Why Isn’t Wing Chun in the UFC?

“I’m going to show the world why the Rangers belong in the Octagon.”
Greg Stott, a former Airborne Ranger, prior to getting knocked out in 18 seconds.

“When the UFC was formed in 1993 there was one simple purpose: Determine which form of martial art was the most effective in a real fight.” Matt Saccaro in The Bleacher Report

If Wing Chun is so great, why isn’t somebody kicking ass with it in the UFC?

#1  Wing Chun was not designed for ring fighting.

Ring fighting used to be one art at a time.

Boxers fought boxers.  Wrestlers fought wrestlers.  In the East, Thai boxers fought Thai boxers.  With the creation of the UFC and K1 and other venues (and rule sets), a Mixed Martial Arts “style” began to evolve.  Its been like an arms race, limited by the rules.  The rules create the context or medium for the evolution of the styles.

At first, in the UFC, the Gracies dominated.  If you weren’t familiar with BJJ tactics, you were sunk!

Few of the fighters had both a stand up and a ground game developed to a high degree.  It was one or the other in those days.

Really good wrestlers had yet to enter the sport in large numbers and they were at that time unfamiliar with some of the BJJ tactics.  One of the unspoken truths about fighting is the advantage of mystery.  This is why fighters with eccentric styles (like Jon Jones) are tough to handle.  How do you train for them?  What sparring partner can prepare you for what you will face?

Then the money started to get a little better and the sport became more popular.  Sponsors evolved from Bob’s Taco Stand to Tap Out to Nike.

In all the MMA venues, the bar began to get raised slowly.  New fighters would show up who had learned how to stop the Gracie BJJ strategy (usually by learning BJJ or by being good Greco-Roman wrestlers with competent BJJ-move counters) but on top of that they had new stuff.

A better striking game, better conditioning, a better mix basically.

The Gracies are very tough fighters but they no longer dominate the UFC as in the early days.  The sport has evolved and so have the fighters.  To fight in the UFC, to be really obvious, you have to be able to win within the rules against the sort of attacks and defenses used by the other fighters.  The rules change and so do the tactics that succeed.

Guys who would have dominated in 1998 would get mowed down by the fighters of today, with their excellent cardio and their tight command of all the ranges (kicking, punching, grappling/ground).  The UFC fighters of today are some of the top athletes in the world, with teams of trainers (boxing, BJJ, etc) and nutritionists and weight coaches and on and on behind them.  A team of Dr. Frankenstein’s rebuilding them.

And lets not forget cutting weight and gaining it back.  Winners these days are often guys who not only can do all of the above, but they are also good at cutting weight temporarily then gaining it back and not being weakened too much by this unnatural process.  Guys who are good at this cut 20-30 pounds for the weight-in, then gain it back before the fight, effectively fighting someone from a lower weight class (unless both are good at this skill).

UFC fighters use strategies that work best in the ring.  Various stalling tactics and pulling guard and hovering outside (Machida-style) might not work so well in the multi-dimensional and time constrained arena of the street but they can work in the ring for a while.  But the ring is an evolving public space – people see what works and then train counters for that particular tactic preparing for that particular fighter.

Wing Chun works best when it is a surprise.  The fight begins at conversation-distance, the fight kicks off, and you move into the in-fighting distance and relentlessly attack the head and neck, clearing all obstacles.  There is no circling and sizing up.  Wing Chun is designed to go for the jugular, like a Rotweiller.

On the street, 99% of fights are decided in the first few moments (as discussed in former bouncer Geoff Thompson’s 30 second fight concept) with strikes to the head.  Done correctly, with a lot of training backing it up and a lot of aggression in the moment, this is Wing Chun’s advantage – we attack the head and neck, no waiting, no quarter.


 Josh Jauncey vs Chris Ferguson


#2  In order for an art to be “represented” in the UFC, you have to have a gifted young athlete start in your style and then get the UFC bug.

