A big question arises when looking at MMA for fans of martial arts, and that is why Chinese martial arts don’t appear in MMA. After all, MMA stands for mixed martial arts, and fighters pull techniques, skills, and stances from all types of martial arts worldwide, so what is it about Chinese martial arts that makes it never show up in fights?
One of the main reasons why Chinese martial arts, such as Wing Chun, are not seen in MMA is down to practitioners not willing to put their body where their mouth is. According to 23-year-old Danny Horgan, Boston media personality and self-described former street fighter, the problem with Wing Chun (and similar Chinese martial arts) is that practitioners like to talk about how ‘deadly’ their fighting style is, but are willing to put it to the test in the ring.
He says that “boxers and mixed martial artists put their skills and reputation on the line every few months in sanctioned fights. World-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners are constantly rolling with each other to demonstrate superior technique. Even Taekwondo fighters spar and compete regularly. Wing Chun is one of the world’s few martial arts where its practitioners are not willing to put their reputations as fighters at risk.”
According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Wing Chun is ineffective at best and a scam at worst. According to him, the words “impractical” and “total bullshit” are seen so much in UFC circles that even if someone did enjoy or want to show off their Wing Chun abilities, they’d never dare to, risking a lot of ridicule, to say the least.
At the time UFC emerged, Wing Chun was a style vs. style kind of fighting, making it very effective against other people who followed the same tradition but not so effective against other fighting styles. This is still seen as one of the biggest problems with Wing Chun, as it is not adaptable in the real world.
Even Karate, Muay Thai, and Boxing – three martial arts with tight rules – were able to adapt and evolve into the world of MMA, incorporating kicking, grappling, and new defensive stances that improved their quality in the ring.
Whether you agree with the statements that Wing Chun is fake and ineffective in the ring or not, we cannot deny that Chinese martial arts do exist in their own context, and are effective too. But in the real world, these tradition heavy arts often fall behind when faced with a volatile and evolving world of fighting both in the ring and out. In reality, many fighters are seen to replicate moves adopted from Wing Chun, but often do without understanding or context. As the world of martial arts changes and evolves, so does the fashion of fighting styles – so may Wing Chun will once again have its glory years just like the time Bruce Lee brought it to the forefront of martial arts for a time. But until then, MMA has to evolve further before there’s a place for Wing Chun – fake or not fake, it exists and in the right circumstances, it can be deadly…or so they say.
Do you think this is a fair view of Chinese martial arts practitioners?