Is Wing Chun Illegal In MMA? January 2023 Updated!

Written By Angel Jude  |  Mixed Martial Arts  |  0 Comments

Is Wing Chun Illegal in MMA or not

What is Wing Chun?

Is Wing Chun Illegal in MMA or not? In this article, we are going to discuss it!

Wing Chun is a type of martial art that roots in the contemporary styles of Kung Fu. It is actually one of the youngest branches of Kung Fu in the greater China's history, having been passed down and constantly adapted for over 300 years now.

Based on The International Wing Chun Academy, a Buddhist nun called Ng Mui founded it during the Qing Dynasty. The main principle of this martial art is to teach individuals how to defend themselves, while eliminating unnecessary movements and producing force in the most effective way possible.

Wing Chun has been revived and popularized by the late Grandmaster "Ip-Man", when he migrated to Hong Kong and there introducing the unique style of martial art. Ip Man's most famous student is Bruce Lee, the man who paved way for modern mixed martial arts.

Is Wing Chun Illegal In MMA or Not?

The answer is No, Wing Chun is not illegal in MMA. But there are, some Wing Chun moves that are not allowed in MMA, such as groin strikes and eye pokes. 

You might be wondering why, even if it is legal, you don't see Wing Chun often being utilized in MMA. Unfortunately, Wing Chun is far inferior in terms of effectiveness in the competition scene compared to other disciplines of martial arts. 

Not to offend the essence of Wing Chun, but the principles and styles of this martial art just doesn't match well against high level MMA, that is why we only rarely see Wing Chun moves in the top promotions like the UFC, Bellator, and ONE Championship.

Nevertheless, famous top fighters like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Tony Ferguson have shown Wing Chun moves during their fights. They include arm control to throw elbows, and even the hand blocking to defend. 

Here is a video of Anderson Silva showing Wing Chung moves for 8 minutes!

Why Is Wing Chun Weak In MMA?

Is Wing Chun Illegal in MMA or not

You see, Wing Chun is a fluid like style of self-defense. It entails you to simultaneously attack and defend, with the goal of nullifying explosive and powerful attacks from your oppositions.

It's almost like you're relying on pure instincts and reflexes and utilizing your opponents movements and use it against them. Constant forward pressure and stance is important in Wing Chun too, that's why there are forms and styles that experts favor to use.

High speed and phone-booth like close combat is what you'll usually see in Wing Chun fighting scenes. You'll also see a lot of hand trapping and controlling, where Wing Chun masters immobilize their opponents and then attack from there on.

Thinking of it, Wing Chun is really an unpredictable and broad set of offense. However, back to the question, why is it weak in MMA? the following below are reasons why:

It's Not Developed For Pure Competition

As said earlier, the founder Ng Mui developed Wing Chun for self-defense purposes. Due to this, Wing Chun isn't really constructed as a combat sport. Therefore, there are no standardized rules for it. 

Is Wing Chun illegal in MMA? Again, it is not, but there are moves which are, that puts a huge disadvantage to people who practices this art. This discipline is just not built for fighting, much more combat competition.

Lack Of Grappling And Pure Wrestling

Mixed Martial Arts today is dense with high level grapplers and wrestlers. In fact, multiple champions across weight divisions in different promotions, are decorated wrestlers. Examples of these are

  • Islam Makhachev
  •  Demetrious Johnson,
  •  Aljamain Sterling 
  • Usman Nurmagomedov, and many more.

Wing Chun is almost strictly a striking discipline as their principles have nothing relating to ground control. In MMA or any competition scene, having no jiu-jitsu or wrestling background will put you at a tremendous disadvantage.

Combine this with Wing Chun's forward pressure style, it will be easy for your opponents to take you down. In fact, there has been a record of a pure Wing Chun fighter that competed in the UFC. And guess what, it didn't go well for him.

Disadvantage In Striking

The truth is, high class MMA competition has a different level in striking. The technicality involved in Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and other striking disciplines are far more superior compared to Wing Chun. Why? well because these bases are combat sports. 

Wing Chun's reliance on forward pressure to engage in phonebooth and close range striking will put it a disadvantage when facing a long boxer or kickboxer who's able to keep range by darting fast jabs or kicks.

Also, Wing Chun does tend to rely more on reaction, momentum and flow for defending. It's like using defense as offense. Compared to boxing and other striking disciplines who far too efficient and accurate, not lending to evasion techniques would be devastating.

Is Wing Chun Illegal in MMA? Final Words...

Is Wing Chun illegal in MMA, No. Is Wing Chun alone ineffective in MMA, well in a sense, yes. Arguments like these are so hard to dissect because Wing Chun isn't a combat sport at the first place and isn't designed for combat.

Top MMA athletes like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Tony Ferguson has used elements of Wing Chun in their striking arsenal. It clicks to me that the key is incorporating Wing Chun in your bag and adapting it to your overall style.

With that being said, Wing Chun as a standalone base for MMA, isn't effective but adding it to your arsenal is. As what's the trend in MMA, mastering your basics and then adding other skills is what makes you continue to be better.

I hope you liked the article. Leave some comments below if you disagree with some content so we can discus it! There you have it guys, Wing Chun illegal in MMA? NO!