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Golden dragon

June 2016

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gracewanderer in wing_chun

Wing Chun vs. groundfighting

Does anyone here have experience fighting vs. ground fighting styles with Wing Chun? It's kind of hard to evaluate the effectiveness of a form that you're not supposed to use in sport.


I've heard that Bruce Lee was definitely influenced by his experiences sparring with practitioners of other arts, and he had no problem adding what he experienced to what he knew. It's important to know that Bruce Lee's training in Wing Chun was very incomplete.

I would say that Bruce started the whole trend in mixing various styles of fighting, though he wasn't the first to do it. I think he was the first to speak openly about being open to whatever works, especially since he was prevented from pursuing his training in Wing Chun.

I think it's also important to know that there is a huge difference between sport fighting and fighting for combat. What works in the ring isn't necessarily what you want to do when confronted on the street. What works on the street simply isn't legal to do in sport fighting, nor should it be.

Depends on what you mean by "fighting". If you mean sports-fighting where there's rules, then yes, MMA is the way to go. If someone pulls a knife on you, or you have multiple opponents, going to the ground with an opponent is the surest way to get killed.
I certainly believe that it's good to learn all you can. If nothing else, at least you'll know what a potential opponent might do and it's good to be prepared.

Yes, open palm strikes are definitely the way to go. We only teach beginners to use their fists, to build power and proper technique. Palm striking comes in the second form of Wing Chun. The most dangerous strikes we do are done with the fak sau (chopping hand) and the finger tip strikes (biu jee).

Yes, I think it has more to do with popularity than what is effective. Consider, why would anyone want to do an arm bar or leg lock on someone in combat? To make them submit? To make them surrender? What about the rest of the enemy on the battle field? What are they supposed to do when they see your awesome ground fighting skills? Throw down their weapons and surrender before you choke them out?

Of course, there's lots of instructors out there who know the difference between how civilized people defend themselves on the street and how a combat soldier is supposed to destroy the enemy at all costs. So you could say they are training soldiers to defend themselves under many different situations, especially since soldiers do get mugged back home.

And hand-to-hand is relatively rare on the battle field. We're much too good with our weapons and tactics to even let that happen. As far as "ending fatigue in combat" there are better ways to exercise than practicing martial arts. Most fighters supplement their fighting training with stuff that has nothing to do with fighting (lifting weights, cardio, etc). I certainly think the military wants their soldiers to feel safe, which is why they give them bayonets even though they are rarely used in combat. They will be a lot safer keeping their gun close by than by depending on any hand-to-hand skills.
I have some experience playing with Gracie and Pankration trained grapplers. What would you like to know?
I've always wondered, when I see grapplers fighting, why one of them doesn't just punch the other square in the face/throat, rip off an ear, or gouge out an eye or something. They seem to be fighting "fair" rather than with the intention of actually winning at any cost. (Which to be honest is the only time I would ever really want to fight. Never enjoyed the thought of sport fighting.)
Generally speaking, there are three circumstances where martial arts are used:

1) Combat. This is real fighting, no holds barred, anything goes, you're willingly engaging in a conflict which may involve killing your opponent, for the purpose of war, assassination or murder. This is fighting for the purpose of combat, and it's illegal to participate in combat in our society. Very few people, outside the military or syndicated criminal organizations, train for this kind of fighting.

2) Self-defense. This is where you use whatever techniques are necessary to insure your safety if you or a loved one is attacked. You're only allowed to use as much force as is necessary to remove you from danger, to allow you to escape, or to cause your opponent to flee. If your opponent is debilitated and can no longer fight, you're not allowed to finish him off or punish him. That would be excessive use of force. If he tries to run, you're not allowed to follow him and continue fighting. That would make you a willing participant in combat and you're no longer "defending" yourself. You may have to go as far as killing your opponent but you can only do that if your opponent poses such a threat that you are in fear for your life, or the life of a loved one.

3) Sport fighting, which is where people engage in a contest with rules that limit what techniques are allowed. There's always a referee and specific guidelines as to how long and how far a fight can go. These rules are in place to protect the contestants from seriously injuring each other since the primary goal of such fighting is entertainment, not survival or self-defense. This is the type of fighting that most people use to judge the veracity of fighting styles and techniques, since it's illegal to willingly participate in any other type of fighting.
I'm in the military ;)
In what capacity? Air Force? Marine Recon? Army Infantry? Had any hand-to-hand training?
Army Infantry, currently waiting to return to SF selection. I got the "modern combatives level 1" training, which is just basic ground work.
Careful with that groundwork. It's not a good idea in combat to get tied up with an enemy soldier on the ground while he's got buddies running around. Better to learn how to kill him before he hits the ground, so you can drop him and move on.

