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Wing Chun Kung Fu

A community dedicated to the open discussion of Wing Chun

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Wing Chun
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Anybody , Moderated
To facilitate the open communication of Wing Chun practitioners in the LiveJournal community.
Of all the various styles of martial arts in the world, Wing Chun has to be one of the most interesting and controversial, and I'm sure there's a lot to talk about. Feel free to use this community to make contacts, make friends, ask questions, post videos, suggest your favorite Wing Chun websites, talk about your school, your experiences, hopes, doubts, fears, successes and victories, etc.

You don't have to practice Wing Chun to be a member here, or even know what Wing Chun is. If you're just looking for information, hopefully, this is the place to find answers, local instruction, or find out what the community thinks about differences between schools and lineages.

Go ahead and ask hard questions, even controversial ones, as long as the conversations don't degrade into name-calling or word-boxing. However, no cowards allowed; if a discussion does degrade into incivility, feel free to use this community to make arrangements to meet IRL, where you can continue your discussion without hiding behind your keyboards.

If you're not familiar with Wing Chun, here's a brief history:

There has been much speculation about the origin of the Chinese system of fighting known as Wing Chun—how the system was invented and who the inventors and early contributors were. The fact is, no one really knows who invented the system. As other writers have done a much more detailed examination of these various stories, myths, and legends, only a brief synopsis will be presented here.

In the mid 1600s, invaders from the north, known as the Manchu, overran the Han people of southern China. After penetrating the Great Wall by literally bribing the gatekeeper, they overthrew the Ming dynasty and established the foreign Ching dynasty. The Ching were cruel tyrants, and the Han struggled valiantly to overthrow their foreign oppressors.

Tradition says the Buddhist priests of the Siu Lam (Shaolin) temples supported the old Ming dynasty and began training counter-revolutionaries in their animal style systems of fighting, which we loosely call "Kung Fu." The Siu Lam priests were very good fighters, and the Manchu were unable to overcome them for almost 200 years. In the meantime, the Manchu managed to coerce or bribe renegade priests into teaching them the martial secrets of the Siu Lam, and the priests eventually found themselves fighting against their own arts.

The original Siu Lam arts took many years to learn. The movements and characteristics of animals were adapted to form moving meditations and eventually evolved into sophisticated and complex systems of fighting; it might take twenty years or more to master just one style. Until the invasion of the Manchu, the Siu Lam kept their fighting systems secret and taught them only to priests. Once they began training well-trusted counter-revolutionaries outside their priestly order, the animal movements were dropped in favor of movements that were simple, direct, and efficient. The priests began work on a system that was relatively easy to learn and didn't emphasize size or strength, a system that was actually designed to counter their own original Siu Lam arts and could be taught in five years instead of twenty. This system of fighting became known as Wing Chun, which according to one story means "Beautiful Springtime."

The most popular legend tells about a woman named Yim Wing Chun, who learned the system from a Siu Lam nun named Ng Mui. According to legend, Ng Mui escaped from the destruction of the Hunan Temple in the early 1800s. After Yim Wing Chun defeated a local gangster who tried to force her to marry him, she eventually married her true love, Leung Bok Cho, who named the system after her; together they taught the system to members of the Red Boat (Hung Suen) Opera.

Another legend says the system was brought from Siu Lam in the north to the southern town of Fatshan in the mid 1700s, during the founding of the Red Boat Opera. In this version, the name "Wing Chun" came from the name of a training hall that was used in the Siu Lam temple to train counter-revolutionaries.

Most stories agree that members of the Red Boat taught the system to an apothecary in Fatshan known as Leung Jan. Leung Jan, in turn, taught his two sons and a neighbor named Chan Wa Shun. Chan Wa Shun taught the system to many students.

One of Chan Wa's students was Yip Man, who first learned from Chan Wa when he was a young boy. After Chan Wa died, Yip's training continued under Chan Wa's student Ng Chung Sao. Yip Man fled to Hong Kong with his family during the Cultural Revolution to live in the Canton quarter, where he taught Wing Chun for self-defense. At that time, Wing Chun was taught only to Chinese.

Yip Man's most famous student was Lee Jun Fan (Bruce Lee), who used Wing Chun as the foundation for his own system of fighting, Jeet Kune Do. Against the wishes of Yip Man, Lee taught non-Chinese students Chinese Kung Fu, and thus introduced Wing Chun to the world.

After the death of Yip Man, a number of his students decided to publicly teach Wing Chun to non-Chinese; it is their respective styles that are the most well known styles of Wing Chun, usually referred to as Hong Kong, or Yip Man, styles. Other non-Yip Man lineage styles of Wing Chun, including Red Boat and Fatshan styles, are usually referred to as Mainland styles.

There are many stories about the origin of Wing Chun and the histories of the various lineages. Some of them are still hotly debated, but no one really knows the truth.

This community is dedicated to the free flowing communication between practitioners of all styles of Wing Chun.

If you would like to include a banner that links to your school's website on this profile, let me know and I'll include it here.

Shang Chi

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