Is there a time and place for Wing Chun?

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by Monkey_Magic, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    Wing Chun gets its fair share of criticism, perhaps understandably.

    After being squeezed into a packed train recently, sardined against an aggressive guy, I wondered if there were some scenarios to which Wing Chun was ideally suited. What do you think?
  2. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    A long time ago one of the original dog brothers, bjj blackbelt and inosanto original students said wing chun was useful in the guard when striking and in certain instances when your opponent has a knife.

    I've found this to be true I'm fact if you ever train with bob breen his knife stuff is straight wing chun from the weight shifts to the tan sau and bue jee

    But this is only when it's a knife duel amdayou also have a blade if it's a straight up attack with killing intent attacking the centre shocking and controlling the blade arm is a better bet, which is seen in a lot of other Chinese styles funnily enough

    Close in it can work but an upright stance and close legs leaves you open to foot sweeps
  3. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Such a loaded topic :)

    From my limited experience of the curriculum I would assume the majority of techniques were designed for just outside clinch, but inside long range striking (long fist, TKD etc).
    In that context it would have some benefits.

    Ideally suited? I don't think this is a scenario exclusively beneficially to wing chun curriculum; You could say the same for a lot of other styles, except those only focused on the outside fighting range.
    Monkey_Magic likes this.
  4. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I'd say that grappling would serve you better in that situation.
    axelb likes this.
  5. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Imho one area it could help is in the civilian social violence 'talking range' you get when someone is being belligerent and abusive but not quite physically violent yet.
    The interview stage where there may be gesturing and pushing and the ability to monitor hands, prevent your hands being controlled, trap and pre-empt to escape would be useful skills.
    And this is a range and context that doesn't exist in combat sports.
    And obviously some Thai clinching and grappling hand fighting would also serve here with added bonus of being drilled much more alive than most chun trapping.
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  6. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    My IBS tends to give me extra space.... :p
  7. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I would rather be excellent at the ranges before and after trapping range than be good at trapping on its own.
  8. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    :) if there was a thumbs up emoji I'd use it here.

    Being good at this range makes sense if you are fighting people who also tend to hang around at that range, as a fair few southern arts did,

    But if you come up against an art which either flat out refuses to enter that range (Lama Pai) or blows right through it (Chinese wrestling) you can get in trouble.

    As the southern martial arts found out when the above arts came south hung gar changed to reflect this.
    axelb and David Harrison like this.
  9. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Agree with you 100% there. Old saying said, "If you want to move in, I'll help you to move in more than you really want to." If WC guys is not good in clinching range, that can be a weakness there.
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  10. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Quite understandably, and not undeservedly.

    I would not want to use it on its own, or "pure" wing chun if you prefer. There's no way I want to give up other tools. I would say there are useful elements from it which come up most often and most notably in engaging at conversational range. But I've used elements from it in sparring, grappling, arresting techniques, weapon retention, and weapon use. Heck I even used Sue Mai Gwan techniques when fencing with my step-brother. But there are elements of the system which regardless of context I tend not to use as much, because they're unsuitable or because I think there are better alternatives, and there are areas where it definitely requires some propping up with other tools.

    That's the thing though, "trapping" isn't really a range. If you can touch them, and they can touch you then there is the potential for trapping. I'm sure you're plenty good at boxing parries, right? That's one example of a trap. As always, the goal is not to trap, the goal is to hit, and if I can hit then why would I be playing with limbs? Trapping is incidental and not the only tool in the box even in wing chun and I think the term "trapping" ends up being a trap itself because that's what people focus on, and what they think is the only tool in the toolbox. Purposeful relocation of limbs is not the only tool. If they strike, and I strike, and my strike displaces theirs by virtue of its angle, I hit and they miss, that's perfect. If I change location and I hit and they miss, and I don't have to mess with their limbs perfect. If I go to hit and they put something in the way, I deal with it and hit them, perfect.

