Is Wing Chun being used the wrong way in fighting?

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by geezer, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    On another thread, Nobody Important posed the following question:

    Clearly, and feel free to argue, Wing Chun as a fighting art has failed miserably when put to the test. Perhaps Wing Chun isn't supposed to look like your doing the forms when fighting, but more importantly, about learning how to refine gross motor skill to combined motor skill and fine motor skill when under duress. Is the art of Wing Chun being used wrong?

    It's an old question, but one worthy of further discussion. What are your thoughts?

     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Has nobody ever been able to defend themselves using their wing chun training?
     
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  3. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Senior Master

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    The advantage of YZKYM is both of your fists can have the same reach. But you can do that with "cross stance" - right leg forward with left hand forward.

    I have always believed that the YZKYM has the following weakness:

    - Both legs are too close and vulnerable for "double legs".
    - Heel pointing out and vulnerable for "foot sweep".
    - Inward bending knee joint is vulnerable for side kick.
    - Open your chest and belly for kick.
    - Prevent you from turning your body to have "maximum reach".
    - ...

    So why train YZKYM if you don't use it in fighting?

    The WC system was created in the south part of China. There were not many wrestlers there. The YZKYM is a good stance to maintain balance on boat. But on the dry land, that's different story.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  4. Nobody Important

    Nobody Important 2nd Black Belt

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    Yes, I'm sure they have, but not to the level it is promoted to, or it being "recognizable" as Wing Chun that's being used. There are predefined ideas as to what Wing Chun should look like in action based on the theory it promotes. As such, the only defineable contest that illustrates Wing Chun in action is Chi Sau, and we all know how applicable that is to an actual fight. Since Chi Sau and prearrainged drills are the only free flow and live action exercises that can also include pressure, they have come to define the epitome of Wing Chun movement.

    I am primarily a long fist practitioner, Pak Hok Pai. That being said, it is important to understand the spectrum of movement offered by different arts. Pak Hok Pai is at one end of this spectrum and Wing Chun on the other. Basic Pak Hok Pai represents gross motor skill, basic Wing Chun represents fine motor skill. Each has limitations to their use, including environment and purpose. Combined motor skill is a method in the middle, all purpose if you will.

    Fine motor skill can be defined as combined manipulations involving a fair amount if dexterity (short range) Combined motor skill is the ability to perform two or more actions simultaneously with some dexterity (middle range), and gross motor skill is big swinging actions with little to no dexterity (long range).

    When under heavy duress, fine motor skill is the first thing you lose, however, gross motor skill may not be sufficuent. Our goal is to strive for maintenance of combined motor skill. Learning how to refine large movements to better respond in stressful situations where our fight or flight response dictates our actions and is important to survival.

    To me, Wing Chun is a tool to help develop this and not a stand alone method. It is said that Wing Chun was developed as a refinement of traditonal Siu Lam arts, which were predominately long fist methods. What better way to learn a system quicker than to develop a method (based on structural mechanics) that teaches you how to refine and maximize your technique. Many traditional arts take an unnecessarily long time to go from big beginner movements to small and refined advanced movements. And in many cases if a student didn't stick around or if the teacher died, they never learned how to refine their technique, because they were never taught, and passed on only what they knew. Throw in cultural trapping and you have a method that never evolves the way it was meant to.

    Wing Chun, IMO, is an art developed for this very reason, refinement.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  5. Headhunter

    Headhunter Master of Arts

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    If you can use it in a fight it works and since there are probably millions of people who do wing chun and it's impossible to ask them all so who knowsknows
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I also train Bac Hoc, and I guess we have had different experiences. There is a lot of gross motor training, as you mention, but that's not it. It is a unique approach to training, but I don't find it at all limiting in how and where it can be used and applied.
     
  7. Nobody Important

    Nobody Important 2nd Black Belt

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    I was speaking comparitively and of the basic level. I understand Pak Hok has smaller movements, but it's core are the large swinging punches, vastly different to Wing Chun punching.
    And I will disagree a bit, an art like Pak Hok isn't very useful on a crowded train or bus, an art like Wing Chun has the advantage here, out in the open, I'll take something like Pak Hok all day. Use is limited to environment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  8. Martial D

    Martial D 2nd Black Belt

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    At the risk of offending pretty much everyone..yes..yes it is. I see wing Chun as a condiment rather than a meal as it pertains to combat.

    By that I mean it contains many useful and deadly principles that are very much useful for fighting, but the classical approach isn't too effective. The centerline guard doesn't work against anyone that can box, the footwork is too immobile, and it is too limited in approach vis a vis any range besides trapping range.

