Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation (AWCKFO) is proud to be the longest-running Kung Fu school in Perth, we have been teaching Wing Chun to Perth adults of all ages who wish to learn this ancient art in the most authentic way possible. Read on to learn more about the Wing Chun system history, components, and what you’ll learn about Wing Chun.
Wing Chun History
Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation acknowledges the history of Wing Chun according to the person written record left behind by the late Grandmaster Yip Man (Ip Man). This account (his own words and translated into English) is:
“The founder of the Wing Chun 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 sold bean 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 a 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 went their 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 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 travelled 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 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, 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 system was passed on to us in a direct line of succession from its origin. Our Si Gung Roger Smart wrote this history of the Wing Chun system in the respectful memory of his forerunners. We are eternally grateful to Si Gung for passing on us the skills we now possess. When drinking the water, a man should always think of the source; it is this shared feeling that keeps our brothers together.”
The Wing Chun system comprises three practical empty-hand forms:
- Sil Lim Tau (little idea form);
- Chum Kiu (arm seeking form); and
- Bue Gee (thrusting fingers form).
In addition, there are only three other forms in the system:
- Mook Jong Fa (wooden dummy technique);
- Bart Jum Tau (eight slashing techniques of the butterfly sword); and
- Luk Dim Boon Kwun (techniques of the six and a half technique staff).
The wooden dummy (Mook Jong) is used as a training aid to the Wing Chun practitioner. It comprises 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 techniques. A special form exists for this training aid, known as the Wooden Dummy Techniques (Mook Jong Fa). The number of techniques used in the form has varied through the different Wing Chun versions taught by the late grandmaster Yip Man. The original Foshan system comprised 17 sections, 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. Australian 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 extend 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 sharpened 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 system is the
- Dan Chi Sau (single sticking hands);
- Sheung Chi Sau (double sticking hands); and
- Chi Dan Gurk (single sticking leg).
Chi Sau is an important part of developing the skills of the practitioner in feeling; sensing and responding to a partner, as well as developing 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 into the other component’s rhythm and being, with the 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 system remains one of the most popular and widespread 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 at Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation
The Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation has incorporated the teaching of both the Foshan and Hong Kong systems into the school curriculum.