What does Wing Chun need in the 21st Century?

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by geezer, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    What does Wing Chun need? The traditonal answer is nothing. The old way is best! Proper Wing Chun as taught by my sifu (insert name here) is a complete system. People just need to have faith, believe in what their sifu tells them, and humbly train harder to do things correctly. Only then will they acheive the unmatched skills of our Wing Chun ancestors! :rolleyes:

    ...Also the earth was created 6,000 years ago, is flat, and all you have to do is sincerely believe in (insert religious belief system here) ...and trust me ;), all will be hunky dory.

    Now if you agree with what's written above, this is not the thread for you. I'm more interested in the perspectives of those of us who have practiced traditional Wing Chun/WingTsun/Ving Tsun (or a simialr system) and have become disillusioned with the way things are going. As the years or decades pass, is the system you are training really giving you all that it promised? Or is it becoming marginalized, and becoming the domain of hobbyists and magical thinkers who would never dare get in a fight?

    In this day and age where martial arts and combat sports are put to the test, and fails are spread all over youtube and social media, backward looking traditionalism and magical thinking are not a recipe for an effective and complete fighting system. So what, if any changes do you think are needed to revitalize Wing Chun in the 21st Century, and who are the people who we might look to move the art forward?
     
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  2. Rat

    Rat Black Belt

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    Probably for all wing chun to become JKD or a similar work over. And then try to make it work in the ring to attract combat sport folk and just mix it with being a combat sport more.

    I havent personally done it, but i think if it turns itself into JKD it probbly would be more sucessful and thats the main stay of its popularity anyway, bruce lee did it. (along with many other things and mixed them)

    and maybe a end to the decentralized nature of it and no true wing chun being around and everyone arguing theirs is the true one.
     
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  3. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    My fighting style is a delicious spaghetti, my WC is the pasta. Kinda plain and flavourless on its own.

    The sauce makes it good. But without the noodles it's just a messy sauce without cohesion.
     
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  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    The majority of people who train martial arts couldn't care less about what happens in a silly ring. Only a small fraction care at all about that.
     
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  5. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Ya. Only the ones that care if they actually work or not.
     
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  6. Rat

    Rat Black Belt

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    I would say enough do care for it to be a consideration. after all pending rule set it is probably the closest you will get to a proper fight in controlled conditions. And some martial arts are tied to a sport as much as i hate to say it and do pretty well outside and inside a ring.

    also that was one part of my post, the main part was more about turning WC into JKD or Hybradising it in some fashion to overhaul it. Most people who get success in a ring mix it with something and i think it works 10X better if they mix it with something. Almost everything will work on a untrained person in a ambush situation so long as you can channel aggression into it.

    So since most people find success from WC after merging it, maybe if they all centralized some form of circulem and added some styles like Bruce lee did for himself they could make it better. Or at least mass encourage people to cross train or follow JKD ideology.


    they dont really properly spar do they in WC? Like they dont usually do what you see boxers and kick boxers do and the like.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    I haven't done wing chun, so have to go with what I've seen, I did spend a while doing lau gar kung fu, and it was to my mind extremely effective, sure it had a few daft things in it, but drop them and it worked like a charm in the fights I got into. so unless my memory is playing tricks, what wing chun needs is to be more lau gar.

    which then begs the question of why lau gar is thin on the ground ?
     
  8. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I'm choosing to engage in this conversation, knowing that it will end badly. That shows that I have more needed growth in my future, but here goes.

    First of all, this does not describe me accurately.


    Certainly this does not either and by equating the two, you have already soured the dialogue and any potential healthy discussion from a traditional Wing Chun point of view:


    Let the MMA/JKD/YouTube Intellectuals take it from here. You're a smart guy, Geezer and someone who i respect on these forums. What were you hoping for here? You've seen this play out on these fora a million times, you what happens next:

    Add grappling, mix it with BJJ and P90X, throw out vertical punching, because boxing is superior. Any other viewpoint will get drowned out, if they even bother to try, no one's perspective will change and moderators get involved when things turn ugly. In the end, no one will have touched hands with anyone, everyone will feel right about what they felt right about to begin with and no one will have learned anything about anything or anyone in this thread.

