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The Wing Chun Kuen Name

Wing Chun (Glorious Springtime, Beautiful Springtime or Humming in the Springtime) Kuen (Fist) is a structurally aggressive, yet simplistic close quarter southern Chinese Kung Fu style. Although Grandmaster Ip Man (Ip Man) was accredited to teaching the system outside of China, it was made famous by one of its more prominent practitioners, the late Bruce Lee.

The system was named after a young woman called Yim Wing Chun Kuen, however the founder of the system is accredited to Ng Mui, a Buddhist Abbess (nun) and one of the original Venerable Five of Shaolin. The system is believed to be the only historic and effective kung fu system devised by a woman.

Today many versions of the system exist, varying from the three main historic systems referred to as the Foshan, Hong Kong and Mainland Wing Chun Kuen styles, to other modified systems and variations caused by individuals having different body types, strengths, opinions and influences.

The Wing Chun Kuen system remains one of the most popular and wide spread of the Chinese martial arts today.

Wing Chun Kuen History

The Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation acknowledges the history of Wing Chun Kuen according to the personally written record left behind by the late Grandmaster Ip Man (Ip Man). This account (his own words and translated into English) is:

"The founder of the Wing Chun Kuen style, Yim Wing-Chun was a native of Guangdong in China. She was an intelligent and athletic young girl, upstanding and forthright. Her mother died soon after her betrothal to Leung Bok-Cho, a salt merchant of Fujian. Her father, Yim Yee, was wrongfully accused of a crime and, rather than risk jail, they slipped away and finally settled down at the foot of Daliang Mountain near the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. There they earned a living by running a shop that soldbean curd.

During the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1662-1722) fighting skills became very strong in the Shaolin Monastery of Songshan, in Henan Province. This aroused the fear of the Manchurian government, which sent troops to attack the Monastery. Although they were unsuccessful, a man named Chan Man-Wai, a recently appointed civil servant seeking favour with the government, suggested a plan. He plotted with Shaolin monk named Ma Ning-Yee and others who were persuaded to betray their companions by setting fire to the monastery while soldiers attacked it from the outside. Shaolin was burned down, and the monks and disciples scattered. Ng Mui, Jee Shim, Bak Mei, Fung Do-Dak and Miu Hin escaped and wenttheir separate ways.

Ng Mui took refuge in the White Crane Temple on Daliangshan. It was there she met Yim Yee and his daughter Wing-Chun from whom she often bought bean curd on her way home from the market. At fifteen, with her hair bound up in the custom of those days to show she was of an age to marry, Wing-Chun's beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing-Chun to marry him, and his continuous threats became a source of worry to her and her father. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing-Chun. She agreed to teach Wing-Chun fighting techniques so she could protect herself. Wing Chun Kuen followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began to learn fighting skills. She trained night and day, until she mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the bully to a fight and beat him.

Ng Mui later traveled around the country, but before she left she told Wing-Chun to strictly honour the martial arts traditions, to develop her fighting skills after her marriage, and to help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty.

After her marriage Wing-Chun taught martial arts to her husband Leung Bok-Lao. He in turn passed these techniques on to Leung Lan-Kwai. Leung Lan-Kwai then passed them on to Wong Wah-Bo. Wong Wah-Bo was a member of an opera troupe on board a Red Junk. Wong worked on the Red Junk with Leung Yee-Tai. It so happened that Jee Shim, who fled from Shaolin, had disguised himself as a cook and was then working on the Red Junk. Jee Shim taught the Six-and-a-Half-Point Pole techniques to Leung Yee-Tai.
Wong Wah-Bo was close to Leung Yee Tei and they shared what they knew about martial arts. Together they shared and improved their techniques, and thus the Six-and-a-Half-Point Pole was incorporated into the Wing Chun Kuen style. Leung Yee-Tai passed his knowledge on to Leung Jan, a well known doctor in Foshan. Leung Jan grasped the innermost secrets of Wing Chun Kuen, attaining the highest level of proficiency.
Many masters came to challenge him, but all were defeated. Leung Jan became very famous. Later he passed his knowledge on to Chan Wah-Shan who took me and my sihing, such as Ng Siu-Lo, Ng Jung-So, Chan Yu-Min and Lui Yiu-Chai, as his students many decades ago.

