“Wing Chun simply does not work, in any fight, under any circumstances. If a guy beats your ass and he does Wing Chun, he would have beaten your ass just the same if he didn’t. If you can kick some guy’s ass and he doesn’t do WC, you could do the same if he did do WC. Every real fight turns into grappling and ends on the ground, unless it’s a KO’ing punch, no matter what form of martial art you do that’s what will happen eventually. So you’re better off training your speed, strength, punching power, evading and grappling abilities than some Chinese ballet invented by a woman, which doesn’t even help strong men win fights in MMA.”
Mike Smith in a Youtube comment
Wing Chun does not work very well when you do it wrong.
Wing Chun isn’t designed for slap fighting or friendly sparring. That’s “doing it wrong.”
When you decide to be friendly and do not to intend to hurt the opponent, then what you are doing ceases to be Wing Chun. Wing Chun, the songs say, was invented for revenge. Wing Chun is “like a knife.”
You don’t play games with your friends with a sharp knife (I hope). If you have a training knife with its point blunted and its edges dulled, its not really a knife any more. It doesn’t do what knives do, which is cut or stab.
OK – back to my catchy title premise. I discovered that the phrase “Wing Chun Does Not Work” is apparently is one of the most popular searches on Google with Wing Chun in the title (how sad is that?).
This is why.
The fighter does not attempt to get a bridge before hitting.
I’ve seen people walking toward their opponent chain punching. This is only OK if you are striking someone who is sleeping standing up or they have their back to you.
Against a conscious opponent, this is telegraphing. Any competent opponent will change their angle and flank your attack. Otherwise, the advantage of Wing Chun mainly kicks in once you have a bridge. This is why (good) boxers are so dangerous. They jab, jab, jab. They are like an animal with a sharp point, like a dog that’s trying to bite you. Don’t walk into that point. Stay away from the end that bites. Catching the timing on a good jab is a hard skill to develop. Wing Chun fighter’s must develop it. It takes practice and a training partner who knows how to jab properly. Good jabs are fast and hurt if they land.
The “bridge” doesn’t have to last long (don’t get confused about what is meant by sticking). We want to be hitting. The bridge is like one of those stage rockets on the moon shots. Once it gets us out of the atmosphere, they are dropped. The job of the bridge is to control the centerline and occupy that attacking or defending hand for a tenth of a second. Get rid of it and hit.
The fighter does not “take position.”
We are not playing paddy cake here. Many people think Chi Sao is teaching them to play with the opponent’s hands – this is how they interpret “sticking.” But we need to understand that our goal is to hit the head and hit it hard (and repeatedly). It says in the songs: “Don’t chase the hand.”
The Wing Chun training model is to teach the stance, then turning (Juen Ma), then hitting, then stepping, then some of the basic hands, and then we are into Dan Chi Sao and then Chi Sao. After this early stage, the trainee may hit the wallbag sometimes (hopefully a lot) but mostly they do various drills with a Chi Sao format. Chi Sao teaches you skills for a specific situation that doesn’t last long in a real fight.
Don’t forget, Chi Sao teaches you to “change” so you can get back to hitting. When you do get a clean angle, you have to step in if you want the punch to have any power. This is hard to train right. You need to learn control so you can do the action partially and under control without hurting your opponent but do it for real in the actual fight.
Remember: Momentum = Mass x Velocity.
To get mass and velocity, we step (mass) and extend the punch (velocity). Then using ground power (structure) adds more mass to the equation.
The more body weight, the more power (thus weight classes in pro fights). Also, taking position the right way will hopefully cause the opponent to lose balance and fall backward, disrupting their capacity to respond with a structured counter-attack.
The fighter does not go in for the kill.
We need “geng ging” or controlled aggression. A Wing Chun fighter must be like an attack dog. We are not circling around, looking for our opportunity, like an MMA fight with five five-minute rounds. In real life, time is your enemy. Your opponent’s friends may arrive and decide to help them if they appear to be losing. Your opponent may decide they are losing and deploy their weapon or run off to get their gun out of the car.
How can you develop this attribute of “geng ging?”
Two main ways. One is visualization. Go all the way in your mind and let yourself get all medieval on the ass of your imaginary opponent (try not to imagine actual people – this is the wrong road to walk down). Real fights are bloody and upsetting. Imagine yourself, as in a first person shooter game, trying to talk your way out of it, then being attacked. Imagine the resulting mayhem as you lay them low. I’m a pacifist but of the Teddy Roosevelt variety. I walk softly but carry a big stick. Wing Chun is my big stick and under the right (wrong) circumstances I will wield it with impunity. Imagine the fight in violent detail – use this technique to channel your aggressive tendencies (as opposed to letting them loose in real life).
The second way to develop this attribute is through regular training with a skilled partner. As you get to know each other, you can play ever closer to the line. Let the tiger out of the box a little. This enables you to ride the line without injuring them.
The fighter ‘s skills are not reflexive.
You have to do this stuff a lot. 10,000 hours says the classic time frame (and Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers).
You have to drum these reflexes into your nervous system. You have to train your amygdala. Your body must be faster than your “brain.”
Most people lose to sucker punches. Reflexes, strategy (don’t let them get that close), and awareness are the only things that protect you from sucker punches.
The fighter can’t take a punch.
If you miss that sucker punch and have never been hit before, you are in for a nasty surprise. This surprise may make your entire fight game fall apart. I call it “discombobulation.” You may not be knocked unconscious but if you lose the picture, you will get hit a second and third time. Your go-to response to getting hit must be to violently counter-attack. It must be like a bomb going off for your attacker. Their main thought should be “whoops!” Or maybe “”oh sh…!” Ideally they won’t have enough continued consciousness to finish the thought.
Your best friend here is adrenaline. A friend of mine, a seasoned street fighter, told me to “trust in the adrenaline.” It can get you through a lot. Broken hands, knife and bullet wounds. People often only become aware of their severe injuries after the fight is over.
This is another place where “geng ging” is your friend too. Your response to being attacked must be an explosion of controlled aggression. This aggression will stimulate the release of adrenaline.
These are the usual holes people have in their Wing Chun game. The fact is, if you have the above problems, what you are doing is not really Wing Chun. Wing Chun is an attack striking style. If you don’t attack and are not prepared for a realistic response (counter-punching), then it won’t work!