How good is Wing Chun?
Today I´ll talk about a specific martial art – namely about Wing Chun Kung Fu. The Question is: “How good is Wing Chun?” (You can listen to the audio file or read the full transcript below)
Hello and welcome to today´s episode of our martial podcast. My name is Martin, and I´m a martial arts instructor from Austria – which is a small country in Central Europe by the way.
Yeah and today I want to talk a bit about a martial art called Wing Chun, which is a Chinese martial art and therefore it is also known as a Kung Fu style. Because all martial arts originating from China are called Kung Fu – so it´s the same with Wing Chun.
Yeah, but why Wing Chun? Why is the question of today´s podcast “How good is Wing Chun?”.
For one thing, I have practiced Wing Chun for about 13 years now – and I´m still training and teaching it with great enthusiasm.
And for another thing many Wing Chun practitioners are bragging that Wing Chun is the best martial art in the world and superior to all the other styles out there. So it is superior to Karate, to Taekwondo, Systema, Panantukan and Silat and all the other styles.
But others say – especially some MMA guys – they argue that Wing Chun is useless as no one ever was successful in the ring with it. They say that the Chi Sao we train so often is useless in a ring and it is far better to train Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Thai Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that Wing Chun is not worth the effort.
But who is right? Is Wing Chun any good or not?
And I think that´s a very legitimate question.
And to further specify it: How good is Wing Chun for self defense reasons?
How good is it on the street? Because many teachers of Wing Chun claim that it is one of the best self defense systems if not the best. But is that true?
And another question:
How good can you become by practicing Wing Chun over an extended period of time – let´s say over 20 years and training it thousands of hours?
But let´s look at the self defense aspect first:
How good is Wing Chun for self defense reasons?
And I have to say Wing Chun is very good for self defense. But the problem here is:
Only Wing Chun as such is good for self defense.
Because there is everything in it that you need in order to protect yourself on the street.
We cover all fighting distances in Wing Chun. There is kicking in it, we have punches in it, elbow strikes, knee strikes. We are able to defend against wrestling attacks and we learn to defend ourselves on the ground.
And not only that: We also train to fight against multiple opponents and we learn to protect ourselves against weapons such as knives and sticks.
And we are not constrained by any rules in Wing Chun. We can attack the groin, we can also attack the throat and we can use every body part as a weapon, so even the fingers, the elbow and also the side of our hand.
But the problem here is:
In reality we mostly train forms like the very well known Siu Nim Tao and also a lot of Chi Sao in a particular lesson in school.
But don´t get me wrong: Forms and Chi Sao training are very good for some reasons, but when it comes to self defense, they are not the most important thing to train. Because it takes a long time till you can reap the rewards of training it. It takes years or even decades to get really good at it.
But when it comes to self defense you usually want fast results. And forms and Chi Sao can´t serve that purpose.
So Wing Chun as such is a very good self defense method. But at the beginning you should neglect the form training and the Chi Sao for really fast results.
At least that´s my opinion. But what´s your opinion on that? Please let me know in the comments below.
But now let´s move on to the second aspect of our question “How good is Wing Chun?”
And that is …
How good can you become after practicing Wing Chun for several years?
And the answer is: You can get exceptionally good by training Wing Chun regularly over a longer period of time.
And that´s exactly the reason why I train Wing Chun in the first place.
For me it´s not the self defense aspect.
And I don´t have aspirations to enter the ring either.
For me it´s about the art in martial arts. How good can I become by training martial arts – and especially by training Wing Chun. (Though I also train other martial arts, but a major focus lies on Wing Chun, and that has not changed so far.)
And the reason for that is, that
Wing Chun is very well suited to get better even after thousands of hours of training.
There is still so much to learn und to get better at.
And I personally find that very challenging and rewarding at the same time.
But why is that? And isn´t the same true of all the other martial arts styles? Personally, I don´t think so.
As the saying goes, there are always two sides of the same coin.
And therefore self defense systems like Krav Maga may lead to faster results in the beginning, but they lack the details later on in my experience.
On the other hand in many martial arts like Wing Chun you heavily focus on these details. Why else would you train forms like Siu Nim Tao and Cham Kiu?
It´s because of the details in every movement. And it´s not just about the techniques. It´s all about the abilities you learn from training the forms.
And the same is true of the excessive Chi Sao training of the more advanced programs in Wing Chun. Of course some advanced students seem only to train their Chi Sao and neglecting all the other exercises in Wing Chun. But that´s not the fault of Wing Chun as such, but it´s a fault of the individual trainee. As every martial art on the planet is just as good as the one who performs it.
But as I mentioned also the point of many MMA guys:
Is Wing Chun any good for the ring?
So should you consider training Wing Chun if you want to compete in MMA?
And my answer is: No.
Because it´s not very time efficient. Half the time you would train techniques you are not allowed to use in the ring. And you would very seldomly train with boxing gloves. So you wouldn´t get used to it.
And because of that: If you want to compete in MMA, then train things like Thai Boxing.
And if you want to train just self defense, than get to a self defense class or train Krav Maga.
But if you want to train martial arts for the long run and get really good at it, than try Wing Chun.
Because in this case it may be very suitable for you.
… … …
And by the way: Have you already checked out my free courses on Wing Chun? If not, than subscribe to our newsletter and get three basic Wing Chun courses for free, namely …
- Course No. 1 about Basic trechniques in Wing Chun
- Course No. 2 about the theory behind important Wing Chun techniques, and finally
- Course No. 3 about the Siu Nim Tao form.
And if you want to really dive into the art of Wing Chun than check out our Master Class. There you can learn the whole system of Wing Chun.
So for now I wish you a good training and see you next time at the martial podcast!
Sifu Martin Grünstäudl – themartialstudio.com