“I’m going to show the world why the Rangers belong in the Octagon.”
Greg Stott, a former Airborne Ranger, prior to getting knocked out in 18 seconds.
“When the UFC was formed in 1993 there was one simple purpose: Determine which form of martial art was the most effective in a real fight.” Matt Saccaro in The Bleacher Report
If Wing Chun is so great, why isn’t somebody kicking ass with it in the UFC?
#1 Wing Chun was not designed for ring fighting.
Ring fighting used to be one art at a time.
Boxers fought boxers. Wrestlers fought wrestlers. In the East, Thai boxers fought Thai boxers. With the creation of the UFC and K1 and other venues (and rule sets), a Mixed Martial Arts “style” began to evolve. Its been like an arms race, limited by the rules. The rules create the context or medium for the evolution of the styles.
At first, in the UFC, the Gracies dominated. If you weren’t familiar with BJJ tactics, you were sunk! Of course, it is also debatable whether we were seeing the best fighters in the world at these early side-show atmosphere bouts.
But within the content of the UFC at that time, few of the fighters had both a stand up and a ground game developed to a high degree. It was usually one or the other in those days.
Really good wrestlers had yet to enter the sport in large numbers and they were at that time unfamiliar with some of the BJJ tactics. One of the unspoken truths about fighting is the advantage of mystery. This is why fighters with eccentric styles (like Jon Jones) are tough to handle. How do you train for them? What sparring partner can prepare you for what you will face?
Then the money started to get a little better and the sport became more popular. Sponsors evolved from Bob’s Taco Stand to Tap Out to Nike.
In all the MMA venues, the bar began to get raised slowly. New fighters would show up who had learned how to stop the Gracie BJJ strategy (usually by learning BJJ themselves or by being good Greco-Roman wrestlers with competent counters) but on top of that they had new stuff.
A better striking game, better conditioning, a better mix basically.
The Gracies are very tough fighters but they no longer dominate the UFC as in the early days. The sport has evolved and so have the fighters. To fight in the UFC, to be really obvious, you have to be able to win within the rules against the sort of attacks and defenses used by the other fighters. The rules change and so do the tactics that succeed.
Guys who would have dominated in 1998 would get mowed down by the fighters of today, with their excellent cardio and their tight command of all the ranges (kicking, punching, grappling/ground). The UFC fighters of today are some of the top athletes in the world, with teams of trainers (boxing, BJJ, etc) and nutritionists and weight coaches and on and on behind them. A team of Dr. Frankenstein’s rebuilding them.
And lets not forget cutting weight and gaining it back. Winners these days are often guys who not only can do all of the above, but they are also good at cutting weight temporarily then gaining it back and not being weakened too much by this unnatural process. Guys who are good at this cut 20-30 pounds for the weight-in, then gain it back before the fight, effectively fighting someone from a lower weight class (unless both are good at this skill).
UFC fighters use strategies that work best in the ring. Various stalling tactics and pulling guard and hovering outside (Machida-style) might not work so well in the multi-dimensional and time constrained arena of the street but they can work in the ring for a while. But the ring is an evolving public space – people see what works and then train counters for that particular tactic preparing for that particular fighter.
Wing Chun works best when it is a surprise. The fight begins at conversation-distance, the fight kicks off, and you suddenly move into the in-fighting distance and relentlessly attack the head and neck, clearing all obstacles. There is no circling and sizing up. Wing Chun is designed to go for the jugular, like a Rotweiller.
On the street, 99% of fights are decided in the first few moments (as discussed in former bouncer Geoff Thompson’s Three Second Fighter
concept) with strikes to the head. Done correctly, with a lot of training backing it up and a lot of aggression in the moment, this is Wing Chun’s advantage – we attack the head and neck, no waiting, no quarter.
#2 In order for an art to be “represented” in the UFC, you have to have a gifted young athlete start in your style and then get the UFC bug.
This hasn’t happened with every art. Where are the Escrima UFC fighters? They have an empty hand system (just like Wing Chun has a weapons system). How about Krav Maga? I’m sure there are many styles that have yet to get a representative in the UFC.
What needs to happen for Wing Chun to make a splash in the UFC is that some strong genetically gifted guy or girl has to find a talented Sifu with a simple, direct, efficient approach and then the student will need to go Wing Chun crazy, the way Ronda Rousey went Judo crazy and Lyoto Machida went Karate crazy.
Then they need to start studying the other ranges.
Wing Chun’s specialty is the close-medium-range – this is Wing Chun’s bread and butter fighting distance. If we go to the ground, if we are pushed off into kicking distance, we have tools but we are at a disadvantage against someone who is a specialist in those ranges. In our training, we try to get into and stay in our favored range, where we have an advantage.
Like the crocodile, who pulls the land animal into the water where it has the advantage, Wing Chun steps into the middle-close distance and tries to stay there and finish the fight fast.
This is why Sifu Gary Lam added Muay Thai training to his version of Wing Chun – he gave us more long range tools (and some conditioning drills) for when we were forced out of our zone or passing from the outside to the inside (a dangerous moment).
Our Wing Chun crazy kid has to learn BJJ or wrestling to fight in the UFC. They have to have a ground game, period. Some people try to say Wing Chun has a ground game, but it doesn’t. Boxing doesn’t and Wing Chun doesn’t.
Our imaginary Wing Chun UFC fighter has to get really good at takedown defense and also at surviving the ground, while also training thousands of hours in their Wing Chun repertoire. Then they have to spar with fighters from other systems: MMA fighters, Thai boxers, following UFC rules, to find the holes and gaps in their game which can be exploited by the strong points of these other styles.
This is what is takes to fight professionally in the UFC.
Does this mean that Wing Chun is not a good street art – hell no!
#3 Conditioning is not the strong point of most Wing Chun fighters.
Most Wing Chun students are hobbyists. The most serious Wing Chun fighters (more than a few years under their belts) are what Gary Lam calls semi-professional. They train 10-20 hours a week. They focus on skill acquisition and structure and hand dexterity. They are training for the 3 second fight. A handful of Wing Chun fighters take it further and train cardio and train in other ranges. They are the minority.
Most Wing Chun fighters are not preparing for the ring. They are participating in a demanding art whose fundamental aim is usually to shape the character of its practitioners. As with most traditional martial arts, its really about character development. Also, they are probably training for home defense/street defense against opponents who are also not professional. These fights will happen quickly.
Many internet comments denigrate any fighting that won’t work in the ring against a pro fighter.
Does this means a fighter’s skills are useless, if they can’t walk into a ring and handle Jon Jones or Pacquiao? Its a silly argument.
