A Condensed History of Wing Chun

The Wing Chun system was developed in China during the Ching Dynasty (1644-1911). According to popular legend, five Masters assembled at the famous Shaolin temple to develop a fighting system that was capable of overcoming all of the existing systems of the day. Their goal was to overthrow the invading Manchu (Ching) dynasty and restore the Ming.

However before the system could be perfected, the temple was raided and burned by the Manchu troops. The five Masters escaped, one of them, Ng Mui, a Buddhist nun, travelled south where she met a young girl being pressured into marriage by a local ruffian. Taking pity on the girl she decided to teach her the previously unnamed system from the temple, hopeful that she could use her kung fu skills to repel him. The girl was Yim Wing Chun. Yim Wing Chun practiced diligently and soon became proficient in the system, driving off her unwanted suitor.

Ng Mui named the system after her, in her honour.

The system went through many developmental stages over the next 300 years to become what is now accepted as one of the great kung fu systems of China.

The most famous Wing Chun practitioner is without a doubt the late Grandmaster, Yip Man.

Yip Man, a famous Kung Fu practitioner and teacher in mainland China moved to Hong Kong in 1949. Until the time of his death in 1973 Grandmaster Yip Man taught many of the best know practitioners in the Wing Chun style. Names like Wong Shun Leung, Chu Shong Tin, William Cheung and of course the great Bruce Lee all came from the Yip Man school and are now household names both within and without the Wing Chun community.

These practitioners and their students have, in turn gone on to become the new generation of Masters spreading the Wing Chun system to all corners of the globe.

Grandmaster Yip Man

Since the passing of Grandmaster Yip Man the representative body for Wing Chun worldwide has been the Ving Tsun Athletic Association of Hong Kong. The Rules of Conduct below are followed by all schools associated with the Yip Man lineage.

The Wing Chun Rules of Conduct

(Translation from the Ving Tsun Athletic Association headquarters plaque, Hong Kong)

  1. Obey and appreciate the role of Kung Fu spirit. Conduct yourself ethically.
  2. Respect all human beings and be patriotic. Practice courtesy and righteousness.
  3. Love thy classmates, hold hands together and heads high. Be united, avoid conflicts.
  4. Restrain from bodily pleasure and conservation. Keep the proper martial art spirit.
  5. Constantly refine and maintain your skills. Practice and improve your level.
  6. Learn to enrich your soul and avoid unnecessary conflict. Learn spiritual tranquillity, avoid arguments.
  7. Be humble and treat matters in a harmonious manner. Be conservative and gentle in your affairs.
  8. Be kind to the weak, young and elderly by showing good faith. Use your skills for humanity.
  9. Brighten and preserve what the ancestors have shown you. Pass on the tradition, Art and rules of conduct.


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