Why is there a modified Wing Chun

Master S. Saladinov with GM Oliver König

In traditional Wing Tsun (Wing Chun, Ving Tsun) throwing and ground fighting play a subordinate role.
At this statement, some will shake their heads and object that there is the following content in the WT: ChiGörk with throws and counter-throws, fall school, stepping off the ground.

Experience has shown, however, that the traditional solo and partner forms and combinations of techniques are not very productive in this area.
That is why many Wing Tsun (or Wing Chun, Ving Chun etc.) representatives have used other styles - sometimes quite openly, sometimes the foreign techniques are an authentic part of Yip Mans style sold.

Sambo specialist S. Saladinov during class

There is no need to apologize for not wanting to completely reinvent the wheel. Even the 300-year-old Wing Tsun system did not fall completely finished from the sky and was presented on tablets of the law. Wing Tsun is not finished and hopefully our WT never will be.

Wrestling on the beach of Tenerife: Prof. Dr. V. Margaritov with DaiSifu T. Schrön

We in the EWTO have also dealt with this area. GM Core woodpecker as early as the 1960s in the form of Wrestling, judo, jiu jitsu and Catch. I myself practiced wrestling techniques at Langenzell Castle at a young age to learn how to move on the ground and how to successfully defend against it.

JuJutsu expert E. Reinhardt teaches as part of the bachelor's degree in Heidelberg

GM Prof. Keith R. Kernspecht has always taught combat in five distances (kick, punch, elbow or knee, wrestling or throwing and ground fighting distance). He also stated quite openly that e.g. the program "Gentle means" (Overpowering the opponent without injuring him) did not belong in the traditional WingTsun program that he had got to know in Hong Kong, but that it was borrowed from other styles that he had previously practiced.
Others retreat to the point of view that in Wing Tsun one traditionally does not go to the ground and therefore the Wing Tsun fighter does not need any ground or anti-ground combat.

Judo and sumo master A. Schnabel shows a throwing technique with DaiSifu Schrön

In the EWTO, however, we have the right to use WT as a complete Teaching self-defense, therefore fighting in the horizontal, i.e. fighting on the ground, must be included accordingly. The perfect self-defense system isn't a Style, but a combination of different milestones, training methods, etc. that must work under all conditions.

Now I have the advantage that my mentor and teacher, GM Prof. Keith R. Kernspecht, has already learned or dealt with a lot of styles himself (Judo, JuJitsu, Aikido, Karate, Taikiken Kempo, WingChun, WingTsun, Thai boxing, Escrima, Sumo and different inner styles) and that he encouraged us to meet the best experts in the Sambo, ground fighting and Grappling further training in order to close this gap in the WT as well.

Already in the last century he experimented with Prof. Veselin Margaritovwho was part of the coaching team of the Bulgarian national wrestling team at the time. He continued his ChiSao against Wrestling made comparisons and made parts of the WTChiSao-Method accessible to wrestlers, who then became European champions for the first time in many years. There is a video circulating on the net somewhere in which there are excerpts from GM Core woodpecker trained with a lot of fun with a world wrestler while standing. In connection with the ChiSao he developed later ChinNa-Techniques for levering, throwing, etc. But he didn't want to lie on the ground anymore.

Our SiGung GM Leung Ting once said: "If I could find a better style than my own, I would learn this one!" Which shows that in WingTsun we do not feel obliged to tradition, but to pure function.
In the history of WingTsun, the long stick was also borrowed from a different style (Weng Tsun - white crane style). First our Wing Tsun ancestors learned the style, then they modified it so that it corresponded to our WingTsun principles. Wrestling, sambo, judo, sumo and BJJ, I came to the conclusion that there are already a lot of grappling techniques in WingTsun, but these are not taught successfully: mostly because of a lack of training methodology or because you often - like a jointed manikin - only work with your arms instead of your entire body - in other words with torso, legs, etc. - as it is with Grappling is essential for throws, counter-throws, preventing throws and moving on the ground.

Budo legend Kaicho Jon Bluming teaches during the bachelor's study week in Heidelberg

From a historical point of view, I believe that in China, as almost everywhere in the world, there were wrestling methods from which various martial arts developed or at least influenced various martial arts.
As far as Wing Tsun in Fatshan is concerned, it may be that in this specific area there were mainly styles that were structured in a similar way to Wing Tsun: relatively high upright stance, low elbows, central punches, somehow sticky arms, etc.

Clashes with representatives of the wrestling guild, especially with ground fighters, were not on the agenda. Even in Kanos Judothat he from the JuJitsu had developed, there was initially no fight on the ground. Jigoro Kano, the creator of the Judo, spoke contemptuously: Man should kindly stand upright and not wriggle on the ground like a reptile.
The aesthetics of standing upright was given priority over functionality. There was no need to develop (anti) ground techniques because you weren't fighting on the ground.


