History of Wing Chun

ABOUT THE LEGEND OF WING CHUN KUNG FU

shaolin temple

Shaolin Temple

According to tradition, the Wing Chun Kung Fu System was founded by Miss Yim Wing Chun. Yim Wing Chun was a native of Canton (Kwangtung Province) in China. Her mother died soon after her betrothal to Leung Bok Chau, 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 Yunnan and Szechuan provinces. There they earned a living by running a shop that sold bean curd.

 During the Ching Dynasty (1662-1722) the Siu Lam (Shaolin) Monastery of Sung Mountain, in Honan Province became known for it’s skilled martial artists. The Manchu government that ruled China at the time, became fearful of rebellion and sent troops to attack the monastery. The Manchurian soldiers were unsuccessful in attacking the monastery. During one incident, as the soldier attacked from the outside, the monastery was mysteriously burnt down. Some believe that the fire was started from the inside by several of the monks. As Siu Lam burned down, the monks and disciples were scattered. Of those that escaped during the fighting were Ng Mui, Abbot Chi Shin, Abbot Pak Mei, Master Fung To Tak and Master Miu Hin, with each of them going their separate ways.

Buddhist Abbess Ng Mui traveled to Tai Leung Mountain (also known as Chai Har Mountain) where the White Crane Temple was located. She eventually met Yim Yee and his daughter Wing Chun from whom she often bought bean curd. When Wing Chun was of the age to marry, she attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing Chun to marry him, and his continual threats became a source of worry to her and her father. One day while in the market, Ng Mui learned of this and wanted to help Wing Chun. She agreed to teach Wing Chun fighting techniques so she could protect herself. Wing Chun followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began to learn Kung Fu. She trained everyday, until she had mastered the techniques. When Wing Chun was ready, she made an offer to the bully. If he was able to defeat her in combat, she would marry him. The bully agreed, and lost the fight.

Ng Mui later traveled around the country, but before she left she told Wing Chun to strictly honor the Kung Fu traditions, to continue developing her Kung Fu after she was married, and to help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty.

red junk boat

Red Junk Boat

Wing Chun eventually married Leung Bok Chau. Wing Chun taught Kung Fu to her husband. He in turn passed these techniques on to Leung Lan Kwai. Leung Lan Kwai then passed them on to Wong Wah Bo. Wong Wah Bo was a member of an opera troupe on board a junk, known to Chinese as the Red Junk.Wong worked on the Red Junk with Leung Yee Tei. It so happened that Abbot Chi Shin, who fled from Siu Lam, had disguised himself as a cook and was then working on the Red Junk. 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 as students such people as Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min, Lui Yu Jai, and Yip Man.