The Origin of Wing Chun-by Grandmaster Yip Man


The founder of the Wing Chun Kung Fu System, Miss Yim Wing Chun was a native of Canton Kwangtung Province? in China. She was an intelligent and athletic young girl, upstanding and forthright. Her mother died soon after her betrothal to Leung Bok Chau, a salt merchant of Fukien. Her father, Yim Yee, was wrongfully accused of a crime and, rather than risk jail, they slipped away and finally settled down at the foot of Tai Leung Mountain near the border between Yunan and Szechuan provinces. There they earned a living by running a shop that sold bean curd.

During the reign of Emperor K'anghsi of the Ching Dynasty (1662-1722) Kung Fu became very strong in the Siu Lam (Shaolin) Monastery of Mt. Sung, in Honan Province. This aroused the fear of the Manchu government [a non-Chinese people from Manchuria in the North, who ruled China at that time], which sent troops to attack the Monastery. Although they were unsuccessful, a man named Chan Man Wai, a recently appointed civil servant seeking favor with the government, suggested a plan.

He plotted with Siu Lam monk Ma Ning Yee and others who were persuaded to betray their companions by setting fire to the monastery while soldiers attacked it from the outside. Siu Lam was burned down, and the monks and disciples scattered. Buddhist Abbess Ng Mui, Abbot Chi Sim, Abbot Pak Mei, Master Fung To Tak and Master Miu Hin escaped and went their separate ways.

Ng Mui took refuge in the White Crane Temple on Mt. Tai Leung (also known as Mt. Chai Har). It was there she met Yim Yee and his daughter Yim Wing Chun from whom she often bought bean curd on her way home from the market. At fifteen, with her hair bound up in the custom of those days to show she was of an age to marry, Wing Chun's beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing Chun to marry him, and his continuous threats became a source of worry to her and her father. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing Chun. She agreed to teach Wing Chun fighting techniques so she could protect herself. Wing Chun followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began to learn Kung Fu. She trained night and day, until she mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the bully to a fight and beat him.

Ng Mui later traveled around the country, but before she left she told Wing Chun to strictly honor the Kung Fu traditions, to develop her Kung Fu after her marriage, and to help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty.

After her marriage Wing Chun taught Kung Fu to her husband Leung Bok Lau?. He in turn passed these techniques on to Leung Lan Kwai. Leung Lan Kwai then passed them on to Wong Wah Bo. Wong Wah Bo was a member of an opera troupe on board a junk, known to Chinese as the Red Junk or Red Boats?. 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 then working on the Red Junk. Chi Shin taught the Six-and-a-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 Kung Fu. Together they shared and improved their techniques, and thus the Six-and-a-half-point Long Pole was incorporated into Wing Chun Kung Fu. Leung Yee Tei passed his Kung Fu on to Leung Jan, a well known herbal Doctor in Fat Shan?. Leung Jan grasped the innermost secrets of Wing Chun, attaining the highest level of proficiency. Many Kung Fu masters came to challenge him, but all were defeated. Leung Jan became very famous. Later he passed his Kung Fu on to Chan Wah Shun, who took me and my elder Kung Fu brothers, such as Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min and Lui Yu Jai, as his students many decades ago.

It can thus be said that the Wing Chun System was passed on to us in a direct line of succession from its origin. I write this history of the Wing Chun System in respectful memory of my forerunners. I am eternally grateful to them for passing to me the skills I now possess. A man should always think of the source of the water as he drinks it; it is this shared feeling that keeps our Kung Fu brothers together.

Is this not the way to promote Kung Fu, and to project the image of our country?

Yip Man


Sources:

  • Leungs Publishing
  • Various accounts and translations of this Text passed down by Yip Man.

copyright:Leungs publishing
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Chow Tze Chuen Version: The Origin of Wing Chun By Yip Man


The founder of the Kung Fu system, Miss Yim Wing Chun 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. All this happened during the reign of Emperor K'anghsi (1662 V 1722).

At the time, kungfu was becoming very strong in Siu Lam Monastery (Shaolin Monastery) of Mt. Sung , Honan . This aroused the 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 favour 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 separate ways.

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 Wing Chun. She bought bean curds at their store. They became friends.

Wing Chun was a young woman then, and her beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing Chun to marry him. She and her father were very worried. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing Chun. She agreed to teach Wing Chun 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, here betrothed husband. So Wing Chun 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 Wing Chun to strictly honour 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 Wing Chun kungfu was handed down by Abbess Ng Mui.

After the marriage, Wing Chun 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 Reb Junk. Wong worked on the Red Junk with Leung Yee Tei. It so happened that Abbot Chi Shin, who fled from Siu Lam, has disguised himself as a cook and was now working on the Red Junk. Chi Shin taught the Six-and-a-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 Wing Chun 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 Wing Chun, 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. Wing Chun 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 Wing Chun Fellowship, and I hope my kungfu brothers will support me in this. This will be very important in the promotion of Kungfu.


Copyright:ChowTzeCHuen