Category Archives: Fights

Who’d Win in a Fight? Wing Chun versus Muay Thai Boxing

It’s that age old question…

Who’d win in a fight?

From a sporting perspective, that’s largely been answered in the ring, the cage and the octagon.  Modern day MMA clearly shows which style is best under sporting conditions as close to a real street fight as you could possible get.

Ultimately they’ve proven two things:

  1. Only a few styles can hold their own in the octagon (Muay Thai, BJJ, Wresting, Boxing, Sambo and a few others)
  2. The better trained and higher skilled fighter usually wins

I say usually wins because the reality of fighting is that anyone has a punchers chance.  It only takes a split second where a better opponent walks onto a punch and it’s game over.

In our quest to find out the ultimate street fighting style, we still have this mad, bad thing in our Wing Chun brains about provening ourselves to be the best art for a real ruck on the street.

With no referee, no rules and no one to jump in and help.

If I’m honest I don’t know why we care?  We should just do our art, enjoy our art and make it better.

Here’s a short clip with the Wing Chun man coming up on tops against a Muay Thai student.

Unfortunately it still proves nothing, because you can’t replicate a real street fight and if you look… the Muay Thai guy is more concerned with his elbow (and if it’s cut) after he hits it on the mirror than the actual confrontation.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T to both the Wing Chun student and the Muay Thai kickboxer for their efforts and standing up to prove themselves.  Unfortunately, it still leaves the unanswerable question, unanswered!

Leave a comment below.  If they look anything like the crap on YouTube they’ll be deleted.

Keep it clean, keep smart and keep it logical.

Like our art!



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Challenge Fights, Winning, Losing and the ‘Infamous’ Emin Boztepe VS William Cheung Fight

I’m not sure why it came into my head but yesterday I was thinking about challenge fights and the Emin Boztepe VS William Cheung fight from the 1980s.  Now that’s waaaaaayyyy before my time as a Wing Chun student but it got me thinking…

First up, the rules of this blog post are as follows:

No picking sides, it doesn’t matter if you’re an Emin Boztepe fan or student, from the William Cheung lineage or if you hate Wing Chun.  This is about our art and constructive comments are welcome below.  YouTube (esque) comments can be deleted by the admin : )

And ultimately no one really knows the truth about what happened that day, at least from a neutral perspective!

Back to my point.

In the words of someone far cleverer than I am: Actors act, writers write and fighters fight.  And if you want to make an omelet you’re going to break some eggs!

The very act of wanting to test your art means fighting.  That puts you into a world very few people will ever really understand and fewer still are prepared to participate in.   By agreeing to fight you’re putting your style, your school and your name on the line.

Your reputation is at stake and your physical well being is on the line.  Fighting is scary and it hurts.

Very few people have the courage to step up and really take place.  Sure people, onlookers, spectators talk as though they could and what they would do, how well they’d perform and what they ‘think’ they’d feel….

… it’s all bu*****t unless you’ve been there and done that.

It’s why listening and reading to Wing Chun students talking, critiquing and arguing the toss of the William Cheung vs. Emin Boztepe fight cringe-worthy.

Regardless of how good or bad you thought (or think) either is they both fought and one had to lose.  It wasn’t really about this lineage versus that lineage.  It was about Master Emin Boztepe fighting Grandmaster William Cheung on whatever day it was back in the 1980s.  Maybe if it had occurred the day before or the day after the result may have been different.

I’d doing my best not to pick sides and add bias!

My point is — Fighters FIGHT to test themselves and their styles.

Someone had to lose and from (personal experience) I know that I’ve beaten people who should have beaten me and lost to people I should have beaten.  It works both ways.  Sometimes I knock them out, sometimes they knock me out — sometimes neither of us knock the other out.

And the next day, if we fought again, the results could be completely different.

Doesn’t matter because fighters FIGHT, they accept defeat and learn from it.  Onlookers can only imagine what it is or was like and appreciate both fighters had the courage to go toe to toe and find out for themselves who was the best on the day — instead of arguing it on YouTube!

Here’s the fight.  The commentary is biased towards Emin and Wing Chun however it does have a slow-mo version to analyze if you’ve got nothing better to do : )

My only personal comments on the video won’t make you or I any better so get back to training!


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Wing Chun Sparring, Chi Sau Training and Self-Defence

I’ve just been watching some clips of Wing Chun Kung Fu Blocks and it reminded me how I’ve changed my opinion on the importance of Wing Chun sparring, Chi Sau training and self-defense training.  I know a lot of people would see that as a bad thing and a weakness but let me explain…

BUT I bet if you asked any Wing Chun instructor or student what they taught about their training or teaching 5, 10, 15 or more years ago I bet they’ll happily admit it was no where near as good as it is today.  When I think back to my first year teaching — my knowledge was appalling — but then we all have to start somewhere.

