When I first heard of Wing Chun and Tai Chi and watched them on TV, I thought they were the same. Boy, I was wrong!
The difference between the two stems from their definition, purpose and the benefits that you stand to gain.
I am writing this purely for the love of the art, having trained and performed both martial arts over the years.
It is my joy to encourage many people to join either of the two and help anyone stuck in deciding which one to choose.
Tai Chi is an internal martial art whose aim is to help practitioners enjoy mental harmony.
However, Wing Chun is a physical memory martial art aimed at helping practitioners use instinct when reacting in combat.
Meaning Of Tai Chi
From my study and subsequent practice of each, I now understand a few more differences.
Tai Chi means ‘The origin of the fist,’ which is thought to have been developed before the 17th century.
Its purpose is to help achieve balance and stability through yin and yang.
Meaning of Wing Chun
Wing Chun came into being in the 18th century and has clear documentation about its aims and people who practiced it.
It aims to teach practitioners self-defence and to fight at close range.
Besides, it was developed to help a smaller opponent fight a larger person by harnessing the larger opponent’s size and strength against them.
Tai Chi Is A “Soft” Martial Art
Most practitioners refer to it as a soft martial art, but you can use it as a hard art in fighting.
While the greatest focus is the mental discipline, fighters are taught to meet the hardness of the attacker with softness.
Wing Chung Is A “Hard” Martial Art
On the other hand, Wing Chun is an external, hard martial art.
I joined the class to create perfect muscle memory and improve my reactions when in combat. Our tutor always encouraged us to use our hardness against our opponents and beat them to submission.
Benefits of Tai Chi
I studied Tai Chi primarily for its health benefits derived from mental and physical discipline.
One of the core features of the art is meditation, which has tons of benefits in discovering oneself and gaining the purpose of life.
In addition, Tai Chi has helped me stay alert, control my emotions and maintain healthy body weight.
Benefits of Wing Chun
Wing Chun practitioners achieve physical discipline via the framework of martial arts.
I have experienced better focus through the determination to perfect my moves.
Other students claim that it helps them make better decisions, act with intentions of honour and break drug or habit addictions.
Type of Fighting and Movements Used in Tai Chi and Wing Chun
The type of fighting in Tai Chi is ‘Push hands.’
It encourages the fighter to stick to the opponent to trip, push, or throw them over and neutralize their threat.
Besides, it uses slow movements to find a rhythm with the opponent.
However, Wing Chun uses ‘Sticky hands,’ a fighting style where you are trained to hit the opponent without getting struck.
It has a fast and dynamic movement meant to tip the opponent off balance.
The difference between Tai Chi and Wing Chun is their approach to mental and physical fitness.
Tai Chi is an internal art with a soft underbelly, while Wing Chun is a pure martial art meant for self-defence.
However, both styles are great for mental and physical discipline.
If you can train on both, you will enjoy the best of both worlds. Therefore, I would encourage you to try both.
All the best in your Tai Chi or Wing Chun, if not both!