Flying on a Wing (Chun) and a Prayer

April 20, 2011

It’s a tough neighborhood in the air between Hong Kong and mainland China. At least that’s one message that’s being given by a recent story “Cabin Crew Routine Now ‘coffee, tea and Bruce Lee”, about how a Hong Kong airline is teaching its cabin crew martial arts. The martial art the crews are learning is called wing chun. In this self defense system, movements are swift and are perfect for executing in confined space. There’s nothing more confining than an airline cabin, that’s true. But a skilled practitioner can quickly overcome a bothersome adversary and have him in a stranglehold in seconds. Though it might be hard to believe, an airline spokesperson said incidents of threatening harassment that could call for a wing chun response occur about three times a week. So even though the airline is using the cabin crews’ new expertise in promotional videos, they are serious about protecting passengers and crew members from other passengers who are obnoxious and annoying. The beauty of the martial art form is that it can be done without major harm to the harassing passenger. Other forms of subduing might be. What’s the tie to coffee? The video explains that the crew member not only can use her hands to pour and serve coffee and tea, but those same hands are trained to cause some pain to anyone who gets out of line. The story relates the violent or annoying behavior of some passengers to being drunk, but doesn’t say how the passengers become drunk. Did they enter the plane that way, or did they buy too many drinks from the wait crew? It seems the airline could re-think their policy and prevent problems before they start by cutting off passengers from bar privileges if they start acting up. That’s the time to ply these passengers with coffee. Then they wouldn’t need the stranglehold quite as often, it would seem. If you fly between Hong Kong and China, enjoy the show. Watch your alcohol intake and switch to coffee. After all, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of this Hong Kong airline’s added wing chun benefit.



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