Top 3 Techniques Wing Chun Should Have

Wing Chun Add-Ons


Listed below are the top 3 techniques that any Wing Chun fighter should incorporate into his or her self-defense repertoire. These techniques are from varying martial arts styles and hopefully can be integrated into your practice. No one doubts that Wing Chun is a complete system, but effective techniques are valuable tools regardless of where they come from. The reality is that there are many more trained and amateur martial artists out there these days, and it is a good idea to take this into account. These techniques are given with the idea of self-defense against an opponent with some martial arts or combat training.


  1. The Sprawl

The last place anyone really wants to end up in a fight is on their back, much less with their adversary on top of them. The single or double leg takedown, or even an old fashioned tackle can put you in that spot. It is a very low percentage risk to think that you can stop even a semi-trained grappler or athlete with strikes alone if they are diving in at close range for your legs or waist. If you cannot stop your attacker before they lock their hands together, chances are you will be going down.


The technique goes like this. You feel or see your attacker dropping their weight and reaching for your legs or waist; you start the sprawl just as or just before their hands make contact. Drop the weight of your upper body onto their back while essentially throwing your lower body backwards. This keeps your legs and waist out of their reach while putting your weight onto the attacker’s back and forcing them to the ground. If the attacker is at close range, or your legs are still within reach, you must establish underhooks or another way to keep them from getting a firm grip. Arch your back and keep your hips heavy while defending the takedown.

Situationally appropriate submissions, body locks, or strikes follow suit.


  1. The Thai Clinch

There can come times in a fight when the distance is too close, or the assault too heavy and the only good option is to grapple with your opponent. The Thai Clinch can be used in a similar fashion to trapping, and it can give a split second to slow the action and assess the situation. Knees, elbows, and short punches can be delivered from this position, and it can be used to off balance your opponent and then create distance and attack.


The clinch controls the opponents head, and thereby controlling their body. The hands clasp together at the base of the skull and pull the attackers chin into their chest, thereby pulling them forward and off balance. Your forearms squeeze together on either side of the opponents’ neck, elbows reaching towards each other. Use footwork and move with your whole body as you push and pull your attacker.


Learning the proper defense to a Thai Clinch is useful as well.


3.The Standing Guillotine Choke

This one is a perfect follow up to the sprawl defense of a takedown. Similar to a front headlock, the main difference is the choke itself. If you can get your opponent’s head down and under your armpit, loop that arm over their head so that your elbow is under their chin. Your hand reaches through to grasp your opposite hand. The forearm on one side and the bicep on the other side of the attackers’ neck. Squeeze. From here you can finish by arching you back and squeezing the opponents neck. Or use it a controlling position to whatever end.

Wing Chun to MMA


From Wing Chun to MMA


Mixed Martial Arts has come a long way over the years, and has grown exponentially in popularity.  Every sports fan has heard of and knows the top stars of the UFC, and it has easily overtaken boxing as the most popular combat sport on television.  As the talent pool of elite athletes grows, technique and innovation are essential to a fighter’s success.  Listed below are some suggestions for Wing Chun fighters that want to make the transition to MMA, but keep some foundation in WC.


  1. Spar, and Spar Often

Sparring is the only way to truly test your technique, reflexes, and resolve.  Sparring with a resisting opponent is the only way to test the effectiveness of your art. While two person drills are helpful, they do not replicate a real fight. Sparring with other styles will prepare you for attacks and counterattacks not found in your chosen style of martial arts.  If the goal is to be a better fighter, one must constantly seek to improve and build upon their game.  Sparring does not mean fighting; a good sparring partner will challenge you without trying to injure you.


  1. Learn the Ground Game. Any Ground Game

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Sambo, Judo, anything that works.  Aside from the defensive aspect of grappling from a strikers’ perspective, having an arsenal of submissions and being unpredictable only builds your resume.  Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or any other grappling art allows you to train full speed without the fear of blunt force trauma, as well as condition your body and mind.  Any fight can go to the ground, and if you’re untrained in grappling it can be a humbling and miserable experience.


  1. Adapt and Evolve As Necessary

Don’t be afraid to integrate techniques from other styles into your arsenal. What is good is what works the best for you.  Do not allow your style to become your identity and only mode of operation. “The stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.”  -Lao Tsu. There is nothing wrong with integrating different types of movement into your style of fighting, and you have to learn what things can be improved upon and what should be let go.




4.Strength and Conditioning

Strength and conditioning training for mixed martial arts has become a science.  In addition to the warmups and calisthenics from your Wing Chun training, it wouldn’t hurt to develop some other methods to build your endurance and physical strength.  Kettlebell workouts, interval training, swimming, sprint and distance running, and yoga are all different methods to add into your routine.


  1. Find Good Training Partners

Finding the right gym and the right training partners is crucial to success. Finding open training partners that will work with you towards mutual progress and allow you to experiment with your Wing Chun techniques in a MMA setting will help you improve dramatically.  Practicing different techniques on a resisting opponent in various settings will allow you to fine tune and perfect what is relevant to your goals as a fighter.


To date in MMA, there are very few successful fighters who claim Wing Chun as their main discipline. I believe that if this style is to continue to be relevant as a method of combat, and not only an art, it should be capable of adapting and demonstrating itself in the arena of Mixed Martial Arts.


5 Reasons Why Wing Chun is Similar to Boxing


Wing Chun has a long and winding martial arts history and is still quite popular today.

While it contains kicks, locks, and takedowns in its arsenal it is primarily based around hand techniques and close range combat. In this regard Boxing bears some similarities to Wing Chun, and there are many techniques from Boxing that could carry over into the WC fighter’s arsenal.

