No experience better at WC/WT?

Si-Je

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Do you think that people who start Wing Chun training that have never had anyother Martial Arts training learn faster and more completely than someone that has had a previous MA background?

I've been teaching for a couple of years and I've noticed that people who come to us with other MA backgrounds tend to take longer to learn the concepts of WC and learning sensitivity and relaxation than those that have absolutely no martial arts training.

I was wondering if anyone has come across this before in their schools, teaching, or training? And what your thoughts were on this.
 

Eru Il繙vatar

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I would say that it depends on the person. I've seen examples of both, but generaly speaking, I would say people with previous martial training get WC faster.
 

dungeonworks

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Do you think that people who start Wing Chun training that have never had anyother Martial Arts training learn faster and more completely than someone that has had a previous MA background?

I've been teaching for a couple of years and I've noticed that people who come to us with other MA backgrounds tend to take longer to learn the concepts of WC and learning sensitivity and relaxation than those that have absolutely no martial arts training.

I was wondering if anyone has come across this before in their schools, teaching, or training? And what your thoughts were on this.

I am living proof of your findings! The WC/WT structures, most principles, movement, and power generation in all strikes are entirely different. I am guessing that some of what you have seen may possibly stem from students of high level in other arts that have a hard time being a beginner again, but to me and IMVHO, I don't care about what "rank" I am. I train to learn to fight when needed. My ego isn't hurt when I get my but kicked either. Wing Chun is sooooo alien to my Tae Kwon Do martial beginnings, Koei-Kan-Karate-Do base style, dappling in grappling...ect. I have actually reached a point where I need a break from it but not too far, thus another reason I am switiching to JKD (not to break from the topic at hand, but it shares many similarities and familiarity's I can grasp....Wing Chun will be revisited again in the future. Any questions on this please PM me as I don't want to hijack the thread.)).


  • Structures: WC/WT is very erect and centered or rear weighted (the 80/20 thing) where in TKD and Karate, we had many stances with various weight displacements. The cat stance was very much like the advancing stance of WC/WT with similar (if not the same) weight distribution and the horse stance was similar to the six gates stance only knees were out and feet were wider apart as well as hand position on the hips. Karate guards were wider and hands weren't always on centerline as well as angled shoulders.
  • Principles: Karate has more of a "one hard shot one kill" principle in it's technique. You Won't see chain punching and in WC/WT eyes, this also violates economy of motion principle. We have hooks and uppercuts and punch with the first two knuckles which differs from shortest distance/straight line theory.
  • Movement: We stepped entirely different than WC/WT. Depending on the stance, some used half steps, side steps, angled steps, stepping and turning...ect. WC/WT has this too, but here again, the difference is in the width of the stance, weight distribution during movement (more precisely, much heavier on the front leg than WC), and some involved jumping or spinning. TKD was pretty much the same as Karate but with bouncing. Karate didn't bounce like TKD does in their stances and I possibly seen as more efficient through a WC/WT eye...??? Karate used more of a gliding motion on most footwork than TKD.
  • Power Generation: Karate is all hip and shoulder rotation where WC/WT uses structure. I guess it's two ways to the same end....maximizing body weight and motion to transfer through your striking appendage, but here again due to structural and movement differences, they are very different means to the end. IMHO, WC was faster but harder to learn for me. I can hit really hard the way I know but am still a work in proggress with WC punching. Kicking power in WC is like a battering ram from what I see where Karate uses snapping front kicks and whipping roundhouse/axe/crescent kicking all coming from turning over the hip. The difference is again the same as I said before and Karate kicks are more able to leave my balance/root compromised....but at this point i can still kick like a mule using Karate.
  • Striking Methods: I haven't seen enough to say for WC/WT, but punching is entirely different (knuckles used as well as arm alignment) as are the kicks. There apear to be more open hand WC strikes too...finger pokes to eyes and throat..ect.
So, where am I going with all of this? After years of learning the Karate way of moving and striking and sparring oppoesed to ChiSao, things have been ingrained into muscle memory that I found to be quite challenging to learn. I can say the same for sensitivity. Karate has sensitivity in it as does every martial art, but WC/WT has a syllabus on teaching it where other arts I have seen/trained it is learned from sparring and being left to pretty much pick it up on your own as you proggress. Karate and TKD sensitivity is more visually cued than from touch as in WC/WT.