    My sifu always stressed that distance, angle, and timing were the core of what's important, and they're in service of accomplishing your goal of being able to reach your opponent with what you want (hand, foot, elbow, blade, stick, knee, shoulder, head, etc) in the way you want (strike, grab, stab, cut, kick, etc).
  11. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I personally prefer your wider interpretation of trapping, but "trapping range" is common nomenclature, and I think we all knew what PiP meant.
  12. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I do, but I just don't think it's helpful to the conversation because it's not the only range wing chun operates in, just like I kind of have an issue with the nebulousness of the word "trapping." It muddies the discussion IMO.
  13. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The trapping range and the clinching range are just next to each other. When you use double WC Tan Shou, you can end with "double arms raising" if you want to. IMO, it's better to train both ranges.

  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Side question. Is WC really meant for close range fighting primarily? Or is that a false reputation?

    I ask because CLF is known for long range techniques. It is often referred to as a long range system. But it actually has plenty of moves for all ranges. So I wonder if something similar is going on with WC.
  15. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I don't believe WC has any long range moves. In order to have the maximum reach, your leading arm and your chest should make a straight line. That will make you to have 1 long arm and 1 short arm. WC doesn't have any move like that.

    This is how a WC fight may look like.

  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    In kung fu films, in the past?
  17. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Rumble in the Bronx was amazing.
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  18. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I can "trap" all the way from kicking distance to even while on the ground. And there isn't really "double tan sao." Tan sao is a technique to off-angle a limb or blade from your center line and with tan sao your arm should be occupying the center line, so double tan sao doesn't make any sense.

    It's not so much that it doesn't have techniques for a long range system as that they're not the primary focus and often overlooked and contrary to what YKW says below there is actually exactly what he describes below in a fully side-on stance which you learn as part of preparation for training with the Sue Mai Gwan. The thing is that of the two weapons that's the most difficult to train in terms of space, and strength, it's often seen as simpler and less cool, and hence no fun. It seems alien to the rest of the system but really it's the same principles you use with the Do but at a longer range and when you understand that you start to see that you don't operate wing chun techniques within one range but a degree of range and body turn. As you change from empty hand to weapons Tan Sau becomes Tan Gwan, and then Tan Do. Same with Bong Sau, etc. But the Sue Mai Gwan is somewhat simpler, or rather more limited in technique because of its range.

    Now, like other arts which historically had weapons integration wing chun doesn't have high kicks, or even much of an emphasis on kicks at all having two really, and the hand techniques which are reflective of the Do don't have certain mechanics like forward torso lean with looping strikes because that's a really good way to die when you're fighting with short swords/long knives. Again, there are empty handed mechanics which are hampered by the fact that the mechanics are meant to be able to translate between weapons. If you remove the weapons and associated mechanics and focus on empty hand only what you end up with is kind of like boxing with low kicks, a few takedowns/sweeps, and some additional limb manipulation techniques, missing the looping/hooking strikes, and the footwork being based on the heels instead of the toes.

    It actually has exactly what you're describing in what you're supposed to learn before doing the Sue Mai Gwan. This is way too low, and poor form, but should give you a better idea. I used to have a photo of Moy Yat doing them but seem to have misplaced it.

    Even in Biu Jee you see the Bong Sau done at the side with turn to impart power. Now granted that's a recovery technique for when a strike is coming in from off center but it's a good example of techniques done off the center at full extension. But also, if you remove one of the two Wu Dip Do the use by itself looks quite similar to some forms of European sabre because the techniques don't change but you now cover the open side of the body with that single blade instead of its counterpart, and you can now turn more sideways for fuller extension.
    aaradia likes this.
  19. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Thanks for the excellent response SWC Sifu Ben. One more question. Does WC have any sweeping long range moves? Roundhouse punches (Sow Chui in CLF) in particular? Just curious.
  20. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    No, because it's the equivalent of taking the Do off center to swing wide and hit someone with the tip. Bad idea in general, worse idea when you realize you're doing it against people with swords about 2-2.5 times as long as yours. It is one of those areas where I supplement from other arts in empty-hand (or rather where cross training melds together), because curving shots of all kinds are really useful. There are other areas which require supplementation as well though IMO.
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