Characteristics and Methods of Wing Chun Kuen

A chinese lion statue

Wing Chun Kuen is an aggressive, close range fighting system that utilizes structural body mechanics and proper skeletal alignment instead of localized muscular strength to neutralize their opponents. Wing Chun forgoes complicated and flamboyant movements in favor of direct, straight line attacks delivered in rapid succession from a position of advantage to overwhelm an opponent's defenses. Unlike many martial arts, kicking techniques are used infrequently, and when utilized are limited to targets of waist level height and lower.

Movements should be simple and efficient to maximize their effectiveness. As such, where some martial arts contain many dozens of choreographed martial routines (forms), Wing Chun Kuen is comprised of only three empty-hand sets. Through the systematic and progressive training methods of Wing Chun Kuen one develops the ability to use this relatively small body of techniques to defeat all possible permutations of attack.

But the real jewel of the Wing Chun system is the Chi Sao, or "sticking hands", training methods it utilizes. Chi Sao develops the ability to fight by tactile response while in close range instead of using sight based observational cues. This allows the Wing Chun practitioner to respond to attacks automatically with the correct technique in any situation.

The History of Wing Chun Kuen

snake and crane

The Origin of Wing Chun Kuen:
Ng Mui(五梅大師) and Yim Wing-Chun(嚴詠春)

Wing Chun Kuen is a unique form of Chinese Kung Fu that originated in Southern China during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi(康熙帝, 1662–1722). Oral tradition states that the Shaolin Nun Ng Mui fled the destruction of Fujian Shaolin Temple after participating in a failed uprising to restore the Ming dynasty. The legend states that during her travels she reflected on the way in which she had been overcome by larger, stronger fighters. One day as she walked along she observed a fight between a snake and a crane. She was totally captivated by the simplicity, effectiveness, and directness of the techniques of both the snake and the crane. Taking these new observations and insights and combining them with her extensive knowledge of shaolin kung fu she devised a new method of fighting which relied on mechanical principles of the body and fighting at close range to neutralize her opponent's advantages. As she traveled she came across a small village that was being harassed by a local warlord and his gang. There she met a young woman named Yim Wing Chun who the local warlord was attempting to force into marriage. Ng Mui decided to teach her newly created fighting method to Yim Wing Chun, who successfully utilized her new skills to drive off the warlord and his gang. In her honor Ng Mui named the new art Wing Chun Kuen (Everlasting Springtime Fist). Eventually Yim Wing Chun married, and taught the art to her husband Leung Bok-Chao(梁博儔). Together they passed the new art on to others.

In recent years there has been much discussion of the historical accuracy of this tale. Historical documentation exists tracing the progression of practitioners back to the late 1700s-early 1800s, but no verifiable documentation exists before that period. Despite this, the origin myth of Wing Chun Kuen is considered to be an important example of how the art should be practiced in a way that does not rely upon physical size or strength, and is maintained as a part of the cultural heritage of the art by practitioners the world over.

coming soon.

Obscured By the Past:
Yim Wing Chun to the Red Boat Opera Company (紅船戲班)

Fighters of Foshan:
Leung Jan (梁贊) and Chan Wah-Shun (陳華順)

Yip Man (葉問)

What is Kung Fu?

Kung Fu, or Gongfu, is a general term used to refer to the fighting arts of China, much in the way that "Karate" generally refers to the fighting arts of Japan. In reality, there are hundreds of styles of Kung Fu, of which Wing Chun Kuen is one.

Literally, Kung Fu means "Work Time", referring to the acquisition of a skill, given time and hard work. Masters of many skills can have Kung Fu, such as sculptors, painters, and carpenters. The proper term for Chinese martial arts is actually "Wu Shu", or "War Arts".

Today, the term Kung Fu is generally associated with traditional Chinese martial arts, while Wushu is associated with the Chinese government's standardized modern performance sport, which is loosely based on collections of movements from many Kung Fu styles.