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Front and Center An Introduction to Wing Chun Kung Fu Part 1

by Daniel on September 5th, 2011

Wing Chun is one of the world’s most highly respected kung fu fighting styles. Practitioners of this no-nonsense art dominate their opponent’s center, develop expert timing and explosive power – easily re-directing an incoming attack. Its direct and rapid attacks seem nothing short of magic! Read on to see why millions of practitioners have fallen head over heels for this pragmatic and efficient fighting style.

Wing Chun’s History: Fight Like a Man?

The most widely propagated tale of Wing Chun’s development is actually quite romantic. Conceived and developed by a woman, the name Wing Chun is proposed to have been the name of a beautiful merchant, only 15 years of age, who resided in Canton province during the Qing Dynasty. Yim Wing Chun was employed by her Father selling bean curd at their small shop at the base of Mt. Tai Leung. While working, Yim Wing Chun met Ng Mui, an Abbess (female Abbot, or Bishop) at the nearby White Crane temple. Ng Mui was also a refugee from the recently burned Shaolin temple in Honan, who often purchased bean curd from Yim Wing Chun (traditional Buddhists are forbidden to eat meat).

Yim Wing Chun was attractive, and her comeliness won her the unwanted attention of a local bully who attempted a forced marriage with her. He often threatened her and her family and constantly attempted to intimidate the young lady. His threats became a disruption to her family and its business. Abbess Ng Mui, after hearing of her acquaintance’s unfortunate situation, agreed to teach young Yim Wing Chun some of the fighting skills that were a result of her many years of training at the Shaolin temple. It was through this training that Yim Wing Chun would rid herself of this unwanted suitor.

Cunningly, Yim Wing Chun told her pursuer that if he could defeat her in a fight one year from now, she would submit and marry him. It was his pleasure to agree to her proposal. The Abbess Ng Mui carefully selected a curriculum of fighting techniques for the young lady that would enable her to defeat her opponent using leverage, speed and technique rather than strength.

Young Wing Chun trained like a woman possessed until she mastered all of the fighting skills offered by her martial mentor. After a year had passed, her groom arrived to claim his prize. But when they touched hands, he was not able to defeat her easily, as he had pictured in his mind’s eye. In fact, he was beaten badly and embarrassed.

The legend of Yim Wing Chun and Ng Mui is an enjoyable story, but is not accepted by all as the true origin of the art. Others propose that it was actually a committee of Shoalin monks who invented Wing Chun as a way to quickly enable a fighter to develop advanced kung fu skills (as a tool to overthrow the Qing government). Like all kung fu styles, the specific history differs depending in whom you ask.

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