Does Wing Chun train to Fight?

drop bear

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Fitness should be a fundamental part of martial arts if you want to be good at them, sure, but most martial arts instructors don't or can't do a good job of helping people achieve it. Why should I waste my time and money doing calisthenics and mediocre body weight exercises for 20-30 minutes of every class that are only going to be indirectly beneficial for my art anyway. Especially when there are much better ways to use that time?

Let's take BJJ or grappling in general as an example. Rolling hard for an appropriate period of time is the most efficient way to develop endurance for grappling, anything else is a less direct way to try to inroad those metabolic pathways. I'm sure there are grappling specific drills that are a good second best. Skipping rope, doing calisthenics or running can be helpful for developing that endurance if it's done at the appropriate level of intensity but it's not as efficient as just doing the thing and you're only getting more skilled at skipping rope or whatever. Body weight exercises will develop strength to a point but they aren't nearly as efficient as weight training. These seem to be the sort of thing a lot of MA gyms do for fitness and it makes sense because they're easy to do with a room full of people. You can do that at home to maintain your fitness between classes but it's a poor use of time in class in my opinion.

Going further, I think it's most useful to focus on your weakest link, and if you can't roll hard for any length of time without getting totally winded then you need to spend more time rolling to condition yourself to it and work on developing the skills to grapple efficiently so as not to tire yourself out fast. I've provided strength training to a number of BJJ players ranging from white to black belt, mostly in the blue/purple range. The thing that stands out for me is that they are almost universally relatively weak if they haven't been doing strength training already and it's their weakest link by far by the time they've reached blue belt. Most body weight exercises aren't going to do a lot for them because they're strong enough that it takes a greater level of effort to significantly trigger an adaptive response. When they start lifting weights they universally tell me that it's a lot easier to submit people.

I know some MMA and BJJ gyms have weight lifting equipment but I'm not sure it's the majority. Even if it was, how many of the instructors are qualified and want to be strength coaches, how many students do they have time to do strength training with? Besides that, lifting weights isn't the best activity to combine in the same session with trying to learn a physical skill like BJJ. If you're going to have to come in on a separate day to do the weight lifting it probably makes more sense to do that somewhere else and not waste the space in your BJJ gym.

I care about this because I don't have much time to train in the evening when most of the MA classes take place. I don't want to waste it on things I can do when I've got openings in my schedule. I don't care if someone else is mistaken about this, what other people think has no impact on my training. I do care if instructors start including a lot of less relevant fitness instruction in their classes to meet the requirements of someone's check list.

I might get my fitness coach to handle this.
 

snake_monkey

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But I think a perspective needs proof.

Someone does this, and this happens.

Anyone can say their method builds sensitivity. But without any sort of quantifying element I don't know what that really means.

It is the sort of non existent statements that prevents arts like Kung Fu from being able to train to fight as there is no data on what is working for them.

I have stated that I have proof for myself and that I might be willing to share the clips that I have as well. Would anybody recommend sharing a clip to this website and if so where?
 

Eric_H

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There are a few things that you didnt account for which make for increased fighting ability (or self defense in some cases); Perception, Sensitivity, Relaxation, Conditioning, and more which may be a result of Wing Chun training.

These things are not equal, and I touched on conditioning in the fitness area. You can be perceptive and relaxed in training and have none of those attributes in a combat situation. The flight or fight response is a real thing, particularly when engaged with a situation you are not used to or prepared for.

I'm not disagreeing that these things can be built, and can be valuable - but I can argue that they won't actually be there for the average case when in combat unless you've practiced having them in combat like situations. This involves the engaging the stress reflex. I don't have a better tool to do that than sparring/resistance training - if you have one that's working for you, please share it.

I disagree. Fitness should be fundamentally part of martial arts because it is a major component to being a practical martial artist.

Otherwise this notion springs up that there are these somehow magically fitter stronger guys who can fight and these weak anemic martial artists who can't and have to make excuses why they get beat up all the time.

Ideally, it should be gained from training, not as was said elsewhere in this thread a mediocre fitness program bolted on top of a martial arts curriculum. I think the comparison to sparring or BJJ rolling is an apt one.

I had mentioned that these are a result of Wing Chun training. Sparring or not. Im not challenging anyone to a fight here and I wont be butt sore if I dont win a fight that I have agreed to. I fly I ever find myself in a ring its as the saying goes may the best man win. No judgement its just how it goes.

I'm not sure what the thrust of this post is. Nobody here is challenging you to anything as far as I read. You are entitled to an opinion, and we are entitled to agree and disagree with it. This is a relatively friendly martial arts forum, no harm no foul here.

