Wing Chun vs. Boxing

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
I don't practice Wing Chun, but when I was trying to pick an art I viewed several videos explaining the basic principles and techniques of the art. The biggest reason I chose not to do Wing Chun over another art is simply there aren't any schools for it in my local area. Anyway, I was wondering what the theory is behind the Wing Chun stance compared with a boxing stance. I guess this is sort of a TMA vs. Sport question, but specifically I want to hear the theory behind Wing Chun.

Here's what I'm thinking:

One of the basic principles of Wing Chun is simultaneous defense and attack, with the primary focus being your and your opponent's centerline. I would classify these defenses as fairly active, as you are actively deflecting an attack with one hand while striking with the other.

In a boxing stance (which is the basic sparring stance for most striking combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, and MMA), your hands are held closer the body and used as a guard. Defense from this position is easier - your hands provide a barrier between yourself and your opponent. Granted, the barrier has holes, but it's a much smaller movement to defend against attacks.

Specifically regarding a Wing Chun fighter vs. a boxer, the guard makes a good shield against straight punches.

I'm not trying to flame the art, I'm just curious. I consider boxing and Wing Chun to both be arts based on the science of punching (much like my art, TKD, is the science of kicking). The two arts have radically different philosophies, and I'd like to know what the advantages of Wing Chun are as opposed to something like boxing, kickboxing, or muay thai.
 

Eric_H

Black Belt
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
572
Reaction score
109
Location
San Francisco
I don't practice Wing Chun, but when I was trying to pick an art I viewed several videos explaining the basic principles and techniques of the art. The biggest reason I chose not to do Wing Chun over another art is simply there aren't any schools for it in my local area. Anyway, I was wondering what the theory is behind the Wing Chun stance compared with a boxing stance. I guess this is sort of a TMA vs. Sport question, but specifically I want to hear the theory behind Wing Chun.

Here's what I'm thinking:

One of the basic principles of Wing Chun is simultaneous defense and attack, with the primary focus being your and your opponent's centerline. I would classify these defenses as fairly active, as you are actively deflecting an attack with one hand while striking with the other.

In a boxing stance (which is the basic sparring stance for most striking combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, and MMA), your hands are held closer the body and used as a guard. Defense from this position is easier - your hands provide a barrier between yourself and your opponent. Granted, the barrier has holes, but it's a much smaller movement to defend against attacks.

Specifically regarding a Wing Chun fighter vs. a boxer, the guard makes a good shield against straight punches.

I'm not trying to flame the art, I'm just curious. I consider boxing and Wing Chun to both be arts based on the science of punching (much like my art, TKD, is the science of kicking). The two arts have radically different philosophies, and I'd like to know what the advantages of Wing Chun are as opposed to something like boxing, kickboxing, or muay thai.

Wing Chun looks to intercept bridging and control gravity in order to enable striking with advantage. Blocking doesn't work to that end.

Additionally, we look to have control over our own 13 joints at all times, that's why we don't hunch over.
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,045
Reaction score
3,118
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Wing Chun looks to intercept bridging and control gravity in order to enable striking with advantage. Blocking doesn't work to that end.

Additionally, we look to have control over our own 13 joints at all times, that's why we don't hunch over.

That's the first reference I've heard to the "13 joints". Could you elaborate?
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
I'm going to guess:
2xWrist
2xElbow
2xShoulder
2xHip
2xKnee
2xAnkle
1xNeck

That adds up to 13 joints. However, I don't see that a boxer is not in control of those. He hunches over to provide a smaller target and let his shields (arms, shoulders) protect his head and neck more.
 

punisher73

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Messages
3,740
Reaction score
789
Here is a video that isn't your typical wing chun vs. boxer or which is better type video. It kind of looks at what a boxer will be trying to do and what you as a wing chunner will be trying to do and how each will be trying to apply their strategies. Very interesting to get a perspective on both without having the "mine is better than yours" type comparisions.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
While it didn't have any "mine is better than yours" directly said, I didn't see any pros for Wing Chun in there.
 

strike101

White Belt
Joined
Oct 21, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Here is a video that isn't your typical wing chun vs. boxer or which is better type video. It kind of looks at what a boxer will be trying to do and what you as a wing chunner will be trying to do and how each will be trying to apply their strategies. Very interesting to get a perspective on both without having the "mine is better than yours" type comparisions.


not a big fan of Izzo's videos and he doesn't exactly make wing chun look great there.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,045
Reaction score
3,118
Location
Phoenix, AZ
While it didn't have any "mine is better than yours" directly said, I didn't see any pros for Wing Chun in there.

The way I see it, the "pro" argument here was for an adaptive, evolutionary approach to WC. Izzo is a big advocate of that, but from what I've seen in some of his other videos, he isn't always so successful in integrating stuff from boxing and grappling without compromising his WC core.