I think maybe someone from a non/little striking style such as Jiujitsu, wrestling, Sambo...ect would be able to get it quicker than a former Karateka, TKD stylist, kick/boxer, Thai boxer because WC is primarily an unorthodox striking art. The styles above spend countless hours honing their methods of striking and IMVHO therein lyes the conflict.
 
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Si-Je

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An old Japanese Saying has helped me with the muscle memory I have with other arts that interfer with my Wing Chun training.

"empty your cup, so I can fill it with my knowledge."

Now, when I first heard this parable I told my teacher, "well, why don't I just go get another cup?" lol! (that kinda pissed him off.)

Because you can't really do that. You have to empty, forget what you think you know. Otherwise it just makes it more difficult to learn.
 

blindsage

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I would say it depends on the person and which style they come from. Somebody with a TKD background would have a completely different vocabulary than WC for dealing with similar types of situations (stand up, face to face). This would make for a somewhat difficult transition depending on the persons skill at adapting. Someone who came from an almost strictly grappling background may not have as difficult a time because they wouldn't have already develop a vocabulary that comflicts with the WC one. But someone who comes from another CMA that deals with sensitivity, structure, vertical punching, center-line theory, etc. Would probably adapt much easier than someone with no experience at all. And there are always those individuals that just adjust and adapt well. If you are getting a lot of students from TKD, karate, kenpo style backgrounds, this is probably the difficulty you're seeing to some degree. They have a lot to empty from their cup.
 

Hagakure

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I've studied various martial arts prior to Wing Chun, and I have to say that none of them "fitted" me better than Wing Chun. So essentially, I'd say, like Eru Il繳vatar and Blindsage that it depends on the individual. I did a karate class the Sunday morning just gone, and I didn't like it. I only did it out of curiousity, but I didn't get that sense of "YES!" from it... Not knocking it, just not for me. I also went to my Wing Chun class last night, and didn't feel that my brief sojourn into karate hindered me. My view is that if you get a given martial art, it doesn't matter what you train, it won't get in your way. At least, I hope it doesn't. :D Good thread. :)
 

koenig

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The principles of power generation don't really change between external martial arts, so unless you learned some bad habits elsewhere like being super stiff, or leaving your punches extended after you strike (I swear everyone does this), someone with previous training should have an advantage over a new student.

New students will learn the Wing Chun techniques (bong sao, tan sao, etc.) faster as they have no previous knowledge to interfere, or no other styles that have ingrained into their brains that punches are performed horizontally instead of vertically, so there's nothing to overcome there, but their power generation will suffer because they have no experience with punching or kicking from other arts.

It's like teaching a baseball player to swing a golf club vs. teaching someone who has never played any sports at all to swing a golf club. The baseball player will have old techniques to overcome, but once he gets the new swing down his power generation will be far greater than that of the person who has never played any sports.
 

mook jong man

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A lot of people would say that if they haven't done anything before you can mold them straight from the beginning like a piece of clay . But I believe it depends on the intelligence of the person and if they are willing to put in the time at practicing the form and learn to try and free themself from using a lot of strength .

I had much more difficulty teaching dudes that were heavily into weights than people who came from other martial arts . One of my seniors was a karate man and he ended up with very relaxed movements , because he practiced the form and did a lot of chi sau.

I had a lot of good times teaching people from other martial arts ,they bring other things to the table , like they have a good work ethic , they don't piss around talking about it they just get straight into it. They also show a lot of respect to the instructor , like this one karate guy I was teaching everytime after I finished talking to him he would say oss or uoss something like that .

I explained to him mate you don't have to do that , just make sure you are in your stance with your hands pulled back when I demo the technique . The only negative I had was when I was teaching a guy that claimed he was a ju jitsu black belt , we were doing light hand sparring and I said mate just relax and do the two techniques that I just taught you pak sau and tan sau .

Well he wasn't having any of that I don't even know what he was there for because he just kept on staying rigid and trying to grab my fingers . I warned him several times are you here to learn Wing Chun or here to do Jujitsu , it was like talking to a brick wall , finally he got very frustrated because he could not get through my defences .

He grabbed my finger and tried to bend it back and break it so I promptly punched him straight in the mouth . I didn't use enough power to knock his head off , just enough to jolt his head back and cut his lip open a bit . I said to him mate I think your wasting my time and yours and you should probably leave .

So he packed up his bag and with his Japanese girlfriend in tow he toddled out the door . Did I feel bad about it , yeah a little , I should have probably hit him in the chest , but the prick was trying to break my finger and what I did was totally by reflex.