Agreed. It's a decentralized art. You can't really generalize. Though every Wing Chun thread here goes right to generalization.

I don't really like to talk too much about what we do and how we do it, but I'll take the quiz:

0 / 20 did sparring as part of their main curriculum
the word "sparring" is kind of tainted at this point for me. Hard contact against non-compliant opponents. yes. Maybe not "main curriculum", but when practitioners are ready, then yes.

19 / 20 think chi sao isnt for fighting, but spend most of their time there
I actually think that chi sao is somewhat relevant to fighting skills, but we actually don't spend all the much time on it. Probably not as much as we should. It's just one of the things that we do, depending on what we're working on.

0 / 20 did reality based self defense drills or scenario training

Yes, definitely.

2 / 20 did modern weapon work
A bit. I'm not the most qualified to teach modern weapons and I don't personally advocate the use of weapons in every day self-defense scenarios. But a student of mine used to be a firearms trainer for a federal LEO agency and we certainly try to relate what we do to the world that we live in without pretending to be something that we are not.

6 / 20 had any sort of fitness training
We do a bit, but I try to make it specifically relevant to what we do. My SiFu does more in his club. Most of my students are involved in other athletic entanglements and get our conditioning in outside of class time, but we do a bit.

1 / 20 had other styles in the same gym to train with
We do not.

4 / 20 had competitors in anything resembling fighting (light sparring or full contact)
I don't consider "light sparring" competition and I thought that we covered sparring in the first bullet point, but we do participate in tournaments. There are better places to train if that is your interest, no doubt.

Thanks for your response, I appreciate you answering these points honestly though I didn't really intend it as a quiz :wacky:. I can see where the term sparring might not set well with some, would "training against heavy active resistance" be any better?

I had picked light sparring/full contact because those are the competitions I've seen/been in at kung fu tournaments. I consider them separate as people can not spar in their own curriculum but still go and compete in those arenas - I've been/met people like that. It usually doesn't end well, but there are exceptions.
 

ShortBridge

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I boxed in my teens and did Muay Thai in my early 20s and sparring is de rigor there of course. That's not the way that I teach or practice Wing Chun, but I do stress and test my students in a way that works for us. Someone might call that "sparring", but it's different than my context for it.
 
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snake_monkey

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I'm not sure what the thrust of this post is. Nobody here is challenging you to anything as far as I read. You are entitled to an opinion, and we are entitled to agree and disagree with it. This is a relatively friendly martial arts forum, no harm no foul here.

Sure, I agree this is a friendly martial arts forum. My response was to the Xu Xaiodong clips posted as I believe there is a lot of controversy for nothing (I.e. show business). I think a bit of sparring such as in the higher levels of Wing Chun drills is totally sufficient to train a person in fighting. I am not on that level in my school but the sparring experience I do have has shown me what my strengths are and my weaknesses. (Im not going to front like my style of MA is better than any other style but you know I am confident in my abilities).
 
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drop bear

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I have stated that I have proof for myself and that I might be willing to share the clips that I have as well. Would anybody recommend sharing a clip to this website and if so where?

I just have a crappy dump file on YouTube and just link them.

My view is there isn't really enough people interested in my rubbish to out anybody.

I think I have about 2 subscribers.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I'm not sure this part is necessarily a criticism. Strangely enough, I generally don't want my MA school to do much fitness training. Many of those that do aren't great at it, and even if they are it takes time away from skill acquisition which is what I'm there to get. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to do drills, spar, or train in ways that challenge and improve my fitness, but I'd rather not pay for or waste time on mediocre general fitness instruction when I can do it on my own, usually better, at a time that's convenient.
One of the values of having some level of fitness training in the classes (even if it's just some moderately extended periods of fairly intense movement drills) is it sets a level for students to be at. If students struggle at that level, they're likely (if they want to hang around) to do at least a little about it outside of class. Nobody really wants to be the first person to gas out during drills, or to be the one who can't finish the warm-up.
 

MetalBoar

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One of the values of having some level of fitness training in the classes (even if it's just some moderately extended periods of fairly intense movement drills) is it sets a level for students to be at. If students struggle at that level, they're likely (if they want to hang around) to do at least a little about it outside of class. Nobody really wants to be the first person to gas out during drills, or to be the one who can't finish the warm-up.
Oh yeah I agree, as I said in my first response on the topic I think that MA training sessions should regularly contain drills or sparring that really challenge the students' endurance. I think that's the best way to develop endurance for your art and that everything else is less direct and less efficient and once it's at sufficient remove (say long duration, slow paced jogging for someone who only cares about endurance for 3 minute boxing rounds) it becomes pointless. I also think warm ups are important, but they can be pretty brief and still be effective, especially if followed by drills that are increasingly challenging in terms of effort and/or range of motion. Along these lines, I think that it's possible to sequence drills in ascending difficulty and not have a dedicated warm up at all, though I don't think it's necessary or always desirable.
 