This hasn’t happened with every art.  Where are the Escrima UFC fighters?  They have an empty hand system (just like Wing Chun has a weapons system).  How about Krav Maga?  I’m sure there are many styles that have yet to get a representative.

What needs to happen for Wing Chun to make a splash in the UFC is that some strong genetically gifted guy or girl has to find a talented Sifu with a simple, direct, efficient approach and then the student will need to go Wing Chun crazy, the way Ronda Rousey went Judo crazy and Lyoto Machida went Karate crazy.

Then they need to start studying the other ranges.

Wing Chun’s specialty is the close-medium-range – this is Wing Chun’s bread and butter fighting distance.   If we go to the ground, if we are pushed off into kicking distance, we have tools but we are at a disadvantage against someone who is a specialist in those ranges.  In our training, we try to get into and stay in our favored range, where we have an advantage.

Like the crocodile, who pulls the land animal into the water where it has the advantage, Wing Chun steps into the middle-close distance and tries to stay there as long as it is an advantage.

This is why Sifu Gary Lam added Muay Thai training to his version of Wing Chun – he gave us some more long range tools (and some conditioning drills) for when we were forced out of our zone.

Our Wing Chun crazy kid has to learn BJJ or wrestling to fight in the UFC.  They have to have a ground game, period.  Some people try to say Wing Chun has a ground game, but it doesn’t.  Boxing doesn’t and Wing Chun doesn’t.

Our imaginary Wing Chun UFC fighter has to get really good at takedown defense and also at surviving the ground, while also training thousands of hours in their Wing Chun repertoire.   Then they have to spar with fighters from other systems: MMA fighters, Thai boxers, following UFC rules, to find the holes and gaps in their game.

This is what is takes to fight professionally in the UFC.

Does this mean that Wing Chun is not a good street art – hell no!

#3  Conditioning is not the strong point of most Wing Chun fighters.

Most Wing Chun students are hobbyists.  The most serious Wing Chun fighters (more than a few years under their belts) are what Gary Lam calls semi-professional.  They train 10-20 hours a week.  They focus on skill acquisition and structure and hand dexterity.  They are training for the 30 second fight.  A handful of Wing Chun fighters take it further and train cardio and train in other ranges.  They are the minority.

Most Wing Chun fighters are not preparing for the ring.  They are participating in a demanding art whose fundamental aim is usually to shape the character of its practitioners. As with most traditional martial arts, its really about character development.  Also, they are training for home defense and street defense against opponents who are also not professional.  These fights will happen quickly.

Many internet comments denigrate any fighting that won’t work in the ring against a pro fighter.

Does this means a fighter’s skills are useless, if they can’t walk into a ring and handle Jon Jones?  Its a silly argument.

If you play flag football at your company, is it a complete waste of time if you can’t play the Patriots?  You might still be able to beat the people at your level.  Maybe you can even get into the city league or some regional thing where you wear equipment and allow tackling.

When I was single, I was good a picking up cute girls but I wasn’t in New York getting supermodels and movie stars.  But that wasn’t my goal.  I was good in my league.

#4  Wing Chun was historically practiced by Chinese aristocrats, until the 1950s.

Prize fighting has historically been a desperation move made by poor men who know how to fight.  Its always been a tough, tough way to make a living (even when the top guys started to make millions).

Like most other professional sports jobs, most fighters don’t make any real money.  The people you see with contracts are the top of a large pile of people moving in that direction, with most dropping off along the way.  Its a big pyramid of athletes with those having a “career” at the very tip.  And most of them don’t have a long career.  Like football and basketball, fighting is a young person’s game.  Guys getting past 35 are an ANOMALY.  Randy Couture is an outlier.  Most people find they aren’t good enough to play at the top of the game.  Many catch debilitating injuries along the way.  Head injuries, nerve damage in the hands, bad knees, etc.  Being a professional fighter is not a good way to prepare for a long healthy life.