    I will say this, you can't equate "the old way" to the the (insert large western lineage cirricula here), which is the first fatal flaw with all of these discussions. The more that I meet true experts who learned non-commerically, especially if they learned in the (general) east rather than the (general) west, the more than I believe that the way that things were exported was not "the old way". Not just with Wing Chun, either.

    If it doesn't work for you, it might be the system, it might your experience with it. It might not be the right style for you. It might be that you (or anyone's) interest is different. It's all good, but you just set up a 20 page discussion that will be dominated by people who don't know wing chun except from videos, forum discussion, and JKD. Anyone who might actually have an informed perspective from a traditional Wing Chun perspective will either not be foolish enough to poke their head up or will get "owned", by a chorus of the regulars like the guy who thinks Bruce Lee "fixed" Wing Chun or that what is taught as JKD even has anything to do with Bruce Lee and someone else can start another about why Wing Chun people don't post here as much any more. Maybe that is proof that Wing Chun is dead. If Wing Chun people don't compete and win UFC and don't join this discussions, well it must not exist then. Or maybe it's just proof that it doesn't work.

    Come on, seriously, you know better than this. Any regrets at all about the way you set this discussion up? I know that you're not a troll.
     
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  9. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Wait, what? You want something to adapt to needs of a time? Nooooooooooo!
     
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    People can learn any system. The system is just a training methodology. It is then up to the people to take what they have learned and figure out what they can do with it.

    If I don’t like a particular methodology, then I train something else. But that is an individual choice. Anyone who thinks they have “the” solution on a broad scale is lying to themselves.
     
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  11. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I dunno. you actually attended any classes yet to base that assumption off? Because from my experience in doing actual classes very few care about sport competitions even the people in jiu jitsu or boxing clubs most are just for learning and exercise not competing
     
  12. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Unfortunately I'm mostly in agreement with ShortBridge in that I fear I already know what most every regular poster is going to say before they respond. I also think I'll probably regret getting involved as well, but I'll make a good faith effort. For those who hate long posts you might want to skip this...

    I think there are waves of popularity with most martial arts as they get exposure through film, competitions, marketing, whatever and that there's generally a pattern of early adopters that want to actually do the art to learn to fight. As time goes on and the wave of popularity crests more and more people get involved because it's what they've heard of and what "everyone knows" works. We're at about this point right now with MMA related arts where they've sucking all the air out of the room for TMA. Most of those who really want to fight go do MMA and most of those who don't really want to fight go do TMA's.

    This leads to the vicious cycle that geezer describes in which TMA instructors can't actually teach fighting if they want to run a commercial school because few of their students want to fight, forcing those few students to either stick with something watered down or leave for the MMA school down the street. Eventually, when everyone takes these martial arts that "everyone knows" are the most effective they too get watered down into kiddy day care or LARPing because the vast majority of people, even the majority of people who want to do a martial art, don't actually ever want to get hit, or at least not really hit.

    Since I saw the genesis of this thread elsewhere I'll say that in 50 years MMA may be seen the same way TMA is today. Boxing has definitely hit an interesting tipping point, at least in the Seattle area. There are 2 "boxing" clubs near my house. I was interested in both of them before I got a better look at what they're doing. The closer of the two states on the second question in their FAQ:

    "I don’t want to get hit; is this a contact workout?

    No—not ever! Each person in class has their own heavy bag to workout on, plus their own space to move around the bag. Trust us, you won’t even realize anyone else is in the class because you’ll be so focused on the workout! And, rest easy, we never allow sparring or fighting at ****** Boxing Club"

    The other boxing club only did sparring something like once a week (they're schedule is broken on their web page right now so I can't refresh my memory) and it was a night I couldn't make it so I lost interest. Both of them seem like they're focused on the brogrammer looking for a fun workout, not on people who are interested in actually boxing.

