Wing Chun Kung Fu History

Wing Chun History

Ip Man giving Bruce Lee Wing Chun lessons.

Wing Chun Kung Fu or Ving Tsun was developed in southern China approximately 350 years ago, it is a revolutionary and modern system of Shaolin Kung Fu and one of the last to come out of China. This system of kung fu is known for its devastating close quarter combat techniques, direct, simple, devastating and aggressive strikes along the centerline which use the entire body as a weapon. It was originally conceived by a Woman who was a master in her own right of many Shaolin Kung Fu styles from the Sil Lum Temple. As the art was developed by her it is also said the four of her Shaolin Monk Brothers also masters of various Shaolin Systems helped her to refine and complete the style we now call Wing Chun. Most Shaolin Kung Fu styles take 15-20 years before a practitioner could use them in battle and become a “Master” of the style. Ng Miu who saw that the destruction of the Shaolin Temples and there way of life under the Ming Dynasty was being threatened, decided to create a system that could be Mastered in a third of the time (3 to 4+ years instead of 15-20) . This training was fast, quick and intense as Shaolin Monks they would train 8-12 hours a day, but in 3-4 years of this kind of training they could master this new system. Revolutionaries began hiding within the Shaolin Temple as it was the only current refuge where the Ching Dynasty couldn’t find them. But as the Revolutionaries began to kill and assasinate Ching officials, they would sign the death warrant of the Shaolin Temples.

Wing Chun Kung Fu which was passed down to the revolutionaries and to those wanting the Ming Dynasty back in power. The Ming Dynasty praised and uplifted the Shaolin Temples and welcomed individualism and freedom, whereas the Ching Dynasty was oppressive, harsh and took the freedoms of the Chinese people away. Wing Chun was the Shaolin Temples answer to this oppression, the last of the Monks (especially Ng Miu) believed that if they could get this art into the hands of the Chinese then they might be able to free the hold the Ching Dynasty had on them.

Wing Chun strikes along the centerline vitals with simultaneous succession of offensive and defensive trapping and attacks. A wing chun practitioner is taught to be strong, firm, flexible, rooted and to deflect or redirect external forces with minimal effort and maximum countering results. This new Kung Fu system called Wing Chun was developed within the Shaolin temples and became progressively more efficient as it had time in the hands of several masters. Wing Chun was a martial art that was made to exploit the weaknesses of all other arts and was made to minimize the efforts and effects of Combat on the practitioner. Wing Chun uses intense and specific mind and body mechanic training and awareness which is derived through muscular, tendon and articular reaction drills. With extremely fast and powerful footwork, fist and full body striking movements, Wing Chun is used to end a life threatening encounter quickly while minimizing damage to its practitioner. A Wing Chun practitioner is taught to redirect incoming aggressive adversaries and use a multitude of strikes at the inherent weaknesses in the human body. Its originator, the Buddhist nun Ng Mui, was a master many Shaolin Kung Fu Styles and used this knowledge to take advantage of the weaknesses inherent in all other combat systems. This new system was well-guarded by the Shaolin temple, Ching Assassins and passed on to only a few, very dedicated individuals towards the cause of freedom.

Direct Line from the Ng Miu to Yip Man (Ip Man) Founder

After the destruction of the Sil Lum Shaolin temple, our story begin’s with a Master Nun (woman) and developer of the Wing Chun Kung Fu system and the founder of our modern martial art. Our direct lineage from the founder of the Wing Chun Kung Fu System was none other than Ng Mui and she passed it to a young and beautiful girl Yim Wing Chun who was a native of Canton in the Province of Kwangtung, China. Yim Wing Chun was an intelligent and athletic young girl, upstanding and forthright. Her mother died soon after her betrothal to Leung Bok Chau (later Yim Wing Chun’s husband), a salt merchant of Fukien. Her father, Yim Yee, was wrongfully accused of a crime and, rather than risk jail, they slipped away and finally settled down at the foot of Tai Leung Mountain near the border between Yunan and Szechuan provinces. There they earned a living by running a shop that sold bean curd. Ng Mui took refuge in the White Crane Temple on Mt. Tai Leung [also known as Mt. Chai Har]. It was there she met Yim Yee and his daughter Wing Chun from whom she often bought bean curd on her way home from the market. At fifteen, with her hair bound up in the custom of those days to show she was of an age to marry, Wing Chun’s beauty attracted the attention of a local Warlord. He tried to force Wing Chun to marry him, and his continuous threats became a source of worry to her and her father. The Warlord threatened to kill Yim Wing Chun if she did not marry him. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing Chun.

