Cho Gar Wing Chun History by Randy Tay


Mention Wing Chun and people will think of 2 names: the Legendary Bruce Lee who captured the imagination and hearts of millions of people and Grandmaster Yip Man, his teacher who has since become synonymous with Wing Chun or Wing Chun Kuen. This results in worldwide recognition and a lot of misconceptions. Many has mistakenly assumed that the renowned grandmaster was the sole inheritor of the style and concluded that "if your Wing Chun is not from Yip Man, it is crap". Thanks to commercialization and marketing, this dogma is firmly rooted amongst many practitioner of the art.

Until recent years, many highly skilled masters over the many generations who have learnt the art, contributed enormously to its development and passed along their knowledge has been ignored and obscured. With the publication of the reknowned and definitive guide to Wing Chun's history and traditions by Robert Chu and Rene Ritchie - COMPLETE WINGCHUN - many unknowned system and lineage was exposed to the world for the first time! Many ancestors of Wing Chun like Yik Kam and Fa Min Kam and their system has been unseen or unreported except a selected few.

While it is still not known for certain how Wing Chun Kuen was originated and who conceived it, according to traditions of Cho Ga, (Cho Family, who inherited the art from Yik Kam), Wing Chun Kuen was passed down from the Red Junk Opera where all 13 disciples of Yim Wing Chun and Leung Bak Sau worked. The thirteen disciples are Wong Wah Bo, Leung Yee Tai, Yik Kam, Suen Fook Seng, Fa Jee Ming, Hui Kai Fu, Fa Gu Ban, Chee Yuen Cheung, Dai Sheng Wo, Fa Min Gam, Lang Zai Mo, Dai Gar Sheng and Doh Ngan Shun.

The art was passed from Yik Kam to Cho Dak Shing (thus beginning the era of Cho Ga Wing Chun Kuen), who in turn passed the art to his son and nephews, Cho Chuen, Cho Yam and Cho On. Cho On eventually made his way to Hong Kong, and it is here that he made the acquaintance of Yip Man. As both share similar interest, they became good friends and would spend many hours together to discuss Wing Chun. It is said that Cho On was the one who introduced Yip Man to teach at the Hong Kong Restaurant Association.

When the finger of opportunity beckons once more, Cho On left Hong Kong for Malaysia where he eventually settle down. It is here that Cho On passed his art to Cho Hung Choi, Yeung Gam Jueng and Lau Soon Yin among others. Over the years, Wing Chun Kuen in South East Asia is synonymous with Cho On.


Sources:

  • Oral and written tradition Cho Family
  • Oral tradition Ku Choi Wah
  • Copyright 1995-2007-Randy Tay. All Rights Reserved.