Self-Defense is as much, if not more, about your Self as it is about Defense. 99.99% of the time you can avoid the Defense part (unless you live in a dangerous locality or frequent fight clubs).
But you can never ever escape your Self.
I love articulating the intelligence of our art as a scholar「文士」of WingChun. However, when I drift into excursus, brains saturate and minds wander. So I pause and shift to warrior「武士」mode.
After a show of primal motion and raw emotion, eyeballs widen and mouths gape at the sheer violence I displayed. It must seem a bit schizophrenic. Who is this civil Jekyll and feral Hyde character?
Then I get asked the question:
“Sihing Paul, have you ever had to do that in real life?”
I smile because it’s fun to answer:
“No, never. I’m grateful I haven’t had to break someone to stop them.”
Then there’s the punchline:
“Yes, always. I’m happy to apply WingChun daily.”
Luckily, I only use physical WingChun while training or teaching. From my medical and martial studies, I apprehend how vulnerable the human frame is. It’s so easy to injure, rupture, fracture the body. I don’t need the legal and social risks of unleashing my professional bones as specialized weapons. My animal lethality is clear to me. Woe to the wanton! But, at all costs — save for life and limb, love and liberty — I shall restrain my fists.
Fortunately, I can use psychological WingChun everyday. When? Anytime I want to make an informed choice or rapid decision. Anytime I want to focus outward or concentrate inward. Anytime I want to be fully present in my environment or for my community. Anytime I want to listen with or speak from my heart. Anytime I want to act in spite of fear. Anytime I want to be my best Self.
Until these values are grasped, I may seem inconsistent or insane. Why invest so much time and thought, energy and effort, care and cash in a skill I hope to never use? What a waste! Relative truth is often a paradox before greater insight resolves it. The scholar and warrior are「文武」blood brothers in the family of me. Equally powerful and mutually respectful, they live in congruence rather than contradiction within my Self.
Self-Defense heightens, broadens, deepens you. It helps you to survive in the bad situations. It allows you to thrive in the good experiences. It teaches you to live in a conscious way. There is no separation among these dimensions as WingChun cultivates their integration. Be one, be your Self.