For most of fight history, “smart” people and people from the “higher” classes didn’t fight for money.  Guys like Marco Barrera (who came from a rich Mexican family) were the exception.

In China, they used to call Wing Chun a”Thinking Man’s Art” because is was an early version of we today would call “hacking” the martial arts.  They wanted the fastest, most efficient way to end a fight out on the street and they cherry-picked the best fundamentals and techniques form the other arts.  Sort of like Fairbairn’s Combatu did in the 1930’a and Krav Maga did in the 1940s.  Then, as now, the fastest way to end a street fight is overwhelmingly done through striking the head.  Just ask the experts (bouncers, cops).  Unless you have a team to help you dogpile and subdue your suspect, when you are standing up and the fight kicks off, the closest weapon is the hand and the best target is the head.  You don’t want to take one guy to the ground in a streetfight, period.

They also used to call it “Rich Man’s kung fu.”  The Chinese fighters who developed Wing Chun were usually well-off.  Ip Man was wealthy until the Chinese revolution.  Chan Wah Shun was wealthy.  They were essentially aristocrats.  And like the aristocrats of 19th Century England, part of their education was how to handle weapons and defend themselves with their fists.  In England, it was “fisticuffs.”  In Southern China, it was “Chinese Boxing.”

In England, they started padding the hands to help preserve the faces of the young gentlemen training in boxing.  In China, they developed Chi Sao, a training practice which trained fighting without actual strikes to the head (which seems smarter all the time as we discover how easily the brain can get injured, even in training).

Were these Chinese gentlemen and English gentlemen up to the task of handling a pro?


Maybe the rare person had the dedication and the talent and put in the hours but experience counts for so much in combat, and most organized combat is handled with weapons.  Empty hand combat is the realm of the pro fighter and the backup of the assassin and intelligence operative and the undercover cop (whose first recourse is a weapon).

Most gentlemen who studied these arts back in the day (and most people now) did it to protect themselves and their families from random street violence and the odd personal encounter with a belligerent family member or business acquaintance, not a pro fighter.

But the class thing is changing, so expect to see more and more fighters from all “classes.”  Doctors and lawyers and executives these days can have tats and piercings and train MMA.  The world has changed.

#5 Most UFC Fighters come from a competitive sports background.

Amateur and professional Boxers, Muay Thai fighters, High School and College wrestlers, BJJ (which has competing in the ring built into most curriculum), and TKD.  These are the people who make up the ranks of professional MMA fighters.

For these people, the move into competitive fighting in the ring for money is not such a big leap.  They have already been competing.  They obviously like to compete, including all that entails.  It is a extrovert activity for the most part, getting out there in front of people and fighting.

Traditional martial artists have a lot of introverts.  Its a lot like Salsa dancing – its a safe place for introverts to participate in a highly regimented social activity where they are not required to be very spontaneous.  Wing Chun has more than its share.  Even the really good ones often have no interest in teaching or competing.  They are often engineers, computer guys, academics, and the like.

The biggest reason we don’t see Wing Chun in the UFC: there are two flavors of Wing Chun: a more flowy Tai Chi style and a more “blood and guts” streetfighting style.

There is a Wing Chun saying: “If you want to be strong, train weak. If you want to be fast, train slow.”

This is true but someday, you have to start trying to be fast and strong and most importantly, AGRESSIVE.

In my opinion, the two guys who put Wing Chun on the map were Bruce Lee and Wong Shun Leung.  Both were scrappy and aggressive street fighters.  Wong had been a western boxer.  Bruce had been a delinquent getting into street fights.  They were both exceptionally aggressive and quick to fight.

Most of the reported four million people doing Wing Chun lack this aggression.   What you might call the “eye of the tiger.”  I’ve been doing Wing Chun on and off for 15 years and I can tell you the names of every person I would be concerned about fighting in the real world.   More than 90% I would allow to hit me as hard as they could without much concern.