If you play flag football at your company, is it a complete waste of time if you can’t play the Patriots? You might still be able to beat the people at your level. Maybe you can even get into the city league or some regional thing where you wear equipment and allow tackling.
When I was single, I was good a picking up cute girls but I wasn’t in New York getting supermodels and movie stars. But that wasn’t my goal. I was good in my league.
#4 Wing Chun was historically practiced by Chinese aristocrats, until the 1950s.
Prize fighting has historically been a desperation move made by poor men who know how to fight. Its always been a tough, tough way to make a living (even when the top guys started to make millions).
Like other professional sports jobs, most fighters don’t make any real money. The people you see with contracts are the top of a large pile of people moving in that direction, with most dropping off along the way. Its a big pyramid of athletes with those having a “career” at the very tip. And most of them don’t have a long career. Like football and basketball, fighting is a young person’s game. Guys getting past 35 are an ANOMALY. George Foreman and Randy Couture are outliers. Most people find they aren’t good enough to play at the top of the game. Many catch debilitating injuries along the way. Head injuries, nerve damage in the hands, bad knees, etc. Being a professional fighter is not a good way to prepare for a long healthy life.
For most of fight history, “smart” people and people from the “higher” classes didn’t fight for money. Guys like Marco Barrera (who came from a rich Mexican family) were the exception.
In China, they used to call Wing Chun a”Thinking Man’s Art” because is was an early version of we today would call “hacking” the martial arts. They wanted the fastest, most efficient way to end a fight out on the street and they cherry-picked the best fundamentals and techniques form the other arts. Sort of like Fairbairn’s >Combatu did in the 1930’a and Krav Maga did in the 1940s. Then, as now, the fastest way to end a street fight is to strike the head and knock them out.
Just ask the experts (bouncers, cops). Unless you have a team to help you dogpile and subdue your suspect, the closest weapon is the hand and the best target is the head. You don’t want to take one guy to the ground in a streetfight, period. You will be an attractive target for the boots of the friends.
They also used to call Wing Chun “Rich Man’s kung fu.” The Chinese fighters who developed the system were usually well-off. Ip Man was wealthy until the Chinese revolution forced him to flee, leaving all his wealth behind. Chan Wah Shun (Ip Man’s teacher) was wealthy. They were essentially aristocrats. And like the aristocrats of 19th Century England, part of their education was how to handle weapons and defend themselves with their fists. In England, it was “fisticuffs.” In Southern China, it was “Kung Fu.”
In England, they started padding the hands to help preserve the faces of the young gentlemen training in boxing. In China, they developed Chi Sao, a training practice which trained fighters to train without actual strikes to the head (which seems smarter all the time as we discover how easily the brain can get injured, even in training).
Were these Chinese gentlemen and English gentlemen up to the task of handling a pro?
Maybe the rare person had the dedication and the talent and put in the hours but experience counts for so much in combat, and most organized combat is handled with weapons. Empty hand combat is the realm of the pro fighter and the backup of the assassin and intelligence operative and the undercover cop (whose first recourse is a weapon). And of course, the criminal.
Most gentlemen who studied these arts back in the day (and most people now) did it to protect themselves and their families from random street violence and the odd personal encounter with a belligerent family member or business acquaintance, not a pro fighter.
But the class thing is changing, so expect to see more and more fighters from all “classes.” Doctors and lawyers and executives these days can have tats and piercings and train MMA. The world has changed.
#5 Most UFC Fighters come from a competitive sports background.
Amateur and professional Boxers, Muay Thai fighters, High School and College wrestlers, BJJ (which has competing in the ring built into most curriculums), and TKD. These are the people who make up the ranks of professional MMA fighters.
For these people, the move into competitive fighting in the ring for money is not such a big leap. They have already been competing. They obviously like to compete, including all that entails. It is a extrovert activity for the most part, getting out there in front of people and fighting.
Traditional martial artists have a lot of introverts. Its a lot like Salsa dancing – its a safe place for introverts to participate in a highly regimented social activity where they are not required to be very spontaneous. Wing Chun has more than its share. Even the really good ones often have no interest in teaching or competing. They are often engineers, computer guys, academics, and the like.
BONUS: The biggest reason we don’t see Wing Chun in the UFC.
There are two flavors of Wing Chun: a more flowy Tai Chi style and a more “blood and guts” streetfighting style. Most of what you see on Youtube is the light flow style. The blood-and-guts style (since its harder on the body and overall its just harder) is practiced by the minority. Its like Tae Kwan Do. You have your American Mall variety and you have what is trained by the Korean military.
There is a Wing Chun saying: “If you want to be strong, train weak. If you want to be fast, train slow.”
This is true but someday, you have to start trying to be fast and strong and most importantly, AGRESSIVE.
In my opinion, the two guys who put Wing Chun on the map were Bruce Lee and Wong Shun Leung. Both were scrappy and aggressive street fighters. Wong started training in western boxing. Bruce was a wealthy delinquent getting into street fights. They were both exceptionally aggressive and quick to fight.
Most of the reported four million people doing Wing Chun lack this aggression. What you might call the “eye of the tiger.” I’ve been doing Wing Chun on and off for 15 years and I can tell you the names of every person I would be concerned about fighting in the real world. More than 90% I would allow to hit me as hard as they could without much concern.
To make Wing Chun do what it was designed to do, you have to work really hard. You have to hit the bag every day for years. You have to do all the training a lot and you have to get to the point where you can do aggressive Gwoh Sau (Chi Sau with both fighters using timing and spontaneous actions) with an uncooperative, skilled opponent.
If you want to get really good, you need to spar and get hit a little bit. Or a lot.
I don’t think you need to spar and get hit to handle most people (most people can barely fight), but to handle anyone with experience or skill, it helps a lot. You can get pretty close with intense Gwoh Sao, but if you are going in the ring, you better test it out under even more realistic conditions. There is no preparation for the experience of getting hit in the head except getting hit in the head. Don’t let your first fight be where you discover how it feels and how you respond. Get used to it in training.
Wong Shun Leung said the theory of Wing Chun was perfect. Perfect for a random violent encounter on the street without weapons. Perfect to end a street fight fast.
But to work in the ring, as with “fisticuffs,” it would need a lot of tweaking and modification and supplementation with a ground fighting strategy and training.
It’s true that a lot of people kid themselves or they study with bullshit artists and con men. Sparring and skills comparisons can help give you a dose of reality. But let me tell you. I’ve done boxing and I’ve done Muay Thai and I’ve done Wing Chun and in the right hands, they are all potentially deadly. And not just in the UFC.
But hopefully we just have to wait a little longer and some kid will train with the right teacher, get into the sport, and make their mark. Then people can start spending all the energy dissing Escrima for not being in the UFC!
