Alleged weaknesses of Wing Chun

Queens self defense class

“Wing Tsun punches lack power”
At the junior level, yes. Also even at a senior level punches contained in a chain punch flurry, delivered as fast as humanly possible, will likely not be too powerful, but can still be effective, in the same way that a boxer’s jab is effective.

The wing tsun beginner’s punches are all “arm punches’, still powerful enough to do damage if they hit the right spots, but probably not powerful enough to knock anyone out. As the student progresses, he adds the motion of the spine, the snap of the wrist, some waist motion, and above all the momentum of a forward step to the punch, making it potentially a very powerful punch, even at close range. Wallbag training conditions the fists, potentially to the point that punches can be delivered with bare knuckles at full power. Bare knuckle punches are potentially very damaging.

When the student has advanced to the Biu tze level, he will use more open handed fak sao’s and “throat cutting” hands, to vital areas, as well as deadly close range elbow strikes anyway, and is no longer dependent on just using punches.

“Wing Chun has no long range game”
It is true that the main range for Wing Tsun is bent arm range. The Wing Tsun fighter fights mostly square to his opponent, and doesnt throw his shoulder or lean in like other styles do. As a practical matter, someone trying to mug you or hurt you on the street is unlikely to dance around out of range throwing punches. He will almost certainly come into close range.

In any event, Wing Tsun does have some very effective kicks which can be used to bridge teh gap and safely get close to the opponent. In Europe they have or at least used to have something called the “Universal Solution” which consisted of a front kick, then the fighter steps in close and chain punches. This is still an effective tactic if it is done with enough speed and power.

“Wing Chun has no footwork”

Many lineages do not teach much footwork until the advanced levels. Furthermore, Wing Tsun was developed as a close quarters fighting art, especially useful in an alley or elevator type situation. Consequently, the art relies on turns and shifts of body weight, supplemented by short range steps which allow the fighter to get out of the way of the attack but still be close enough to counter immediately. Advanced footwork, such as is used in the Knife Form is rarely taught except to the most senior students. The way I was taught was that in a multiple attacker situation to just move as quickly as possible, without worrying about classical steps.

There is nothing to stop the Wing Tsun student, once he or she has mastered all the basic steps, from adding footwork from arts like Jeet Kune Do, or possibly Bagua.

“Wing Chun has no ground game”

Most self defense street encounter situations unfortunately involve multiple attackers. In a real world multiple attacker situation if you are caught on the ground you are essentially screwed. The name of the game is to keep from going to the ground, and if you do go to the ground, get up immediately if humanly possible. Some lineages of Wing Tsun have developed methods of applying the wing tsun strikes and techniques on the ground in a 1 on 1 situation. These techniques will work in upwards of 90% of situations where you are not being mugged by a BJJ expert or the like.

Just my 2 cents.

Paul Matthews

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