1. The Jab

It is well documented that Wing Chun has some of the fastest hands in the martial arts game, as mentioned in a previous blog regarding Wing Chun punching. However, the way a boxer utilizes the jab is much different than the typical Wing Chun attack.  It is a probing tool, use it to measure range and gauge reaction.  Thrown as a WC style punch with elbow down and from the centreline it will be quite quick.  You can throw this punch moving in and moving out to cover your tracks.  A fast and accurate jab, even in the street fight and self-defence realm is invaluable.


2. The Rear Overhand

The overhand right is one of the most powerful punches from the orthodox stance in boxing.  For Wing Chun, a Bong Sao, or wing block followed by a rear overhand punch thrown right behind it would be devastating to an opponent. Alternately, you can pull down an opponent near blocking or striking hand and deliver a rear overhand punch directly behind it to the chin, temple, or general face area. This applies as well to simplify hand trapping techniques; if you have your opponents arm trapped to their body you can use this strike with impunity.


3. The Hook

Hooks, when landed flush, can be knockouts. Aim for the chin on the jaw below the ear, or on the temple. Hooks can be thrown with power or as part of a combination. The short lead hook is a good punch to throw when disengaging from a clinch or close quarters combat, or when chasing down a retreating opponent. A heavy hook behind a Gak Sao parry when the opponents arm is across their chest is another opening for this strike.


4. The Uppercut

The lead or rear uppercut is a good way to mix things up on an opponent with a strong defence, or one who is covering up with head down.  Throw them in close quarters when you find yourself too close to land any effective straight punches.  Stepping in close and pulling down on the opponents’ head while delivering short uppercuts can also soften them up for your finishing techniques.


5. The Slip

Slipping punches in Boxing is absolutely fundamental to the style. Your goal is to make your opponent miss with as little movement or effort as possible. Used in conjunction with the a very tight Pak Sao parry will get you inside and hopefully sticking to your opponent.  The Slip should not be confused with the bob and weave game of boxing. The Slip is quick and explosive, and coupled with Wing Chun footwork could do wonders for your offense.  Done correctly, the slip should not compromise your posture terribly and you should maintain balance throughout.  It is typically best to slip outside the punch and the opponents body to gain the upper hand.


These tips are only a few of the techniques of Boxing that can be utilized and adapted into an evolving Wing Chun strategy. A very well-known London Wing Chun practitioner, Master Leo Au Yeung demonstrates this very well. He impliments many useful techniques from other different martial arts into his own Wing Chun style.

Wing Chun Punching in Depth

Punching Mechanics in Wing Chun


For the uninitiated, the punches of Wing Chun may seem fantastic or to some ineffective. Like all techniques in the martial arts, proper form and body mechanics play a significant role in the efficacy of Wing Chun striking.  Of course there is power in the wild haymaker punch thrown with the body behind it. There are downsides as well. Balance, control, defence, accuracy, and awareness are all sacrificed for the sake of power.  In Wing Chun the overall goal is self-defence, and self-preservation.  The game is not to stand toe to toe with your attacker and “slug it out”. This is not intelligent self-defence and in the wrong situation lead to some serious bad times.  Wing Chun Kung Fu is based around the concept of simultaneous offense and defence, attacking while being attacked.  Speed and accuracy over power and aggression.  The Wing Chun punch must be cultivated and developed, it does not come from the same place as the raw emotion of wildly thrown punches.


All punches start at from the ground up.  Without the proper rooting, punches have significantly less power.  The momentum starts in the foot and gains momentum through the hips. Then through the trunk and arm ending at the fist. This is true with all combat arts. Powerful punches are delivered with the whole body, but much subtler, controlled and balanced than the wild haymaker.


A major difference of the Wing Chun punch is the absence of shoulder rotation found in Western Boxing, Karate, and Muay Thai.   The elbow is kept pointed towards the floor as the strike is delivered. Force comes more from the center line out and straight into the target, as opposed to coming from rotational force moving towards the target from slightly outside (for straight punches).


With this method of punching significant force can be behind a fast punch without compromising the posture or footing.  A major benefit of this style of punching is that it does not telegraph the same way a typical punch that involves shoulder rotation will.  Even a fighter with significant speed will slightly telegraph a straight punch thrown from the shoulder.


Again, this style of punching requires proper training and practice to get the most benefit.  Proper skeletal alignment, balance, rooting, and footwork are all things that require repetition and muscle memory. As in all martial arts, the whole body is involved in punching, not merely the arms.  Although the movement is subtler compared to the styles of Karate or Boxing, the hips play an important role in the power of the punch. The Wing Chun punch is delivered with the forward momentum of the body behind it as well, from the feet to the fist.


Wing Chun punches are thrown in succession in a way similar to peddling a bicycle. Imagine as the lead hand is retracted, the rear hand moves in sync with it, thereby allowing for defence or another attack.  Proper technique is key, throwing punches that are very fast but only with the arm muscles are relatively ineffective and undesired.  Chain punching is one of the flashier aspects of Wing Chun, but done correctly the whole body is behind every strike and every strike has real power.

There are many videos on youtube which demonstates the power of the Wing Chun punch. You can even find videos which will show you step-by-step on how to perform the Wing Chun chain punch. One of the most useful guides can be found here.

For a better understanding of the body mechanics of Wing Chun, visit EnterShaolin and EnterTaiChi. I have trained with Sifu Pho in person, and can attest to the power and efficacy of his strikes.