Internal vs External Wing Chun

There is much debate these days on whether Wing Chun is an internal art or an external one. Some say that our power methods are the exclusive domain of internal arts: they are missing in external systems like Judo or BJJ.

These power methods are superior, they will argue. External styles may be effective, but they do not tap into this mystical source of power. They use brute strength, or at least, so goes the theory.

I have spent the last 22 years training internals through Tai Chi, Bagua, and Wing Chun. I have also trained in “external” arts such as Boxing and Judo. I can honestly say that I found some of the best internal practitioners in these so-called external styles.

The internal vs external debate has become dogmatic and of little practical use. Martial Arts should be judged primarily by their effectiveness in combat. One can debate all day and night whether the power methods used are internal or external, usually with no resolution.

You cannot argue, however, with a Judoka that sends you flying through the air. The results speak for themselves. Of what practical use is it to cultivate internal power if you cannot use it against a resisting partner. On the other hand, if you defeat your opponent in combat, what difference does it make whether you classify it “internal” or “external”?

After 22 years of training, I have decided to leave these useless debates behind me. I do not care if people classify what I do as internal or external; I only care that it works.

Make your Martial Arts result-driven. Spar often against practitioners from different arts. Spar against martial artists who are better than you. Work hard, sweat and get your butt handed to you regularly.

Leave the internal vs external debate to those not willing to put in the hard work.



  • Sensei Stephen chen

    Hi, this has been a debate for many years, from my experience over the years is to absorb what is useful, train hard n adapt your training methods in sparring to keep an open mind irrespective of which martial arts you practice, one debate over so many years is hearing practitioners of different systems claiming their system is better blah blah blah, it’s the individual themselves on how he or she has trained on how to adapt where need be as n when, every sparring session is a learning experience not who is better than who, we as martial artist strive for improvement in ourselves physically n mentally.

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WCO Magazines

Follow Us

© 2023 Wing Chun Origins