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About Wing Chun Kung Fu (Wu Shu)
Wing Chun is an effective self defense system that is fun to learn which can improve overall fitness and confidence, as well as introduce the student to a warm friendly wing chun family atmosphere as most classes tend to generate a feeling of friendly comradeship. Just loose street clothing worn, most clubs have a club T shirt that student like to wear but is not obligatory.
History (one possible origin)
Wing chun Kung fu (sustained effort/skill) or wu shu as it is known in China was originally believed to have been developed in the Honan province by a group of Shoalin monks in the early 1700's. During this time in China's history the Shoalin temple was a refuge for secret societies, political dissidents and revolutionaries that wanted to overthrow the government of Emperor K'anghsi of the Ching dynasty (1662-1722).
This meant that the Shoalin temple and monks had become involved and were interfering with China's political system. To put a stop to political meddling by Shoalin the Manchu government employed highly skilled professional soldiers that were trained in and understood Shoalin war/fighting tactics, so the army could crush the Shoalin problem quickly, and crush them they did because a soon as the Shoalin monks caused a problem anywhere the army would be sent in to swiftly deal with the problem.
Wing Chun Development:
It took 18 years to become adept at Shoalin kung fu so the monks had to develop a new system that was effective, quick to learn and master to teach untrained antigovernment activists a fighting system that did not take years to learn to become an effective fighter. The Shoalin elders met in a a place called wing chun hall (wing chun means forever springtime) sharing their most secret techniques and developing the wing chun style, but before wing chun style was completely finished the Manchu government found out. The Manchu administration acted swiftly by sending in the army to destroy the Shoalin temple thus putting a stop to Shoalin involvement with government control.
A large proportion of the monks were killed but the ones that survived fled to hidden locations throughout China.
One of the survivors Ng Mui, a Shoalin nun escaped to a nunnery in the To Leung mountains that stand between Yunan and Szechwan province, using her time to finish the wing chun art into a complete kung fu fighting system, and this is where finally wing chun got its name. As a tribute to all of the monks that had put time and effort at the wing chun hall into this new style Ng Mui named the kung fu wing chun (forever springtime).
Ng Mui taught this new style of wing chun kung fu - wing chun to Yim Yee Gung the teenage daughter of a bean curd seller who she had befriended.
Just before her death Ng Mui re-named her student Yim wing chun.
The wing chun style was only taught to family and friends until 1952 when Ip Man first offered open classes.
A large percentage of wing chun taught today can be traced to the efforts of Ip Mans wing chun kung fu instruction.
Wing chun style
Wing chun is a southern style kung fu that uses centre line based on the Taoist Yin Yang principles of taking the centre line or middle way and applying this philosophy to combat techniques which is a combination of hard and soft with a focus on self defense.
Wing chun uses simultaneous attacking and defending with rapid hand techniques and low kicking. Every punch, poke, strike, slap and kick has been designed to also act as a defense and each block, deflection and evade can be turned into an attack. (wing chun footwork)
Constant forward pressure and attacks are the main constitution of wing chun kung fu. Advanced wing chun practitioners also have training techniques with weapons.
The wing chun welcome is used to show respect to the instructor, the art of wing chun and other students. The greeting consists of a friendly smile with feet together, bring the hands up to about chin level with the left hand curled over the right and is meant to be non-aggressive friendly greeting (opposite to the fellow on the right).
Wing Chun Class (basic wing chun drills)
The class usually has a 10 - 30 minutes of stretching and warming up depending on the instructor followed by
Kau sau: partner training, learning wing chun techniques in pairs overseen by the instructor
Chi sau: sticky hands partner training were continuous contact is kept between 2 people in order to develop close fighting skills.
Lok sau: rolling arms to developing close-range fighting skills designed to teach timing and perception.
One of the wing chun's style most famous sons and one of Ip Mans students for 5 years was the late actor, martial arts expert and ballroom dancing champion Bruce Lee who went on to create his own style of martial arts (jeet kune do) with wing chun as a foundation. Bruce Lee also noted the similarities and strategies between fencing and wing chun, with the use of center line linear attacks and almost identical footwork.
Mook yan jong
Is a wooden practice dummy with wooden protrusions that represent arms and legs and is used to develop timing, blocks and strikes.
A martial art aid invented by Ng Mui to allow the student to develop wing chun technique and skills on their own, at any time.
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