To make Wing Chun do what it was designed to do, you have to work really hard.  You have to hit the bag every day for years.  You have to do all the training a lot and you have to get to the point where you can do aggressive Gwoh Sau with an uncooperative, skilled opponent.

If you want to get really good, you need to spar and get hit a little bit.

I don’t think you need to spar and get hit to handle most people (most people can barely fight), but to handle anyone with experience or skill, it helps a lot.  You can get pretty close with intense Gwoh Sao, but if you are going in the ring, you better test it out under even more realistic conditions, at least for a little while.  There is no preparation for the experience of getting hit in the head except getting hit in the head.  Don’t let your first fight be where you discover how it feels and how you respond.  Get used to it in training.

Wong Shun Leung said the theory of Wing Chun was perfect.  Perfect for a random violent encounter on the street without weapons.  Perfect to end a street fight fast.

But to work in the ring, as with “fisticuffs,” it would need a lot of tweaking and modification and supplementation with a ground fighting strategy and training.

It’s true that a lot of people kid themselves or they study with bullshit artists and con men.  Sparring and skills comparisons can help give you a dose of reality.  But let me tell you.  I’ve done boxing and I’ve done Muay Thai and I’ve done Wing Chun and in the rights hands, they are all potentially deadly.   And not just in the UFC.

But hopefully we just have to wait a little longer and some kid will train with the right teacher, get into the sport, and make their mark.  Then people can start spending all the energy dissing Escrima for not being in the UFC!

Wing Chun fighter hoping for UFC – currently 3-0: Iron Wolves of Wing Chun

Also: The Top 5 Reasons Wing Chun Doesn’t Work

Also: Wing Chun: A Gentleman’s Art

Another interesting take: How to Be a Great Mediocre BJJ Student

And my riff on that idea:  How to be a Great Mediocre Wing Chun Fighter

  • Anonymous August 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

    this really helped me to removee alot of cofusion. thanx a lot……….

    • noel golondrina March 3, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      My teacher of Wing Chun’s ring record was 298-2. He never lost to a wrestler. All he did was control their elbows and strike them. (If you control elbows, no one can grab you.)

  • Carl September 13, 2013 at 1:23 am

    The knee destruction techniques you talk about are complely legal. Both Jon jones and Anderson silva have used them. A knee is not as easy to destroy as you seem to thing, and there is a good reason you have this misconception it’s because you probably haven’t tested it.

    The reason fighters from muay Thai, Bjj and other combat sports create consistently better fighters is because they spar. Sparing teaches you what works, what doesn’t and helps simulate a fight. Lots of realistic hits with rules in place simulated a fight far better than any amount of complaint drilling or chi Sao.

    Mma is not a game it is merely a balance between safety and realisum. It’s the best balance we have found between keeping fighters safe and allowing them to use a full range of martial arts techniques. Even in the early days on vale tudo and the UFC where everything from hair pulling to groin shots were allowed wing Chun rarely did well. This is because of the lack of alive training.

    You wouldn’t claim to be able to surf by only practicing on land and never getting in the water yet so many martial artists claim to be able to fight by only practicing the moves and never doing anything close to fighting. Chi Sao is far closer to a game than sparring is.

    Please anyone who trains martial arts and do not spar, push start sparing if you can. You will learn what does and does not work in your system of martial arts and not only will your art become better when certain illusions are shattered but you will be better able to defend yourself.

    • steven September 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      I’m a big fan of MMA and have trained in Muay Thai and boxing. My Sigung ran one of the best Muay Thai gyms in Hong Kong and incorporated that training into our Wing Chun lineage. One of my former training partners in Wing Chun was a professional boxer.

      So I’m not antagonistic to your point of view and I have a little bit of understanding of the results from these approaches to fighting. My teachers and my training partners know what it means to spar and fight in the ring. But they chose Chi Sao for their long term training.

      I’ve thought about this a lot and think I’ve come closer to the truth in my later article “Wing Chun: A Gentleman’s Art.”

