This seems to be the age old battle at least in the Wing Chun world. The last two Ip Man movies feature the final battle between Ip Man and a boxer. This is also the topic of numerous forums and Youtube videos. Here’s an objective take on this never ending debate.
It’s usually not accurate to compare two different styles of fighting since much depends on the individual fighter. However, all other variables being equal (weight, skill, experience, aptitude, etc.) and assuming punches only, a Wing Chun fighter would lose 9 times out of 10 against a boxer. Here’s why…
Frankly, it doesn’t matter what the style is. If you take a Thai fighter and put him in with a boxer under punches only rules, the Thai fighter would likely lose most of the time assuming all other variables being equal. The same is true of a MMA fighter or Kumite fighter. Does this mean Muay Thai or MMA are worthless? Of course not; much depends on the rules. This should be common sense so I don’t want to waste time and words arguing this point. Let’s move on. How about in a street fight?
How would a Wing Chun fighter fair against a boxer or MMA fighter assuming all other variables being equal? In a street fight, the style of the fighter really is an insignificant factor with little to no impact on the result of the fight. It’s like asking who would win in a one-on-one basketball game, a player with a background in football or a player with a background in baseball? Do baseball and football require skills that crossover into basketball? Of course, but how many more skills are required and perhaps more relevant?
But people love to engage in these endless arguments stating the Wing Chun fighter would be able to use his trapping against a forceful boxer or that a Wing Chun kick would defeat a boxer’s jab, on and on. These same individuals might as well argue that a football player would do better than a baseball player in a basketball game because the football player doesn’t just run in a straight line, but can move side to side to avoid other players. Sure, maybe, but can he dribble the ball at the same time? Probably not.
The one who would win a basketball game is the one who trains for a basketball game, not football, not baseball or any other sport. Therefore, the one who would typically win a street fight is the one who trains for a street fight. Doesn’t Wing Chun train for a street fight? Well, let me ask you, does your Wing Chun class train to defend against takedowns, weapons, surprise attacks, or multiple attackers? Does your Wing Chun class train to simulate the intensity felt in a real life or death fight? If not, then you’re probably not training for a street fight. Does boxing train to defend against takedowns, weapons, or multiple attackers? No.
The problem these days is most styles even combatives styles don’t train everything. If I want to train defense against weapons and multiple attackers, Krav Maga classes are usually well-suited for this. If I want to train ground combatives, then I’ll likely take a Submission Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. If I want to learn how to fight under pressure, then I’ll likely study a combat sport like Muay Thai, boxing, or Mixed Martial Arts. If I want to learn how to use weapons, then I need to take Kali or Escrima. If I want to learn a balanced stand up fighting system with weapons also, then a Wing Chun class may work best. The point is that few arts train everything. So, bottomline, comparing styles is like comparing apples to oranges. Just get out there, train, and fight.
Wishing you peace and compassion.
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