combat, kung fu, law enforcement, martial arts, military, mixed martial arts, self defense, Terre Haute

Does Wing Chun Kung Fu Work on the Street?

As a Wing Chun Kung Fu instructor, you can probably imagine how many times I get asked questions like: “What do you think….?”  I get emails and messages sharing videos; I get asked about does it work on the street; . . . .  Really, the list is long.  (If I only had time to answer all of them in blogs. lol)

I thought, for this blog, I’d discuss a question that came to me from another martial arts instructor, who shared the following video and asked: “Jason, what do you think?”

I’ve already started writing on this subject in another blog.  So not to repeat myself, I’d encourage readers to check it out by clicking here.

First thing one has to remember – about anyone creating a video like this – is that each video has a limited perspective of the art being demonstrated or discussed.  The topic has to be isolated and simplified for the audience, many of whom have had very little or no training in the system being discussed (or the topic being discussed).  Given that, we cannot expect these two men to represent their full systems in one video – or even a series of videos.  Any and all systems involve one in a relationship with one or more persons in various environments and situations.  This is why it is impossible to represent the system in a video which is detached from such experience.

wingchuncenterline whiteNow, there are a few things in this video one may take out of context if they’ve never trained in Wing Chun before or if they have only a beginner’s understanding of Wing Chun.  For example, Wing Chun does not isolate it’s principles to a shoulder to shoulder, center-line defense/offense only.  Attacks from outside are addressed in training, as is grappling, recovery, and other important aspects of fighting.  One example of Wing Chun’s address of attacks from outside includes the principle of “facing”.  (I won’t be getting into what facing is in this blog.  If you don’t know, come to class.  We’ll be happy to teach you.  If you already know what I’m talking about, good for you.)

Another misconception is that Wing Chun’s punches come and go to and from one place, and there are no “outside gate” offenses.  This misconception comes from the limited view (from the outside usually) of those watching videos of various forms, or seeing one or two demonstrations of forms only.  If one doesn’t move past basics, one never masters the system.

And, on that last note:  If one doesn’t do as these two gentlemen are in this video – that is: reach out and practice their principles against others’ fighting system – they never learn to communicate their intentions to varying audiences (i.e., various fighting intentions and systems in practice).  Fighting is a relationship and a form of communication.  If one never reaches out to learn another’s language, another’s ideas, or exercise their own principles against another’s, one never moves beyond the basics of self-discovery.

Many people get into a martial art to do one or two particular things (e.g., a form, mook yan jong, or chi sau); consequently, they fail to learn to do anything else, like real fighting. Case in point is chi sau(sticky hand exercises). One can be skillful from a connected position (daap kiu), but if they don’t know how to connect that bridge in a meaningful way (as they touch on in this video) they lose the fight. That’s why we spend so much time learning to fight with and without daap kiu in my classes.

Anyway, interesting exchange of techniques between the two guys in this video. If more schools got together like this it’d be a good thing.

Oh, and by the way, Wing Chun does work on the street.  I’ve used it, myself.  That said, any fighting system is dependent not of itself but of the person using it.  That’s where you come in.  How you decide to dedicate yourself to learning those principles and mastering your ability to communicate with others, as well as how you treat yourself, determines your effectiveness – not the system’s – in combat.  If you’re irresponsible, you’ll be weak and vulnerable.  If you’re responsible and dedicated, you will mature and become more efficient and effective.

Empower yourself to life!™

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