Ramsey Dewey (YouTube):
Yi Long, who is best known for his Shaolin style kungfu in the ring, was actually the 2008 Foshan Wing Chun champion. I had the chance to sit down with the famous Chinese kickboxer to talk about his experience with Wing Chun and ask his advice for Wing Chun practitioners who want to transition to combat sports.
So I have to ask this because a bunch of my YouTube fans are Wing Chun practitioners and something I didn’t know about you until I read your bio was that, you actually have a background in Wing-Chun as well as many other Kung-Fu forms. In fact, it says one of your first major wins was at the Wing Chun boxing international competition. So there are many people out there who practice this style of Wing Chin who’re looking for a role model. So we have MMA fighters like Anderson Silva-we’ve seen him train with Dan Inosanto. Tony Ferguson does some Wing Chun techniques in the cage and everybody goes nuts over it. But nobody, nobody at least in the U.S. is talking about Yi Long and Wing Chun. So I have to ask this, with this entire prolific career behind you, how much did your Wing Chun training actually come into play in your professional fights.
Yi Long is the ‘Yung’, Wing Chun is a champion in Foshan back in 2008 and lots of the footage have actually not been released.
There are two main advantages of Wing Chun. Number one is the defence and offence are out of one. When you’re attacking, you’re defending yourself and at the same time. The second advantage is how Wing Chun throw a punch. In traditional Western boxing, you have to twist your wrist to land the punch whereas in Wing Chun, you can land your punch with vertical knuckles and it’s easier to get through defence.
Right, which is actually the way Jack Dempsey taught it a hundred years ago in western boxing but times have changed a little bit somehow.
So what’s interesting about Chinese martial arts is that actually a lot of them have already included many of the modern techniques. The difference between the Chinese Kung-Fu and the Muay-Thai karate is that these Chinese martial arts never really got to having been put to practice over the last four decades since 1949. If there had been a consistent form of competition since then, maybe many of these techniques will be submitted down and utilized in the modern competition. Back to Wing Chun, another thing is that the inch punch or the use of inch punch is that you don’t have to telegraph or foot back, you can punch from a very short distance.
I get a lot of questions from traditional martial artist who practice Kung-Fu traditional Chinese arts and they want to make a transition MMA, kickboxing and other combat sports. What advice would you give them?
So to those people, the biggest advice would be to have respect and humility. The traditional martial arts or any martial arts and the likes of modern Muay-Thai karate, MMA and kickboxing are completely two different arenas. The former doesn’t have the combative system of the second. It doesn’t have the real life sparring experience. So even if you can be the master in one traditional art, it doesn’t mean you translate those skills into modern combat sports without the rigorous training and the full resistance training. So the biggest message will be to be humble, respectful and to have the fear before you use transform into a full combat sport.
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