    With all that said, I absolutely love WC as a tool to break out just as soon as tie up/trapping range happens, and WC punching is easily modified for longer range hand attacks and quicker footwork(think jkd)
     
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  9. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Why? First understand that YGKYM is NOT our fighting stance! ....at least in my YM VT lineage.

    However, it is useful. We often call it our "training stance" in that it strengthens the adductor muscles (see the "squeezing thighs" shown in the diagram you provided) and it trains the essential position and structure used as we move through all our stances and steps. We fight by turning and stepping (again reference the diagram above!) and in so doing are constantly passing through this position ,or at least using the structure and adduction it trains.

    So, once I am engaged (not just standing back and waiting) my typical fighting stance is with one foot forward, advancing on my opponent unless I'm being forced back or to the side. In that case I'm probably in a turning stance.
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    See, and here is where we disagree. Bac Hoc is useful anywhere, even a crowded or cramped situation. It is adaptable, movement does not need to be big.

    That is a different topic from this thread, but I do see a relevance here. In my opinion, perhaps if there is a mistake, it is in believing that one must look a certain way when using their martial skills. Technique in a fight can look like anything. If the principles of the system are in place and are driving the technique, then it can look like anything. It CAN look like a "proper" technique, but it also can look like something else, even not like a proper technique.

    So in terms of wing chun, it does not matter what it looks like in a real fight. If the principles are there, then it is wing chun.
     
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  11. Nobody Important

    Nobody Important 2nd Black Belt

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    I agree, never said Pak Hok, or any other art, isn't adaptable. Actually, I was always told that Pak Hok is based upon a 2 inch circle, this is something though that isn't usually stressed until introduction of Cotton Needle training. Sadly many do not get there. It, as a system progresses, from large movement to small movement and from hard techniques to soft ones. But the progression isn't part of the initial basic training, it comes via advancement into the system proper. The basic system of Lion's Roar is the large movements, its the only thing all the branches(Hop Gar, Pak Hok & Lama) have in common. Anyways, I also agree on your second part, that as long as the principles are present so is the system, however, there has to be some semblance of technique that makes it identifiable as what it represents, otherwise, whats the sense in different systems that use relatively similar principles and theory. Style structure is also important in delivering the technique, its what hones the weapon.
     
  12. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    When I read comments like this I suspect that the author either has limited experience in WC, or has a limited notion of what WC entails. Not to be insulting, since you may be a very effective martial artist. But WC is much more than a "condiment", and if viewed that way will probably not function well. It is not a grab-bag of infighting tools to be bolted onto a generic, non-WC base!

    On the other extreme, you will find many WC "believers" who will insist that WC/VT is all you need!!! That is an equally narrow and flawed perspective IMO.

    My personal belief is that VT/WC is a very well integrated system of stand-up close-range fighting that can be very effective. To be a complete martial art, however, you also need to have a long range game and a good grappling game. That is to say a more JKD-like frame of mind. That's leaving aside the issue of bladed weapons and firearms which is often how people approach self-defense where I live.



    Now let's be brutally honest as to why VT/WC is not more successful in fighting and or competition: I'd say it boils down to who trains it, how it's trained, and the lack of competitive testing. Let's look at each of these factors:

    First, the majority of people training VT/WC are like me -- basically hobbyists who train a few days a week, are not all that talented, and have no interest in hard-core fighting.

    Second, most WC/VT classes, just like mine, train a lot of drills, a lot of chi-sau, and far too little sparring to be really effective. Remember that our clientele is mostly older professionals who really don't want to get beat up, and they are being taught by me --a guy in his sixties who hasn't been a fight since he was in his twenties!

    Third, The absence of a competitive arena specific to VT/WT for testing, improving and evolving the art regardless of lineage and faith-based beliefs about how our techniques "should" be done based on ideas rooted in the past.

    Now many will say that such a venue already exists in the form of MMA or Sanda. But MMA has become it's own thing these days, and really isn't the ideal framework for testing individual component arts. Thats why Muay Thai, BJJ, Boxing, and so forth, still have their own competitive formats. VT/WT absolutely needs that too as one component of our training system along with the other training components we already have.

    And we need fewer grandmasters and more good coaches like Alan Orr and his kind to dissect WC/VT and apply it to an MMA format as well. It may not look like traditional VT/WC but he makes it work, and does a pretty fair job of explaining how his fighters are incorporating WC concepts into their MMA, however it looks. That's a damned good start IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    The different systems are simply training methodologies. The principles may be similar or the same from one system to another, but the methodology in how they train and develop their skill and understanding of those principles may differ, even dramatically. That is perfectly ok, as long as the methodology is effective in accomplishing this goal.