    BJJ has some extra immunity to this because you have to be at least half way serious to be willing to get all sweaty with a heavy guy on top of you if you're not already inclined to that sort of thing. I don't know how accurate they are, but even with BJJ I've read some interviews with Rickson Gracie and others that bemoan that the direction it's rules have been going are poor for teaching self defense, so maybe that isn't enough to prevent this decline.

    Please note that I'm not saying you can't find legit boxing instruction in Seattle, there's an MMA gym near me that looks like it probably has pretty good boxing classes in fact. I can also find legit TMA instruction in Seattle, it's just not nearly as common as it used to be and it seems to be a tiny minority of the TMA on offer. My point is that in 50 years MMA, Muay Thai and boxing may very well be divided into two kinds of schools, 1) for pro fighters and those who're trying to be pro fighters and 2) (the vast majority) watered down schools for people who want an MMA "experience" without having to really get hit.

    Where does this leave Wing Chun and what should it do going forward? That's a harder question. Projecting forward the hypothetical 50 years from the other thread a lot can happen. Right now we've got the lowest violent crime rates of my lifetime. Unless someone lives in a really bad neighborhood or their work exposes them to violence self defense is unimportant for most people for practical purposes. If that changes then there may be a resurgence of interest in TMA training that's focused on fighting. Outside of that I'm not sure what Wing Chun as a whole can do to ensure it's success. Individual schools can take a variety of approaches to maintain relevance and they're going to vary depending on how you define relevance.

    To a larger extent I think the question is what do you or I want out of MA training and what do we think is relevant? If you want to fight in MMA style matches or teach people to be successful at that then you probably need to go study the arts that are made for that rule set and like Martial D adapt what you've learned from Wing Chun for that purpose. I'm not terribly interested in participating in MMA for a variety of reasons but I'm also disappointed with the lack of sparring and actual fight focused training to be found at most non-MMA schools these days.

    What I'm working on for myself is slowly putting together a group of people with diverse backgrounds in MA to do some free sparring and drills to experiment with and test various techniques in a heterogeneous environment. It would be a private club not a commercial school so we'd be able to curate the membership and keep out the lunatics. I've got a friend who's fixing up a space for this purpose and when he's done I'll go into high gear recruiting some skilled people that I know. If I can get it off the ground I'll let you know how it works out.
     
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  13. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    There are ways that you can develop MA skill.

    - You have better chance to hit your opponent.
    - Your opponent has less chance to hit you.
    - You have better chance to take your opponent down.
    - Your opponent has less chance to take you down.

    We don't want to get hit by 100% power. But do we care about to get hit by 30%, 20%, or even 10% power?

    We train MA so we can reduce the chance to be get hit. The only way that we can develop that skill is through the "sport" format.

    If we can set the rule set as:

    - If you hit me within 20 punches (or, 30, 40, ...), you win that round. Otherwise I win that round.
    - Repeat this for 15 rounds and record the result.

    Since in this game that 1 persons plays offense and 1 person plays defense, the person who play offense can be relax (not worry about to get hit), he can reduce his punching power down to 10%.

    The advantage of this game are:

    - safe,
    - easy to develop skill, and
    - fun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  14. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Oh, I want to be clear, I don't have a problem with getting hit as a part of training. I was quoting the website from a local "boxing" gym. The full quote of their website:

     
  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    If you can use your WC

    - Tan Shou, Bon Shou, Fu Shou, ... in such a way that within 15 rounds, your opponent's initial 20 punches cannot land on your body, You have good defense skill.
    - chain punches to hit your opponent in every 15 rounds during your initial 20 punches, you have good offense skill.
     
  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I don't want to get hit on my head with 100% power either. Most of my students are wrestlers. They don't like to get hit on the head.

    When there is an issue, there must be solutions. I came out this rule set so my wrestler students can experience the striking environment without too much fear.

