“The other major thing that gives these limited sports martial arts a huge edge over Wing Chun is pure athleticism.”
A few years ago, I did an extended email interview with a guy I’d trained with for a little while. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to train with him too much as this was around the time I had to take a year off due to a shoulder injury.
His was an interesting perspective because he’d trained extensively in MMA before switching to Wing Chun plus he’s a very smart, articulate guy. Because so many online voices are critical of Classical martial arts versus the “MMA style,” I was really curious about why he’d switched and his perspective on Wing Chun’s training methods.
My questions are in red italics.
>>>Beginning of Interview<<<
At the novice level of training, the classes would spend about 45 minutes teaching you basic techniques: the mechanics of a jab, cross, hook, round kick, etc. At the end of the class we’d do some very simple one step sparring for 15 min or so. Similar to what you see in Kung Fu classes. I throw the cross, you slip and counter hook/cross. Something like that.
Students usually only stayed in this foundational phase for a month or two. Then you’d move to the regular classes. The regular classes were structured similarly. We’d spend about 30 minutes going over some combinations or ideas for attack/defense strategy and then we’d spend 30 minutes doing some sparring.
The class would be generally split in half. The people with less experience going to one side of the room and their sparring would still be a sort of one step sparring but random. For example, you launch some combination of attacks. I defend and let you finish, then its my turn. Similar to what we do (in Wing Chun). The more advanced side of the room would be free sparring at 50% – 75% power.
I think the beauty of this gym’s approach was that they designed their classes so that everyone had contact EVERY SINGLE CLASS. It made people good fast. It took away all the pent up desire to go balls to the wall that I’ve seen in other schools where they spar once a week and everyone can’t wait to throw down. It was nice, steady, and progressive.”