MetalBoar

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One of the values of having some level of fitness training in the classes (even if it's just some moderately extended periods of fairly intense movement drills) is it sets a level for students to be at. If students struggle at that level, they're likely (if they want to hang around) to do at least a little about it outside of class. Nobody really wants to be the first person to gas out during drills, or to be the one who can't finish the warm-up.
Oh, I should add that there are going to be students who start off so deconditioned that they're effectively unable to reach the fist rung on the ladder, so to speak. This sort of outlying case might indeed need some help with simple, basic fitness just to come up to speed and I'm an enthusiastic supporter of making martial arts accessible to people who really need and want to get in better shape. I'm not sure how a small school with limited time and resources can best address these cases but I guess if it were my school I'd want to try.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Oh yeah I agree, as I said in my first response on the topic I think that MA training sessions should regularly contain drills or sparring that really challenge the students' endurance. I think that's the best way to develop endurance for your art and that everything else is less direct and less efficient and once it's at sufficient remove (say long duration, slow paced jogging for someone who only cares about endurance for 3 minute boxing rounds) it becomes pointless. I also think warm ups are important, but they can be pretty brief and still be effective, especially if followed by drills that are increasingly challenging in terms of effort and/or range of motion. Along these lines, I think that it's possible to sequence drills in ascending difficulty and not have a dedicated warm up at all, though I don't think it's necessary or always desirable.
I like a dedicated warm up, in principle, because it lets me work specific areas I find commonly lacking. Some basic bodyweight exercises will help strengthen those who are below the baseline, and be an easy warm-up for those who already have that strength. It also gives me a chance to see what students are struggling with (who has an achy shoulder, etc., that they haven't mentioned). But I incorporate some of the actual drills as early as I can. Falls and rolls can make a moderate-intensity drill. Forms get folks focusing on balance while warming up their bodies, etc.

And sometimes, I just get impatient and go straight to work, using the ascending intensity approach you refer to.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Oh, I should add that there are going to be students who start off so deconditioned that they're effectively unable to reach the fist rung on the ladder, so to speak. This sort of outlying case might indeed need some help with simple, basic fitness just to come up to speed and I'm an enthusiastic supporter of making martial arts accessible to people who really need and want to get in better shape. I'm not sure how a small school with limited time and resources can best address these cases but I guess if it were my school I'd want to try.
One of the things I use my dedicated warm-up time for is to teach some exercises they can use later. I randomly use a few variations of push-ups, mountain climbers, planks, etc. When classes are small enough, I'll even break out whatever equipment is at hand and teach exercises with those.
 

Poppity

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I don't know about this. Back in the the 90s as a young cocky 18 year old, I competed in taekwondo events. Fitness was a massive part of the training, to the point we had a sick bucket outside the door, for people to be sick in and then come in and continue training. The place I learnt taekwondo also did wing chun and had some ex army guy teaching self defence. I cross trained with one of the wing chun instructors one weekend and was repeatedly shut down. I didn't join his class and later moved out of town but it stuck with me until I found a teacher later on.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I don't know about this. Back in the the 90s as a young cocky 18 year old, I competed in taekwondo events. Fitness was a massive part of the training, to the point we had a sick bucket outside the door, for people to be sick in and then come in and continue training. The place I learnt taekwondo also did wing chun and had some ex army guy teaching self defence. I cross trained with one of the wing chun instructors one weekend and was repeatedly shut down. I didn't join his class and later moved out of town but it stuck with me until I found a teacher later on.
Throwing up during exercise isn't at all about fitness.
 

Transk53

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Is your WC about fighting or about Kung Fu.h you fight theory but you learn fighting by actually fighting. Same With the WC form. I can teach you Sim Lien Tao. But you will only learn it by doing it! Same goes with fighting. Until you fight you won't know to fight.
Is your WC about fighting or about Kung Fu.

Do you train for a work out or to fight?

I think people take up martial arts for different reasons. It can be same thing about boxing. You can punch the heavy bag every day, you can shadow box, You can jump rope and hit focus mitts and even Run three miles and lift Weights. But until you actually Spar your Boxing is not fighting.