But this pity was two fold, Ng Mui was being hunted down by the Ching Dynasty who had succeeded at destroying the Shaolin Temples and killing many of there monks. The Sil Lum Temple had only according to history about 8 survivors out of a short few hundred. The Ching Dynasty was looking for a Master Nun named Ng Mui and if they caught her, they would kill her. This would stop any chance of her passing down this New system of Shaolin refined Kung Fu that may turn the tide of the Revolutionary war against the Ching. Ng Mui decided that if she taught the daughter of a bean curd salesman the Ching would never look there. They would never suspect that Yim Wing Chun a bean curd salesman’s daughter was now a Master of the sought after and new extremely powerful Wing Chun system and lead teacher of the revolutions first point of training. Yim Wing Chun was told that she would be taught a new Shaolin Fighting style known as Wing Chun but she would have to agree to keep the rebellion going, Yim Wing Chun agreed. No Machu (Manchurian Government also known as Ching Dynasty) looking for a Secret Combat art from a Shaolin Kung Fu Master would ever know. Ng Mui agreed to teach the Wing Chun fighting techniques so Yim Yee could protect herself. Wing Chun followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began teaching her Shaolin Kung Fu. She trained privately one on one everyday; night and day, until she mastered the techniques, during this time Yim Yee Wing Chun was still fighting off the advances of the Warlord. Ng Mui knew that this would not work for long, the warlord would grow impatient and would likely kill Yim Yee’s father. Ng Mui needed more time to train Yim Yee Wing Chun, so she told her to approach the warlord and accept his marriage proposal and told him that she need time to prepare the wedding, the warlord agreed and gave her over a year before he approached her again.

It was during the end of this year+ that [Yim Yee’s] father under the direction of Ng Miu and Yim Yee Wing Chun told the Warlord that if he could not beat his daughter in martial combat that he may have her hand in marriage but she would never respect him. The Warlord laughed and told the father that he would be happy to beat his new wife in front of the entire town. Yim Yee Wing Chun faced off against the bully Warlord in front of the entire town, this young, bright, intelligent woman beat the Warlord down in front of everyone.

Ng Mui later traveled around the country, but before she left she told Yim Yee Wing Chun to strictly honor the Shaolin Kung Fu traditions, to develop her Wing Chun Kung Fu after her marriage to the love of her life, and to help the revolutionaries working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty. In 1949, Ip Man, who was considered to be the grandmaster of modern Wing Chun, brought the style out of China into Hong Kong, teaching his two son’s Ip Ching, Ip Chun and the famous Bruce Lee, Wong Shun Leung, Simon Lau and Moy Yat and then eventually to the rest of the world.

Long Pole History of the Six-and-a-Half Points

Chi Shin taught the Six-and-a-half-point Long Pole techniques to Leung Yee Tei. Wong Wah Bo was close to Leung Yee Tei, and they shared what they knew about Kung Fu. Together they shared and improved their techniques, and thus the Six-and-a-half-point Long Pole was incorporated into Wing Chun Kung Fu. Leung Yee Tei passed his Kung Fu on to Leung Jan, a well known herbal Doctor in Fat Shan. Leung Jan grasped the innermost secrets of Wing Chun, attaining the highest level of proficiency. Many Kung Fu masters came to challenge him, but all were defeated. Leung Jan became very famous. Later he passed his Kung Fu on to Chan Wah Shan, who took me and my elder Kung Fu brothers, such as Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min and Lui Yu Jai, as his students many decades ago. It can thus be said that the Wing Chun System was passed on to us in a direct line of succession from its origin.

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