I know boxing coaches who look back and laugh at themselves.  When their first few fights came back to the corner at the end of the round all they could do was dab a wet sponge on the fighter and say “Yeah, er, good keep hitting him!”.  Maybe I’m being a little sarcastic BUT that’s how you learn — unfortunately.  Watching is never the same as doing.

Do You Need Sparring for Self-Defense?

This is a biggie and like I said — my opinion has gone back and forth over the years.  Ultimately it comes back to what you believe self-defense and self-protection is.  Lets take the extreme example and look at the close protection (bodyguarding industry).

Their job is solo to protect the client.  Essentially the client has “outsourced” their self-defense and self-protection to someone else.  Having spoke to a many bodyguards over the years do you want to know what they think everyone should learn is?  First Aid!  Not fighting, not causing injury but being able to deal with injury.

Self-defense is way down the list and planning, preparation and awareness are the biggest things they work on.

That my friend is where self-defense should focus.  For us Wing Chun fans we like the idea of training for a confrontation but the reality is if we’re really interested in self-defense then 4 minute mile training is much more important.

What is Avoidance is Impossible and It Goes Physical?

Now you need your ‘hard skills’ now you need the ability to hit hard, hit fast and — if necessary — hit first.  Then guess what… you do a 4 minute mile and get the hell out of there.

This is where awareness is critical and if you can’t avoid the confrontation it’s about taking control and destroying the opposition first.  With speed, aggression and surprise.  You’re not playing with distance, you”re not circling around the ring and we’re not moving in — punching or kicking — then getting back out of range.

What you are doing is assuming there are weapons, assuming there are multiple attackers and taking hard, fast action — then getting the hell out of there.

So is Wing Chun sparring necessary for self-defense?  If we’re speaking strictly about self-protection then I’m thinking it’ s not the highest priority.  Having a plan of action and learning to deploy a heavy, pre-emptive shot (maybe several) and move definitely is.

Where Wing Chun Sparring Helps

Personally I believe you can 90% of the self-defense training required without sparring.  The reason is sparring tends to focus around ‘a one on one fight’ where you stalk, move and apply ring-like tactics.  Cornering your opponent, using shots to test their defense and then going in for the kill.

IMHO sparring fills in that last 10% for when things go physical.

  1. You learn timing
  2. You learn distance
  3. It builds character

Three key components you can replicate using drills, scenarios and physical conditioning (character) but three key characteristics you can only really get from live training.


It’s not just about seeing other people’s attacks and learning to move out of the way, it’s about seeing someone coming towards you and hitting them in the right place, with the right strike and with maximum power.  If you can do this in sparring — against a non-compliant partner — lining up and hitting one person threatening to kill you is easy.  Plus if you have muliple assailants, you have multiple targets likely to be moving.


How many students (and how many times) have you thrown punches out of range and missed?  The biggest and best examples of these have been in novice Boxing, Muay Thaiboxing and MMA bouts where the attacker tries so hard to hit the person their legs have trouble keeping up.   The end result?  Both fighters fall into a grapple and punches fail to connect.  If that were self-defense – the punch that should have been a fight finisher may end up with you going to the ground.

Character Building

The toughest people aren’t always fighters — they’re the people who push through pain and adversity.  I can’t think of many people mentally tougher than polar explorers and iron men athletes — so it’s not really about fighting.

So while you can build character through hard exercise and pushing through pain — there’s nothing like being in a ring when you’ve got little left in the tank and someone else is trying to hit.  You have no other choice than to digg deep and fight back (or in this case spar).

What About Chi Sau?

Well chi-sau is an exercise it’s part of the puzzle and the best thing about it — like sparring — is that it is live.  Your training is against a non-compliant partner and you have to hone skills, reactions and sensitivity.

Chi Sau is an important part of Wing Chun but it’s important to remember it’s only a part of Wing Chun

It’s a great way to play (something you should also do in sparring — you don’t have to beat each other black ‘n blue) have fun and hone close range skills.

It’s place is self-defense is particularly useful at ‘talking-range’ where most fights take place — after a quick push, a shove and exchange of words.  It’s keep your hands up, moving forward with drive and pressure.  It’s opening a door with a strike and then finishing the fight.

Like pad and bag work — it’s a tool you use to get to where you want to be.

It’s a great starting place to practise Wing Chun blocks and attacks (which incidentally I hate saying — IMHO Wing Chun is aggressive, it’s doesn’t block and everything is a deflection or cover of sorts).

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below — maybe you can change my mind, open my mind and don’t forget to sign up for my email newsletter above!

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Filed under Fights, Self Defense, Sparring