Why Wing Chun?
Wing Chun, also known as Wing Tsun, Wing Tzun, Ving Tsun, Ving Chun, Wing Tsung, and Young Shun, is a chinese martial art that first started to develop around 250 to 300 years ago. It’s founder (as legend has it) was a Buddhist nun by the name of Ng Mui (also known as Wu Mei, more on her in another article). Ng Mui was also a skilled martial artist having being borne out of a noble household. She had access to the finest education and finest Kung Fu teachers at the time. Ng Mui entered the White Crane convent. Ng Mui was one of Five Elders, survivors after the destruction of the Shaolin Temple during the Qing Dynasty. These five elders has been said to have been working on a style of Kung Fu that would exploit the weaknesses of the Shaolin styles due to suspicion that there may be traitors among the Shoalin Monks siding with the contemporary rulers.
Most Kung Fu styles requires up to 20 years of practice (daily!) in order to master them. This new style that was being developed had to be mastered in a much shorter period of time (it’s been said that Ng Mui intended that it should only take 5 years of daily practice).
After the destruction of the Shaolin Temple, Ng Mui went into hiding and lived unnoticed in various villages. She did not teach her art to anyone out of fear of being discovered until she overheard a conversation between a soy bean patty seller, a young girl by the name of Yim Wing Chun, and her mother. The girl was being bullied by a man, a criminal, who was intent on marrying her by force although she was already promised to another man, Leung Bok Chau. The criminal challenged her in that if she could defeat him in a fight, he’d leave. If the girl lost, she’d had to marry him.
The nun Ng Mui took young Yim Wing Chun aside and offered to help her by teaching her the basics of her fighting art in order to defend herself against the villain. It’s been said that Wing Chun trained with Ng Mui for about 2 years. As the criminal returned to challenge the young Wing Chun, she beat him easily. It’s been said that Yim Wing Chun was only 15 years old at the time. After the marriage of Wing Chun to her promised husband, Leung Bok Chau, she instructed her husband in the new fighting art. Afterwards, her husband offered to name the new art after Ng Mui’s first student, Wing Chun.
Wing Chun is based on physics, body mechanics and not brute strength. It is a “soft art”, but not in the way of Tai Chi Chuan. It is “soft” in the way that it does not pit brute force against brute force as in many other martial arts. You don’t have to be an athlete, nor in top physical condition to learn and practice Wing Chun.
Wing Chun has only 6 Forms (3 Weaponless, Wooden Dummy Form, Double Swords, 9 1/2 Point Pole), while many other martial arts have 1o, 12, 20 or more. Wing Chun has only 3 kicks, and a small quantity of hand techniques. Wing Chun has officially no ground-fighting techniques (the Wing Chun artist wants to avoid being on the ground) but when one understands the principles, one can use the art for the floor as well.
The legendary actor, philosopher and martial artist, Bruce Lee, used Wing Chun as the basis of his own fighting art Jeet Kune Do. The main objective is to use what is useful and discard all that is superficial, just as Ng Mui had done centuries ago.
Wing Chun can be practiced by young and old, male and female, learned and used quickly.