Somerset Wing Chun Kung Fu 

MMA and Bare Knuckle

I am often asked about the 'odd' Wing Chun straight punch and why it isn't seen in Boxing or MMA. The answer is that it exists in both environments, some currently and some historically, as I explain below.

Barenuckle and Boxing

You only need to look at pictures of turn of the century bareknuckle boxers to see the Wing Chun stance, body alignment  and hand positioning.

It is clear in Jack Dempsey's (US World Heavy-Weight Champion 1919-1926) book Championship Fighting - Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense, that the description of his straight knockout punch describes the body mechanics and delivery of a Wing Chun punch including the vertical fist for head high shots.

He continued boxing until 1940, Dempsey fought 84 bouts, winning 62, 51 of which were by knockout and wrote his book before Wing Chun was ever heard of outside of Hong Kong, it describes the conclusions of a World Champion at the height of his boxing career.

He developed his punching methods from his days working and fighting in mining-camps and lumber-camps, where the purpose was to knock the opponent out as quickly as possible and end the fight.

It remained his preferred method of head high punching for self protection.

He references the 'jolt-punch' as one of the 4 main boxing punches in the days before the advent of heavy gloves and the points system and favours this punch as the most efficient for knock out in a moving situation. 

I would recommend any boxing or Wing Chun student to read his book.


In the last number of years the advent and popularity of MMA has increased.

The discussions in Martial Arts usually ends up with the statement:

'If xyz martial art is any good then why isn't it used/tested in the ring/cage etc'.

Wing Chun is a traditional martial art and Somerset Wing Chun trains it for Self Protection as opposed to sport BUT a number of exponents of Wing Chun train and use it in UFC/MMA and other arenas.

Adam Gregory, Tony Ferguson, Jon Jones & Anderson Silva all train Wing Chun and have successfully used the skills developed in the ring/cage.

It has also been trained and used to good effect in traveller/gypsy bare knuckle bouts.

I don't mention this to say that Wing Chun is any better than any other martial art but simply to negate the standard statement mentioned above.

You have to respect the skills and abilities of MMA exponents in the same way you should respect the skills and abilities of other martial arts, where time and effort have been invested in developing skills and abilities.

Personally I have very little interest in, commercial MMA, although I and most of our students have trained a wide variety of martial arts over the years.



How Many Street Fights End Up on the Ground  Reseach by a BJJ Training Group 2019

31% of Street Fights end up on the Ground in a way that Grappling would be Useful.

Only 13% end up on the Ground as the result of Deliberate Takedown.

69% End without going to the Ground.

Percentage of Fights that end up on the Ground