Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) System
Using mostly hand techniques and fewer kicks, the Wing Chun system emphasizes using
minimal force and economy of movement to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness
in fighting through intercepting, trapping, redirecting and manipulating the enemy's
force. Based on this concept, proper Wing Chun training will guide the practitioner
to exert as little energy as possible and depend more on generating and releasing
internal power rather than using brute force and muscle strength to attack, counter-attack,
and defend. In addition to developing one's fighting skills, Wing Chun training will
improve the overall health of the practitioner by improving and increasing the internal
energy flow and bringing together the mind and body as one unit.
As with many styles of Chinese martial arts, the history of Wing Chun was primarily passed down
verbally from teacher to disciple. Fortunately, Yip Man documented the history of Wing Chun as
communicated to him. Following is an English translation of his personal, written account of the
Origination of the Wing Chun system.
"The founder of the Ving Tsun Kungfu System, Miss Yim Ving Tsun was a native of Canton China. As a
young girl, she was intelligent and athletic, upstanding and manly. She was betrothed to Leung Bok
Chau, a salt merchant of Fukien. Soon after that, her mother died. Her father, Yim Yee, was
wrongfully accused of a crime, and nearly went to jail. So the family moved far away, and finally
settled down at the foot of Tai Leung Mountain at the Yunnan-Szechuan border. There, they earned a
Living by selling tofu. All this happened during the reign of Emperor K'anghsi (1662-1722).
At the time kungfu was becoming very strong in the Siu Lam Monastery (Shaolin Monastery) of MT.
Sung, Honan. This aroused fear of the Manchu government, which sent troops to attack the Monastery.
They were unsuccessful. A man called Chan Man Wai was the First Placed Graduate of the Civil
Service Examination that year. He was seeking favor with the government, and suggested a plan. He
plotted with Siu Lam monk Ma Ning Yee and others. They set fire to the Monastery while soldiers
attacked it from the outside. Siu Lam was burnt down, and the monks scattered. Buddhist Abbess Ng
Mui, Abbot Chi Shin, Abbot Pak Mei, Master Fung To Tak and Master Miu Hin escaped and fled their
Ng Mui took refuge in White Crane Temple on Mt. Tai Leung (also known as Mt. Chai Har). There she
came to know Yim Yee and his daughter Yim Ving Tsun. She bought bean curds at their store. They
Ving Tsun was a young woman then and her beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried
to force Ving Tsun to marry him. She and her father were very worried. Ng Mui learned of this and
took pity on Ving Tsun. She agreed to teach Ving Tsun fighting techniques so that she could protect
herself. Then she would be able to solve the problem with the bully and marry Leung Bok Chau, her
betrothed husband. So Ving Tsun followed Ng Mui into the mountains and started to learn kungfu.
She trained night and day, and mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the local bully to a
fight and beat him. Ng Mui set off to travel around the country, but before she left, she told
Ving Tsun to strictly honor the kungfu traditions, to develop her kungfu after her marriage, and to
help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty. This is
how Ving Tsun kungfu was handed down by Abbess Ng Mui.
After the marriage, Ving Tsun taught her kungfu to her husband Leung Bok Chau, and he passed his
kungfu techniques on to Leung Lan Kwai. Leung Lan Kwai passed it on to Wong Wah Bo. Wong Wah Bo
was a member of an opera troupe on board a junk, known to the Chinese as the Red Junk. Wong worked
on the Red Junk with Leung Yee Tei. It so happened that Abbot Chi Shin, who fled from Siu Lam, had
disguised himself as a cook and was now working on the Red Junk. Chi Shin taught the Six-and-Half
Point Long Pole Techniques to Leung Yee Tei. Wong Wah Bo was close to Leung Yee Tei, and they
shared what they knew about kungfu. Together they correlated and improved their techniques, and
thus the Six-and-Half-Point Long Pole Techniques were incorporated into Ving Tsun Kungfu.
Leung Yee Tei passed the kungfu on to Leung Jan, a well known herbal doctor in Fat Shan. Leung Jan
grasped the innermost secrets of Ving Tsun, and attained the highest level of proficiency. Many
kungfu masters came to challenge him, but all were defeated. Leung Jan became very famous. Later
he passed his kungfu on to Chan Wah Shan, who took me as his student many decades ago. I studied
kungfu alongside my kungfu brothers such as Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min and Lui Yu Jai.
Ving Tsun was thus passed down to us, and we are eternally grateful to our kungfu ancestors and
teachers. We will always remember and appreciate our roots, and this shared feeling will always
keep our kungfu brothers close together. This is why I am organizing the Ving Tsun Fellowship, and
I hope my kungfu brothers will support me in this. This will be very important in the promotion of
Ving Tsun Athletic Association, Genealogy of the Ving Tsun Family, Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic
Association Ltd., Hong Kong, 1990.
The Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) system includes three hand forms, one
training apparatus form and two weapon forms.
Siu Lim Tau (Little Idea)
This form is the basic yet most profound form
of the Wing Chun system. Siu Lim Tau is comprised of three sections that cover
the basic movements of Wing Chun in addition to developing control.
In fact, a lot of high level Wing Chun self defense techniques are
hidden in this form.
Chum Kil (Searching the Bridge)
This form teaches neutralization of the
opponent's force and releasing one's own force by pivoting and using
footwork to close the gap.
Bil Gee (Thrusting Fingers)
This is an advanced level form which teaches
long and short-range interception and attack as well as recovery in an
life threatening situation.
Mok Yan Jong Form (Wooden Dummy)
This form originated from the Shaolin
Temple Wooden Dummy Alley. The wooden dummy simulates the opponent and teaches
the practitioner correct angle and entry for optimal execution of techniques.
Luk Dim Boon Gwan (Long Pole)
"Six-and-a-half point pole" - Half of the 13 major
movements of long pole. This form further develops one's hand-striking power.
Bart Jam Dao (Butterfly Knives)
After development of
the arms with the Long Pole, the practitioner moves on to advanced
weapon training with the butterfly knives.
Wing Chun has many training exercises and drills designed for
developing sensitivity, timing, attack, counter-attack, and defense. Following are a few of those
A training exercise unique to Wing Chun is
Chi Sau (Sticky Hands). Chi Sau develops the ability to control
increasing sensitivity in the practitioner. The Wing Chun
practiitioner uses this control to deal with multiple attackers.
Single Hand Chi Sau
A two person drill where both
are using a single arm to feel when the other will strike. At this level
attacks and defense are limited to set repetition.
Double Hand Chi Sau
In this exercise the practitioners engage both arms and apply the hand techniques
and footwork learned in the forms. Attacks are random and defense is used to gain
advantage for counter attacks.