My current opinions on wing chun
Wing Chun is not a complete system, and, as a striking system, I believe it is far from ideal. I did it for a bit more than two years, and I appreciate some of its tactical aspects and techniques, but its learning curve is much too steep, and some of its fundamental techniques are, though workable, not really the best option as main techniques in a strikers game. And no, I am not talking about a quick fix either. Iīll try to explain.
Wing Chun, I believe, is not the easiest way to learn how to fight (specifically strike) because, in my humble opinion:
1) It forces you to develop alternative sources of power generation when you punch, as you are not allowed to use your goddamn shoulders. Yes, my former sifu could generate a huge amount of power, but this usually depended on a stepping movement, which could not be done in all circunstances, or it depended on a very short motion, which cannot work if your arm is not already pretty close to your enemy. Since you do not learn how to use your shoulders when punching, you cannot take advantage of them when you should. Meaning, you donīt learn how to develop power from a distance. Big mistake.
2) No emphasis on circular strikes, punches or kicks. This flaw is irredeemable. A hook is an excellent fight ender, so is a roundkick. Those techniques should be emphasized in a striking art.
3) It takes forever to learn how it should actually work. Lots of different kinds of footwork, too much theory, it all became confusing. I DID WING CHUN FOR TWO DAMN YEARS AND I STILL DONīT KNOW HOW IT SHOULD ALL FIT TOGETHER IN A FIGHT. And please, letīs not even start with the lineage wars, and with the "that is not wing chun, THIS is wing chun". I refuse to believe that strange guard I was taught and those artificial stepping motions are the way it is supposed to work.
4) No sparring. At all. This is both inexcusable and frustrating. This was also the reason I left the kwoon. I was creamed by a MT guy with six months of experience when I started it, because I had no experience in sparring. And I believe I would also get creamed if I had tried to use eye gouges or vicious elbow strikes to the spinal cord, if anyone must know.
3 and 4 are, of course, derived from my personal experiences, but the two other WC schools I visited here in São Paulo suffer from the same flaws, and many of the internet people I talk to confirm that the same pattern is common in a whole lot of WC schools. So I believe it is fair to say items 3 and 4 describe problems common in Wc, even if YOUR particular school allows lots and lots of free sparring and puts emphasis on physical conditioning, as it should (you lucky bastard).
Still, I believe items 1 and 2 are even more important, as they describe what I consider to be technical flaws inherent to the WC style of fighting. Too much emphasis on the centerline theory will leave lots of good options out, and this may mean the difference between victory or the floor if you have not practiced high percentage moves throughly and well. Such as hooks and roundkicks.
Yes, this post reflects only my previous experience with WC and my year of experience with muay thai. I am not an authority on either system, but I believe such criticisms do hold some water. Flame away, o fellow wing chuners, but I would prefer some thoughtful criticism.
In a nutshell, my current opinion of wing chun is this: it works, but there are easier ways to learn how to fight. And incidentally those ways are also easier to master, so we may conclude that, since the end result of mastering a striking art is the same (an increase in your ass kicking skills), it is smarter to just take the faster path.
Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I sound bitter.