A Common Question


A question on Facebook


A question on Facebook made me want to write this blog, mainly as my views would have been far too long a simple reply, even though this is an interesting question.

I have also not mentioned the person who posted the question as in no way do I  intend to come across as suggesting, him to be wrong to start this train of conversation.


‘Too many people teaching other people how to fight when they have never had a fight themselves.

So can Wing Chun ever be taken seriously as a truly effective Martial Art considering this fact. 



Now again, I am not going to knock this question as it does have some merit, all I will do is give my thoughts on this, in relation to how and why some people wish to train Wing Chun in the first place.


So many people want to learn a martial art in order to be able to avoid violence, not embrace it.

We know that arsenic can kill you but we do not have to drink it to find out?


When a student walks into my school they want to learn how to defend against a punch coming in.

I try to teach them ultimately how to not have that punch thrown in the first place.

Coming to blows is the last thing on the list, and there is a list…

If you sense danger, walk away

If you cannot walk away, try to defuse it

If you cannot defuse it, hit first


And I only say hit first because…


There is no reason risking an unsuccessful defense


YOU will know when to stop


Any idiot can throw a punch though, what you need to learn is to how not to get hit by it.


Of course we need reaction training, whether that comes from a fight (i.e. An organized boxing match), sparring, Chi Sau, drills or whatever.

But to tell someone that if they want to learn how to not get hurt, they must have a fight, doesn’t that seem odd?

This is like telling someone to get over their fear of needles by through acupuncture!



I have always felt uncomfortable in the company of Bragadillos, instructors boasting about how many fights they’ve had.

The Martial Arts are meant to be a thing of beauty, self-preservation, harmony and inner peace, not who’s the toughest kid in school.


These so called teachers sound like the exact kind of people I am trying to train my students to avoid, why the hell would someone with such lack of personal composure want to spread this toxin to their students.


If you want to be a good boxer, you do not have to go see Mike Tyson or David Hayes, you go see their coach, because there is a big difference between the rolls of the teacher and the student.

Why the hell should I go out and fight in order to win over students, that is a stupid idea.


Can you image in the conversation…

“Yeah, I’m thinking of starting training with you, but first, can you go and beat up that guy over there?”



What I have done in the past is nobody’s business but mine, and having had lots of fights (unless it’s your profession) is a dumb thing to be bragging about.


I remember many years ago, watching the wonderful snooker coach Jack Karnehm and getting some great tips from him.

Although Jack himself was never known in the media as a tournament winner (Mainly because he never won anything) he was a terrific coach, seeing the development of great players such as:

John Spencer, Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths, John Parrot, Steve Davis and so on.

All of which were World Champions under his tuition.



So do not train your Wing Chun purely to fight.

If so you may train for ten years, or even twenty years for a fight that could last just a few seconds (that’s quite a trade off!)

Or it may well be that you practice all of your life for a fight that just never happens! (Again I say, “Let’s hope so!”)


You may also train for just a matter of months and it could save your life.




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