Wing Chun History

Wing Chun is a subtle and complete system of Chinese Kung Fu, developed over hundreds of years. Wing Chun was originally a very secret system and consequently there are very few written records regarding its origins. History was passed through the generations from teacher to disciple by word of mouth and many details were forgotten, exaggerated or invented over time.


According to legend, a Buddhist nun by the name of Ng Moi, a supporter of the rebellions and a highly skilled martial artist, had escaped the destruction of the Shaolin Temple. While walking in the countryside Ng Moi witnessed a fight between a snake and a crane. She observed the swift and direct striking action of the snake and the simultaneous defence and strike of the crane. Rather than attempting to mimic the animals' movements (as some martial arts do), Ng Moi applied the concepts of their actions (directness, simplicity, conservation of energy, avoidance and not pitting strength against strength) to develop a new system. Later Ng Moi taught these skills to a young girl called Yim Wing Chun, who successfully used her newly learned skills to defend herself against a man who wished to take her for his wife and possess her inheritance.


The earliest written records of Wing Chun history date back to the Red Junk Opera Company. This group of travelling performers entertained locals with a combination of song, acrobatics and martial arts. Due to their nomadic lifestyle, elaborate costumes and face paints, the Opera Company was an ideal hiding place for revolutionaries. Wing Chun Kuen (and particularly the pole techniques) is said to have been developed aboard the junks. According to literature recording the history of Chinese Opera, one performer, Cheung Ng (nicknamed 'Tan Sau Ng' because of his "tan sau… peerless throughout the martial arts world"), brought his skills to Foshan where he taught his martial arts techniques.


As a secret system, the sophisticated art of Wing Chun was originally only passed on to family members and close, trusted friends. It wasn't until the legendary Grandmaster Yip Man arrived in Hong Kong that the style was taught more openly. Yip Man taught many students, the most famous being martial arts film star Bruce Lee. Grandmaster Yip Man passed away on 2nd December 1972 aged 79. His legacy passed to his sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching who continue to promote and teach Wing Chun today.


The motion picture "Ip Man", was released December 2008 to rave reviews. The movie features the best yet seen action-movie Wing Chun fight scenes! The film follows the life of Ip Man during the 30s and 40s and aims to portray the essence of Ip Man using a fictional account of events to entertain the modern cinema audience. In 2010, the sequel "Ip Man 2" followed, but was a rather poor offering, with the first movie being superior in every respect. Also in 2010, a prequel was released titled "Ip Man: The Legend Is Born". This movie features master Ip Chun in a starring role, playing Leung Bik, one of Ip Man's Wing Chun teachers. There is no end in sight to the Ip Man movie bandwagon with new films being released regularly.


Our classes include students at all stages of development and beginners are always welcome. If you are interested in viewing a class or would like to start training with us, please take a look at training info to get involved!

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