Also: The Top 5 Reasons Wing Chun Doesn’t Work
this really helped me to removee alot of cofusion. thanx a lot……….
The knee destruction techniques you talk about are complely legal. Both Jon jones and Anderson silva have used them. A knee is not as easy to destroy as you seem to thing, and there is a good reason you have this misconception it’s because you probably haven’t tested it.
The reason fighters from muay Thai, Bjj and other combat sports create consistently better fighters is because they spar. Sparing teaches you what works, what doesn’t and helps simulate a fight. Lots of realistic hits with rules in place simulated a fight far better than any amount of complaint drilling or chi Sao.
Mma is not a game it is merely a balance between safety and realisum. It’s the best balance we have found between keeping fighters safe and allowing them to use a full range of martial arts techniques. Even in the early days on vale tudo and the UFC where everything from hair pulling to groin shots were allowed wing Chun rarely did well. This is because of the lack of alive training.
You wouldn’t claim to be able to surf by only practicing on land and never getting in the water yet so many martial artists claim to be able to fight by only practicing the moves and never doing anything close to fighting. Chi Sao is far closer to a game than sparring is.
Please anyone who trains martial arts and do not spar, push start sparing if you can. You will learn what does and does not work in your system of martial arts and not only will your art become better when certain illusions are shattered but you will be better able to defend yourself.
I’m a big fan of MMA and have trained in Muay Thai and boxing. My Sigung ran one of the best Muay Thai gyms in Hong Kong and incorporated that training into our Wing Chun lineage. One of my former training partners in Wing Chun was a professional boxer.
So I’m not antagonistic to your point of view and I have a little bit of understanding of the results from these approaches to fighting. My teachers and my training partners know what it means to spar and fight in the ring. But they chose Chi Sao for their long term training.
I’ve thought about this a lot and think I’ve come closer to the truth in my later article “Wing Chun: A Gentleman’s Art.”
Its all a matter of what your goals are in the training. If you want to fight in the MMA, then boxing and Muay Thai and BJJ are obviously the way to go. Plus tons of cardio and strength training.
If you are a normal person with ten hours a week available and you want to be able to handle yourself in a fight but don’t want to be plagued by injuries, I think certain approaches to Wing Chun are an excellent choice.
Your point about the knee kicks is well-taken:
However, I have seen a friend sustain an injury from one of a kick to the knee in training which put him in a brace for 6 months and ended his Wing Chun training.
I think it is one of those unwritten rules in the UFC. Most fighters aren’t trying to use “career ending” techniques on their opponents.
And yes, I agree the timing would be tough to pull off against a skilled opponent in a cage fight scenario.
I pretty much agree with this. The knee technique described can be seen here:
That is a picture perfect execution, if i do say so myself!
Sadly, wing chun suffers more than most arts for teachers who do not combat test their techniques. Finding those that have is difficult, but they do exist.
The reason that you don’t see wing chun in UFC is not because ‘it is too deadly’ or any cop out excuse. It is because nobody has put in the hard work required to do it successfully yet.
Karate was similarly ignored, until Machida came along. Give it time, wing chun will be represented soon enough. The system is far too good not to be!
You read it here first!
I have always said this UFC is not Combat or real fighting I really think it is sometimes BullShit. just my 2 cents
I don’t think its bullshit but I hear ya. I just think that the rules and context and goals are all different, so its not apples and apples. I really enjoy about 20% of the fights on the UFC. But the internet trolls bug me (I don’t know why!) with their narrow views – but they probably bug me because of the grain of truth in their comments. Most “martial artists” I’ve met wouldn’t last a second in a real fight. But by no means all. Its that Sturgeon’s Law – 90% of everything is bullshit.
These guys didn’t do to well in the early days of mma when everything but eye gouges and biting were legal.
I agree with what the other guy said above. Although Karate didn’t get as much bad press as WC before Machida, it took a Machida to show it could work in that context (but what he did was modified a lot for competition). Maybe someone will come around and do the same for WC – we’ll see. But not being in the UFC doesn’t invalidate WC. Escrima isn’t in the UFC. Krav Maga. Penjat Silat. Not every style has a champion in the sport. In fact, most don’t. And all the styles that are in the sport have altered themselves for participation.
I think its interesting. Most street fighters who write (Geoff Thompson, Marc MacYoung) respect WC. Many sport followers don’t.
Karate didn’t get as much bad press because despite what you guys think there were a lot of early mma fighters even champions using Karate successfully. Ever heard of guys like Bas Rutten, Guy Mezger, and Chuck Liddell?
Good point – Machida was the first guy I saw fighting in what I would call a karate style. The squared hips and shoulders thing. Lidell’s standup was more of a boxing approach (to my eye). I don’t think I’ve seen Rutten or Mezger fight, so …..
Machida seemed like a Karate guy, except for the fading away thing he developed, but that was a adjustment to the ring and the rules.
Well, those fights were not far from a circus. I remember watching them on VHS. It was a little sleazy. Not every martial style field representatives for those events.
I 100% agree with you! The problem is no that wing chun can’t work in the ring, the problem is that people spend WAY too much time on the wooden dummy and doing chi sau and NOT sparring. Sparring is essential to functionalizing ANY art. Wing chun works well, Bruce Lee was an example of that. But no art will work well without real world combat training.
Trapping has even been used in mma as well. Check out this clip of the dutch hand trap.
This seems to be a problem with a lot of westerners, they don’t understand martial arts at all, they only want to use it to “kick ass” because of daddy problems or something.
Wing chun wont work in MMA because its meant for street defense, and a lot of the techniques would be banned in MMA, hence not making it wing chun. You can’t use a combat martial art in sport. There’s a difference between a sport art and combat art.
MMA isn’t real combat by the way, because they fight for the judges and the rules and the scorecards, I agree with bruce lee. If a sport MA combatant went up against a self defense martial artist combatant, the self defense would win. Why ? because they’re trained for self defense and have more tools to work with, unlike sports where they fight to impress judges and get scores. The mindset between the two is also different. Wing chun is a self defense martial art, not a sport.
Wing chun is a very effective art, if you go up against someone that’s trained in it for years and not against someone that’s only been in it for 6 months or so and you try to pick on them to show wing chun. The biggest mistake for martial arts was it being introduced to the western world because its been ruined, bastardized, and highly misunderstood. The people you see in UFC are not martial artists, they’re just prize fighters. There’s a difference between the two.
I respect the UFC and MMA as a sport but I don’t like these hardcore fans that automatically think they understand martial arts because of watching UFC.
Even Dana white has called those people idiots, and I hate dana white but I agree with him.