Still, it was an interesting video. I may not agree with some of what Izzo does with his WC, but I like the way he thinks. He seems very open minded and curious. Lyte Burly is clearly a gifted martial artist who has a working knowledge of WC as well as boxing skills. There are guys I work with in our eskrima group who employ similar skills. Especially quick off-lining and angling ...and nasty hooks using a lot of body torque. It's definitely something WC needs to adapt to. But I think it can be done without losing the WC structure and principles.
 

Kwan Sau

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
349
Reaction score
60
Anyone know who izzo learned from and how much of the system did he learn?
From his videos...it seems clear he doesnt have a good grasp of Wing Chun. But, to his credit...he usually caveats his videos with "my wing chun", etc.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
Geezer, the problem is pretty much everything about WC vs. Boxing in that video showed why boxing was superior.

1) Hand position: it was shown that there are holes in the WC stance that do not exist in boxing (my original point in my OP), and that taking a WC stance is telegraphing your style (while a boxing stance might be any number of styles, from boxing to kickboxing).
2) Footwork: boxing has superior footwork, which made it harder for the WC fighter to make use of his techniques. WC might adapt into it, but then this would be a neutral point and not a pro for WC.
3) The Wing Chun style, from what I've seen, doesn't support torquing your body. It relies on snap power to get a lot of little hits in while maintaining a strong position. The boxer showed that you can torque your body without sacrificing mobility.

The take-away from that is this: if you take a WC fighter and make the above changes, you are left with something that is basically a modified version of boxing. With that said, I have two big questions:

1) In the points above, are there any pros to the Wing Chun style? For example, the hand position has a con (provides less coverage). Is there a pro to the hand position besides tradition?
2) Are there points where boxing* can learn from Wing Chun? This video just showed what WC can learn from boxing.

*When I say "boxing" I mean any sport based on boxing, including kickboxing, savate, muay thai, MMA, etc. So yes, Wing Chun has kicks and true Boxing is just punches, but I'm looking at the style of boxing/kickboxing vs. the traditional stance.
 

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,175
Reaction score
749
If I just stand there with my hands still, of course there are openings.
Same as if the boxer just stands there with his hands in a guard, it is very easy to punch right between them

The thing is, neither form of fighting is just standing there. I don't care how much it's seen on youtube, good WC/WT/VT is not just standing there like some kind of statue waiting for the attack to come to them. Good WC is always moving, always pressing. always seeking the path of least resistance with our hands and our footwork.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,790
Reaction score
3,346
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,790
Reaction score
3,346
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
I'd like to know what the advantages of Wing Chun are as opposed to something like boxing, kickboxing, or muay thai.
CMA likes to fight to be inside instead of to fight to be outside, to fight to be on top instead of to fight be on the bottom.

When you arms are in your center line, when your opponent punches at you, his right punch can only go through the left of your left arm. His left punch can only go through the right of your right arm. When your opponent use a jab, cross combo, and if you use left Tan Shou (left comb hair) and right Tan Shou (right comb hair), both of your arms will be inside of your opponent's arms. There are many advantage to be in that position.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
CMA likes to fight to be inside instead of to fight to be outside, to fight to be on top instead of to fight be on the bottom.

While I've been on the topic of boxing, I'd like to bring up my experience with TKD here. Our self defense drills have us stepping out away from the punch, essentially angling on the attack to get us out of the center line of the attacker, while putting the attacker into our center line. What you're saying is the goal in CMA is instead to get inside the opponent's defenses instead of around them?
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,790
Reaction score
3,346
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
While I've been on the topic of boxing, I'd like to bring up my experience with TKD here. Our self defense drills have us stepping out away from the punch, essentially angling on the attack to get us out of the center line of the attacker, while putting the attacker into our center line. What you're saying is the goal in CMA is instead to get inside the opponent's defenses instead of around them?

If you think

- you are better than your opponent, you enter through your opponent's front door (space between both arms).
- your opponent is better than you, you enter through your opponent's side door (space outside of each arm).

This is just a general concept that has nothing to do with style. You can do this when you are in your opponent's front door.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,045
Reaction score
3,118
Location
Phoenix, AZ
If you think

- you are better than your opponent, you enter through your opponent's front door (space between both arms).
- your opponent is better than you, you enter through your opponent's side door (space outside of each arm).

This is why I favor off-lining and entering from the outside gate or oi moon. As I get on in years, I tend to assume that my opponent is younger, stronger, faster, and usually bigger than I am. That doesn't make him "better" though!

Now to Scribs: It's hard to generalize about CMA since there are so many different Chinese martial arts specializing in different ranges and approaches. But if you are talking Wing Chun, yes we do constantly press forwards and tend to move inside... although not necessarily right up the middle like Izzo did in that clip. We are at our best just outside of the clinch, which generally makes us very effective in close against longer range styles like TKD. I speak from experience since one of our local branches operates out of a good TKD school and the school owner (5th degree) and a couple of his blackbelts are learning Ving Tsun from us.