    Technique is an expression of the principle. But it is a vehicle to help a student begin to grasp the principle, because the principle is what is really important. Technique is important in the beginning, but as one understands the principle more and more, the specific technique becomes less important because one understands how to apply the principles to anything they may do.

    So a particular system like wing chun or Bac Hoc is a methodology that helps you understand the principles and ultimately that the principles can be universal and can be used in anything you want. It no longer matters what it looks like.
     
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  14. Nobody Important

    Nobody Important 2nd Black Belt

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    And my point is, most never get there. This isn't something taught from day one. Most people train to a certain point and stop. Some go on, but dwell too deep into hypothetical or abstract theory, believing this knowledge gives them advantage in a fight. Real fighting is about conditioning, realistic sparring and good, solid basics, not intermediate or advanced understanding of principles.

    Herein lies the problem, just as Geezer pointed out, instead of focusing on actual realistic and applicable fighting methods, arts like Wing Chun, tend to focus on Chi Sau and drills because they are hobbyists, not fighters. Problem is, those hobbyists go on to teach fighting, at least to an extent. This methodology is evident in what is stressed, hence that is what is taught. Wing Chun from a Chi Sau perspective, because that is the only platform that it is tested on. It becomes an art relegated to this range and methodology, and anything that deviates from here is considered a violation of the rules of the art.

    We see this in competition all the time. Wing Chun guy is able to best everyone in his class and won a street fight or two, enters a fighting competition based on his false abilities and gets **** handed to him. All because he was enabled by a system and teacher who failed him, making him believe what he was taught was applicable to such a contest.

    All arts become refined over time based on several outside factors. Each art has a specific attribute that they excel at. Wing Chun is close range, its a specialty art developed for this range. It doesn't mean that it lacks attributes at medium and long range, but its not it's strong suit. Knowing this and knowing that a fight isn't fought in one range is a clue to what it is meant for. It requires supplementation just as Geezer said. That being said, if its not a stand alone method what is its purpose? Just a tool for infighting, or a method to help refine larger gross motor actions to function more effectively at closer range?
     
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  15. wckf92

    wckf92 3rd Black Belt

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    ...and to further this discussion...

    Is it being "used" wrong...or "trained" wrong? ;)
     
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  16. wckf92

    wckf92 3rd Black Belt

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    Yep!!!
     
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  17. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree, most people don't get there, but maybe it's at least in part because most people don't realize that is where they should be trying to go. I think most people see their training as a collection of techniques. I see it as something else, that is ultimately far more flexible and useful. If people are able to have their eyes opened to what the training should be about, I think they can have a chance of getting there. But there is a lot of bad instruction out there.

    And honestly, I care less than nothing about competitions. Your example about some hypothetical guy successfully defending himself, but then losing in a competition, well honestly, so what? The part that matters is that he defended himself. His record in competition means nothing, in my opinion.
     
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  18. Nobody Important

    Nobody Important 2nd Black Belt

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    No, I agree, successful self defense is far more important than competition. I was simply trying to illustrate the point about how many Wing Chun people believe the method to be nearly infallible, yet when put to the test in competition it doesn't fair well against other trained combatants. As an art, the theorectical makeup may support such a narrative but the training and application of most teaching doesn't. This, IMO, is why it fails and gets such a bad rap. Basically it boils down to delusioned braggerts and fanboys who have no clue of actual fighting misrepresenting an art.
     
  19. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    See this is a problem I think, the idea it should look a particular way. I posted a video elsewhere of Jerry Devone in a fight where he knocked a guy out a couple times. Was it Donnie Yen movie perfect? Nope. Could you see the Wing Chun in what he did though? Yes. Maybe this is just me but I have always looked at the way we train WC as being about teaching techniques to understand the principles with which you fight. If my bil or bong isnt at a perfect angle but I adhere to the principles I am still using WC. This may also come from the way Sifu Keith Mazza teaches (as he is the Sifu of my Sifu's). At one seminar he took a picture perfect stance, and said "this is how we train but this isn't how anyone is going to fight irl. The picture perfect man and wu sau are there to program you to know/protect your center and to stay relaxed vs tense with clenched fists.

    I have always found it odd how WC is called a conceptual martial art, yet at the same time people expect it to have that picture perfect appearance. /shrug
     
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  20. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, it does come down to the individual, and nothing and nobody is infallible. But seriously, don't give that more weight than it actually merits.
     

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