What is Wing Chun?
Wing Chun is one of the most recently developed styles of Kung Fu. It was refined and revised over the last 300-400 years. As most written records of the art don’t exist, the history was verbally handed down from teacher to student over the years. Wing Chun’s roots are within the famous Shaolin Temple.
Wing Chun is known as a Southern Chinese martial arts system. Perhaps best known as a style refined in Hong Kong. What we know from verbal transmission, is that it was founded during the Qing Dynasty by a Buddhist nun, Ng Mui, of the famed Shaolin Temple. Ng Mui, was said to be one of the top five fighters of the time period. She refined her Shaolin material and began to focus on creating a more effective fighting method which did not rely on strength to be effective. Being a female, she knew that when matched against a much larger and stronger opponent, strength vs strength would leave her outmatched.
While the true story is unknown, the most popular version of what unfolded is as follows. The incident that sparked her inspiration was after witnessing a fight between a stork and large rodent where the stork was able to repel the rodent’s attacks by using its wings and legs to attack and defend simultaneously. There’s an alternate version of the story where she found her inspiration after witnessing a fight between a snake and a crane. At the heart of every legend lies a certain amount of truth.
This new system was well-guarded and passed on to only a few, very dedicated students. Later, the style became known as Wing Chun, named after Ng Mui’s first student, a woman named Yim Wing Chun who she trained to protect herself from an unwanted suitor. Yim Wing Chun, used the style to defend herself against a bandit who was trying to force her to marry him. Ng Mui challenged him to a fight, if she lost she would have to marry him, but if victorious he would leave her alone. The name Wing Chun, translates as “everlasting springtime”.
Wing Chun differed greatly from other Kung Fu styles of the ancient time and modern time. It’s based on the economy of motion, simplicity and directness. It can be thought of as scientific in its approach of abiding by the principles of physics. It’s movements and it’s structure are based on natural, scientific laws, eliminating unnecessary movements to overcome and generate force in the most efficient way. Using principles such as not fighting force with force but to absorb incoming energy and redirecting it. This approach is unlike other Kung Fu styles. It was not based on the imitation of animal movements but on scientific principles.
From Ng Mui to Grandmaster Yip Man (Ip Man)
Over the years, Wing Chun was handed down to only a small number of dedicated students. Yim Wing Chun taught it to her husband, Leung Bok Chau, who in turn passed on the knowledge to Leung Yee Tai and Wong Wah Bo. Leung Yee Tai then taught Leung Jan, who went on to teach his son, Leung Bik, and Chan Wah Shun. Both of these masters taught Yip Man, who went on to become the most well known master of the art and known as the Grandmaster.
In 1949, Yip Man, who was considered to be the Grandmaster of modern Wing Chun, brought the style out of China into Hong Kong and eventually to the rest of the world. He produced some of the top Wing Chun practitioners in the world. His most notable student would have to be Bruce Lee, but there were others. Some of his top students were: Leung Sheung, Wong Shun-Leung, Moy Yat, Hawkins Cheung, William Cheung, Lo Man-Kam, Chu Shong-Tin, Leung Ting, Lee Che Kong, Duncan Leung, Yip (Ip) Chun and Yip (Ip) Ching, Yip Man’s two sons.
Our Wing Chun Lineage comes from the Bruce Lee line and also the Ip Ching/Ip Chun line. From Bruce Lee to Sijo James DeMile and Grandmaster Leo Fong. This was the time before JKD, when Bruce was teaching his own version of Modified Wing Chun. Our classical Wing Chun comes from Grandmasters Ip Ching/Ip Chun to Grandmaster Samuel Kwok, who teaches the traditional Yip Man family art.
Contact us for more information about Wing Chun
Location: Mahopac Wing Chun Kung Fu and Arnis 50 Miller Road Mahopac, NY 10541