What's the future of Wing Chun?

wingchunguy

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Lately traffic here on the WC forum seems to be really slowing down. Some of the other WC forums I used to frequent are virtually dead. Maybe there's a die-hard or two still posting, but there are no replies. --Well, so much for forums. Perhaps that's just a matter of people going to other types of social networking to share their interests.

On the other hand, I wonder if interest in WC, and TMA in general (especially for adults) is waning. I really can't judge by my own classes, since it's always been a small "under the radar" operation, but I do maintain a website and rent space at a gym with a good location, and yet haven't had anyone new walk in door ...or even call in a while. Heck, even if I were a crappy teacher, you'd expect more people walking in to check us out, even if they walked right back out! But like the forums, there's just no traffic.

Now my son is enrolled in a good TKD school run by a friend of mine. He has also offered Tai Chi, WC, and other adult programs. But, they all have dwindled to nothing. He still does a a good business teaching TKD to children and youth. Yet after decades of building his school, he only retains a few adults.

I suppose the really well known masters may be maintaining a solid following, but are their organizations actually growing? ...or just struggling to maintain students? What have you seen? Am I wrong, or is WC gradually dying out? And if so, why?
Wing chun is not dying, not at all. It's just that the MMA is so popular, it seems that way. For all of you out there, be careful when choosing a school. Make sure it is REAL traditional! Check the lineage. If it is Moy Yat or ESPECIALLY Leung Ting, the world's biggest fraud, FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL!!
 
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geezer

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Wing chun is not dying, not at all. It's just that the MMA is so popular, it seems that way. For all of you out there, be careful when choosing a school. Make sure it is REAL traditional! Check the lineage. If it is Moy Yat or ESPECIALLY Leung Ting, the world's biggest fraud, FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL!!

"Fraud busting" is against the rules on this forum. If you want to insult people and try to start fights, you are in the wrong place. FIND ANOTHER FORUM!!
 

Marnetmar

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Wing chun is not dying, not at all. It's just that the MMA is so popular, it seems that way. For all of you out there, be careful when choosing a school. Make sure it is REAL traditional! Check the lineage. If it is Moy Yat or ESPECIALLY Leung Ting, the world's biggest fraud, FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL!!

Sup William
 

dungeonworks

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Hello all, long time no post here. I am going to get flamed to hell for saying this. These are my views on Wing Chun and why it and most TMA's are drying up. As for why the online WC community is drying up? There are only so many times you can stomach dialog with WIng Chun zealots before it gets really boring...as do the rehashed and repeated questions on EVERY one of those forums.

  1. Too stuck in the old ways that do not apply to the modern world, not in fighting only but to the appeal of the masses you're trying to get into the style. Lineage is great for historical values, but is it good for evolution? Wing Chun school in my present localtiy wants permission from my old Sifu for him to train me. WHAAAAAT???? I live in present day America, not 17th century China! LOL
  2. Not enough exposure and lack of understanding of what the potential students are seeing. Think about it. An onlooker checks out a Wing Chun school/class and sees them doing chisau, a martial art regarded by most of it's practitioners as a "Be all, end all" self defense system. What would you think seeing this? It looks nothing like fighting in any sense of the word to a potential student.
  3. In many places, Wing Chun schools are underground and impossible to find. When you do, they appear more like the back alley of a restaurant in an old Kung Fu flick.
  4. Does the public even know what Wing Chun is? How can they? The 1970's are 40+ years removed from our collective conscious, as is the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu craze back then. Wing Chun is used in action movies and maybe a few YouTube videos. Even the Yip Man movies are based in fantasy....unrealistic and outlandish fantasy. Some of you wonder why and diss the fact MMA is so popular. Could it be because it is on TV most nights of the week? Could it be that there are local shows going on nearly every weekend and people you know compete in them for fun and exploration? Maybe. I believe so.
  5. Reality Based Self Defense systems (RBSD's) such as Krav Maga and the like give the student faster attained useable results in a modern, more palatable environment. They are often taught by people with experience in pressured situations such as law enforcement and military. Heck, many of these RBSD's have influence from Wing Chun.
 

Kwan Sau

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Too stuck in the old ways that do not apply to the modern world, not in fighting only but to the appeal of the masses you're trying to get into the style. Lineage is great for historical values, but is it good for evolution? Wing Chun school in my present localtiy wants permission from my old Sifu for him to train me. WHAAAAAT???? I live in present day America, not 17th century China!

Interesting
 
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geezer

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Well, dungeonworks, I can't say you are completely wrong. Some things, like (#2 above) i.e. the odd appearance of chi-sau to prospective students, and the like, were just as true even some 36 years ago when I first saw chi sau being practiced around '79.