      Its all a matter of what your goals are in the training. If you want to fight in the MMA, then boxing and Muay Thai and BJJ are obviously the way to go. Plus tons of cardio and strength training.

      If you are a normal person with ten hours a week available and you want to be able to handle yourself in a fight but don’t want to be plagued by injuries, I think certain approaches to Wing Chun are an excellent choice.

    • steven September 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Your point about the knee kicks is well-taken:


      However, I have seen a friend sustain an injury from one of a kick to the knee in training which put him in a brace for 6 months and ended his Wing Chun training.

      I think it is one of those unwritten rules in the UFC. Most fighters aren’t trying to use “career ending” techniques on their opponents.

      And yes, I agree the timing would be tough to pull off against a skilled opponent in a cage fight scenario.

    • Anonymous October 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      I pretty much agree with this. The knee technique described can be seen here:


      That is a picture perfect execution, if i do say so myself!

      Sadly, wing chun suffers more than most arts for teachers who do not combat test their techniques. Finding those that have is difficult, but they do exist.

      The reason that you don’t see wing chun in UFC is not because ‘it is too deadly’ or any cop out excuse. It is because nobody has put in the hard work required to do it successfully yet.

      Karate was similarly ignored, until Machida came along. Give it time, wing chun will be represented soon enough. The system is far too good not to be!

      You read it here first!

      • Adam November 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        I 100% agree with you! The problem is no that wing chun can’t work in the ring, the problem is that people spend WAY too much time on the wooden dummy and doing chi sau and NOT sparring. Sparring is essential to functionalizing ANY art. Wing chun works well, Bruce Lee was an example of that. But no art will work well without real world combat training.

        Trapping has even been used in mma as well. Check out this clip of the dutch hand trap.

  • G November 7, 2013 at 10:09 am

    I have always said this UFC is not Combat or real fighting I really think it is sometimes BullShit. just my 2 cents

    • steven November 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      I don’t think its bullshit but I hear ya. I just think that the rules and context and goals are all different, so its not apples and apples. I really enjoy about 20% of the fights on the UFC. But the internet trolls bug me (I don’t know why!) with their narrow views – but they probably bug me because of the grain of truth in their comments. Most “martial artists” I’ve met wouldn’t last a second in a real fight. But by no means all. Its that Sturgeon’s Law – 90% of everything is bullshit.

  • Anonymous November 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    These guys didn’t do to well in the early days of mma when everything but eye gouges and biting were legal.

    • steven November 12, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Well, those fights were not far from a circus. I remember watching them on VHS. It was a little sleazy. Not every martial style field representatives for those events.

  • steven November 11, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I agree with what the other guy said above. Although Karate didn’t get as much bad press as WC before Machida, it took a Machida to show it could work in that context (but what he did was modified a lot for competition). Maybe someone will come around and do the same for WC – we’ll see. But not being in the UFC doesn’t invalidate WC. Escrima isn’t in the UFC. Krav Maga. Penjat Silat. Not every style has a champion in the sport. In fact, most don’t. And all the styles that are in the sport have altered themselves for participation.

    I think its interesting. Most street fighters who write (Geoff Thompson, Marc MacYoung) respect WC. Many sport followers don’t.

  • Anonymous November 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Karate didn’t get as much bad press because despite what you guys think there were a lot of early mma fighters even champions using Karate successfully. Ever heard of guys like Bas Rutten, Guy Mezger, and Chuck Liddell?

    • steven November 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Good point – Machida was the first guy I saw fighting in what I would call a karate style. The squared hips and shoulders thing. Lidell’s standup was more of a boxing approach (to my eye). I don’t think I’ve seen Rutten or Mezger fight, so …..

      Machida seemed like a Karate guy, except for the fading away thing he developed, but that was a adjustment to the ring and the rules.