But by and large other martial arts people were great , they try really hard , and they listen to what you say and they try and put it into practice , they are the ones that get there in the end .

But its the other dickheads that don't listen to you and just want to do things the same way as there previous style that irritate me , its like WTF are you here for paying good money to be taught and you don't listen and want to do things your own way.
 

koenig

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but the prick was trying to break my finger and what I did was totally by reflex.

Yeah he sounds like a dick. Most of the JJ guys I've trained with have been super awesome, but every once in a while you get a big ego prick.

How was he "trying" to break your finger, tho? Usually breaking techniques are instantaneous. Are you sure he wasn't just trying to cause you pain? Still I would've punched him, too. Besides, what kind of chode comes in and tries to harm the teacher (I'm assuming you're the teacher from how you told the story)? When I go to schools that end up being lame I just finish up the class, thank them, and leave. Even if I could kick the teacher's ***, why would I? What would that prove, that I beat up a McSensei? Besides, he's just doing his thing anyway.
 

koenig

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Hell, I'll even humor them. Once I got corrected by an instructor because I wasn't reaching out to intercept my opponent's punches. I was like "wtf r u kidding me???" Obviously the guy had never been in a real fight or he wouldn't be giving that instruction, but I was just like "oh... well it might take me a while to break that habit, but I'll try." Of course, his class was one of those where during the drills the punches wouldn't even reach you even if you didn't move out of the way, so reaching out to block them was feasible. LOL!

Obviously I never went back to that class again.
 

mook jong man

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Yeah he sounds like a dick. Most of the JJ guys I've trained with have been super awesome, but every once in a while you get a big ego prick.

How was he "trying" to break your finger, tho? Usually breaking techniques are instantaneous. Are you sure he wasn't just trying to cause you pain? Still I would've punched him, too. Besides, what kind of chode comes in and tries to harm the teacher (I'm assuming you're the teacher from how you told the story)? When I go to schools that end up being lame I just finish up the class, thank them, and leave. Even if I could kick the teacher's ***, why would I? What would that prove, that I beat up a McSensei? Besides, he's just doing his thing anyway.

It was a long time ago , but from what I remember he grabbed two fingers and tried to bend them back . I wasn't really in fight mode at the time I was more controlling him with out hitting him , and had my attention split on supervising the rest of the class at the same time as I was dealing with this retard .

I was probably paying attention to other students at the same time to make sure they weren't smashing each others faces in. If I was fully in fight mode and focused on him he wouldn't have even got it on , I would have evaded the grab and hit him .

But he did bend them back quite sudden and I sort of went with it by bending my wrist down and punching him at the same time . There was no doubt he probably would have broke them If I didn't go with it and relax my wrist and punch him at the same time.

It just goes to show you when you have a nutter in the class to focus fully on them because they are likely to do anything.
 

mook jong man

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I just remembered something , he could only do it with one hand because I had his other hand controlled . From my understanding of small joint manipulations they are a lot more effective when you can create a base with one hand so the joint can't move and then cause pressure with the other hand .
But my arm had a bit of freedom to go with it , you know I could have even used a pak sau to get his hand off my fingers because I think I hit him with the same hand of the fingers he tried to break . I can't remember mate it was a long time ago and it happened in a split second.
 

koenig

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I wonder what he would have done if he had broken your finger. I'd probably freak out if I broke someone's finger (or anything) in class.
 

mook jong man

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I wonder what he would have done if he had broken your finger. I'd probably freak out if I broke someone's finger (or anything) in class.

More worrying for him is what I would have done , I've always had an explosive temper and martial arts hasn't really mellowed that temper all that much .
Its just enabled me to take it out on the heavy bag with more finesse and power than I would of been able to previously.
 

geezer

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More worrying for him is what I would have done , I've always had an explosive temper and martial arts hasn't really mellowed that temper all that much .
Its just enabled me to take it out on the heavy bag with more finesse and power than I would of been able to previously.

I feel the same way. Good subject for a new thread... maybe in the general MA section. Look for it there.
 
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Si-Je

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More worrying for him is what I would have done , I've always had an explosive temper and martial arts hasn't really mellowed that temper all that much .
Its just enabled me to take it out on the heavy bag with more finesse and power than I would of been able to previously.