What is grappling?

GM Gene LeBell shows DaiSifu T. Schrön a lever technique

But what is it anyway "Grappling"? I want to use a definition from Wikipedia here:
"Grappling (grip methods, grip fighting) is an element of many martial arts and includes levers, throws, bringing down to the ground, abandonment grips, strangleholdings and other grips of all kinds. The various techniques aim to bring the opponent into a position that is unfavorable for him and then immobilize him and / or force him to give up. "

Wing Tsun-ChiSao if done correctly, it can also be counted as grappling, but mostly it is only done in a limited area (not over all five phases) and also trained with the wrong method. Choreographed partner dances and the practice of prefabricated technical processes do not lead to the goal here and give many the illusion of controlling the chaos of a real fight.
So success depends not least on the correct teaching didactics.


WingTsun studies and my way to grappling

Kaicho Jon Bluming teaches GM Oliver König and DaiSifu Schrön in ground combat

As part of our academic martial arts courses with the University of Plovdiv / BG and the University of Derby / Buxton, we have inter alia. dealt with a wide variety of styles, including some grappling styles such as Judo, Sambo, Wrestling, JuJitsu, Sumo, the All-style fighting system by Kaicho Jon Bluming and the chin. Chi Na. Of course, a comparison with the gripping, throwing, levering, choking and floor techniques that existed in WingTsun could not be missing.

So we invited experts from the different styles, and I got closer and closer to the subject. So taught us Stoyan Saladinov, the then Bulgarian head coach of the special unit against drugs and gang crime, Sambo. Prof. Veselin Margaritov, former national coach for Wrestling in Bulgaria, showed us how good professionals train and what techniques they use. JuJutsu-Expert Erich Reinhardt instructed us in the biomechanics of his style. Judoka and sumo-expert Arthur Schnabel (Bronze medal judo at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1984, multiple European champion in judo and sumo), gave us an insight into Judo and sumo. Budo legend Kaicho Jon Bluming taught us in his Ground fighting-Method he made from what he got from grandpa Rubble, Don F. Draeger and partly Mifune had learned, developed.


Further research

After private lessons with GM Gokor Chivichyan

My colleague and friend Thomas Schrön and I had been thinking for some time how we could improve training in (anti) ground combat, throwing, etc. We were particularly interested in the training methods of the different styles and experts. Always looking for the most effective methods in that area, we ended up finding Kaicho because of it Jon Blumings personal recommendation to the grappling legend "Judo" -Gene LeBell transferred. Since we didn't want to be satisfied with the theory, we decided to do our practical training and went on an educational trip to the USA for several weeks to work directly with GM Gene LeBell and his master student GM Gokor Chivichyan to learn.

GM Gene LeBell explains how to grasp correctly when grappling

Sensei Gokor was unbeaten in over 400 fights during his playing days. GM's system LeBell and GM Gokor Chivichyan is a mix of Catchen, judo, sambo etc. There is not the usual set of rules that influence the individual styles. Numerous very successful master class students have already emerged from the joint school, such as Ronda Rousey, undefeated UFC fighter, Karen Darabedyan, one of the best grapplers in the world, Plaid parisyan, Manvel Gamburyan and many more champions.

So we trained several units a day at Sensei Gokor and its professionals. Sometimes the Budo legend also snowed Gene LeBell came in and made corrections or showed one of his grappling applications.
Our claim to find a method that has to be compatible with the characteristics of our WT was more than fulfilled!
But not only the sophisticated technology, but also the methodology of the training was very interesting.

We found at Sensei Gokor and his students more than just another sport of the Grapplings. We were warmly welcomed into the family of professionals and amateurs there and Sensei Gokor took care of us sincerely! We are striving for closer cooperation in the future. Details of the cooperation follow bit by bit ...

Group picture after training: in the middle Sensei Gene LeBell and Sensei Gokor Chivichyan, right next to them Thomas and Oliver


Implementation of our latest findings

Of course, we don't want to keep our latest findings to ourselves. We are in the process of adapting the training methods for our WT self-defense, arranging the technical side and considering where we can place them logically and harmoniously in the teaching programs. A program for the horizontal, i.e. the floor, is essential, but it must be possible to teach it clearly and logically.

In some cases we already have fragments in the teaching program for students, but the past has shown that this is not expedient.
Such a program is supposed to be a additional Present offer. But it will not mandatory be for exams, as some students cannot or do not want to fight on the ground for health reasons.

The goal is still to avoid fighting on the ground in self-defense. But when it comes to that, every WT fan should be well prepared! DaiSifu Thomas Schrön and I have already taught excerpts from the program at some seminars and also during the bachelor’s classroom week, which has resulted in consistently positive feedback.

We will stay on the ball and will continue to report the latest from time to time and of course we will also teach in a corresponding unit on the international course. See you!


Guest editorial by GM Oliver König