Wing Chun vs. MMA Or Facing Someone Who’s Trained
While teaching any kind of practical combat system like Wing Chun for example, you sometimes hear comments or questions from students and trainees, who might say things like:
““I have a family member who’s been training for almost three years in MMA and he’s the kind of guy who shouldn’t be allowed to train in any system. He’s a real tough son of a bitch.” Or
“I’ve been watching some of these MMA fights on Youtube and it seems that these guys actually love pain (including dishing it out). I wouldn’t want to meet one of them in a dark alley way.” Or
“Me and my mate, who does MMA, are sparring sometimes and he always manages to take me to the ground and either chokes me or heel locks me.”
Let me clarify something here. You can spar or compete against someone or you can try to destroy your opponent. In order to compete all you have to do is to match someone’s strength, skill or will. If you are fitter, more skilled, or just want it more than the other guy you will probably win. If not, he (or she) will beat you in one or more of these categories.
Alternatively you can just “cheat” and target his eyes, throat or groin. There’s good reason why those things will get you disqualified in a tournament (unless you are in an illegal underground death match). There are also no sudden surprises, like uninvited bystanders who might join your opponent, broken glass on the floor, or any improvised weapons you might have to deal with in a competition. If your only concern is to injure your attacker I recommend that you do all the things they don’t allow in the ring/cage, such as: eye gouging, punching the throat, kicking or ripping the groin, stomping the knees and ankles of a downed thug (not the head, that’ll get you to do proper porridge).
Training for competitions has mainly three objectives:
- Get fit
- Produce entertaining fights
- and maybe even to enjoy an actual career as a fighter.
If eye gouging and other “cheap shots” were allowed bouts would be over in moments and people wouldn’t pay inflated ticket prices to watch five second matches. Likewise, debilitating injuries would cut any promising career down to a single fight.
For MMA to make any money, fights need to be exciting and dramatic (or dramatised) tournaments that pit fitness, skill and courage against another man (I’m not even going to get into female fights here). It’s a formula that is as old as gladiatorial matches in ancient Rome, or maybe even older.
Hence facing someone who is trained is only going to matter if you are planning on matching them for their training by overpowering or out-manoeuvring them.
Regardless of fitness, skill or desire everyone is screaming the same way if you are inserting your thumb into their eye socket until the elbow.
The real question is: Does the situation warrant this?
If you have any doubts as to whether or not you could or should seriously injure someone, it is probably because somewhere deep down you might think that it is excessive for the situation at hand.
For the situations that we are training for in Wing Chun (at least in our school), i.e. random, unprovoked violence, were what you do will determine whether you might live or die – there is never any question! We are not training to best someone, change their mind or trying to overpower them without possible serious social repercussions, if they are trying to cut our lives short with a knife or their imbecile mates. There is no second place in a street fight where everybody can go home afterwards, have a cup of tea and watch a re-run on Youtube. We leave that for the cage fighters.
See you in the Dojo.
Sifu Talib Fehlhaber