Early in the 1700’s, during the Qing Dynasty, the government of China burned Shaolin temples which they believed to be harboring revolutionaries. One of the Five Elders of the Siu Lam Temple, a Buddhist nun named Ng Mui fled and survived. According to legend, Ng Mui studied a confrontation between a crane and a snake then used their movements along with her style of Chinese boxing to create a new, unnamed martial art style.
Ng Mui had one and only one student, a beautiful fifteen year old girl named Yim Wing-Chun (Forever Spring). Wing-Chun was being harassed by a local, bandit warlord to marry him. She refused then finally agreed only if he could beat her in a fight. Wing-Chun trained with Ng Mui in the new form of self-defense and defeated the warlord. Later, she married Leung Bac-Chou (Leung Bok-Chau), a salt merchant who eventually named the art style Wing Chun Kuen (Wing Chun’s boxing).
There are other theories as to how Wing-Chun was created and named but I like this legend the best. Call me romantic.
Wing Chun uses natural movements to block and strike and requires less force to be equally effective. This means a person’s size or gender is not a handicap. Today, Wing Chun is globally practiced in 64 countries. Legendary Grandmaster Yip Man (Ip Man) was only five foot tall and weighed 120 pounds. Yip Man was the first to teach Wing Chun to the public and one of his most famous students was Bruce Lee. If the legend of Na Mui and Yim Wing-Chun is true – could Bruce Lee owe his fame to these two females?
Wing Chun has been featured in many movies. The 1994 movie, Wing Chun, loosely portrays Yim Wing-Chun’s life with Michelle Yeoh playing Wing-Chun. In 2010, Kung Fu Wing Chun, stars Bai Jing portraying Wing-Chun.
There has also been three Ip Man movies, the first in 2008 with Donnie Yen as Grandmaster Yip Man. I saw the first Ip Man movie and loved it, soon to watch Ip Man 2.
For several years I studied Tae Kwon Do and Combat Hapkido. Very good exercise and a lot of fun. My favorite part was the kicks!
Have you studied or ever wanted to study martial arts? If so, what style did you study and what was your favorite part?
Hong Kong Treasure – A deadly Philippines typhoon stole Annie’s memory. Now, can a handsome stranger save her from the danger she has forgotten?
Coming this summer from Assent Publishing.