As far as the back alley of a Chinese restaurant thing goes, that was precisely one of the first places I went to spar and learn back around '82. I hung out with a couple of young Chinese guys and we'd meet with their sifu, a guy named Michael Leung at his King Wah restaurant down in the barrio at Central and Southern. At 11:00pm on Saturday nights Michael would close the restaurant and bring out all the left-over food. We'd eat and then all go out back by the dumpsters and test each other. Actually, I tended to hang back since these boys used to get very physical. Other nights we'd take off to the old Westdale Theatre which would run a double-feature of English subtitled Chinese Kung-fu movies after midnight. I was one of about three gwailo in the place.

Maybe I'm just getting old (nearly 60 now) but those were the days, man! So if that's what's wrong with Wing Chun, I don't know what to say. Of course I'd like a few more students and a decently equipped gym, but personally, if it were an "either-or" choice, I'd rather follow in that non-commercial tradition and let the art drift back into obscurity than go to a big, fancy and very commercial school. Others can do whatever suits them. :)
 

Kwan Sau

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Yeah, I kind of dig #3. Back-alleys, backyards, basements, garages.... IMO nothing wrong with this at all.
 
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geezer

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Yeah. Joy has one of the coolest garage kwoons you'll ever see. I just rent space at a boxing gym and teach at a park on Saturdays. How many of the rest of you train or teach in a similar "beneath the radar" environment?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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In many places, Wing Chun schools are underground and impossible to find. When you do, they appear more like the back alley of a restaurant in an old Kung Fu flick.
The best way to promote CMA is the school environment. If it's part of the school's informal class, not only it can reach to a large amount of students at their right age group, it also will give the CMA a positive reputation if it belongs to a reputable high school or university such as the 撱箏 Jian Gou High school in Taiwan, or the MIT in US.

John_high_school.jpg


John_high_school_1.jpg
 
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Kwan Sau

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How many of the rest of you train or teach in a similar "beneath the radar" environment?

I do! I teach out of my garage. Love it. Zero commute. No overheard costs. Keeps class size small. Quality over quantity, etc. Have a large backyard if/when more open spaces are needed. Most importantly, students love it also.
I do however always tell prospective students about the training environment beforehand. I want them to know up front that there are commercial kwoons nearby if that is what their after. I also encourage them to go and check out all the local training options/locations before making the trip to my humble garage.
 

Danny T

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How many go out to other clubs, schools, gyms, groups etc. and train or spar. Or do you just train and work out within your own group? The future of wc as other systems is one must play vs other methods. Not just pretend but to seek open minded groups and work your skills vs their's.
 

dungeonworks

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Well, dungeonworks, I can't say you are completely wrong. Some things, like (#2 above) i.e. the odd appearance of chi-sau to prospective students, and the like, were just as true even some 36 years ago when I first saw chi sau being practiced around '79.

As far as the back alley of a Chinese restaurant thing goes, that was precisely one of the first places I went to spar and learn back around '82. I hung out with a couple of young Chinese guys and we'd meet with their sifu, a guy named Michael Leung at his King Wah restaurant down in the barrio at Central and Southern. At 11:00pm on Saturday nights Michael would close the restaurant and bring out all the left-over food. We'd eat and then all go out back by the dumpsters and test each other. Actually, I tended to hang back since these boys used to get very physical. Other nights we'd take off to the old Westdale Theatre which would run a double-feature of English subtitled Chinese Kung-fu movies after midnight. I was one of about three gwailo in the place.

Maybe I'm just getting old (nearly 60 now) but those were the days, man! So if that's what's wrong with Wing Chun, I don't know what to say. Of course I'd like a few more students and a decently equipped gym, but personally, if it were an "either-or" choice, I'd rather follow in that non-commercial tradition and let the art drift back into obscurity than go to a big, fancy and very commercial school. Others can do whatever suits them. :)



Geezer, I was mainly responding to this part of your original post of this thread.


On the other hand, I wonder if interest in WC, and TMA in general (especially for adults) is waning. I really can't judge by my own classes, since it's always been a small "under the radar" operation, but I do maintain a website and rent space at a gym with a good location, and yet haven't had anyone new walk in door ...or even call in a while. Heck, even if I were a crappy teacher, you'd expect more people walking in to check us out, even if they walked right back out! But like the forums, there's just no traffic.

I love the style of WIng Chun. I tried to continue training after I moved away from my original Sifu (You personally know who he is and I don't much like to name drop on the net). I haven't trained with him in several years now and live too far from there to continue. What very little Wing Chun I have found out in my new locality is far from what he offered and quite off putting really. There are several good JKD schools around but that is not the angle I want for Wing Chun. I have trained in JKD and really liked it but it is not Wing Chun. The couple years I had at the old place has helped me more with other styles I have done since and I respect the style itself. I miss it dearly but the guy most visible in my area does not interest me. I will leave that there and say no more than I have on that. My post was simply my observation from where I am at.
 
