Upcoming open house offers unique experience.

Several centuries ago in China, a powerful warlord wanted to marry a young woman, who didn’t want to marry him.

To protect herself, the young woman, Yim Wing Chun, went to visit a nun at a nearby monastery to learn a martial art that would help her fend off a big, strong man.

The Buddhist nun, Ng Mui, had created the martial art, and taught Wing Chun everything she knew. After Wing Chun later married a young man she loved, she taught it to him, and he taught it to others, calling it Wing Chun Gung Fu.

Through the years, Wing Chun spread through China and around the world, including right here in RVA, at Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy.

The academy offers weekly classes for men and women, to teach people how to protect themselves against bigger, stronger opponents.

This month, the academy is hosting an open house for their women’s program. Featuring demonstrations and free intro classes, this event promises a unique self-defense /martial arts experience.

“It’s straightforward, it’s effective,”said Dusty Hooke, an instructor at the academy.

Wing Chun incorporates the principles of physics, timing and body mechanics, Hooke said. Using specific concepts and principles, practitioners focus on movements that begin with proper body positioning, including “rootedness,” being as stable as a planted tree.

The traditional Chinese fighting art stresses economy of movement and is very comprehensive in its approach, she said. It differs from other Eastern martial arts, such as karate, because it teaches positioning, sensitivity, body structure, footwork and technique to deal with aggressors as opposed to muscular strength, speed and purely physical techniques.

Hooke said through training, practice and repetition, students acquire effortless combat skills, including the ability to knock an opponent across the room with a 1-inch punch. Regardless of body size, age and physical condition, she said, practitioners learn to harness their natural instincts for self-preservation.

“It’s highly efficient and aggressive,” and by staying rooted, “you can have powerful punches without the need for big muscles,” she said.

The students’ experience with the martial art ranges from novice to advanced.

Hooke discovered Wing Chun several years ago, after a search to find a martial art that would help her in real-life street situations.

The techniques she’d learned in other martial arts worked well in a classroom and in tournament rings with rules and judges, but she still felt unsatisfied.

With wing chun though, “I’m confident that I’d have a very good chance of getting out of a bad situation,” she said. “It’s a crazy world we live in; you never know the crazy person who wants to hurt you.”

The women’s program open house will be held on Saturday, October 22nd, from 12:30–4pm. For more information, call (804) 497–7555, or visit the academy at 1324 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220.

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