Why Is Kung Fu Not Used In MMA?

Why Is Kung Fu Not Used in MMA?

Even thou Kung Fu is a very popular martial art, we don’t see it often used in MMA, so why is that?

The main reason is its training is old and traditional, and not adapting to new ways that include grappling, free fighting, and clinch.

Kung Fu still strongly adheres to tradition and doesn’t want to develop its martial art. That is strongly seen throughout its training, and because of that, its fighters are not competitive in MMA.

We will show you below what are the main problems with Kung Fu and its training routine.

What is Kung Fu

In general, Kung Fu refers to the Chinese martial arts also called wushu and quanfa. In China, it refers to any study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete.

In its original meaning, kung fu can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.

There are many forms of kung fu, namely Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Tai chi, etc. and are practiced all over the world.

Each form of kung fu has its own principles and techniques but is best known for its trickery and quickness, which is where the word Kung Fu is derived.

Why Is Kung Fu Not Used In MMA?

As we said before, Kung Fu is stuck in the traditional, old way of training and fighting, and as such, it is not good enough for MMA. Let us show you the problems with it.


The main problem with Kung Fu is its training. It rarely involves non-compliant, ‘live partners’ who are trying their best to win against you, in matches that allow all 3 ranges of combat: free fighting, clinch, and ground.

If you are not training against people who are trying to win against you in any permitted way, how will you know if you and your training are and good?

What’s even worse, many Kung Fu styles don’t do competitions at all! In those styles, you’re either only doing forms and punching the air, or maybe if you are lucky enough to have some sparing partners, then you can maybe get some sparring, but again, not with ‘live partners’.

These sparring partners work in a way that they don’t offer any resistance. They are letting you do all sorts of different Kung Fu moves on them, and they maybe sometimes do some slow-motion moves to fake attack you, so you can easily slap them around with your mighty Kung Fu moves. It’s even worse when you have to be taking the slapping.

Your sparring partner can attack you in all sorts of a different way, such as punching, striking, etc., but they will only do it in a slow-motion way, so you can perform moves that Kung Fu teaches on them.

If you’d have a ‘live partner,’ the one that attacks you for your every mistake, and from your every opening, then Kung Fu would be something else, something more formidable, even if they don’t use ground combat, or clinches.

To be good in MMA you should still learn at least BJJ and/or wrestling, but at least you’d had a good striking base. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Kung Fu.

Illegal MMA Moves

Kung Fu is teaching all sorts of moves that are illegal in MMA. Some of them are elbows to the face, punches to the neck, eye attacks, strikes to the groin, or anything else that will bring the guy to the ground, but not for a submission but for kicks, knees, punches, elbows, and anything else to disable him. Of course, all of those moves are completely illegal in MMA.

In MMA even a simple injury, or any of the illegal moves – like stomp kicks, low kicks to groins or anything else not compliant with MMA rules – stops the match in a second, and may be a career-ending event. Most big promotions, don’t like fighters who do things like that; that’s bad for business.

Why is Wing Chun not used in MMA?

Wing Chun Dummy: Everything You Need to Know

Unlike MMA, Wing Chun is not a sport. WC is a simple, direct, and practical self-defense technique.

On the other hand, MMA is a sport. Wing Chun’s purpose, concepts, and goals are specific and often times do not translate well into sports competition.

Well, as we have already written above, Wing Chun is designed to make you ready to defend yourself in a fight. That means that this technique works best with the element of surprise.

When you have to defend yourself from a surprise attack on the street, from one or multiple attackers, or from attacker with a knife or some other weapon, there is no time to circle, prepare, and attack. The number one goal of Wing Chun is to shut the fight down as quickly as possible. This is why in a true self-defense situation, the outcome is almost always determined within the first vital moments.


Kung Fu as a martial art is not so good for MMA because of three main reasons: it isn’t using ‘live-opponents’ for training, it is full of MMA illegal moves, and it isn’t teaching ground or clinch combat.

On the other hand, we need to say that Kung Fu, or better jet, Wing Chun, is a very good martial art for self-defense, and we have even selected it on our list of the best martial arts for self-defense, which you can check out on our link.

If you are looking for the best martial arts for MMA (we have ranked them according to the number of UFC winners), then you should be thinking of training BJJ and/or Wrestling, in combination with Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and/or Boxing. In MMA you need striking arts, as well as ground arts, and that is something that Kung Fu doesn’t have, and why it is not so good for MMA.

Gianluca Martucci, Gianluca Martucci is a personal trainer and an athletic trainer.
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Gianluca Martucci

Gianluca Martucci is a personal trainer and an athletic trainer. Since he was a kid, he has been a big fan of Martial Arts and Combat Sports: from Wrestling and now MMA to Karate and Kung Fu, for this reason he specialized in workouts for martial artistis. Our testing and reviewing method.
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