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Two Wing Chun masters fought for real

"I am willing to prove it to them at any time, anywhere," said William Cheung; Emin Boztepe took him up on it.
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This article is one part of an ongoing effort by The MMA UnderGround to understand what really works, and sometimes on what doesn't. The focus is not on what happens in the arena, but rather what happens on the street, or in this case, at a seminar. If you enjoyed it, check out more stories on:
1. Style vs. Style
2. Martial Arts on The Street
3. Dojo Storms

Prior to the advent of mixed martial arts, there was endless bickering about what martial art was better, with everyone claiming superiority. it was like Like Wobegone - a place where all the children were above average. Curiously, no one ever actually tried fighting to find out if their approach to fighting was actually more effective.

There were, however, a handful of exceptions.

In the Wing Chun / Ving Tsun community there was endless years of blather about which approach was better. Eventually, Wing Chun Grand Master William Cheung made the cardinal mistake of believing his own malarkey, and put out a challenge.

"I am the most knowledgeable master in the Wing Chun System and I am the best fighter," he wrote. "And I am willing to prove it to them at any time, anywhere."

Turkish/German Ving Tsun master Emin Boztepe took him up in. Master Emin has nothing what so ever verifiable to back up his fighting ability. However, he and his students do have dumpsters full of ludicrous stories. Boztepe has numerous times fought multiple armed skinheads, they say. AND, he never suffered a defeat in 300 such streetfights, they say. And master sifu has really great abs! PLUS a mean scowl. There is NO WAY he is not legit. Just watch him demonstrate on a compliant student, and you'll see.

In 1986 Cheung went to Germany to conduct a seminar, and he was confronted by Boztepe. They two fought, but not everyone was kung-fu fighting. In fact, neither of them were.

What Happened

The pair clinch, without knowing how to clinch, and Cheung throws an elbow and follows up with a knee, whereupon the pair fall to the ground. Whether going to the ground was ineptitude or by design is a point of disagreement.

Please note, in a system without any ground fighting, when two of its leading grandmasters fought, it went to the ground within 2-3 seconds. Cheung resembles nothing so much as a turtle that has been flipped out, shoving with his arms and then his legs. Boztepe, flopping on top, tries to pin an arm to no avail, throws several harmless punches, and then it peters out.

Despite endless rumors, neither man was hurt in the least.

Cheung says what really happened was he didn't want to fight because it could jeopardize his German visa, plus right before the seminar a photographer (in retrospect a covert actor for the Ving Tsun group) asked him to don slippery shoes leading to the takedown, plus he was attacked from behind, plus he blocked all of Boztepe's strikes so his opponent ended up running away in frustration.

You can't make this stuff up. How even a single person remains in his organization is a monumental mystery. 


The Lesson

The fight proved something to any rational human being who hasn't taken too many Wing Chun lessons. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, neither Emin Boztepe nor William Cheung knows much, if anything, about fighting. They looked like nothing so much as school children, rolling around in tears after a disagreement on who was tougher, Spiderman or Santa Claus.

The fight also proved which is better Ving Tsun or Wing Chun - neither. Both instructors know nothing about fighting. Unfortunately, some martial arts students' sense of self gets so wrapped up in whatever loony discipline they study, that all rational thought is self-suppressed, and replaced with a sad form of blind faith.

A child could look at this video and tell that neither man knew how to fight. Unfortunately, adults still tell stories, to others and themselves. But the truth is right there for all to see. And it's not a secret.

Bruce Lee started with Wing Chun (Cheung was a classmate), and once had to actually try it, vs. Wong Jack-Man, another Hong Kong-based Kung Fu expert. Matthew Polly author of Bruce Lee: A Life, interviewed David Chin, who arranged the fight on Wong's behalf. Chin says as Wong was about to bow in, Lee flurried, overwhelming his opponent, who turned and ran. According to this account, Lee, still punching, chased after Wong, who ran around the room until he fell, whereupon Lee leapt on top and punched until it was over. 

"I'd gotten into a fight in San Francisco with a Kung-Fu cat, and after a brief encounter the son-of-a-bitch started to run," recalled Lee. "I chased him and, like a fool, kept punching him behind his head and back. Soon my fists began to swell from hitting his hard head. Right then I realized Wing Chun was not too practical and began to alter my way of fighting."

Lee vs. Jack-Man probably looked a lot like the video above. This is what Hollywood said it looked like:


And that cartoonish style of fighting is what frauds still teach. Yet the only verifiable fight that both Boztepe and Cheung were ever in looks like a joke. And it's easy to fight if you want to. 

Jon Bluming says Boztepe had an offer, and turned it down, in tears.

"My boys went over there [to Emin Boztepe’s kwoon] Dolman and Vrij and a few other guys, because he claimed no one can beat him," said Bluming. "He was on his knees crying, and I’m not kidding you. He’s an a**hole. He said, 'please guys this is only for advertising, come on, I just want to make a dollar, that’s all.' So they just spit on him and they left. He’s an a**hole. 

Bluming's notable students include Wim Ruska (two-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion in judo), Chris Dolman (two-time world sambo champion), Semmy Schilt (four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion), Gilbert Yvel (pioneering Dutch MMA fighter), Jan Plas and Thom Harinck (The Fathers of Dutch Kickboxing), Hideyuki Ashihara (founder of Ashihara Karate), Azuma Takashi (founder of Daidō Juku), and countless other tremendous talents.

There are so many martial arts that demonstrably work. And there are so many that demonstrably don't, when pressure tested. Why so many millions cling to the latter, whole desiring the ability to defend themselves, remains an enduring mystery.

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