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The history of Wing Chun Gung Fu


Yim Wing Chun


Grandmaster Ip Man 


"Kung Fu" or "Gung Fu", is a widely used term for all Chinese martial arts. Meaning a well-mastered skill, or a long practised physical prowess. The original meaning relates to any study, learning or practice that requires patience, energy and time to accomplish.

It was only in the late C20th the term was used in relation to martial arts. It is perhaps more appropriate to refer to the Chinese Martial Arts as “Wûshù”, or "Quanfa", meaning 'Fist method' or 'Law of the fist'.

Wing Chun is one of the many Chinese martial arts practiced today, with some regarding it as relatively contemporary. Originating around 300 years ago, it is understood to have been created during the reign of Emperor K’angshi (1662 – 1722) by a Buddhist Nun called Ng Mui of the famed Shaolin Temple.

Already one of the 5 Shaolin Elders, she developed Wing Chun in response to the existing lines of Gung Fu being taught. Observing their styles, she invented a system that could be learnt quickly for self defence, without relying on age, gender or strength and maintained the values of the Shaolin order.

When the Shaolin Temple in which she lived was burned to the ground, she was forced to flee to Tai Leung mountain in Southern China, and it is said, this is where she taught a young girl named Yim Wing Chun. From there the art spread throughout China, evolving as it was adopted by various groups and individuals. Although the stories surrounding Ng Mui vary and not all events can be proven, the origins of Wing Chun are clearly thought to have been born out of the Shaolin Temple and the Gung Fu being taught there.

Traditionally Chinese martial arts were taught through their respective family lines, as was Wing Chun. The system has been passed down over time and continually refined through the genuine fighting experiences of its practitioners. This continued until 1949, when Grandmaster Ip Man fled Foshan in China, following the Chinese Civil War, to settle in Hong Kong. Circumstances there forced him to teach in order to earn a living and it was the first time that Wing Chun had been taught openly. Until his death in 1972, Ip Man taught many esteemed students including his own two sons, Ip Chun and Ip Ching, along with such notable practitioners as Chu Shong-Tin, Lok Yiu and Leung Sheung, to name a few.

Wing Chun has continued to spread and gain popularity for its simple yet very effective techniques. Students of Grandmaster Ip Man and their students in turn have moved from away from China over the years, taking with them their varying perceptions of Wing Chun.

As a result of this, many knowledgeable practitioners with their own personal interpretations and influences within Wing Chun have developed and are now taught around the world. 

Grandmaster Ip Chun, the eldest son of Ip Man, continues to promote the art that his father was so central in developing and is still teaching even in his progressing years. This is testament to the inherent physical and mental health benefits of the Wing Chun system, when understood, practiced and taught fully.

Cymru Wing Chun Kuen aims to adhere closely to these principles and ideals throughout its teaching and conduct.

Grandmaster Ip Chun

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