The hardcore fans have no respect for other martial arts at all and put down a lot of it, just because it’s not effective in MMA. yeah ? well if your going to decide that don’t strip down the art of what it is and fight it as it is without any rules and judges and fight for yourself, not for money and scorecards. THEN decide wether the art is effective or not. In this case Wing chun, Fight someone with no rules, fight a wing chun practitioner (one whos trained in it for years and has great experience) fight the style as it is, you cant strip down an art with rules and call it ineffective, this is the problem with western culture, they’ll never understand martial arts at all.
Now as a note id like to point out I respect all martial arts styles. Both Sport and Self defense, but I hate it when people write styles off as ineffective in particular in UFC. The ufc isn’t the god event of martial arts, those guys are just fighters fighting under rules for money, they’re not martial artists. Even joe rogans a moron, that loser pothead runs his mouth off thinking he knows everything hes so biased, only reason people like him is cus hes a pothead loser like them.
I think its interesting that this post has by far the most comments. I think its because on the one hand there are MMA/UFC people (both people who do it and people who watch it and talk about it) who are very concerned to let people who train in traditional arts know that they suck and aren’t real fighters. And on the other hand, we have people who train in (or watch and talk about) various traditional arts who get a little pissed off at this stupididity, but there is an additional emotional content because so much of traditional training is exactly what they say it is.
As usual in the world, I think the truth is somewhere in between. I think that many UFC fighters are highly ranked in traditional arts. Many black belts in Ju Jitsu, many high ranked karateka and Sambo players, etc. Then they get into the sport and start training for the ring, which, as you say, is a specialized thing which is not the same as a street fight. But I do not agree that these fighters would not do well in a street fight. The worst (for them) thing that might happen is they would break their hands because they are used to fighting with gloves. But in my experience, the most out of shape UFC guy is 100% better shape than 99% of traditional people, if only because they train for a living.
As for the different techniques, really, who knows? I think all fights are determined by the vagaries of the day. Who is conscious and paying attention in that split second? Who is sick or hung over or has an injury?
Most importantly, who hits first?
I hear you. I kind of like Rogan, more or less, and I enjoy the UFC and I appreciate both Joe ROgan and White’s outspokenness and no bullshit attitudes. But I basically feel like its all a lot of speculation. People love to talk and throw out broad opinions and shit talk and flame, but when it comes down to it, what are your goals, and what sort of training will get you there. Me, I want to be a good fighter but am not interested in being injured all the time and I want to keep training even though I’m 51 now. So its Wing Chun for me!
Except WC is a *real* martial art, just like Judo, Karate, Tai Chi, Muay Thai, etc.. As for why it’s not used in the octagon is due to a fact it doesn’t actually work. The Chinese banned martial arts practice during the revolution and now they’re taught very differently and less effective than they used to be. Chinese Martial Arts just aren’t combat-oriented anymore.
Well, karate and Muay Thai and Judo are used in the Octogon. George St. Pierre, Lyotto Machida, etc, etc. Everyone does Muay Thai. Its the second most popular form of striking aside from Boxing.
You need to be careful when making broad statements. The Chinese ban had about as much effect on kung fu as the Spanish ban had on Kali and Escrima. It drove it underground or people left the country (like Ip Man did).
And I can tell you – Chinese martial arts do work and to paint the entire martial output of a country with thousands of years of martial history and 1.35 billion people is a bit careless.
Great article. I’m a recent wing chun convert myself and although I have not been practicing long, I enjoy the art. I completely respect MMA folks as the finely tuned athletes they are. One thing to keep in mind, which the article nicely points out, is that traditional martial arts folks don’t have the time to fully focus on their craft. I can’t speak for everyone but I have a full time professional career, family and other obligations to attend to. I don’t have the luxury of spending hours training on end: enter wing chun and other art forms which some may find appealing.
Thanks. I think Wing Chun is an outstanding way to accomplish my goals, none of which are to fight in the Octagon.
Also, most commenters know very little about Wing Chun outside what they see in Youtube videos. I know what my Sifu and Sigung can do. I’ve felt their power and speed and accuracy.
Krav Maga (Moti Horenstein), Wing Chun (Asbel Cancio) and Silat (Alberto Cerro Leon) have all been in the UFC.
Steven Moody says
Yeah – this was just my reaction to sites like Bullshido where many of the members measure everything against fighting in the ring and there is a lot of shit-talking about Wing Chun (much of which, unfortunately, I agree with, but its not the whole story).
I agree. The real wing chun is for one thing. To quickly disable and kill an oppenent who is trying to kill you. This art is mercilous in real life combat and people would not want to see babarius acts. Gouging out eyeballs, quick strikes to the throat, elbow strikes to temple, forward open palm strike to the nose bridge, breaking wrist, knee, and ankle joints and ligaments, are all common blows to violate those who can still stand. It would be outlawed quickly. Plus, if the ones who no how to shimmy their internal thrusts at the body’s vital points can kill the opponent with him not even knowing his body and brain is shutting down. This art is not for show, but designed for a quick kill. I don’t know how many guys want to do this for sport because this isn’t wrestling and show.
Steven Moody says
Yes, although I do feel that many people (90+%) who train in martial arts use these “too deadly” ideas as a bit of a cop out and would get taken out by a pro fighter or even a semi-skilled street fighter pretty quick.
This is why I sort have to tap dance really fast talking about this. The fact is that many if not most of us don’t train the system to its higher potentials.
And I think someone with 6 months of Thai Kickboxing who has been in the ring sparring for the last 3 months will beat most Wing Chun fighters of a years experience or more. Despite its reputation as an approach to fighting that can be learned quickly, I think it is actually now a very sophisticated system that takes longer to master mainly because its skills are cumulative and few get them working properly in unison (sam yi hap yat) with the right does of bloodthirstiness to become the dangerous fighter they COULD be.
But its always down to the fighter. So few WC trainees get past the training wheels stage of the system. Whereas a boxer or Thai boxer is getting fairly close to fighting within the year. They are hit and they hit. In WC, you have to get into Gwoh Sau, which few attain.
Paul Freeman says
A lot of techniques used by an advanced student would not be allowed, the wearing of gloves would render a lot of techniques useless, the only way would be to learn another art to give you more options, but then it’s not pure wing Chun.
Wing Chun is best left where it belongs, you won’t get many practisers take the doubters up on a challenge fight, with your rules, a referee etc, if you really really want to know try forcing a fight on an advanced student or instructor around your own size, outside in an alley and when your on your own, if you have the bottle.