    In sport, if you can win 15-0 today (either in defense, or in offense), you may smile in your dream for the next 3 nights. Even money cannot buy this kind of fun. So sport should not be a bad term.
     
  17. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    ShortBridge, yes, sometimes I am a bit of a troll, and no, I don't regret the way I kicked off this discussion. For one thing, it's the first time we've had any real debate on this forum in months. Moreover, your post was a thoughtful and worthy contribution.

    Now troll or not, (probably more of an ungainly imp) I do feel that interest in WC is waning worldwide and risks eventually dying out, except among people who do it as a sort of wuxia fantasy -which is OK, but Wing Chun is so much more than that.

    I guess what I'd like to see is some formats to share and test what we do, and not just a WC version of MMA or San da. Maybe more venues for light to medium sparring, maybe some agreed upon formats for playing with chi-sau? Maybe just a more open minded and less authoritarian attitude than what I've commonly seen.

    Here's something I ran across a couple of days ago. Seems like Alan Orr is setting up a some sort of chi-sau competition with a pretty reasonable sounding rule set. Dunno if it will work. Usually when you take an attribute training drill like chi-sau and try to make it competitive, ego takes over and skill goes out the window. But with the right rule-set and good officiating, it might be worth a second look. What do you think?


     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  18. Bonesetter

    Bonesetter White Belt

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    I see and train Wing Chun as a close range self defense system. I don't see it as a combat sport or try and make it something it isn't intended to be as it excels at it's purpose.

    Adding other arts to your training can be beneficial but I don't have the time to train more than one. If you compete you will need to practice multiple arts focusing on different ranges, scenarios etc. but that is a whole different conversation in itself.

    To revitalize Wing Chun and all Kung Fu for that matter we need to get with the times. Add strength and conditioning to your training, cardio (all these fat sifu's have no hope in a fight lasting more than a few seconds), scenario based training to deal with different martial arts, single and multiple attackers and people carrying weapons... the list goes on.

    To practice the forms and chi sao constantly will leave you wondering what Wing Chun is actually good for. Make it real and in your face and it becomes formidable.
     
  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    As you know, I've no experience in WC. As you also know, that won't stop me from replying. :D

    Seriously, based on what I've read of discussions, and what I know (from experience) of how some arts cling to what was taught, I have some thoughts. I might be saying the same thing Rat says - I'm not well informed about JKD's evolution from WC.

    I think it needs more openness. Both of mind and of doors. Exchanging of ideas and being willing to say things like, "Those guys do that thing better than we do, even though it's supposed to be a strength. What can we learn from them?" I don't think it's respectful to an art to keep it the same (it's not necessarily disrespectful, but misplaced in most cases). WC has a core, and I've seen many people (like @Martial D) talk about how that core works well when they combine it with other material. That suggests to me that there's a layer that can grow within WC to make it more useful.

    As always, I'll refer back to my own experience. I've seen folks train in my primary art and take many, many years to get basic competence at stuff that shouldn't take that long. Why? Not enough resisted training to really learn the basics mechanics and principles of grappling quickly. And I see tools in the art go ignored - even penalized in tests, though they're taught and tested elsewhere in the art. Why? Because there's too little realistic chaos happening to show how necessary those tools are. I've started introducing more chaos, adding more resistance, and training solid basics earlier - even delaying the formal curriculum of the art until some basics are in place. I think WC might benefit from a similar look, though the problems and solution may be quite different (though I think the lack of resistance is as common in WC as in NGA).
     
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  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    While you're right, there's some valuable information to be gained in a ring. I think schools (not just arts) benefit from having competitors. It needn't be everyone, but the information they bring back is helpful to everyone.

    To me, it's not about whether the competitor wins or loses, but about the holes and opportunities they experience and can relate. What they want to work on when they get back (and what they don't want to spend time on) is informational. There are other ways to get that information, but the easiest way to get it is for some students to compete.
     
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