November 17, 2016 / in Techniques and Styles / by Sifu Och Wing Chun
We not only love Wing Chun and its many forms. We love the training practices. While these differ from sifu to sifu, the way training takes place in Karate classes vs Wing Chun classes matters. In “American” Karate, the focus is often on moving through a series of belts in order to progress. With a good teacher, point scoring and belts will be less important than mastering techniques. The same goes with Wing Chun, emphasis should always be on mastering each technique until it is second nature and reflexive. Sashes are achievable, and progression is important, but testing should be strict and progress must be deliberate. It’s clear Karate and Wing Chun share origins, but there are also lots of differences.
Karate Classes vs Wing Chun Training
In Karate there are three stances, including the natural, or walking stance (shizentai-dachi), the front stance (zenkutsu-dachi), and the cat stance, or back stance (nekoashi-dachi). Each has its uses, of course. The Wing Chun stance and Wing Chun rooting is the key of all movements and balance. Everything builds on those well-rooted foundations. One way in which the stances of Wing Chun and Karate classes are similar is that they both have a good center of balance.
The modern Karate belt came about as a badge of honor. Students initially donned a white belt (obi) as part of their uniform. As a natural result of hard training, effort, and time, belts—which were never washed—became darker and darker. Soon, the “black belt” became the status symbol of a student who engaged in years of hard work and commitment.
Wing Chun vs. Karate Classes and Blocking
You’re likely to experience a different way of blocking when taking Karate classes vs. Wing Chun. This mostly has to do with the direction the blocks take. In Wing Chun, you’re constantly blocking back towards the body while Karate blocks flow away from the body. Both require a solid structure in place behind the blocks, so that balance is maintained.
The main difference in Karate blocking is that karate classes typically teach you to “cock” your arm back and prepare it for a strike. With Wing Chun, you simultaneously attack with the non-blocking arm. Both Karate and Wing Chun deflect attacks with their blocks, relying on good structure to avoid injury and redirect energy from an attack.
Which is Right for You?
So which classes are better? That’s a loaded question. We obviously prefer the slow, deliberate progression associated with Wing Chun training. We’re not about awarding belts to keep the interest of students with short attention spans. Rather, we want to train, train, and train some more until your skills are your own. We want you to learn practical self defense skills that will stand up in the real world.
Watch Out for Online Scams!
There are several places that offer online Karate classes. Some even promise a “black belt in 12 months”. The same could be said for any Wing Chun system that claims you can move through the ranks quickly. Remember, there are no shortcuts! With both Karate and Wing Chun, online classes would be a ridiculous waste of time. Only under the guidance of an experienced teacher can you make true progress in learning practical self-defense skills. Constant and regular evaluations are key to progressing. That’s something you can’t do online!
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