This September I will be going away to university and currently, I am dealing with a dilemma of signing up for either a Wing Chun or Bujinkan ninjutsu club, along with my MMA training. Now, I have been wanting to join a Bujinkan dojo for a while now and just recently got interested in wing chun. Ultimately, I am thing of acquiring knowledge from the arts I am interested in and apply it to MMA. I was thinking, if anyone had experiences with applying Bujinkan techniques or wing chun techniques in MMA and if they found them effective.

The techniques I have seen in Bujinkan, particularly in taijutsu (Ninjutsu's hand to hand combat) and kaiten (rolling) caught my idea, that I think would be beneficial in MMA. That's why I prompted the question to know if anyone has used Bujinkan techniques in MMA and whether it worked or not. Furthermore, I had a very keen interest in weapons training, which I think would be beneficial for in the street where anything can go down.

As for wing Chun, I haven't done much research on it yet, but the techniques I have heard have been used and proved to be useful in the UFC. The flowing motion of wing Chun caught my eye a lot and how they try to defend while attacking really made me think it's usefulness. Now bear in mind, I want to try to become a better mixed martial artist as I have a strong belief in bruce lee's philosophy of the "formless art"...but it certainly doesn't hurt to learn different techniques and use them properly in a mixed form.

These arts don't practice a lotta a live sparing and pressure testing, hence inductively deemed unfit in MMA. But until or unless someone uses them, at least parts of them in MMA, no one would really know if these techniques actually work.

Another art, that I have studied a while back and am still interested in is Kyokushin Karate, which I reckon would be very applicable to MMA. However my university doesn't cater to that style, hence I am stuck with wing chun and ninjutsu.

So, what do you guys think? Which one, should I focus more towards?

PS: I won't be able to focus on both given there's a strong factor of money and time.

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    martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/5462/… perhaps too. Apr 21, 2020 at 14:44
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    By "criteria", I mean "how do you gauge which is better?" Tae Kwan Do is an excellent thing to study for sports sparring and kicking techniques. Capoeira is one of the best martial arts for musical integration and acrobatics. Boxing is a solid choice for upright hands-based fighting and teaches you a lot about continuing to fight after you start getting punched. Bujinkan ninjitsu gives you experience with weapons earlier than most styles, same with most forms of Escrima. Which is the best choice for you depends on what you're looking for. Apr 21, 2020 at 14:52
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    My main question is, why did you start thinking about learning these concrete styles? What did you find interesting in them in particular? It would be important to know this, so that we can start to answer or at least help you with feedback on whether your thinking is based in reality.
    – BKE
    Apr 21, 2020 at 19:58
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    @BKE I think the restriction to these two styles is based on availability at asker's university. If there were other options available, presumably they would be included.
    – mattm
    Apr 23, 2020 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


One of the things that is present in Steve's answers that he linked in his comments is that neither style is going to do much to prepare you for MMA due to a lack of active resistance. I've done a bit of Bujinkan and Wing Chun (more of the former) as well as several other styles, and they don't really do the sort of free-sparring that happens in MMA where your opponent is not following a script. Wing Chun has push-hands, which has some free-form aspects, and we did some Kumite setups in the Bujinkan system where you entered a circle, and had random attacks from people around you but they were only allowed a single attack and then they "acted" out your pulled strikes and moved along with the throws. Yes, MMA has rules that are followed as well, but you face a situation where you don't know what strike your opponent will throw, they won't necessarily go down in one hit, they might keep hitting you, and you need to keep fighting as you're being hit. You perform how you train.

Now what you might be able to gain MMA-wise from this sort of cross-training is new techniques to try out. Anderson Silva is notorious (not always in a good way) for how he'd see a particular technique in a martial art and then try to use it in MMA. He'd also then drill that movement in the ring with an opponent who would feel free to counter and hit back, and keep hitting back. Overall, I suspect Bujinkan would be a bit more useful for your purposes here, as there was an emphasis on learning a technique and then training it in different circumstances, so it was a bit more grounded in learning to do it under pressure and when the opponent doesn't stand in the right place. Heck, there have even been some Capoeira techniques that have been used in MMA (possibly not as surprising when you look at historical Capoeira, which was often trained alongside Luta Libre).

Fundamentally, most Traditional Martial Arts, which include Wing Chun and the Bujinkan styles, aren't really taught in a way that fits actual application in a fight. That's not to say that they're fraudulent, or worthless. Many of them were originally built for very specific circumstances, such as how Wu Shu was a way of quickly training people to fight other Chinese martial arts, or how some of the Bujinkan techniques are based on how to hurt someone who's wearing traditional Japanese armor. And, since then, they've been adapted to more study the theory and culture of the style than to actually train to fight. And if you enjoy doing them, that's great. I don't expect my Capoeira skills to ever be how I win a fight. I know from experience that they've helped me in other ways, such as catching myself when slipping or falling, or not falling apart after I take a blow to the head, but what I train there exists under a set of formalized rules that approach combat, but comfortably stop before that so that it can be enjoyed as a musical and cultural experience.

So, ultimately, Bujinkan is probably your better bet in my opinion, but as Dave says, if you want to fight in MMA, you train in MMA. And if you want to use other styles in the MMA ring, you take them to the MMA ring and try them out and see how they work.

  • Thank you for this awesome answer. I just had one question, could you re-explain the bit where you said "Overall, I suspect Bujinkan would be a bit more useful for your purposes here, as there was an emphasis on learning a technique and then training it in different circumstances, so it was a bit more grounded in learning to do it under pressure and when the opponent doesn't stand in the right place" Apr 26, 2020 at 13:34
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    My experience with Wing Chun is that it's very focused on very fixed attacks and responses (at least at the lower levels I trained at). There is a specific defense to a specific punch, and you train from the exact same positions each time as you drill the motion, again in line with the historical basis of training people to fight other Kung Fu styles. Bujinkan, you're more likely to be shown a specific attack and then shown 3-4 different ways to defend, and people are more encouraged to vary their angle of attack, positioning, etc. Apr 26, 2020 at 16:16
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    Ultimately, if you want to pursue the art as art, just do it. Don't worry about the MMA applicability of it. If a particular attack seems like it might be fun to try, try it with a partner and make sure that they actively resist and try different counters so that you get used to acting and reacting instead of following a set form. Apr 26, 2020 at 16:17
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    @EPICTubeHD One thing I want to pass along to you, besides what I wrote in my answers linked to in the comments section: A lot of people doing TMA are there because they think it will give them the "smart" thing to do in order to have a huge advantage over others in a fight. They are dazzled by dim-mak / kyusho-jitsu, forms, qigong, meditation, funky ways of moving, and "secret" techniques. None of that stuff actually "works". But what they're looking for is right there in MMA and BJJ. It will give them the huge advantage they're looking for, like no other "style" does. Something to consider. Apr 27, 2020 at 18:39
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    @SteveWeigand: Arguably, a lot of them also do it because they want to be able to do the flashy kicks and flips like in the movies. :) And, for that, I'd say your better bet is looking at a Tricking or Gymnastics class, because even the styles who have that usually make you spend a lot of time drilling basic kicks and punches first. Apr 27, 2020 at 18:46

The vast majority of wing chun and bujinkan schools would be more likely to have a net negative effect on your MMA training than a net positive effect. You're better off spending your time doing strength and conditioning, or looking for a school that spars.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – mattm
    Apr 23, 2020 at 14:37

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