Paul Freeman says
It was banned and for good reason, but it didn’t stop them training it was done in secret hence the pole as a weapon, it started life as a punt for a boat, lots of other Kung fu styles have weird weapons as well like the nun chuck, that was a rice flail.
As for not working, bullshit, it works just fine but not with rules that’s why we don’t have rules, rules are for girls
Steven Moody says
Ha! I love that expression “have the bottle.” Where are you from, Paul?
Steven Moody says
Sorry – what was banned? Not sure what we’re talking about.
noel golondrina says
My teacher of Wing Chun’s ring record was 298-2. He never lost to a wrestler. All he did was control their elbows and strike them. (If you control elbows, no one can grab you.)
Steven Moody says
Your teacher fought 300 fights in the ring?
Maybe this discussion will be obsolate in the near future. Because of this guy:
(Don’t take the title of the video too serious. It will get interesting after a vew seconds)
If you want to learn how to fight and defend yourself then don’t do wing chun, I did it for 4 years under a top UK Sifu and studied twice in Hong Kong with Ip Chun. I had fun and made a lot of friends but I didn’t learn how to fight.
I’ve been doing MMA for 3 months now and it’s so much more effective.
What it comes down to is this – with MMA there is an answer for everything, with Wing Chun there are a lot of unanswered questions. The Wing Chun guys that are answering these questions are adding MMA into their Wing Chun, no longer making it Wing Chun.
Steven Moody says
Let’s agree to disagree.
I’ve been studying with Greg for nearly seven years and I do know how to fight.
But I understand your experience, having had it myself.
Glad you found what you were looking for in MMA.
First of all, Thank you. This is a very thoughtful and intelligent piece of writing. I enjoyed reading it and think you are absolutely right. I had the privilege of studying a few “moves” with master Wong in Vienna and the man was pure Zen in my mind. Yet Wing Tsun does not stand in a UFC ring, for all the reasons you mentioned. the lack of ground game, the gloves, and even the hand position which give away the side head protection are the main reasons. It is still, in my mind, the best, most efficient, self defense system out there
I have had experience with many martial arts, Aikido, judo. JJ and Wing tsun as well as others, call me a jack of all trades (and a master of none). I remember telling countless of people Aikido simply does not work, until the moment I knocked out (!!) an opponent in JJ with an Aikido move… lucky strike I guess… I think in time you will find your time with WT was not a waste
Steven Moody says
I feel more and more content with my choice of studying Wong/Lam style WC with Greg. Given my constraints of time and age and willingness for injury, its perfect.
I would like to know when will we see Wing Chun master’s sparring? I get sick, and tired of seeing demonstration all the time. I started taking Wing Chun in 1977. I took my Wing Chun too the street because I had to know if it was effective, or not. I personally think that a lot of these so called W.C. masters would get their asses handed to them if they were to really go out of their safety zones, and go out there, and put all on the line in a sparring match.
Steven Moody says
Yes – its a problem!
The fact is that Wing Chun is not really very well suited to friendly sparring. I know it sounds like bullshit to say that (and I 100% agree with your comment about the handing of asses in many WC teachers and students) but I have been thinking about this for a while and trying to think of ways to do better demonstrations by including sparring. But Wing Chun’s nature is that it is a “taking position” knockout system, at its heart. We have Po Pai and Kwan and Gan Sao and these techniques you can use to “handle” an opponent without hurting them but the bread and butter of Wing Chun is step in and slam someone in the head in rapid succession. If you aren’t stepping in, if you don’t have elbow down, etc etc, its not really what I would call a “clean Wing Chun action.”
But if you do those things, you don’t want to be doing them to your friends and training partners. The evidence is pretty clear that CTE and other forms of brain injury involving axonal sheer can occur with just one bad knockout. So do we really want to do that to show off the system?
Not that this is the reason we only see mostly lame demos (most teachers are not fighters or not anymore).
Its a conundrum!
Sparring without taking position is not really Wing Chun but doing Wing Chun is not necessarily deadly as some claim but definitely dangerous (if you are doing it right)!
Eyal Kless says
Well, the ‘street cred’ question is The Question but I think that if we learned something from UFC is that the better fighter wins, not the “system”, but there are better and worse styles, that’s for sure. in a cage environment you can Jitsu on the floor for four minutes, on the street you will get your head kicked in after 4 seconds… does it mean you should not know JJ or BJJ? hell no, it’s an amazing art form, but completely detached from W.C ethos.
I am a jack of all trades and definitely master of none and I feel confident that if I would have to defend myself (and I did, in the past) I would choose W.C ethos of keeping your feet free and using chain punches rather than heavy swings and kicks that could put you on the ground.
but that’s just me, man
Steven Moody says
This system vs fighter is a key element in the problem of WCs reputation.
I know many WC fighters who, if they were able to demonstrate their capabilities to the “usual suspects” criticizing the system, would slam those arguments shut. In fact, I am working on ways to demo the system correctly in video to hopefully throw a little light on the subject. Nothing will quiet the real idiots, but I would like to help balance the equation against the avalanche of bad WC demo’d on Youtube these days. My shoulder is at 90% and my camera is fixed, so this should be soon.
WIng Chun and Kung Fu is definitely overrated. Where were all those masters when Mongolian wrestling based warriors conquered China? Were they still meditating in their churches? Lol.
I am not underestimating anything but some hollywood stuffs are just unrealistic
like any martial art, some teachers are incredible and some are a joke. You will not find classical W.C. in the octagon (although “spider” silva began trying to practice it in the Brisbane fight, especially the elbow defense) because the sport has evolved, because classical W.C is two dimensional, whatever, it is still (in my opinion) one of the best martial arts out there
Steven Moody says
Well, wars are fought with weapons.
The Mongols (and the Scythians, Huns, Parthians, etc) all came from the steppes, from a nomadic horse culture. Like the Spartans, they taught their children from a very early age, putting them on a horse as early as three, and teaching them to shoot the bow from the mounted trotting horse. These cultures terrorized “civilized” cultures on their “borders” from time immemorial. You can read about them in the bible. They were like huge motorcycle gangs, raping and pillaging.
The Mongols brought this culture to its height of “perfection,” with armies numbering into the hundreds of thousands, but still able to sweep in and run away. Plus they absorbed the cultures of their victims, bringing in the literate and educated to supplement their knowledge.
Wing Chun is an assassin’s style, the hand-to-hand skills a backup for the assassin’s knife. The pole thrown in to build structure, not really as a weapon of the arsenal.
The Mongol’s martial skill was based on the individual killing skills of its cavalry and the intelligence of its generals, who were very crafty. See the recent Netflix show “Marco Polo” which details the son of Genghis figuring out how to get through the defense of the Chinese walls etc.
