Wing Chun Does Work For Me.
There is a steady barrage of comments online and face-to-face about why Wing Chun doesn’t work. These are typically based on a belief that overwhelming force is the way to fight.
There is no “kill shot”. But…
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” – Sun Tzu: The Art of War
Wing Chun, to most outsiders, seems like a series of very fast hand gestures that go nowhere. The real purpose of those movements is to put your opponent on their guard. Once you have an opponent on the defensive, it’s much easier to defeat them.
Wing Chun is controlled and powerful. It’s strength lies in this control. For example, Jiu Jitsu, particularly in the hands of someone who is short of master, will often involve a massive movement that will take the opponent out. Your opponent will likely see that move starting, can therefore counter that move, and you will find yourself down and out.
Just as hive of bees can take down a bear, wing chun involves using a series of fast, powerful hits to defeat your opponent.
Wing Chun is soft. True, but there is strength from softness.
“If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Resist, and you will perish. Know how to yield, and you will survive.” ― Lieh-tzu Liezi: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
Water is soft, but it can wear down a mountain. Wing Chun involves punching, blocking, and kicking all at the same time. This strategy of multiple lines of attack with speed and power, wears an opponent down.
One of most important points about Wing Chun is that it was never designed to confront masters, but average soldiers and people. Wing Chun was created by Shaolin monks to repel an attack. The speed and pummeling that an opponent receives was meant to stop them and make them think twice about continuing to attack.
It was also designed to be effective for fighters of any size. In modern MMA, you will find yourself on the mat bleeding if your opponent is a highly trained master with 30 pounds on you. In the street, a barrage of blocks, hits, and kicks at unstoppable speed will leave your opponent on the ground.
Wing Chun is not a martial art. In my opinion, it is a minimalist and streamlined skill derived from the art of Shaolin Kung Fu.
“Without Knowledge, Skill cannot be focused. Without Skill, Strength cannot be brought to bear and without Strength, Knowledge may not be applied.” – Alexander the Great’s Chief Physician
Wing Chun does not have the range of forms and acrobatics that make other martial arts ‘artistic’, but Wing Chun is about technique, practice and self-development just more personal than group-organised.
A bit of history: As with many other martial arts, Wing Chun was developed by Shaolin monks. It’s important to note that it probably wasn’t taught in a vacuum and would have been mixed in with other disciplines. In it’s purest form, Wing Chun is a hand-to-hand combat technique. It’s not made for grappling. The monks who developed Wing Chun likely were experts in other forms of fighting as well. They would have instinctively fallen back to other techniques to complement Wing Chun , when dealing with an expert opponent.
It’s also worth noting that Wing Chun is also for spiritual development. It is a moving meditation. Even without ever needing to use it for combat, there is a great impact on mental and physical health.
In fact, unlike most martial arts, Wing Chun instructors do not usually emphasize conditioning and strength training. Concentrating lessons on pure technique. If you want muscle bulk or flexibility, workout is in your own time.
Wing Chun is not about fighting. True. People will only see Wing Chun practitioners demonstrating Chi Sau as a gentle sparring.
Students in a Wing Chun class are not usually of similar personality and have different goals to those attracted to other types of training. Perhaps we are most similar to those that learn Aikido.
The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.
– Mark Twain
Again, this relates to the way that Wing Chun is taught. Chi sau will always be gentle in a class. It builds sensitivity and reflexes. It is not supposed to cause injury.
There are also a large number of Wing Chun students who choose to learn this art for it’s meditative powers. These students are attracted to Wing Chun to train the spirit first, the martial art is incidental.
Wing Chun combined with strength training and sparring/full content must be a powerful and intense form of fighting. Perhaps this is one possible future we will see in the evolution of Wing Chun, as more people take it up and make it their own.