Wing chun seems to be very effective style. But why they are using so much punches (like chain punch)? Punching can lead to serious injuries and is not as effective as palm strikes. Look at this video:

Wing Chun Techniques For Street Fight Self Defense, CloseQuartersCombat.com

This is exactly what I think.

So, why wing chun still uses the punches? For historical reasons? Is there any clone of wing chun that uses only palm heels? Yes, I know wing chun also uses palm heel strikes, but also very much punching (like the chain punch). I'd like to practice wing chun but I don't want to fix wrong habits that can lead to injury!

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    People who train correctly should not risk suffering from serious injuries when punching. The comments from the CQC instructor were for untrained novices, personally that is the sort of thing I would only teach to women taking a single self defence class (who will never bother to go through strength and conditioning training). Don't take everything you see in a youtube video as gospel.
    – slugster
    Feb 1, 2012 at 11:19
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    @Tomas if you want to learn how to fight, then don't bother with a martial art. Study Krav Maga.
    – Anon
    Feb 14, 2012 at 3:53
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    @Trevoke: Contradictory. Fighting methods are martial arts – codified systems of combat trained for personal defense, sport, spiritual development, or health.
    – stslavik
    Feb 15, 2012 at 17:04
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    @Tomas No, that's not what I'm saying. But if you study a martial art, you will most likely NOT be combat-ready for at least five years - most probably ten. If you study something like Krav Maga, you will be combat-ready in months.
    – Anon
    Feb 16, 2012 at 13:34
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    @Tomas Real, traditional wing chun, with a traditional instructor? 5-10 years. With an instructor who thinks it's all about fighting, then you'll be learning how to fight with a wing chun flavor - you won't be learning wing chun - and you'll be ready quickly.
    – Anon
    Feb 16, 2012 at 15:28

4 Answers 4


Some of the comments to that youtube video correctly point out that the example of straight punching given in the video is not actually Wing Chun. If you take a look at a number of other Wing Chun videos you will see that not only is the punch delivered very differently, but also that Wing Chun practitioners will deliver a mix of punches, chops and open hand strikes depending on the target (punches for soft targets or when a punch to the head is suitable, chops to the neck and side of the head and open palm attacks to the face/head).

Wing Chun, like most martial arts, features a number of different strikes that can be used depending on the circumstance. You are correct in saying that a punch can lead to serious injury, but any poorly executed martial technique can end very badly.

To answer your question directly, Wing Chun still uses punches as they are an extremely effective technique when delivered correctly (hopefully your training allows you to do this).

  • well, but wing-chun doesn't use chain palm- heel strikes, or does it? I've only seen chain punch
    – Tomas
    Feb 1, 2012 at 10:28
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    The most common thing you'll see is an application of the standard chain punching, especially in youtube videos. "Chain Punching" in Wing Chun should really be thought of as chain attacking though. More like the example given here: Another Example Feb 1, 2012 at 10:37

Punches can cause injury to your wrist, if delivered incorrectly. Search the dragonfishpond channel on youtube for an explanation of the correct structural alignment of the fist. Cuinn Wylie is also correct in saying the CQC instructor is not using proper Wing Chun. He is striking without controlling the opponent's arms - which is very dangerous and can also result in injury.

Regarding palm strikes - yes, Grandmaster Sum Nung of the Yuen Kay San lineage of Wing Chun used to say that in the old days people preferred more palm strikes (80% palms, 20% fists). They give you more options to follow up, but this requires greater skill as you'd have to be closer to the opponent. Nowadays, people favour more fist strikes (80% fists, 20% palms) although Sifu Yun Hoi favours the palms and demonstrates often in class why this is superior.

And as Cuinn said about "chain punching" - this is really the notion of continuous attack. In proper Wing Chun each strike carries knock-out power. Have a read of my blog post about chain punching.


Wing Chun give you the lego blocks, you build what you need with it. If you want to use more kicks and palm strikes then do it :-)

Learn all the techniques and then use the ones that work best for you.

There are reasons why punches have always been used by most forms of fighting over the history of men hitting each other. Does it mean you have to punch? No. But punches has it use and can be effective without injury. I have been doing Wing Chun for over 13 years and have suffered no injuries from Wing Chun yet. I have suffered injuries from playing Rugby and Cricket and doing Ju Jutsu how ever.


It is reckless to make changes to a style without fully understanding the consequences of that change. The wing chun punches are good punches, they make sense, and done properly, they will not damage you. A palm heel strike and a punch are not the same strike and will not have the same effect if directed at the same target.

  • Well, but all punches are naturally risky due to the possibility of breaking one's knuckles and I don't see wing chun addressing that?
    – user11733
    Oct 23, 2022 at 0:49

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