect you during the fight is by destroying your structure. How exactly does lack of guts destroy structure, just watch Martial Artists and Wing Chun practitioners who lack the guts, and you will see the inevitable lean.  Remember one of the most important rules of Wing Chun, is that you don't step back or lean back. It is structure that gives us the advantage over the larger opponent, and when we become our worst enemy by destroying our own structure, its not to difficult to predict the outcome of a fight. While Wing Chun may have backward stepping and backward bracing, these footwork's are not designed for you to initiate. Remember, that in Wing Chun we always move forward, only when the force dictates it, do we actually move backwards. Never, never, never step back in Wing Chun. Why else do we spend the countless hours learning how to shift and adjust in order to deal with the force.

Want to see it in real life? Just go to a local tournament and you'll see it nonstop. Want to see it in Wing Chun? Then hit the websites and find the movies with people leaning back. Guts is something that needs to be develop and here's how.
The key like in all things in Wing Chun is sticky hands.  You develop all 13 principles through sticky hands.  How exactly is guts developed in sticky hands?  When you practice sticky hands your already working on your guts.  Unlike other fighting styles Wing Chun is in your face from the get go.  Nothing is faster than the attacks that are coming from such a short distance.  Therefore when you train, pay close attention to locking in your center.  The very first thing you learn in Wing Chun is YGKYM, and that's to develop your center of balance.  If you don't know if your off balance how can you tell if your leaning or not.  So, when practicing sticky hands, pay attention to how you block and attack, do you have a bong sau but your leaning back or are you doing an attack but don’t have the full investment of your stance behind it.   If that’s the case guess what, even if you did block the attack in practice in reality that’s not a good block or for that case you did the attack and got the hit, but were leaning back.  Now, please also understand that control of the center doesn’t mean that Wing Chun is rigid and constantly vertical, there maybe times that one has to lean back or from side to side.  But, YGKYM development means control of the center, and when you’ve got the awareness of this then your good to go.  Thus, developing the guts is a must if you wish to be successful in a fight.  If you have the punch, and you have the guts to move in, your ahead of almost all the fighters that are out there today.
Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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