Surprisingly there are some people outside of the Wing Chun community that have the opinion that Wing Chun does not work well in a fight. Of course defining a real fight is difficult, as the term can mean different things to different people. This is where the misconceptions about Wing Chun begin.
If you are interested in learning Wing Chun, then don’t get caught up in all the hype. Essentially all martial arts are effective in their own right. The notion that “Wing Chun does not work” comes from a misunderstanding of the training methodology of Wing Chun. Granted, it’s common to see Wing Chun practitioners playing Chi Sao, but this is a particular exercise designed to improve specific hand fighting skills and reflexes (see Is Wing Chun Chi Sao Useful for Self Defence). It does not represent a method of improving mobility or medium to long range combat skills.
Many people assume that if you learn Wing Chun that you will be unable to fight at a long range or cope with basic boxing combinations. Granted that Wing Chun is an exceptional close quarter fighting system, but it can be used effectively over a long range. Our video explains how Wing Chun can be used effectively over a distance not typical of Wing Chun, while introducing the basic concept of improving mobility.
How to Improve Distance Judgement in Wing Chun
As in any martial art it is necessary to develop the ability to manage and control distance to the person that is attacking you. This involves the attribute of developing good mobility and footwork. You will see from our Wing Chun video that there are simple techniques in which to improve your mobility at long range. These can be broken down into three simple areas that form a checklist.
1st Examine How you Move on Your Feet
Key here is not to be flat footed when trying to move with agility at distance from your attacker. You will find it difficult to quickly move forward or any direction if you are flatfooted. You can simply improve your mobility by lifting the heal of your rear foot off the ground, this is provide more spring in your step. This leads us to the next important factor.
2nd Check the Level of your Stance
It is quite common in Wing Chun to stand in an upright position. This is typical because Wing Chun is primarily a hand fighting style of martial art. However, bending your knees loads them sufficiently in order to drive with power in any direction. You will see from our Wing Chun video by sitting in your stance you have a better chance of driving forward or in any direction.
3rd Is Your Man Sao Overextended
An overextended Man Sao is not only dangerous against punches or grabs (see What Seeking the Bridge REALLY Means for Self Defence), but it hinders your ability to move quickly over longer distance. Regardless, Man Sao is not required at a longer range as there is little to bridge against. In addition, it also gives the other fighter the opportunity to punch around your arms overextended arms. You will see from our video above a range of suggest guard positions that will increase your mobility.
Key points to note, that mobility is not important at close range especially when connected (Bridged) with your attacker. At close range you should focus on good structure and rooting to the ground. In contrast, when you are moving at long range, where there is no contact with the attacker, then you should focus on mobility for distance control.
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