Updated: Sep 1, 2022
Since March I've been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu regularly at a school in London, recommended by a student instructor of mine. There are many differences between Wing Chun and BJJ, however I thought I would share a couple of similarities I've noticed:
1, Use technique, rather than strength, to defeat someone stronger
In both styles, the philosophy is that you should be able to use technique to overcome stronger than you.
Wing Chun aims to take an advantage by staying standing, getting close to your opponent, and striking directly and aggressively.
Whereas BJJ's goal is to take someone to the ground, get to a dominant position, and to predominantly go for chokes and limb locks.
Both use leverage to gain an advantage in order to open up and execute attacks.
2, Have a relatively safe format for expressing and testing your skills
In Wing Chun, we use 'Chi Sau' as our main way of sparring to express our techniques with timing and control. Whereas in BJJ, 'rolling' and hence the sport itself of jiu-jitsu, is how they express their techniques.
The advantage of having a highly refined sport with rules, is that you can test the skill and athleticism of the practitioner more accurately. The downside is that by introducing rules to maximise safety, you slightly get away from the self-defence aspects of what martial arts were originally designed for.
Everything is a trade-off though, so it depends on where you choose to draw the line between realism and safe training.
Overall, as hard as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is, it has helped me to think about Wing Chun in a new way, especially around how to train it more effectively using 'specific sparring' - sparring starting from different positions.