Wing Chun - In depth

I put together an intensive analysis of Wing Chun, strengths, weaknesses, and an analysis of the system.

Should I post it here?

Why would you bring it up and not post it?

Don't want to belabor folks with a diatribe unless there's interest. So far there's been none, so I doubt I'll post it here.


Post it, and I'll tell you if I'm interested.

I would LOVE to read it. I'm taking my first Wing Chun class this weekend :)

Lets see it. I've trained abit of wing chun so I would love to see your analysis.

sure, post it.

OK, here's one concept.

If you look at FMA, they have come upon the brilliant insight that training weapons -first- is better for (eventual) empty handed application.

In WingChun, they do have three equipment sets - Dragon pole, Butterfly Knives, and Wooden Dummy. In general these are offered to 'advanced' students in most styles of Wing Chun. (I'm talking mainly about Yip Man style, here).

The Dragon pole is well-known in WC not to really be about fighting with a weapon. It's a way to teach centerline, four-corners, and internal power (and waist power), short power and stamina. Without this active method of training the waist and stance, the inward knees stance training is only marginally effective.

The Bart Jam Do (knives) are really a tool to develop the attributes, block and simultaneous strike, wrist and bridges, and not really a battle weapon (like the samurai sword or the rapier, for example). There are 'sets' with applications of Knive v Pole, but that's still more about bridging the gap, lin sil de dar and so forth. Being an extension of the hands it is also heavier than just empty hands, so it can build up the arms, shoulders, forearms and grip as needed to be more effective at other aspects of the system. (punching, bridging, parrying). (many styles use the rings, steel or rattan to also build up the bridge, shoulders and forearms).

The wooden dummy seems to be about the arm and bridging work, but it's actually also about stepping and acquiring the front quarter position against the opponent in close. What some may not realized, used somewhat isometrically, It also develops power in the waist (upper body torquing against the lower).

It should be obvious that these 'advanced' methods, which comprise the core of the system should actually be taught first, or the same time as the first set (Sil lum tao). To do them last, maybe years after the student starts can actually make understanding and application ineffective.

As the title suggests, this is my understanding and hopefully good insight into this fascinating TMA system.

Comments, welcome.


What WC is really missing is a modern way to teach application. While there are fighting drills to teach basic application, usually you wouldn't use it as taught. Also, pad work and using gloves have to somehow be incorporated more into teaching/learning the system so practitioners can compete in sport settings (MMA or kickboxing) to develop fighting spirit. I like your explanation. The triangle footwork is sometimes forgotten when talking about WC. Also, developing the right and left side so you can have more fluid motion.

The thing with wing chun is that it will never translate well into any sporting applications, when gloves are added and eye and throat gouges are taken out most of wing chun's fighting repertoire is lost. Most people like it because of the aggression in chain punching. I did mostly chi sao in the time that I trained and I took many jabs in the throat and had my eyes brushed more times than I could count. It is not power based like most japanese arts, you will learn to generate power but it mostly is based on target striking.

Already In Use - I have never seen WC used effectively in MMA or in the streets.

Well, I have seen Wing Chun be VERY effective in Chi Sao.

Specific aspects of WC can be used in MMA.
Trouble is, WC is taught (in my experience -traind in Ving Tsun while Boztepe was still with Ting)) in the tradional format as a style(the WC was of fighting) and not really as a fighting sport to be used in a ring/cage that will include throws, ground work, etc...

Its not that WC practioner can't do serious damage to someone. It's if the training allows someone to be able to fight within the rules of the ring/cage effectively.

The difference between Ving Tsun and Wing Chun is in the spelling, in some European countries, the letter "V" is pronounced with a "W" itonation, the "TS" is pronounced "CH" as well.

Wing Chun has serious limits and is more of an expression of Chinese Culture than it is a viable fighting art.

It can and is practiced as a sport, WC fighters enter short hand sparring competition all the time, and they don't blind anyone or crush their throats, nor does anyone do the same to them.

I have competed in and have witnessed many Southern Chinese Shorthand and Chi Sao competitions. The problem is that there's a structure to them that prevents them from expansion and that namely is the Culture in which these arts are set.

Fighting is extra-cultural, there's no such thing as how a Chinese guy fights versus the way Thai guy fights. The observable differences appear when one is trapped in a classical/cultural approach that binds and enslaves the practitioners to style purity.

Bruce Lee tried to free everyone from this form of entrapment by stating that one should absorb what is useful, no matter where it comes from.

This means that you should cross train, drill, test and refine everything you can get your hands on that claims practical application. If you can't work with it, discard it and try something else. This doesn't mean to simply try it out on a basic level, this means to really apply yourself and train deeply, then after trail and error, if it doesn't yield high percentage results, put it away and make room for something that does yield results of a higher percentage.

