August 8, 2016 / in Wing Chun Theory / by Tim Kittelstad
In the age of the Internet, everything is now held to a higher standard due to the easy access to information. Martial arts can now be scrutinized from someone across the globe that 100 years ago may never even have come in contact with them before. With videos alone, information can be cross-referenced and discussed with the click of a button. But, does that mean research can replace real life experience? Absolutely not. Do videos posted speak for all such martial arts and artists across the world? Again, absolutely not. So, with today’s digital world, can Wing Chun be accurately depicted on the web? Can the question Does Wing Chun actually work? be answered without experiencing it?
The answer to the question is that it’s irrelevant. A system that is used to defend oneself on the street should not be evaluated via the Internet. Any martial art (or instructor), whether it be Karate, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, or Tae Kwon do, should not be criticized via the web. When it comes to personal safety, only experience can truly speak. Can the Internet help? Absolutely—but it should not be your determining factor.
Making Decisions Based on Online Research
The reason the Internet was brought up in a discussion about whether or not Wing Chun actually works is due to the fact that so many people will make potentially life-changing decisions without actually getting their hands dirty. How can you know if something actually works without seeing it for yourself! Speaking to Wing Chun instructors in depth and hearing their story? You might as well determine whether or not YOU like Subway or 5 Guys because of what someone on the Internet said. Now, information does need to be taken into account, but you cannot let someone else’s experience—good or bad—determine your decision. But allow the information to help you keep an open mind to the good and bad, raising your level of awareness.
When testing a martial art you should by all means do your research. Go and meet the instructor. Watch his students, and then TRY IT! As far as Wing Chun is concerned, it absolutely works. Two of Sifu Justin Och’s top students are a testament to that. Garret Brumfield is an ex-professional Boxer out of California and Jeff Gardner was an Army Ranger widely versed in many martial arts prior to Wing Chun. The fact that two experienced, well-trained men now adhere to Sifu Och’s instruction is a huge testament not only the system, but to Sifu Och himself.
That being said, the system works, but does your instructor? There are many effective, brutal, powerful systems of combat out there. That doesn’t mean that every instructor either knows or understands how to effectively teach that system. That is where your research comes in. Check your instructor’s lineage, and watch his students. Those will be two determining indicators of a good teacher. As for Wing Chun, good instructors are hard to find. This is mainly due to the commercialized versions that are now popular after the release of the Ip Man movies. These were movies loosely based on the teacher of Bruce Lee, Ip Man. Many “Sifus” began to emerge and teach the “real” Wing Chun. The Internet soon caught on, and many videos surfaced of Wing Chun students losing fights to Muai Thai, Karate, and Brasilian Jui-Jitsu Fighters. Faith in Wing Chun was weakened. There are, however, real Wing Chun instructors who understand the system and communicate it well. Sifu Philip Bayer, Sifu David Peterson, and Sifu Justin Och are just a few of the truly knowledgable instructors.
Find a good school, do your research, and try it out! If you are anywhere near Central Florida, visit the World Ving Tsun Athletic Association Regional Director of the entire Southeastern USA, Sifu Justin Och.
Visit us at sifuochwingchun.com.