This is also why the martial artists of the Boxer Rebellion were wiped out. Guns handled by well-trained armies beat swords and arrows and hand-to-hand skills. So you are basically comparing apples and oranges.
Wing Chun is for a short range hand-to-hand life or death fight. Guerrilla style. It works even better if you are also skilled with the Butterfly Swords drills and armed with a Bowie-sized knife (or two).
Steven Moody says
I don’t know if I would think of WC as two-dimensional. Basically, its missing a ground game. But its as complete a striking style as Boxing, as long as people understand the need to either spar or put in the hours to do the highly refined Gwoh Sau necessary to prepare you for combat. And even then, results will vary. Not every cop or soldier is prepared for combat by their training. Real fighters require a certain constitution. Aggression and the ability to withstand punishment.
W.C does not have a ground game – that is why I call it two dimensional, the way I would call Karate too. It is an amazing fighting style with advantages in real close combat style which is ideal for a street fight which begins with up close, in your face, confrontation. While many martial arts teach to keep distance from the foe, it is in the pocket that we exell. However, against a mid range trained fighter (Boxer, Moi Tai) getting into range could be a real challenge and the fight would be over if you end up on the ground. I do recommend this style to any beginner in martial arts as it is straightforward, clean from any sort of traditional long winded Kata’s and could be practiced by anyone. If we go into the cage, this is another matter. The fighters there are trained for 3 dimensional fighting and can absorb punishment and do not lose their cool when the blows start to rain.
Steven Moody says
I just feel that calling anything “two-dimensional” is a little bit of a dig. And the fact is there is no fighting system that is without its holes. MMA/UFC fighting (and boxing and Muay Thai and all sports systems) are limited by their development and adherence to rules and equipment. My goal has always been to learn a “street” system (of course I have other goals, but that one was high on the list). And to think clearly and without bias about these things. And to consider all the elements and possibilities.
So these sports systems also do not include weapons training (obviously). So that’s a hole.
Bruce Lee and other fight philosophers like Fairbairns and Sykes were right – to have a true three dimensional system, you always need to add something. And how far you go depends on where and who you plan to fight. Maybe we need to add guns. Or assault weapons and small arms tactics. Maybe armored vehicles and air support!
Anyway (just kidding, but not really, some small part of me really considers these things and led me to study a little but not enough to join a bunker group).
Basically I do agree with you. I have offered that advice elsewhere on this site. Start with Jujitsu or Akido as a kid. Learn to fall and to grapple. Then Muay Thai. In six months to a year you can develop basic tools and combat confidence.
Wing CHun is a lifetime system that is pretty deadly but it takes the right teacher and many years of work. But then you can be pretty bad ass (plus healthy and capable) into your 60s/70s. Build up those tendons and condition those hands!
Yea to that response
I agree with much of what is said here. Most importantly the lack of sizing up. It is about engaging, and destroying your opponent as fast as possible. I study Wing-Chu and Kali under the same Sifu. My Sifu in Wing Chun teaches the methods of Grandmaster William Cheung and is a Mataw–Guro in Kali. He has also been inducted into the United Fellowship of Martial Artists Hall of Fame. He teaches both in what he refers to as the “Combative” Style and as a LEO that is why I study under him because if I have to go hand to hand (can’t get to my tools) its BAD!!! So we aren’t learning to Pak Sao and then just punch, rather we learn to Pak Sao and then Bil Jee for the eyes, punch as we move in to grab the wrist and deliver an elbow to the opponents elbow to break it. We are learning if it becomes a ground fight to rake the eyes al la Kali and also as Kali says to “defang the snake” by making his arms and legs useless. This dynamic is VERY different than what happens in the ring.
Well first I would say that since Wing-Chun was created well after the invasion. depending on the lineage it is either in the period of the early 1700’s or the early 1800’s so yeah, the Mongols took China in the 1200’s. Next, since my scholastic training is military History, the Mongols did not defeat the Chinese in Martial arts duels, they did so via what we would later call Blitzkrieg and subversion. China’s Cavalry was small in number and not as well trained, especially in terms of Archery from horseback. The Mongols also exploited the divisions between the different Kingdoms (Xia, Jin, Dali and Song) and the political intrigue inside each kingdom. It had nothing to do with Martial Arts styles and everything to do with the Brilliant use of Strategy, Tactics and Politics.
Sorry forgot how they exploited ethic divisions as when they got the Han and Khitan Chinese to fight for them.
Steven Moody says
My knowledge of history for Indo-China is mediocre at best! I get it from TV and podcasts like Hardcore History. I do have some books I’ve been planning to read but I haven’t gotten to them yet. So thanks for lending us the benefit of your expertise. The Mongols are really fascinating!
Steven Moody says
Yeah, the biggest problem (and something all WC people need to train way more) is how to get into our range without getting caught. That “end of the jab/cross” point is like a moat we have to cross. You need a lot of experience to develop timing. It helps if you develop the awareness and sensitivity to use your attacking arms as cover against the shot and to get inside with structure to disrupt the balance and take the base away from that shot. Some sort of Tan Da or Jut Da to get a piece of that arm. But it is NOT easy! Against a good boxer, its a bitch. And this guy wasn’t even very good (or he felt pretty confident – note the windup motion with the hand at his waist – that is bordering on insulting. An Ali move. “Here it comes – look out!”
Well one of the things my Sifu teaches, and maybe this is an add in from Kali?, is zoning. You want to maintain your structure and attack from the center, but you want to get out of his center… So you are moving in close but stepping on the diagonal. In practice on the street, even against a couple suspects I found later were training MMA, this proved very effective in terms of getting in close so they couldn’t go for my legs for a take down as easily. Essentially as you are blocking their strikes you are moving in with a diagonal step to either side. It also has the benefit, if you move fast enough, that their other hand (because you know it’s coming) has to go across their body in an awkward manner. As I said my only experience with Wing Chun is in a joint class with Kali. We test separately for advancement in both (the deal my Sifu made with Grand Master Cheung so we can be under his umbrella) but there is some intentional bleed over between the two arts andthis may be more a Kali thing.
The thing is, is that the Gracies were the ones who did the inviting and not the other way around in the UFC matches..So they knew what they were doing..not one at the time world champion was invited to fight…you could not just enter the contest you had to be invited So they had control over who they were fighting…
The Gracies were The equivalent of World Champs and all who were invited were mediocre and did not know what Jujitsu was..
Had someone like Dale Apollo Cook fought it might have been a different story..Cook also have some ground based back ground but would have Knocked out Gracie…
Plus some fighters get stupid and move back ward and that gives a ground fighter all he needs…
Steven Moody says
This quote was I think a comment for the article Wing Chun Sparring.