  • B December 10, 2013 at 12:29 am

    This seems to be a problem with a lot of westerners, they don’t understand martial arts at all, they only want to use it to “kick ass” because of daddy problems or something.
    Wing chun wont work in MMA because its meant for street defense, and a lot of the techniques would be banned in MMA, hence not making it wing chun. You can’t use a combat martial art in sport. There’s a difference between a sport art and combat art.
    MMA isn’t real combat by the way, because they fight for the judges and the rules and the scorecards, I agree with bruce lee. If a sport MA combatant went up against a self defense martial artist combatant, the self defense would win. Why ? because they’re trained for self defense and have more tools to work with, unlike sports where they fight to impress judges and get scores. The mindset between the two is also different. Wing chun is a self defense martial art, not a sport.
    Wing chun is a very effective art, if you go up against someone that’s trained in it for years and not against someone that’s only been in it for 6 months or so and you try to pick on them to show wing chun. The biggest mistake for martial arts was it being introduced to the western world because its been ruined, bastardized, and highly misunderstood. The people you see in UFC are not martial artists, they’re just prize fighters. There’s a difference between the two.

    • Steve December 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      I think its interesting that this post has by far the most comments. I think its because on the one hand there are MMA/UFC people (both people who do it and people who watch it and talk about it) who are very concerned to let people who train in traditional arts know that they suck and aren’t real fighters. And on the other hand, we have people who train in (or watch and talk about) various traditional arts who get a little pissed off at this stupididity, but there is an additional emotional content because so much of traditional training is exactly what they say it is.

      As usual in the world, I think the truth is somewhere in between. I think that many UFC fighters are highly ranked in traditional arts. Many black belts in Ju Jitsu, many high ranked karateka and Sambo players, etc. Then they get into the sport and start training for the ring, which, as you say, is a specialized thing which is not the same as a street fight. But I do not agree that these fighters would not do well in a street fight. The worst (for them) thing that might happen is they would break their hands because they are used to fighting with gloves. But in my experience, the most out of shape UFC guy is 100% better shape than 99% of traditional people, if only because they train for a living.

      As for the different techniques, really, who knows? I think all fights are determined by the vagaries of the day. Who is conscious and paying attention in that split second? Who is sick or hung over or has an injury?

      Most importantly, who hits first?

    • Anonymous November 28, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I agree. The real wing chun is for one thing. To quickly disable and kill an oppenent who is trying to kill you. This art is mercilous in real life combat and people would not want to see babarius acts. Gouging out eyeballs, quick strikes to the throat, elbow strikes to temple, forward open palm strike to the nose bridge, breaking wrist, knee, and ankle joints and ligaments, are all common blows to violate those who can still stand. It would be outlawed quickly. Plus, if the ones who no how to shimmy their internal thrusts at the body’s vital points can kill the opponent with him not even knowing his body and brain is shutting down. This art is not for show, but designed for a quick kill. I don’t know how many guys want to do this for sport because this isn’t wrestling and show.

      • Steven Moody November 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        Yes, although I do feel that many people (90+%) who train in martial arts use these “too deadly” ideas as a bit of a cop out and would get taken out by a pro fighter or even a semi-skilled street fighter pretty quick.

        This is why I sort have to tap dance really fast talking about this. The fact is that many if not most of us don’t train the system to its higher potentials.

        And I think someone with 6 months of Thai Kickboxing who has been in the ring sparring for the last 3 months will beat most Wing Chun fighters of a years experience or more. Despite its reputation as an approach to fighting that can be learned quickly, I think it is actually now a very sophisticated system that takes longer to master mainly because its skills are cumulative and few get them working properly in unison (sam yi hap yat) with the right does of bloodthirstiness to become the dangerous fighter they COULD be.

        But its always down to the fighter. So few WC trainees get past the training wheels stage of the system. Whereas a boxer or Thai boxer is getting fairly close to fighting within the year. They are hit and they hit. In WC, you have to get into Gwoh Sau, which few attain.