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geezer

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Geezer, I was mainly responding to this part of your original post of this thread.




I love the style of WIng Chun. I tried to continue training after I moved away from my original Sifu ...The couple years I had at the old place has helped me more with other styles I have done since and I respect the style itself. I miss it dearly but the guy most visible in my area does not interest me. I will leave that there and say no more than I have on that. My post was simply my observation from where I am at.

I hear you. A lot of us are in similar positions. My solution has been to try to keep a group going so we have enough interest to bring in somebody from our system to train with, "seminar style" or so that I can afford to travel and upgrade my skills without switching to another branch that doesn't appeal to me as much.

Organizational politics are the biggest (and stupiest) barrier to making this work. For example, there's a guy teaching WT at the TKD school my son attends who has the same rank that I hold. My old sifu is his si-gung. If we could get together and train, that would be awesome. But when our association split about 8 years back, he went with one faction, and I went with the other. Now, he's not allowed to have anything to do with me. So when our paths cross at the TKD school, we smile politely and talk about the weather or our jobs (we are both teachers) when we should be setting up training time together.
 

dungeonworks

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I hear you. A lot of us are in similar positions. My solution has been to try to keep a group going so we have enough interest to bring in somebody from our system to train with, "seminar style" or so that I can afford to travel and upgrade my skills without switching to another branch that doesn't appeal to me as much.

Organizational politics are the biggest (and stupiest) barrier to making this work. For example, there's a guy teaching WT at the TKD school my son attends who has the same rank that I hold. My old sifu is his si-gung. If we could get together and train, that would be awesome. But when our association split about 8 years back, he went with one faction, and I went with the other. Now, he's not allowed to have anything to do with me. So when our paths cross at the TKD school, we smile politely and talk about the weather or our jobs (we are both teachers) when we should be setting up training time together.


That is too bad. I wish Wing Chun could figure out a way to divert from this closed door politics and create a more open doored association of Kwoons. Problem is, as is in just about ANY and EVERY form of art, trade, union, or association is that the people in charge of these small groups like it the way it is for their own ego stroke or profit. I wish their was a way to unite and proliferate Wing Chun without losing individual identity such as Tae Kwon Do and the Okinawan Karate styles have. I am in no way condoning that Sifu's submit to uniformity, just unite for the greater good and growth of the art and get the art of Wing Chun into the collective minds of Joe and Mary Public. This is where styles like MMA and Krav Maga have shined. Don't get me wrong, Krav has serious political issues of their own, but the art is not hard to find in nearly all areas of the USA...and Krav has borrowed heavily from Wing Chun in theory (as have several RBSD styles). Here in Michigan, their are probably less than 8 Wing Chun kwoons publicly available. That is a travesty for such a great art.
 

zuti car

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How many go out to other clubs, schools, gyms, groups etc. and train or spar. Or do you just train and work out within your own group? The future of wc as other systems is one must play vs other methods. Not just pretend but to seek open minded groups and work your skills vs their's.
People come to me , they want to try white guy and sometimes things are not so "open minded " , I had to knock out an idiot who insisted to fight with me on my last crane practice .
 
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geezer

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Dang. You gotta get somebody around to take videos!
 

zuti car

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Dang. You gotta get somebody around to take videos!
No videos , without videos no one can prove anything and I can't be kicked out Taiwan . I really hate violence , I had it enough for 3 life times and after the war I keep my self from any conflict situations . I usually tell people they are better or let them "win" in chi sao because if I enter the combat mode I loose control and than hurt people seriously . Couple of days ago idiot just didn't want to stop , he thought I was afraid when I told him he is way better than me and to leave things there ,I even wanted to leave but he blocked my way and grabbed me , next thing i remember he was on the floor and I was wrestling with couple of people who obviously tried to separate me from that man .
 

Callen

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I hear you. A lot of us are in similar positions. My solution has been to try to keep a group going so we have enough interest to bring in somebody from our system to train with, "seminar style" or so that I can afford to travel and upgrade my skills without switching to another branch that doesn't appeal to me as much.

That's a great solution. My group hosts seminars with different Sifus for anyone who wishes to learn, regardless of lineage. There are numerous seminars that welcome all practitioners.

Organizational politics are the biggest (and stupiest) barrier to making this work. For example, there's a guy teaching WT at the TKD school my son attends who has the same rank that I hold. My old sifu is his si-gung. If we could get together and train, that would be awesome. But when our association split about 8 years back, he went with one faction, and I went with the other. Now, he's not allowed to have anything to do with me. So when our paths cross at the TKD school, we smile politely and talk about the weather or our jobs (we are both teachers) when we should be setting up training time together.

That's a shame. Some WC/WT organizations are more political than others. Don't play the game. If you want to train with him, the two of you should rise above the politics and get together anyway.
 
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