Seems that the only other system I've seen that advocates that strategy and even has a clue to how to do it is Krav Maga.
I agree. I don't know why they bother teaching it to us. Presumably we'd go into combat with knives, right? So shouldn't we be taught how to fight with a knife? I can only assume it's because of the recent popularity of MMA.
You're not taught to fight with a knife? I'm surprised.
I'm not SF yet. Infantry (11B-10) aren't taught knife fighting, no.
Then they are probably doing what old Kung Fu instructors (including Yip Man) have been doing for hundreds of years. Giving you something that will make you feel confident in the field without making you too dangerous. You'll learn the real stuff as you become a trusted operator.
Ha ha, I doubt it. Not as an eleven bravo.
Then I guess you'll just have to supplement your training somewhere else.
you want to say, that Yip Man's Wing Tsun is outdated, or what?
I don't know what you mean by "outdated". I suspect you didn't understand my original comment. Do you think it's outdated?
yes, I think so :D

I mean, you're trying to say, that Wing Tsun is not useful in street fighting. Right?
Based on what you say so?
No, I think Wing Chun is very useful in street fighting, provided it's good Wing Chun.

excuse the awful spelllings

I cross-trained in BJJ for a bit. I felt completely like a fish outta water on the ground, despite a few years wing chun under my belt. I think it was partly the not being able to be hit, but then - given that my opponent spent a lot of his time squatting on my chest, I'm kinda glad of that :-)

The interpretation of wing chun I follow is almost exclusively about hitting the other guy hard, using the ground, your hips, your stucture and your footwork to generate power. I dont know how I'd apply the same power generation on my back, or even in the mount. The upper body would come into play a lot more that I'm used to I think.

That said, I'm just a beginner. I know the founder of a different wing chun system - Kamon wingchun - claims he found the opposite when he started cross-training in BJJ. Hes a purple belt now I think, and representing one of the Gracie schools in London, so maybe there is something in there after all.

I wouldn't go there if I could avoid it, any more that I would swap kicks with a kickboxer or a taekwando fella. For me I'd be working very hard to stay on my feet. Using my footwork, trying to control the other guys head and get it going backwards, or at least away from me, using my lan sao to keep some hitting space if he's high or my so-sau if he's low and hitting as hard as I can. Thats the theory anyway. Might be ok for some drunk idiot in a nightclub, dunno if would hold up against someone who knows what he is doing and can take a punch or two.

Re: excuse the awful spelllings

Well, it's got to be better than nothing, and again, in my opinion, it's good to learn all you can. I'm certainly not above talking with other martial artists about what they do and comparing notes. Learn all you can.

And, at least you're doing something. Grab most people or take a swing at them, and they don't have a clue what to do.


Re: excuse the awful spelllings

Well that is very true. It is definitely better than nothing and I suppose if you get in there quick enough on the attack its going to make it hard for them, (hard to hit or grapple someone when your heads going backwards and your brain is being bounced around I guess) I definitely stand by the idea that if someones on the defensive its a lot harder to plan a counter attack. So yeah its really good reactions to have when dealing with an unexpected violent encounter (I guess you just have to make sure you can hit really frikken hard

Re: excuse the awful spelllings

That was me by the way. I ticked the wrong box :-S

Re: excuse the awful spelllings

It's good to hit hard, and you should practice hitting as hard as you can, but if you hit the right targets, you don't have to hit as hard.

Wing Chun is all about target acquisition. That's what all the trapping is for.
Our entire Wing Chun Kwoon cross trains in BJJ. BJJ is sports fighting, what makes it attractive to our system of Wing Chun is it's "principals" and training methods. Once you get your head around them, they mirror many of the concepts in Wing Chun. One of the first things in BJJ I remember practicing was a passing the guard drill which, when you break it down is a chi sau drill (or more correctly a chi sun drill - sticking body). When we train we often include strikes etc in grappling techniques (why wouldn't you in a non sports setting?). when we free grapple we strike & knee etc. When we free spar it occasionally goes to the ground and continues there until someone wants to get back up.
Sounds like good training to me.