Yes, it can. It can take you down the rabbit hole.
It gives us page upon page of entertainment; that's a kind of far.
Yes, you get threads where supposedly smart people use appeals to authority to make their point. Then they get angry and insult someone who actually has equal if not better experience than their appeal to authority.
This is the website:
They mention Greco Wong and Rolf Clausnitzer who are both well known in the wing chun community. Easiest thing to do is find one of these guys on facebook and confirm if the school is bona-fide. Other than that try it out, ask lots of questions and test everything.
If it is self-defense you are looking for then I would advise you carry around a weapon with you (a knife,gas-spray etc.).defending yourself is much easier with a weapon you can end a fight easier and faster....but if you really want to practice wing tsun I'd say don't, most are crap as other have said(I practice it myself....there aren't many that allow you to spar, or are realistic to say the least) if it really just pure relf-defense you are looking for then I'd say practice a martial art that teaches you to use a weapon that you can conceal and carry with your self(which means no medieval longswords, huge spears. and rifles etc.)
You have two things you are asking in the first post, three really.
- Is Wing Chun good?
- Is this a good school with legitimate lineage?
- Is this something that will translate to 'the street'?
At least, that’s what I take from your post.
My answer will proffer my perspective, which you should take for what it’s worth.
1) If you are interested in learning a traditional (cultural practice) martial art, let it be what it is, not what you want it to be. Not all traditional martial arts translate into 'the street' as you may have been sold upon, and probably shouldn’t.
2) Lineage (The Real’s Kung Fools) matters in only two real ways: That when you are learning a traditional (cultural practice) martial art and want to obtain as much historical validity as possible for your learning experience. Much like wanting to go to DISNEY LAND instead of Little AMERIKA, you want to see the mouse, not the crappy little train thingy.
The second way it matters is in a murkier way: is this a combat method which has been tested, tried and found to be valid? That the people teaching have been vetted and found worthy to teach as they embody the necessary skills in performance and teaching to properly carry on a tradition with deep cultural meaning and value?
The second item is what most people think they are looking for when they use the first method of validating lineage but, sadly, that is completely incorrect on its face. Something can look and feel completely real, along with all the bells and whistles and still be fraudulent. You have to do the research and take risks as you go, learning and improving your knowledge. Some of the posts in this forum will serve you well to read about what the topics you have asked about might mean in a broader and more educated sense.
My recommendation: if you are interested in studying Wing Chun, then let it be the cultural practice that it is, with all its failings and glory. If you are interested in learning to defend yourself, it may be part of what you are looking for. After all: very few muggings take place inside a martial arts school. The place you will tend to lose money is in the business office when you make your payments.
3) There is no ‘the street’. The times you hear someone say that, you should immediately also hear in your head, like subtitles ‘your money is going in my pocket because you are feeling afraid or inadequate’.
‘The Street’ is a selling point, not a real thing. Real life happens and incidents which may or may not involve fighting happen. If you are interested in becoming prepared for violence, you should start by examining the WHY of that need. If you are interested in learning to improve yourself by obtaining skills to defend yourself, I am totally all in on that. If you are simply afraid, you need to first understand what you are afraid of and why.
The times I have been attacked have been: at Work in a restaurant, at work at a gas station and in a bar. I regularly use politeness and authority while working security at night, they seem to work okay.
So, my personal martial arts school would likely have sales literature reading
“Do you know how to defend yourself in a restaurant? In a Gas Station? Or even…IN A BAR???”
When I worked with a boxer, we never talked about how boxing could be used to defend yourself on the street in a mugging or to defend the honor of my wife against a bar room bully. It was ‘Can you keep your hands up Fat Boy or am I turning your face into pate again?!!?’ The practicality of the training spoke for itself.
When I worked with Karate people, it was mentioned, but only in passing in the sales literature. The conversations in class were more like ‘can you finish your pushups, fat boy, or is your lard ass too big for you to carry?’ and ‘give and take drills work to make you tougher so you can train better’ The practicality of the training and body conditioning spoke for itself.
When I worked with Kempo people, there was plenty of ‘this would KILL A MAN, be careful with what you do!’ and I briefly became dumber for it. When I found a better group of people, it was only mentioned in sales literature, not in classroom practice. Class practice was more like ‘keep your hands up Fat Boy!, MOVE MOVE MOVE!’ and ‘More pushups why don’t you?’ Eventually, the practicality of having to do pushups and body conditioning and ‘pay attention’ speak for themselves.
The Wing Chun people I have had contact with really don’t talk about ‘the street’ unless someone starts the inevitable fantasy conversation about being attacked by a gang of thugs at a bar. It always degenerates into who could ‘beat Bruce Lee’ or ‘could Chuck Norris take Fabio in a one on one’ or whatever. (My money is on Fabio, that guy has abs that last forever)
TLDR – You are likely looking for at least two things, personal improvement and possible self defense skills. Make your list, determine why, if you haven’t and research your steps, keeping track of your progress as you go. Read the instructional pages here and take the useful information with you before you go anywhere.