  • B December 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I respect the UFC and MMA as a sport but I don’t like these hardcore fans that automatically think they understand martial arts because of watching UFC.
    Even Dana white has called those people idiots, and I hate dana white but I agree with him.
    The hardcore fans have no respect for other martial arts at all and put down a lot of it, just because it’s not effective in MMA. yeah ? well if your going to decide that don’t strip down the art of what it is and fight it as it is without any rules and judges and fight for yourself, not for money and scorecards. THEN decide wether the art is effective or not. In this case Wing chun, Fight someone with no rules, fight a wing chun practitioner (one whos trained in it for years and has great experience) fight the style as it is, you cant strip down an art with rules and call it ineffective, this is the problem with western culture, they’ll never understand martial arts at all.
    Now as a note id like to point out I respect all martial arts styles. Both Sport and Self defense, but I hate it when people write styles off as ineffective in particular in UFC. The ufc isn’t the god event of martial arts, those guys are just fighters fighting under rules for money, they’re not martial artists. Even joe rogans a moron, that loser pothead runs his mouth off thinking he knows everything hes so biased, only reason people like him is cus hes a pothead loser like them.

    • Steve December 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I hear you. I kind of like Rogan, more or less, and I enjoy the UFC and I appreciate both Joe ROgan and White’s outspokenness and no bullshit attitudes. But I basically feel like its all a lot of speculation. People love to talk and throw out broad opinions and shit talk and flame, but when it comes down to it, what are your goals, and what sort of training will get you there. Me, I want to be a good fighter but am not interested in being injured all the time and I want to keep training even though I’m 51 now. So its Wing Chun for me!

  • anonymous January 8, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Except WC is a *real* martial art, just like Judo, Karate, Tai Chi, Muay Thai, etc.. As for why it’s not used in the octagon is due to a fact it doesn’t actually work. The Chinese banned martial arts practice during the revolution and now they’re taught very differently and less effective than they used to be. Chinese Martial Arts just aren’t combat-oriented anymore.

    • Steve January 8, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Well, karate and Muay Thai and Judo are used in the Octogon. George St. Pierre, Lyotto Machida, etc, etc. Everyone does Muay Thai. Its the second most popular form of striking aside from Boxing.

      You need to be careful when making broad statements. The Chinese ban had about as much effect on kung fu as the Spanish ban had on Kali and Escrima. It drove it underground or people left the country (like Ip Man did).

      And I can tell you – Chinese martial arts do work and to paint the entire martial output of a country with thousands of years of martial history and 1.35 billion people is a bit careless.

    • Paul Freeman February 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      It was banned and for good reason, but it didn’t stop them training it was done in secret hence the pole as a weapon, it started life as a punt for a boat, lots of other Kung fu styles have weird weapons as well like the nun chuck, that was a rice flail.
      As for not working, bullshit, it works just fine but not with rules that’s why we don’t have rules, rules are for girls

      • Steven Moody February 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

        Sorry – what was banned? Not sure what we’re talking about.

  • Ryan January 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Great article. I’m a recent wing chun convert myself and although I have not been practicing long, I enjoy the art. I completely respect MMA folks as the finely tuned athletes they are. One thing to keep in mind, which the article nicely points out, is that traditional martial arts folks don’t have the time to fully focus on their craft. I can’t speak for everyone but I have a full time professional career, family and other obligations to attend to. I don’t have the luxury of spending hours training on end: enter wing chun and other art forms which some may find appealing.

    • Steve January 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks. I think Wing Chun is an outstanding way to accomplish my goals, none of which are to fight in the Octagon.

      Also, most commenters know very little about Wing Chun outside what they see in Youtube videos. I know what my Sifu and Sigung can do. I’ve felt their power and speed and accuracy.

  • HLK October 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Krav Maga (Moti Horenstein), Wing Chun (Asbel Cancio) and Silat (Alberto Cerro Leon) have all been in the UFC.

