Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Is Wing Chun trapping useless in self defense?

Some critics of Wing Chun trapping (where a fighter immobilizes the arms to execute a counter-attack) have said that trapping is useless in a street fight. Their reasoning is you won't have enough time to trap your attacker's hands or hand and attack under stress. If you do, you will likely get hit with the other hand. Is trapping useless? Yes and no.

Yes because as i've mentioned in my blog post "ineffective Wing Chun training for self defense", i've outlined several flaws with how Wing Chun sifus teach trapping. If your training with a Wing Chun guy who is also trapping and no pressure is being used then of course trapping will be useless in a street fight! All your attacker has to do is apply forward pressure and topple you over. How do you make trapping work? Efficiency, fighting on the blindside, and forward pressure. Rather than trying to face your enemy's centerline and trap the hands, you move to the outside to trap only one elbow as you attack. This is consistent with the Wing Chun principles "control your enemy's elbow" and "fight on the blindside." It's also easier to do. Why struggle to trap both hands when you can trap the elbow which moves much slower with less wasted energy?

From my experience, this method of trapping has worked for me against untrained sparring partners in a no holds barred setting. Against one sparring partner, i simply stepped in to nullify his or her kicking range and trapped only one arm (holding the elbow in place). I pushed him against the wall to keep him from moving at all as i attacked. He swung, i trapped his arm and followed up with a pretend arm break along with other attacks. With another sparring partner, i intercepted his forward movement with a stop kick then closed the gap and trapped his elbow following up with hammerfists to the back. I found that Master Wong was very helpful in giving insight on how to apply trapping in self defense. 

Remember that your goal is not to focus on trapping in self defense. Trapping should only be an instinctive response to your opponent's movements. Your primary aim should be simultaneous attack and defense. If the opportunity to trap presents itself, you feel your opponent's movements and respond accordingly. In conclusion, is trapping useless? It can be as useful or as useless as you make it.

Practice with a sparring partner with safety precautions.
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