In both practice and philosophy, the martial arts are as varied as the countries and cultures in which they were developed. Karate and wing chun originated in different countries, but they have more similarities than differences. Whereas Western arts like boxing and wrestling are as different as night and day, karate and wing chun share similar origins, benefits and techniques.
Most martial arts styles grew out of periods of intense military conflict. The origins of karate and wing chun kung fu are no different. Traditional Okinawan karate was developed by fusing the Chinese arts of Te and Chinese kenpo, while wing chun was born in China during the Shaolin and Ming resistance to the Qing Dynasty. It is virtually impossible to trace the exact origins of either style, but both rose to become the defining systems of armed and unarmed combat in their respective countries.
Like many martial arts systems, karate and wing chun provide a host of physical and psychological benefits. Physical conditioning classes can help you burn between 750 and 1,200 calories per hour, according to MayoClinic.com, and both styles offer complete full-body workouts that can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and strengthen your heart. The value of added mental benefits such as confidence, focus and the discipline associated with self-defense knowledge cannot be overstated.
The form and execution may differ, but karate and wing chun are all about delivering strikes as quickly and efficiently as possible. These Eastern styles favor straight, fast punches as well as powerful, straight-line kicks delivered with the ball, heel and blade of the foot. Joint locks, traditional forms and weapons training with blades and sticks round out your instruction.
Martial arts training involves risks just like any other sport, but the fact that karate and wing chun are fighting styles shouldn't discourage you from enrolling in a local dojo. A 2005 study conducted by the University of Manitoba found that kung fu practice resulted in a slightly higher number of injuries that required time off from training compared to karate. Still, your risk of injury in either martial art is dependent on the intensity of your training, the presence of proper supervision from qualified instructors and consistent use of protective equipment.
- Wonder-Okinawa.jp: History of Okinawan Karate
- KungFuMagazine.com: Rediscovering the Roots of Wing Chun
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss -- Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- HealthGuidance.org: The Advantages of Cardio Kickboxing Wokouts
- WingChunLife.com: Wing Chun Techniques Are Known For Their Explosive Speed
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: Injuries in Martial Arts -- A Comparison of Five Styles