I was thinking about his recently and came across this video that is a pretty good illustration. This is not Wing Chun, but illustrates what I was thinking. I thought this might make a good topic for discussion. Recently I had pretty much concluded that "traditional" arts just don't work well for real fighting. When you look at just about any "traditional" art when they try to spar or free-fight they often end up resorting to some variation of kickboxing and often don't look too much like their traditional training. You see this in Wing Chun, but also in a lot of other "traditional" arts. But.....maybe I am defining "real fighting" inaccurately? Maybe equating it to a face-off exchange between two competitors is not the only way to define it? Many "traditional" arts have a "self defense" orientation and are often geared towards working in that environment. And no doubt, defending your life is a "real" fight! But this won't always be a "give and take" exchange like a sparring match. It seems to me that very often the orientation of a "self defense" art is to respond to a committed attack, and to keep responding until the attack is neutralized. This is very different from standing in a "face off" situation and "feeling out" an opponent in a sparring match. Fighting in a sparring or competition context very often involves UNCOMMITTED attacks! Fast jabs from just out of range....probing low-line kicks.....baiting and feinting to drawn an opponent out. And responding to such probing attacks with your own uncommitted responses to avoid a counter....hence, the back and forth "give and take" kind of exchange develops. This is what we see almost any time people are sparring. But this isn't necessarily how things develop on the street, and isn't necessarily how things happened on the battlefields of days gone by. Wing Chun has been described at times as an "ambush" art. This can imply responding to an ambush.....a surprise attack at close range that you defend against and counter quickly to neutralize the threat. Since it is close range and you want to keep it there until the attack is neutralized, Chi Sau skills come in very handy! There is no "squaring off" with the opponent to feel each other out with uncommitted probing attacks and half responses! And this can also imply launching the ambush! If you are a Wing Chun guy determined to take someone out you are going to do it at close range and with a barrage of fast strikes! It is NOT to your advantage to give the opponent and opportunity to back up and get out of close range where your Wing Chun is designed to work! Here is the video I mentioned. This is Maul Mornie doing SSBD. I have had the honor of training with Maul and he is very impressive! But his videos have been criticized because he uses compliant partners and never shows any free-sparring. But again, his art was not designed for free-sparring and for the kind of fight you see in contests and sparring matches. His art was designed for fast and brutal self-defense. So it is really predicated upon someone making a committed attack that he can interrupt and disrupt and take control and finish the opponent. No "give and take" is intended! You just don't do this in a typical sparring match! At least not without regularly damaging your sparring partners! Check out this video where he shows how he would defend against a jab-cross. Now granted, Eric is not a boxer and not throwing that jab and cross very convincingly! But the point here is that Maul is going to stay just out of range until his attacker launches a committed blow and is not going to get into a free exchange at close range! I'm thinking Wing Chun was probably designed to be used in a similar way, and this is why people have a lot of trouble using the "traditional" version in a sparring scenario. It wasn't designed for a sparring scenario any more than SSBD was!