    • Steven Moody October 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Yeah – this was just my reaction to sites like Bullshido where many of the members measure everything against fighting in the ring and there is a lot of shit-talking about Wing Chun (much of which, unfortunately, I agree with, but its not the whole story).

  • Paul Freeman February 24, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    A lot of techniques used by an advanced student would not be allowed, the wearing of gloves would render a lot of techniques useless, the only way would be to learn another art to give you more options, but then it’s not pure wing Chun.
    Wing Chun is best left where it belongs, you won’t get many practisers take the doubters up on a challenge fight, with your rules, a referee etc, if you really really want to know try forcing a fight on an advanced student or instructor around your own size, outside in an alley and when your on your own, if you have the bottle.

    • Steven Moody February 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Ha! I love that expression “have the bottle.” Where are you from, Paul?

  • Gerald March 8, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Maybe this discussion will be obsolate in the near future. Because of this guy:
    (Don’t take the title of the video too serious. It will get interesting after a vew seconds)

  • Bob April 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    If you want to learn how to fight and defend yourself then don’t do wing chun, I did it for 4 years under a top UK Sifu and studied twice in Hong Kong with Ip Chun. I had fun and made a lot of friends but I didn’t learn how to fight.
    I’ve been doing MMA for 3 months now and it’s so much more effective.

    What it comes down to is this – with MMA there is an answer for everything, with Wing Chun there are a lot of unanswered questions. The Wing Chun guys that are answering these questions are adding MMA into their Wing Chun, no longer making it Wing Chun.

    • Steven Moody April 17, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      Let’s agree to disagree.
      I’ve been studying with Greg for nearly seven years and I do know how to fight.
      But I understand your experience, having had it myself.
      Glad you found what you were looking for in MMA.

    • Akaalis August 31, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Sounds like you’ve studied from a few Sifus under the more popular version of Wing Chun. Which has too many dysfunctional and de-bilitating habits in their system, like that rigid inverted pigeon toe’d stance, keeping your guard hands below one’s chin, the pivoting and shifting of ones weight which is bio-mechanically incorrect and also puts alot of friction-stress on the rotary joints in one’s knees. Lastly is the 30/70 or 40/60 majority weight distribution on one’s rear leg, lets also not forget about advancing forward through dropping your feet and sloppily lunging. All really stupid things to do against lets say a very light footed and mobile boxer whom would dance around circles on you if you were to do that.

      With that said I know because of those things Wing Chun has left a very bitter taste in your mouth. Might I suggest though that you try a different ‘flavor’ of Wing Chun under the unorthodox William Cheung lineage, its fairly popular but not as popular as the version you’ve already learnt. It also has none of the above previously-mentioned bad traits which turn ALOT of people(like yourself) off and just making Wing Chun lose respect in general. Try to become more open-minded to Wing Chun again and see if you can find a sifu under the William Cheung lineage.

      You can also clearly see how more effective and sensible that lineage is from the few videos below:




  • eyal August 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

    First of all, Thank you. This is a very thoughtful and intelligent piece of writing. I enjoyed reading it and think you are absolutely right. I had the privilege of studying a few “moves” with master Wong in Vienna and the man was pure Zen in my mind. Yet Wing Tsun does not stand in a UFC ring, for all the reasons you mentioned. the lack of ground game, the gloves, and even the hand position which give away the side head protection are the main reasons. It is still, in my mind, the best, most efficient, self defense system out there

    • Steven Moody August 8, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks Eyal.
      I feel more and more content with my choice of studying Wong/Lam style WC with Greg. Given my constraints of time and age and willingness for injury, its perfect.

  • eyal August 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I have had experience with many martial arts, Aikido, judo. JJ and Wing tsun as well as others, call me a jack of all trades (and a master of none). I remember telling countless of people Aikido simply does not work, until the moment I knocked out (!!) an opponent in JJ with an Aikido move… lucky strike I guess… I think in time you will find your time with WT was not a waste

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