Now as far as WC and Boxing go. Remember WC is boxing. Chinese boxing. And in some ways it's not so far removed from what Western boxing looked like in the early bare-knuckle days. Boxing has evolved over the last century. WC is evolving too. That's why I give creative thinkers like Fernandez, Gutierrez, Izzo, Orr and others credit even when I don't agree with everything they come up with. After all, "a wise man learns from others", both from their successes and from their mistakes!
 

J W

Green Belt
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
153
Reaction score
19
Location
New Jersey
Geezer, the problem is pretty much everything about WC vs. Boxing in that video showed why boxing was superior.

1) Hand position: it was shown that there are holes in the WC stance that do not exist in boxing (my original point in my OP), and that taking a WC stance is telegraphing your style (while a boxing stance might be any number of styles, from boxing to kickboxing).
2) Footwork: boxing has superior footwork, which made it harder for the WC fighter to make use of his techniques. WC might adapt into it, but then this would be a neutral point and not a pro for WC.
3) The Wing Chun style, from what I've seen, doesn't support torquing your body. It relies on snap power to get a lot of little hits in while maintaining a strong position. The boxer showed that you can torque your body without sacrificing mobility.

The take-away from that is this: if you take a WC fighter and make the above changes, you are left with something that is basically a modified version of boxing. With that said, I have two big questions:

1) In the points above, are there any pros to the Wing Chun style? For example, the hand position has a con (provides less coverage). Is there a pro to the hand position besides tradition?
2) Are there points where boxing* can learn from Wing Chun? This video just showed what WC can learn from boxing.

*When I say "boxing" I mean any sport based on boxing, including kickboxing, savate, muay thai, MMA, etc. So yes, Wing Chun has kicks and true Boxing is just punches, but I'm looking at the style of boxing/kickboxing vs. the traditional stance.

So my two cents; I would say that video was aimed at WC folks, with the idea of a boxer who has WC experience explaining where he sees holes in WC from a boxer's point of view. Without some understanding of both WC and boxing, I don't think the points they were trying to make will come across too well.

Like most arts, some WC folks get so wrapped up with training WC vs other WC players that they don't stop to think about how someone trained in another art might approach them (I'm sure you've seen this in the TKD world). So yes, the video makes WC look inferior to boxing, because most of it is explaining to WC guys where a boxer might find holes in WC.

Also keep in mind that, like most other martial arts, there is good WC and bad WC out there. Bad WC might be full of all the holes the boxer was pointing out. Good WC would not. For instance, when he explained how a boxer would get around the WC guard. Sure, if the WC guy just stands there with his hands out, it'll be pretty easy to get around. But that would be bad WC. WC is an aggressive art, and doesn't work if you just stand there with your arms out waiting for your opponent to clock you. Or, when he explained (as a boxer) angling off and attacking along the centerline while your opponent isn't facing your center. Good WC should do that, too.

To point #3; WC does support body torquing. Watch our second form, Chum kiu.

One of the basic principles of Wing Chun is simultaneous defense and attack, with the primary focus being your and your opponent's centerline. I would classify these defenses as fairly active, as you are actively deflecting an attack with one hand while striking with the other.

Ideally, you would be defending and attacking with the same hand at the same time. For instance, you punch, I punch. My punch both deflects yours and hits its target.

In a boxing stance (which is the basic sparring stance for most striking combat sports, including boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, and MMA), your hands are held closer the body and used as a guard. Defense from this position is easier - your hands provide a barrier between yourself and your opponent. Granted, the barrier has holes, but it's a much smaller movement to defend against attacks.

Specifically regarding a Wing Chun fighter vs. a boxer, the guard makes a good shield against straight punches.

The idea of WC is to find and exploit those holes. Does the boxer's guard make a good defense against WC attacks? Maybe, depends on how good the WC guys is at getting through those holes.

I'm not trying to flame the art, I'm just curious. I consider boxing and Wing Chun to both be arts based on the science of punching (much like my art, TKD, is the science of kicking). The two arts have radically different philosophies, and I'd like to know what the advantages of Wing Chun are as opposed to something like boxing, kickboxing, or muay thai.

Personally, I see alot of similarity between boxing and WC. Sure, they approach things a bit differently, but I don't think I'd say that they are "radically" different.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,953
Reaction score
1,598
Also keep in mind that, like most other martial arts, there is good WC and bad WC out there. Bad WC might be full of all the holes the boxer was pointing out. Good WC would not. For instance, when he explained how a boxer would get around the WC guard. Sure, if the WC guy just stands there with his hands out, it'll be pretty easy to get around. But that would be bad WC. WC is an aggressive art, and doesn't work if you just stand there with your arms out waiting for your opponent to clock you. Or, when he explained (as a boxer) angling off and attacking along the centerline while your opponent isn't facing your center. Good WC should do that, too.

Ideally, you would be defending and attacking with the same hand at the same time. For instance, you punch, I punch. My punch both deflects yours and hits its target.

These are very good explanations of the pros of WC.
 
Top