Hey, I thought I was the one with the temper and your the mellow one! lol!
I did stuff like that to Hubbie when I first started. Not as mean, I didn't really try to break his fingers or anything, but I wanted to see if wing chun could counter and defend against my awesome ju-jitsu. lol!
I could never even get a hold on him long enough to flex a joint. Really impressed the heck out of me.
I didn't do this in class, mind you. We did some private lessons too and that's usually when I'd play around more, I didn't want to do anything like that in front of other students.
But, having a background in TSD, karate, really made it difficult for me to literally move forward in WC when I first started. Everytime he'd punch at me I'd bob my head and step to the side or step back. I just couldn't help it most of time. My body just wouldn't step forward into the punch. Years of training to "dodge" the punch, block and back or side step. Very aggravating.
I see students that have never taken an art and they just pick up all the basics on a level of ease that I wish I'd had. :( I had to drill everything double time to get that damn muscle memory out. I still do!

Now that we're working on the neck throws and the closer range of WC/WT my JJJ really jacks me up. When were torso to torso, hip to hip, that close my JJJ wants to kick in and grab, throw, sweep, choke. And doing application where you react off his movement there isn't alot of time to think, just act. This is when I always wonder, what will come out JJJ or wing chun? ack! frustrating!

As for power generation in an experienced MA student in reguards to a student without MA experience. This is what I've noticed..
A previously trained MA will punch the bag harder than the unexperenced student, sure. But their energy is wrong for wing chun. Their power is all force and external more often than not, so in a way, their force is an illusion. The new student with the "weaker" punching will learn to generate more internal power sooner, sometimes those from other arts just never really fully grasp the power of WC punching and striking.

A TKD background is even worse for the WC kicking. I've had a hard time teaching hook kick to TKD guys because they just can't get that TKD roundhouse knee "pop" out of the kick. Not to mention getting them to stop the corkscrew punching.

I do think some people can just adapt from one martial art to another. I used to think I was one of those people. I hopped from TSD, to JJJ, to kali, to Wu Wei kung fu, go ju ryu, Tai Chi, etc with no dificulty at all. (except tai chi, I was an impatient 18 year old! I'm an impatient 32 year old! lol!)
I could transfer from one to the other in the very same day! (I actually got to train with Shodai for a year and took a different style every hour for 5 hours a day. Those were the coolest days for an 18 year old punk rock girl! lol)

But, when I got fully into WC I just couldn't pick up the technques as fast as I'd had in other arts. It was weird. I'd always picked techniques up really fast in other arts, easy. But, not Wing Chun, I actually had to work hard at it. lol! And I'd come to find that nothing I'd trained before was of any help whatsoever in my new wing chun training.
But, aparently others have had an eaiser time of it than me. :) This is the first art I've ever taken that hasn't just come easy to me. And it was a big hit home when I first took it. I knew then that this was the one art for me, that I didn't need another. And I'd never felt like that with any art. Alot does come very naturally to me, but the closer I get in the more I struggle against prior training habits, and the more hesitation and less flow.
 

koenig

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It is weird, coming from another art.

Come on, bong sao is a weird technique! "that's a block?!" Took me a while to be able to do a bong sao, much less actually use it.
 

dungeonworks

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It is weird, coming from another art.

Come on, bong sao is a weird technique! "that's a block?!" Took me a while to be able to do a bong sao, much less actually use it.


It looked like Aaron Downey (Detroit Red Wings) used them against Cam Janssen (St. Louis Blues) in an NHL hockey fight. He DEFFINITELY uses centerline control in his hockey fights clogging the center to offline an opponents punch, weather he intends to or not. Darren McCarty took Wing Chun as a youth too, and he was once one of the better hockey enforcers over the last 13 yrs or so....and used a left handed "Wing Chun-like" advancing guard which he attributed to his WC days in an interview between periods a few years back on local Detroit TV.
 

geezer

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It is weird, coming from another art.

Come on, bong sao is a weird technique! "that's a block?!" Took me a while to be able to do a bong sao, much less actually use it.

Coming from a Kenpo-like system to WC back in '79, I'll never forget how wierd some of the Wing Chun techniques looked to me! The first time I saw some students clumsily demonstrate the rolling arms of chi sau, I thought they were putting me on. That "Flapping Chicken Wing" movement...er I mean bong-sau almost made me burst out laughing.

...And you know, it is a hard movement to comprehend. Just look at the different interpretations of it. In some WC styles it is explosive, like a very compact and efficient block/strike. In WT it is strong, yet flexible and yielding, deflecting and giving way like a bull-fighter's cape. Clearly, even masters disagree on the best way to apply it. Just my yee yuan (dos pesos).
 
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