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The History of Wing Chun
Wing Chun ("Forever Springtime") is named
after the first student of this style of Kung Fu, taught to her by a
Shaolin Buddhist nun, Ng Mui.
According to legend, Ng Mui was one of a group of six Shaolin kung fu masters who escaped the Shaolin monastery when it was overrun and burned by troops of the Ching dynasty. Secluded in the mountains, she was inspired to create a new style of kung fu while watching a crane fight a snake.
Ng Mui taught Wing Chun her new fighting art so that she was able to defeat a local thug demanding to marry her. Wing Chun was then free to marry the man of her choice. She taught the art to her husband, who passed it along through several generations of students. One of these, Chan Wah Shun of Foshan Province, took in a student named Yip Man.
Eventually emigrating to Hong Kong, Yip Man gave Wing Chun an international reputation. He trained hundreds of students, many of whom emigrated to other countries to start their own schools. His most famous student was Bruce Lee, who used Wing Chun principles as the basis for his own style.
Through his Wing Chun Athletic Association, his youngest son Yip Ching trains Wing Chun practitioners and teachers who will keep the great Yip Man tradition alive.
What's Special about Wing Chun?
Straightforward and economical, Wing Chun never wastes movement or time, which is why it is nicknamed "Lightning Fist" in Hong Kong.
Since it prefers to redirect incoming forces, rather than block them with force on force, Wing Chun is a perfect style for women or men who may be smaller than their opponents. This responsiveness is developed through constant practice in chi sao, a hands-on interaction with another person.
Wing Chun uses a few simple and logical principles in its fighting strategy, such as
•The shortest (and fastest) distance between two points is a straight line.
•The centerline (the plane between the center of your body and the center of the opponent's body) is key. Control the centerline and strike along the centerline.
•Do two (or three!) things at once, rather than one at a time.
•Receive what comes, follow what leaves, strike when open.
These simple principles are behind every Wing Chun technique and form, and develop a style of combat that is creative, fluid and extremely fast.
The Wing Chun System
Chun is a very compact system. It has only three empty hand forms, a
wooden dummy form, and two weapon forms.
Sil Lum Tao: "Little Idea Form." Trains all of the basic hand positions of wing chun, the concept of the centerline and the basic stance.
Chum Kiu: "Seeking the
Bridge." Trains in generating power through body rotation, as well as
combining lower and upper body movement.
Biu Gee: "Darting Fingers."
Trains the advanced use of the fingers and elbows. Taught only to
Mook Yan Jong: The Wooden Dummy.
Training with the wooden dummy develops and refines applications of
basic principles and techniques.
Chi Sao: "Sticky Hands." The
heart of Wing Chun training. Training with a partner develops a high
degree of responsiveness in the application of defensive and offensive
techniques. Chi Sao training starts with set patterns, but leads to
spontaneous and unrehearsed interaction. (And, it's a lot of fun!)
Use of weapons is taught only to advanced
Bart Cham Do: The Wing Chun
butterfly knives. Trains wrist and elbow power. The photo shows Ip
Ching with the knives.
Luk Dim Boon Gwun: 6½-point pole. Trains strength in the stance, as well as wrist and elbow power.