The Origin of Wing Chun


Ng Mui (五枚)

In 1626, a great fighter was born in China. Legend states that Ng Mui originated from a small village in the north of China where, as a young girl, she began practicing Kung Fu. At the age of 18, it was her techniques that saved her life, from the hands of the invading Manchu. Her townsfolk and family were all massacred by the invaders and she managed to survive by fleeing southward. The story goes that it was during her flight, that she was inspired by nature to perfect her style, with the goal of defending herself from the Manchus - bloodthirsty warriors with extraordinary strength. It was through her observations of a Crane's prowess in fighting against a Snake, that she developed the basis of her style, the White Crane.

After many years traveling village to village, she finally found refuge in the Shaolin Temple, the very place where resistance to the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty was taking place. Here she stayed and prepared her vengeance, practicing intensely with the goal of overthrowing the invaders. With practice, her style became extremely effective, which placed her along with the four great fighters of the Shaolin Temple. From that point onward, there were five protectors, five Grand Masters whose aim was to protect and propagate knowledge at the temple.


Yim Wing Chun

After the destruction of the Shaolin Temple, Ng Mui fled to the southwest where she stayed in a monastery located in Fujian and Yunnan provinces. One day, in a nearby village, she met a young woman by the name of Yim Wing Chun. Although we cannot ascertain if this was her birth name or whether it was that of an accomplished martial artist - her name, meaning "sing spring" celebrates the advent of a new era in the field of martial arts.

The most popular account of Yim Wing Chun recounts that she was the very pretty daughter of a soybean merchant named Yim Shee. A local officer took notice of her and decided that he wanted her as his wife. Faced with rejection, he decided to imprison her father.

Yim Wing Chun then met Ng Mui who agreed to take the girl under her tutelage. The marriage was delayed, allowing Yim Wing Chun to learn some Kung Fu techniques. When she returned to the village, she announced that she could not marry a man who was not her equal in combat prowess. Amused, the officer took up the challenge. Yim Wing Chun ultimately came out victorious, but could not save her father from the wrath of the officer. She then fled to find her master, who taught her more advanced techniques of the deadly style she had created. After several years, their paths diverged and Yim Wing Chun became a renowned warrior. She raised armies and actively participated in rebellions against the Qing Dynasty. She eventually married Leung Bok Chau, a former disciple of Grand Master Jee Shan Shee, and passed on his art. Leuong Bok Chau maintained and developed Shaolin Wing Chun Kung Fu, so named in honour of his wife.

This legendary school would have many great and talented followers, who would make their mark on the history of Chinese Martial Arts - such as Ip Man and Bruce Lee (family tree). This discipline is fundamentally distinguished by its techniques of: sticky hands, close combat, and the famous wooden dummy.

Share this Story