It can thus be said that the Wing Chun Kuen system was passed on to us in a direct line of succession from its origin. I write this history of the Wing Chun Kuen system in respectful memory of my forerunners. I am eternally grateful to them for passing to me the skills I now possess. When drinking of the water, a man should always think of the source; it is this shared feeling that keeps our brothers together."

Sigung Smart - Muk-Yan Chong Fa (wooden dummy technique)

Wing Chun Kuen System Components

The Wing Chun Kuen system comprises three practical empty-hand forms:

In addition, there are only three other forms in the system:

The wooden dummy (Mook Jong) is used as a training aid to the Wing Chun Kuen practitioner. It comprises of a thick round pole with three arms, representing high and midsection attacks, and one leg, having a bend to represent a knee joint. The wooden dummy is used as a substitute partner to condition the body and develop technique. There exists a special form for this training aid, known as the Wooden Dummy Techniques (Mook Jong Fa). Through the different Wing Chun Kuen versions taught by the late grandmaster Ip Man, the number of techniques used in the form has varied. The original Foshan system comprised of 17 sections and over 300 movements, whereas in the Hong Kong style they were arranged into 108 movements and later became 116 movements although the number changes depending on what is counted as a single technique. The Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation teaches the Hong Kong 9 sections and 176 movements first.

The six-and-a-half technique pole (Luk Dim Boon Kwun), which may vary in length but typically measures seven feet and 2 inches, provides a means of Fa-Jing and strengthening of the upper body today.

The butterfly swords (Bart Jum Tau) are used in pairs and act as an extension to the arms. Traditionally they were concealed into the sides of long boots, and are designed for close combat fighting. At the base of the knife, there is an 'ear' that is used to lock, trap and take control of other weapons. The swords only have one sharpen edge, allowing the opposite side to align against the forearm as a blocking device without endangering the practitioner.

Another famous training technique very famous to the Wing Chun Kuen system is the

Chi Sau is an important part of developing the skills of the practitioner in feeling; sensing and responding to a partner, as well as to develop close combat attack and defence skills. Similar in concept to that of Tai Chi's pushing hands, Chi Sau is not a form or a set of predefined movements or free fighting, it acts as a bridge between fighting and forms, allowing practitioners to gain insight to the other component's rhythm and being, with application of any combination of techniques. Two partners attempt to attune themselves, free of thought, and unleashing any one or a combination of techniques when sensing weakness, irregularity or an oncoming attack. Ultimately skills in Chi Sau allow practitioners to sense movement of intent or reflex in their components body. There is both arm (single and double-hand) and single leg version of Chi Sau.

The Wing Chun Kuen system remains one of the most popular and wide spread of the Chinese martial arts, and as it uses the power of an opposing attacker is provides an efficient fighting art for women and men alike.

Wing Chun Kuen at AWCKFO

Chief Instructor and Founder of AWCKFO Si-Gung Roger Smart is one of the very few who has had the opportunity to learn and be exposed to the three main versions of the Wing Chun Kuen system: Hong Kong, Foshan and Mainland. Si-Gung Roger Smart’s Masters are world renowned practitioners in their own right, passing the true essence and authentic systems of the Wing Chun Kuen style.

The Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation has incorporated the teaching of each of these versions across its grading systems:

In attaining Level 12 at the School, the practitioner will have gained comprehensive knowledge of the Wing Chun Kuen system and its two variations.

Grandmaster Lun Gai (Lun Kai) practicing rolling bong sau with
Si-Gung Smart