When i learn WC we practice
1.Solo Punches and Kicks
2. Partner reflex drills
3. Free still Sanshou drills with a partner
4. Chi Sau (Sensitivity Training)
5. Kicking and Defending against a kick
6. Gor Sau ie structured sparring
7. Free sparring

We also practiced conditioning and strength training from simple things to pull ups, push ups, wrist rollers and some traditional stuff, As yes we practice Chi Cultivation too. In our system there are forms of Chi Kung.

How Ever the key was fighting Non-Wing Chunners. We would spar different people and learn from fighting others how to use our WC. What worked and what didn't worked. How to move. Standing still like your doing a First form will not work against an active and mobile opponent. Moving around with out intent or purpose won't work well against a counter fighter.

A teacher can teach you fight theory but you learn fighting by actually fighting. Same With the WC form. I can teach you Sim Lien Tao. But you will only learn it by doing it! Same goes with fighting. Until you fight you won't know to fight.

You learn fighting by fighting? No you would learn how to get your **** kicked pretty quickly.

An instructor can give you the skills to defend yourself, teach you an art and discipline to succeed in said art, not to mention proper conduct and respect etc..

No instructer can give you theory on how to fight, that would just result in you getting hurt. More than that, the instructor shouldn't be teaching if his students are leaving class and going to find people to pick on.

You don't train any martial art with a view to fighting, that just isn't the point to it.
 

Poppity

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I guess not, it was more about over exertion during high intensity workouts. It was a lot of machismo, no one was allowed to stop, if you couldnt keep up everyone in the class had to do more of the exercise until you caught up. Etc. Exercise-induced nausea - Wikipedia.

The instructor would get us to lie down and run across our stomachs, a couple of people took time off from bruised ribs during sparring, one guy actually cracked his ribs. Short of it is, I was the fittest I have ever been in my life and won a couple of full contact events, and I still got shut down.
 
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Willzzz

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The brutal truth is that wing chun is just not as good as other martial arts that make up MMA, and that the fighters that wing chun schools produce are not as good as fighters that your average MMA school would produce. Compared to the talent that pervades the modern scene of martial arts, an "excellent" chunner tends to just end up being on the same level as an "average" MMA guy.

It's a hobby for me that I train on the side, and it somewhat helps me gain grips and positions in no-gi grappling. There's a few tricks in chun that can surprise a few guys that are not used to dealing with another person's arms in the way chi sao teaches you, but it is by no means dominant. Fighters will adapt and compensate to your tactics fairly quick, so the chun only really provides you a split-second of advantage. Usually just boils down to mind games that makes your opponent second guess your grip fighting proficiency. Other than that very nuanced aspect in grappling only tournaments, I would not devise a game around the skills I learned in wing chun.
 

geezer

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The brutal truth is that wing chun is just not as good as other martial arts that make up MMA, and that the fighters that wing chun schools produce are not as good as fighters that your average MMA school would produce.

I would agree that Wing Chun, as it is typically being taught and trained today does not produce many fighters, and would not be a good foundation art for MMA. I would not agree that it "is not as good as other martial arts that make up MMA". Let me clarify:

Wing Chun does not have a well developed ground game, or even highly effective defenses against trained grapplers. But that doesn't make it a bad martial art. Boxing and Muay Thai don't have ground games either.

On the other hand, even as a striking art, commonly trained Wing Chun lacks some of the essentials for the octagon: evasiveness, like the footwork to head movement found in boxing, and the powerful smashing kicks of Muay Thai. Some of WC's best kicks are straight stomping knee and groin attacks. The groin attack is out, and the knee attack like the "oblique kick" is effective but controversial.

Still, I believe that Wing Chun does bring useful elements to the MMA table, not as a replacement for other arts, but as another adjunct. A friend of mine and local MMA trainer agrees. But he points out that the end product is not majority WC. It is MMA and will look like MMA. It is just informed by some WC concepts. Alan Orr's lads, the "Iron Wolves would be an example:


Beyond that, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a lot of WC informed MMA fighters to suddenly start emerging. People with potential who want to compete in MMA don't train at your neighborhood WC kwoon playing the chi-sau game. They go to a good tough MMA gym for proven, well rounded training. And with the poor rep that WC has, I can't see too many MMA gyms adding a WC coach to their staff. Heck, where would you even find a qualified WC coach for MMA these days? I couldn't handle that. There are a few guys who could, but they're the exception.

Still, I'd like to see a few more guys like Alan Orr give it a try.
 
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