This sort of footwork (if we are talking about the same thing) comes from the dummy and is often called triangle stepping. You step to the 45 and then in toward the center. Later, in training, this gets sliced until you can do 5 or ten degree adjustments to flank the target. But regardless, this is tough as the opponent in the center can move less and change the facing to the same degree. The further from the center, the bigger the angle. You have to pick up a bridge on the way in if they counterattack but getting a bridge off a jab is tricky. To some degree, you have to take your chances and bet on your reflexes and your guard. There is no magic technique I know of to completely protect you from a well-trained jab cross. Luckily, most people don’t have this technique perfected and you can exploit their weaknesses. Or wait and let them commit, which is the best way. Let them start and you respond to their “on the way” attack.
Steven Moody says
I saw the fights but didn’t know much about most of the fighters back then. Really, those early UFCs were my introduction to many of those people. Its true, it was a bit of a circus and so you couldn’t really say it proved much. But it was a great publicity thing for BJJ.
I hadn’t thought about the dummy training, I was more locked innonnthe fact that zoning is integral to Kali. Also I am not saying it is not without it’s risks of course, it just feels easier than trying to move in through the opponent’s center line where they too have the most power. I have been in more than a few Street encounters during an 18 year career and one thing I notice is that even trained fighters, especially boxers and TKD types., don’t seem prepared for you to be moving in close while striking and not grappling as we may in Wing Chun. When you add in the zoning they usually end up trying to strike with the opposite hand, across the body, so they can get distance and reset. Going up the middle, at least in my experience, has proven far more problematic.
Steven Moody says
That’s interesting. I have lots of training and hardly any adult experience but all my training (and common sense) agree on this point. We always avoid going “power against power” which is to say we avoid the point where they can get both hands on you and try to be in the position where we can get both hands on them (one one side or the other). In that sparring video, the WC guy was trying to set that up, but he was starting way outside the range and so he looked like a running back trying to fake. But the boxer can just rotate a little in place to track his approach. It all comes down to experience and timing. And a little risk taking and preparation to maybe take a piece of a shot if the guy is good. Too many Wing Chun guys get Man Sao/Wu Sao crazy and fail to cover up. Your man and your wu can bu a sort of cage to keep you safer as you cross into no-mans land. The big danger is tight hooks or well-timed overhand shots – you have to be responsive and not close your eyes and rush in to your doom.
Oh absolutely. They do pivot at the waist but picture the style of the boxer or TKD guy. The boxer is leaning forward a bit, the TKD guy wants to kick big. So when you have gotten in that close they instinctively want to get back and reset because being in that close means they really cant hit at full power When you are doing this you HAVE to have your hand on a swivel. The arm your hand has checked, you know where that is don’t bother looking at it, quick target glance then start looking for that other attack because it’s coming, if you get tunnel vision you are toast.
Steven Moody says
That is true – I did TKD and one of the big reasons I got into WC was because I knew I couldn’t handle close quarters and my striking was weak and slow. And, as you say, I would totally try and keep the range at like three feet. Boxers want you at 2 feet-ish. We want about a foot and a half. Its like those concentric circles in Banderas’s Zorro when he was being trained in swordfighting. Each closer range requires a different skill set and development of experience.
I will lose in an UFC ring.
If someone wants to fight me on the street, I will try hard to run away from that person and not fight.
If I am cornered and no where to go then I have two choices. 1.) Let that person beat me with the possibility of dying or 2.) Fight back with the possibility of dying as well. However, if I fight back, my blows will not be to hurt or KO or to gain points from judges but to kill to survive and not die. My blows will be directed to the weakest points of the human body to kill and survive.
If Im by myself then I would probably make the first choice and just pray and hope not to die. If my family and loved ones are with me and are in danger of losing their lives because of the offensive person then I will choose the second choice and pray and hope my family and loved ones survive.
My training involves a lot of loving and grace towards others and being a peace maker.
Have faith in God.
The if’s and what if’s and hows and why and when the time comes and what not’s = I leave that to God. I just pray and hope that my training will help me choose what the right thing to do according to what is right to God.
You want to fight me? How bout we go out for a good feed and blow over that anger of yours. My treat (:
Steven Moody says
An evolved perspective!
My basic view is that I would like to be fit into my 80s – I think you need a sport to tie together the benefits from other types of exercise. Training to fight fulfills that objective plus calms that nervous core that is never quite safe enough. I observe from history that people are often caught sleeping when they become too civilized. So I invest in maintaining the edge (a bit).
But I agree completely with your mature view. I will never start a fight and am secure enough (I hope) to let some aggressive idiot get his ego stroke rather than be provoked into hurting him. Leaving is always the best option!
This is an excellent post, Steve. Thanks for writing it. I’m also enjoying reading your other articles. With the exception of #4, I agree with everything you wrote. I actually wrote an entire blog post about your post:
I’m a judo guy who has studied some Wing Chun, and I’ve known some excellent Wing Chun fighters. They’ve got great skills.
There’s only one part of your post that I felt didn’t get enough attention, either in this post or in your post about whether Wing Chun works in a street fight. You mention that most Wing Chun guys are hobbyists and aren’t in good condition. I agree with you on this, but I think this warrants more attention–it’s not an insignificant problem. If you’re in poor physical shape, you can gas out on fear alone in a street fight. You can lose the fight before the first punch is even thrown, regardless of how good your martial art skills are. Even though the rules in MMA are different from the street, physical fitness plays an equally important role in both. I think if Wing Chun sifus are serious about improving their students, they have to incorporate training that will improve their students’ cardio and strength. It’s an important part of self-defense.
Anyway, thanks again for the great articles. I’m going to continue reading your site.
Steven Moody says
Thanks – I checked out your site – I like your design! I think we have a similar simple, direct, and efficient mindset in regard to web pages!
Re #4 – I mean to point out that Wing Chun evolved in the hands of people who didn’t want to mess their faces up training so they developed Chi Sau. This is why the training doesn’t have sparring – it was to some degree a class thing.
Wing Chun didn’t go blue collar until Ip Man in HK.
I agree with your thoughts on conditioning, although I think the Wing Chun way has been to finish the fight instantly so the hope is to run on glucose and adrenaline. Throw in the hobbyist aspect and you get a lot of WC people who are totally out of shape!
My feeling is, in regard to fighting skill, you need to assess how much time you have available to train and then assess your skills and weaknesses and plan accordingly. Once you have learned the whole system, determine your particular strengths and focus on enhancing them (as opposed to working to bring up your weak points). I think enhanced strong points work better than enhanced weak points.
