Does Kung Fu or other Martial arts have limitations?

LimitationsBy: Steve Benjamin

I asked a group of Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do practitioners the following question… “Do you agree that Wing Chun has limitations?” After many different opinions, one person’s answer stood out from the others, both in length and in inspiration. Here is his answer story…

Limitations, no, I disagree, not in Wing Chun or any Martial art for that matter. Can a Wing Chun Man throw a flying TKD Crescent Kick to win a fight and still say he has used Wing Chun to win? Sure, if he knows that his opponent is thinking him to only know WING CHUN, and expecting him, to fully and ONLY use techniques found in Wing Chun, uses his opponents anticipations against him

My first instructor taught me this as he told another that he was going to defeat him with a kick to shin, then he punched the guy in the head and never kicked him. The lesson, “DON”T ANTICIPATE.”

Limitations, I’m sure they, do not rest in any art…limitations rest in individuals. Limitations rest in those given to rigidity, not able to flow, who live by the dogma they must only act, or react by a certain set of rules.


Limitations rest in those given to fear.

Limitations rest in those easily prone to give up, give in, give out, or those who just never try in the first place, those who envy the path, but never take a single step.

If I had listened to my critics in 1988 when I began Wing Chun under a Disciple of Duncan Leung, at 285 lbs, those who said…”fat guys cant do Kung Fu”…I would have never stepped down the path.

While Training, I Have broken my left ankle, took out my left knee, torn ligaments in my right ankle, broken my right arm and trained with that same hairline fracture for 4 months in agony while it healed…all the while, there were those who told me I needed to quit…tried to tell me I had limitations.

When my own Sifu, my first instructor in the art, told me…”Steve, You might not ever be able to train Wing Chun Again…that’s a bad (left) Ankle Break…and the truth is, I don’t know you will ever be able to shift your horse again…” I told him…”I will shift my horse again Sifu”, and I choked back tears that desperately wanted to escape and excused myself citing I had to be somewhere, And I made it to my truch and swore I would shift my horse again, I would come back. And I did, and it took me a year to do so, and in that year, the things I COULD NOT DO AT FIRST, I worked on, and things I could do, I did. I threw over 1 million punches in that year, counted each and every one, recorded them, day by day, can tell you now the number thrown on any given day during that year between December 2005 and December 2006.

I know of only 6 men who were ever made instructors in my first Wing Chun Teachers School which ran for 22 years. There could have been more, I know of 6. I was one of them. Of those 6 I only know of one who had the position taken away from him, I was that one, on my birthday of all days, in late 2006 as well.

That was a blow, but I determined, I would not quit. 2 years later, On my birthday in 2008, I was the Senior Student of all my peers, I didn’t quit.

On October 9th, 2008, a tragic motorcycle accident nearly severed my right foot 98% from the ankle, crushed the bones in the foot in over 100 places on the top of the foot, crushed the leg in 7 places from the knee to the ankle, tore a chunk of flesh the size of a grapefruit from my calf, revealing a section of bone you could grab with two hands.

27 surgeries, over a quarter million dollars in under 3 months. Experts at UNC wanted to take my entire left Latissimus Dorsi to reconstruct my lower right foot. When I refused the surgery and it’s 5 year plan of reconstructive surgeries to follow, citing that while I did not wish to lose my leg, I felt I stood a better chance of completing my dreams of finishing my Wing Chun training on one leg with a prosthetic than if I let them take that Left Lat and I lost the use of two limbs…well, they sent the Shrinks in on me. The shrinks ruled that I had the right to choose what to do with my own body and was thinking rationally.

I CHOSE LIMB LOSS…for the hope of just THE CHANCE to train again.

It was ten months after amputation, when I first tried to do the Dummy Form again. The same form I once could do in 2 minutes, took me 36 minutes to do the form all the way through just once. I would get to a set I could not do, and refuse to continue until I half a$$ done it, or finally had to accept it would be some time, and made an alternate movement to do at that point, then I would finally continue to the next set.

It was 3 yrs before I could do the dummy form again, all the way through, without stopping, without alternate movements, and in under 5 minutes, but I did it, and can today.

It took me nearly a year and a half after amputation to be able to shift my horse again without falling every time I shifted to the left, but I got a decent horse today.

It took me over 2 years to be able to do triangle footwork without falling to the ground, or stumbling 6 feet everytime I worked the footwork to my right side.

It took me 2 years to be able to do the Chum Kui form again without falling everytime I shifted to the right…or did a kick…and if you know anything about that form…well…’nuff said.

I had ONE DAY, of Physical Therapy…JUST ONE!

YOU see, I had it with the main nurse in charge and left.

She told me at one point…”Mr. Crider, your problem is, you don’t know your own Limitations…You have got to learn the boundaries of your limitations.”


I got up, hopped my ass out of there with my walker, and I never returned. I educated myself, got informed, then taught myself to walk again with a natural gait.

To Build endurance in the limb, I carried an 80lb Everlast Heavy Bag. First I carried that bag 25 ft to the Mailbox, had to leave it there and go in to get my wheel chair and take it outside to put that bag in the wheelchair and wheel it back in. Soon I carried that bag both ways; then 1 block; then 2 blocks; then 4, then 6, then 12, then a half a mile on a regular basis.

Last month my overweight 276 lb butt carried that same 80lb Everlast Heavy Bag for an entire MILE without setting it down once! And I did to raise awareness for Amputee Causes in Central Texas and Waco regions, while an assistant editor for the Waco Tribune followed me every step of the 40 minute task, taking photographs for a future story in the paper and in his own publication, “WACO TODAY”…overweight, 276 lbs, and on a prosthetic leg that was not fitting well…I wonder how many of you with two legs and no health issues could do the same task tomorrow?

For those of you who would place limitations on your own art…no MATTER WHAT THAT ART MAY BE…well, I suggest you quit today, and find something you can actually BELIEVE IN!

I have actually used my Wing Chun, it has saved my a$$ on several occasions and my life on at least 2! I have used it against armed and unarmed assailants, and I believe in the art I have been taught.

Limitations on Wing Chun? Nah”…brother, there ain’t NO LIMITS ON MY WING CHUN! HELL, I haven’t found any limits on “ME” Yet!!

And while I am not a Sifu yet, but you can rest assured, I am not far from it, and I am going to be, and when I am, I am going be a damn fine SiFu, You can bet on that!

And specifically for all you Wing Chun Practitioners who would rather cite limitations on your own art than confess your need to get in the gym more…well, I just got one word for you…



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One Response to Does Kung Fu or other Martial arts have limitations?

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