Lee knew 40 years ago that Wing Chun didn't do well against boxing and Wrestling, and you can see his adaptation of elements from those sports, in addition to the kicks he learned from Jhoon Rhee.

Lee knew 40 years ago that most Martial Artists lacked serious power so he lifted weights, modified his diet and performed cardiovascular work.

In a few short years, the 32 year old Bruce Lee became our first modern Mixed Martial Artist because he opened up his eyes and mind to the possibilities that all fighting arts had to offer and discarded as much Cultural bias as he could. He, as a Chinese, adapted the footwork of a Sugar Ray Robinson, along with his relaxed punching style, the grappling of Hayward Nishioka and Gene Lebell, the penetrating striking power of Joe Lewis.

Most of his training partners didn't become Wing Chun practitioners, but they clearly understand its strengths and weaknesses, that's all they needed.

That's all any of us need.

I didn't even know there was a section for TMA fags, but upon seeing it I was not at all surprised to find a bunch of hippies posting here.

I agree entirely with Cee. I was an assistant instructor in Leung Tings Wing Tsun, in the IWTA. I also had some other southern kung fu experience. Mostly when i started it was because i had done some boxing but had little knowledge/experience of clinch/elbow range techniques. I tried WT and got to an assistant instructor level before i realized it was only effective against other WC/WT practitioners. I have seen some schools try to add long range strikes (boxing) and takedown defense, but it is just bad wrestling and worse kickboxing. While i give them credit for taking that giant leap into learning about combat stress, you'd still be better off going finding an MMA gym with good technical instructors.

Sadly this is what they feel about mma:

The three really good things i took away from WT was:
a.)It is a conceptual system so it got me thinking about concepts of fighting rather than just techniques.
b.)Tactile Sensitivity Training. The notion of sense of touch training has helped immensely with clinch sparring, wrestling, and bjj.
c.)Under combat stress conditions (sparring, fighting etc), the fine motor control techniques from chi-sau go out the window. Stick with gross motor control techniques and spend your time refining the timing.

Past that, like most Traditional Martial Arts I have trained, it has some very good concepts and theories but the applications & training are very dogmatic, and as Cee stated is more of an expression of Chinese Culture than it is a viable fighting/self-defense art.

Good posts Cee & TheSource.

Snapple, there are many ways to spar, sparring is an excellent way to drill, refine and repeat techniques to sharpen their edge, so to speak.

You can do two on one sparring or more, you can also set the tone for what the actual objectives are to be obtained.

Sparring is the best way to train the various ways that a combative encounter can unfold.

There's nothing wrong with strength, it shouldn't be replaced, it should be augmented body connection, speed and timing.

Once the physical attributes have been acquired, the only way to determine their true viability is to test them through sparring, and not just against Wing Chun guys, you must test them in every way that you intend and may not intend to use them.

If Wing Chun truly concerned itself with "real combat" it would have evolved into something less rigid, the theories are fine, but the pedagogy is flawed, like so many other TMA's, you only train against the same style that adheres to the same rules and practices.

An authentic fighting oriented approach would include, not exclude, any and all possibilities that might unfold during a confrontation.

Once again, I submit that Wing Chun is an expression of Southern Chinese Culture and not a viable fighting system, as your dogma about how it was invented by a woman to defeat a larger, stronger opponent illustrates.

Cee - 

If Wing Chun truly concerned itself with "real combat" it would have evolved into something less rigid, the theories are fine, but the pedagogy is flawed, like so many other TMA's, you only train against the same style that adheres to the same rules and practices.

An authentic fighting oriented approach would include, not exclude, any and all possibilities that might unfold during a confrontation.

Beautifully stated.

FRAT, but an interesting read about who Yip Man taught what...

I wouldnt say its pointless to learn WT/WC/VT or any other TMA, as quite often you can find some useful attributes to take for yourself. For example, although i don't personally use a spinning side kick from my other CMA styles I trained, Cung Lee does and sets his up with a jab/cross from a southpaw stance and its just devastating.

Even though Bruce might not have been one of Yip Man's elite 5, as that story at wingchungfightclub suggests, he clearly got a lot out of the art. Albeit, later in his life he gave up Chi-Sao for Muay Thai clinching and Catch Wrestling (with Lebell?) but it did provide a base for his style of fighting.

So 'training' in TMA's might not be worth doing but I think dabbling in TMA's here n there, and drawing from them to find new techniques that work for you is worth it if you have the time.

Personally, the next thing i want to 'dabble' in is Tai Chi. Yes. Tai chi. I would like to focus more on my breathing and how that relates to my movement, i.e. being more relaxed while striking etc.