But overall, I also strongly believe in having a strength and conditioning plan in place just to maintain (and improve) your basic capabilities. This becomes ever more important as you age and fight entropy! But watch out for injuries!
Both of our websites are clean and efficient–just like Wing Chun!
I’ve had time to look at more of your articles, and I agree with your description of fights. It’s absolutely possible to end a fight with a few punches, or even just one punch. Streetfights typically don’t look like MMA fights. I also agree with your ideas about assessing time to train and to give it what you can. That’s part of living in the modern era.
I think my hypothetical is this: John Smith trains twice a week in Wing Chun. He’s got no cardio or strength because it’s all chi sao and forms. One day he’s walking home, and some angry guy starts threatening him on the street. Even before they make contact, John is shaking scared by the guy’s threats. He’s thinking about the physical threat as well as the legal repercussions. His heart is beating fast, which is something he’s not used to. His cardio is so bad that even though he knows how to throw a punch, the 45 seconds of intimidation is more than his body can take. So even though he knows what he’s supposed to do, he can’t do it because his body has exhausted its energy. John has gassed before the fight has even started. He can’t punch or block. The angry guy, who is used to harassing people, is able to beat John up just because of John’s poor conditioning.
So there’s the issue. Even though it may be theoretically possible for John to clean up with his Wing Chun, his body may not allow that if he hasn’t kept us his fitness. Even a decent athlete can gas in 45 seconds under extreme stress.
Maybe this is where Wing Chun can evolve. There’s nothing wrong with Wing Chun as a hobby, but maybe sifus can do more to encourage good physical conditioning, maybe by opening with punch and sprawl drills or something similar. It would help with the self-defense. I think people underestimate what the heart and brain do when under intense stress.
Steven Moody says
I assume when you say “John Smith” this is like “John Doe.” Not a reference to Sifu John Smith in Australia!
Gary Lam asks “What do you want?” Then you decide how to get it.
I think of it more like one of those character avatars in video games, where you get strength points and weapons points and ammo etc (a holdover from Dungeons&Dragons I think). You have various qualities (endurance, speed, timing, resistance to pain, kicking, kick defense, takedown defense, ground game, etc, etc). I think of it as each quality has a 0-100% meter. And I have X hours a week to allocate. This is my constant dilemma/choice! In my case, I allocate some depending on where I think I can develop my strengths and in other cases, it what I prefer. My ground game sucks (I’ve done a litte BJJ and a little small circle jujitsu and some greco). I’m better than many but not a match for most people with a year of decent BJJ. But I don’t like wresting! So I weigh my preferences against my weaknesses and the likelihood of scenario X (takedown in a streetfight). So in my case, I work more on takedown defense and takedown shutdown (take position, hit the head, WC style).
But I’m sympathetic to any and all responses to this dilemma. We all make our choices and live with the consequences.
The same with conditioning. I train it and its OK, but it could be way better! Probably 50% on the meter! Hope the fight is over quick! But luckily, I’m a very fast runner! My quarter mile is excellent for an old man.
PS your writing is very good – keep it up!
Haha! I didn’t know that John Smith was a real guy. Actually, I’ve known a few John Smiths in my lifetime, but not one who was also a Wing Chun sifu!
I agree with everything you said above. In the end, it comes down to each student’s preference. I totally agree.
Anyway, I’ve been going on YouTube and the internet and have been enjoying learning about Gary Lam, Greg LeBlanc, and your Wing Chun. It looks really cool, and all your Sifus look like they’ve got great balance, structure, and power. I had a question about your Wing Chun training methods, which I just posted in another thread. Thanks!
Steven Moody says
Sisuk John Smith of Australia is my Kung Fu uncle (having trained under Wong Shun Leung).
He was on the cover of Wing Chun Illustrated: http://snakevscrane.com/sifu-john-smith-in-wing-chun-illustrated
A cool guy and very sensible and practical about his WC.
faraz khaja says
Wing Chun does need sparring and though i hate forms but they can be kept as supplemental training guides…forms shouldnt be used as a part of formal grading like karate katas.
The reason wing chun isnt for mma is you CANNOT knock anyone out using wing chun…but u can spearhand the throat and kill the person…get my point? Wing chun is a killing art and not a knock out art so anyone using wing chun in the octagon will be knocked the fuck out almost immediately if the wing chun man has no mma training.
The mongols conquered China only because they were more mobile on horse back, so they had a more mobile army. The Chinese kung fu that involves weapons is still valid.
Steven Moody says
A great history of the Mongols can be found on Dan Carlin’s podcast Hardcore History – it was called The People of the Steppes, I think.
All those people from the great plains were pretty baddass. Their names resound through history. Mongols, Magyars, Cimmerians, Tartars, Huns, Parthians, Scythians, etc.
eyal kless says
what you are pointing out right now is the equivalent of stage fright for musicians (which Is my profession). It can manifest itself not just in gassing out but also slow reaction, narrow vision and panic attacks. A karate guy or TKD woman could experience debilitating anxiety which does not rely on their condition but on their mind set. The way to overcome it is to train your mind as well, and deal with stressful conditions, meaning, in the case of martial arts, sparring.
most, if not all of my training did not touch sparring at all, which is a problem if you are training for street combat. Another problem is viciousness. most of us do not REALLY want to hurt our opponent in a terminal way, and we hold back, because we are nice and cultural human beings, but in a real life attack involving more than one opponent (or a terror attack, which happens in Israel) you absolutely must end your opponent ability to hurt you as soon as you contact them. Chain punching is actually incredibly effective in this situation (plus a good kick once in a while).
so, this is about training for the right kind of fight.
Steven Moody says
Yes! This is something I don’t think is emphasized enough. I sort of harp on it on this site. Check out my post The Insanity Defense. Fear will make you choke, no matter how awesome you are in the dojo or kwan.
eyal kless says
it is called Wrath of the Khan (I think) and is awesome!
Anderson silva does wing chun and uses the blocks well I’m not shure how long he has been using it but search Anderson silver wing chun on YouTube ….. Ps he is the middle waight champ so who can say it does not work I think it works well if you don’t get taken down and know some takedowns and grappling .
Steven Moody says
Yeah…I am not exactly sure how much Wing Chun Silva has done! I have seen video of him playing (badly) with a dummy. I think he lost his title in that fight (a rematch) with Weidman where he broke his leg in half. He hasn’t won a fight since. I was always a little perplexed by his style – he would win but it was almost mysterious how! But he really was an asshole in the Bonner fight (really rubbing Bonner’s nose in their disparities of skill). Then Weidman beat him and then in another fight where he was being pretty unsportsmanlike, Weidman lifted his knee and Silva broke his shin in half on it (ugh!).