Although the roots of the Chinese martial arts date back to 3000 B.C., most of the traditional arts that are known today were developed between the 16th and 19th century. The arts are strongly influenced by Chinese philosophy, namely Confucianism, Daoism and Chan Buddhism.

Wing Chun is a very practical art without formal rituals. However, principles, exercises and mental attitudes from Chinese philosophy as well as Chi exercises (Chi (Qi) = inner power) have been incorporated into Wing Chun. The martial artist should be aware of the ethical values behind the art. Crucial parts of the self-concept of the  Quanfa (also Chuan-fa = martial arts, often known as  Gongfu, Gung Fu or Kung Fu) can be traced back to the legendary tradition of the knight errantry of early china. They were heroes who protected the weak and the poor and fought the evil. Often great martial artists became folk heroes. Those idols inspired the development and evolution of the martial arts.
Due to their extraordinary physical and mental abilities, some swordsmen were called “saints of the sword”.

The origin of Wing Chun

Today we do not know the exact facts about the roots of our art. According to the legend, the Shaolin nun Ng Mui developed a new and superior fighting technique for her student, the beautiful girl Yim Wing Chun who defeated her brutal enemy using the new art. But it is only a legend, probably invented to confuse the authorities and to conceal the truth in order to protect the practitioners. The first verified exponents of Wing Chun were members of a group of rebels against the Manchu regime. They were members of the Hung Suen opera group (Hung Suen = red junk). The rebels probably invented the legend not only confuse the authorities but also to increase their own reputation by claiming a connection to the Shaolin monks who also opposed the Manchu. Probably also the name “Wing Chun” (praise of the spring / eternal spring) is the short code for a slogan of the rebels. There are some hints that there was a real connection to the Shaolin but there is  no conclusive evidence.
The only reliable fact is that around 1850 the  Hung Suen opera group practiced and refined some kind of Wing Chun. Probably Wing Chun fighters participated in the boxer rebellion.

From the red junk there are several lines of Wing Chun. Among others the line of Leung Jan (who learned from members of the red junk) and Chan Wah Shun to Grant Master Yip Man and his student Master Lok Yiu. Yip Man spent many years in his home town Fatshan and brought his Wing Chun to perfection. In 1949 Grant Master Yip Man had to leave China, he went to Macao and moved to Hong Kong a few weeks later.

Fatshan Wing Chun was established in Hong Kong

When Grant Master Yip Man came to Hong Kong nobody knew about Fatshan Wing Chun. It became known when he started to teach in the Restaurant Workers Association. From 1951 to 1953 many masters of other Kung Fu styles send their challenges to Yip Man’s school in order to test the new Kung Fu style. Grant Master Yip Man sent his first To-Dais Lok Yiu and Leung Sheung to face the challenges. Both of them won all their test fights and so Fathsan Wing Chun was established in Hong Kong.

In the late 50th and early 60th there were more challenges of other Kung Fu styles due to several publications. Master Wong Sheung Leung played a significant role in these challenges and he successfully defended Grant Master Yip Man’s art.

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