Why is Wing Chun illegal in MMA?
The sport of MMA has exploded in over the last 15 years. Fighters come together and compete in various art forms, hence the name Mixed Martial Arts. The most popular art forms that viewers will see are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, and boxing. Every once in a while, you can even see some other lesser-known art forms such as Kempo, French Savate, and even Capoeira. There have even been a couple of instances where Shaolin Kung Fu has made an appearance. That’s the beauty of this sport.
While MMA as a sport may only be around 20 years old, MMA as an idea has been popular ever since Bruce Lee came on the scene. He taught to take whatever is needed from each art in order to become the best warrior possible. Modern MMA fighters have taken to that quite a bit. However, if we are speaking about Bruce Lee and his history, we also have to bring up his origins in Wing Chun which is actually illegal in MMA. That’s right of the various martial arts styles you’ll see in MMA, you won’t find Wing Chun. Why is this art form banned in the sport even though it has some practical applications? Much of it comes from some of the more real-life applicable techniques. Remember even though MMA is all about fighting and trying to submit or knock your opponent out, it is meant to be a competition. There are just some techniques that work against this principle. Unfortunately for the Wing Chun practitioners these are moves that are worked into the fabric of the art itself.
Eye gouging is illegal in MMA.
Eye gouging is widely taught in Wing Chun and it is also a very highly effective tool while fighting. Even in real life situations, it shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary. There could be serious consequences if used improperly, even leading to prison. Of course, just by mentioning this technique, it’s pretty easy to see the implications it would have for the sport of MMA. The sport takes eye gouging very seriously and makes it a point to drill its legal status into the brains of their fighters. Even accidental eye pokes in MMA can lead to points being deducted. In some cases, even the MMA gloves are designed to stop fingers from straightening out. This is done with eye safety in mind. Apparently, getting poked in the eye can cause a severe distortion in terms of distance. When you have punches and kicks being thrown at you, being able to see and judge how close things are to you is a pretty big deal. But remember, there’s a difference in accidentally getting poked in the eye and getting gouged. Gouging is intentional and will lead a fighter to be fined and possibly banned for life.
Throat grabbing is illegal in MMA.
Another technique that is taught heavily in Wing Chun is grabbing someone’s throat. It is taught for use in a deadly street fight or self-defense situation. But in a competitive format such as MMA, it is seen as very dangerous. The idea of grabbing the throat is similar to eye gouging. If a person decided to use the fingers during such a technique, they could make a claw-like grip and do some serious damage to the trachea. With enough force, it could even result in death. Again, this move is banned from the MMA for equally obvious reasons as eye gouging is. The goal of MMA is to have a clean and competitive fight. The limited finger movement allowed by MMA gloves works similarly in this situation as well. Although possible, it would be incredibly difficult to use this technique in the cage.
Why make Wing Chun illegal?
So, here’s the real question. Yes, these techniques are illegal for the use in the sport. However, why is the entire martial art banned? Couldn’t a person simply make sure not to use the illegal techniques? Here’s the best way to explain it. A martial artist can compete in MMA and utilize some Wing Chun techniques but a true Wing Chun practitioner cannot compete. What’s the difference? The difference is how the moves are built into the practitioners’ minds. Of course, Wing Chun has plenty of techniques that are not illegal. From fast punches to leg kicks, all of these are totally okay to use in the sport. However, it is the illegal moves such as the throat grab and the eye gouge that are second nature to a true Wing Chun practitioner and would be incredibly hard to suppress. As is commonly known, it is much harder to train a habit out of a person than into them. This is why having a true student of Wing Chun in an MMA competition would be an incredibly dangerous prospect.
There is one more thing that should be discussed here that reaches slightly outside of the throat grabbing and eye gouging. There are other techniques practiced in Wing Chun that are not necessarily illegal but are seriously frowned upon and almost viewed as taboo. Take for instance the oblique kick. The idea of this kick is to stomp downward onto the knee of the opponent. While not illegal, it is easy to see why people would look down on this move and anyone that would use it. Such a move could cause breaks or tears to ligaments such as the ACL. Currently all standing leg kicks are legal in MMA but perhaps it should be a rule that is reconsidered and while it is rarely seen in the sport, it has been used by some fighters. Take UFC champion Jon Jones as an example. He has often used this kick to harm the knees of his opponents to gain the upper hand during the fight. While it may have earned him a few victories, it has also earned him a place as one of the most disliked fighters in the sport.
What does this mean for MMA and for Wing Chun?
The most important thing to remember is that MMA is a sport and not a real-life combat situation. No one in the sport is fighting for their lives. Fighters aren’t trying to kill or maim each other, or at least they shouldn’t be. As a sport MMA is a place where healthy competition and a certain level of respect are encouraged. As for Wing Chun, this also demonstrates exactly how effective and lethal of a martial art it truly is. When a sport that is known for having some of the most brutal techniques bans a martial art for being too dangerous, you know that’s saying something.
What are your thoughts about Wing Chun in the MMA? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.
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