History of Wing Chun
History of Wing Chun was passed onto The Windy City
Wing Chun Federation from our Sifu, Augustine Fong.
As it was passed onto him from his Sifu, Ho Kam
Ming. As it was passed on from his Sifu, the late
Grandmaster Yip Man.
In the beginning of Wing Chun there was a person
named Ng Mui. Ng Mui is generally credited with the
creation of Wing Chun. The only question that
surrounds Ng Mui is whether Ng Mui was a man or a
woman. Some research has shown Ng Mui to be a man.
According to the version that Yip Man passed on, Ng
Mui was a woman.
Ng Mui was is considered the founder of Wing Chun.
She was one of five elders of the Sil lum temple.
She wasn?t always a nun. Her real name was Loi Sai
Leung. She went into hiding as a nun, only after
avenging the death of her father. It was there where
she took the name Ng Mui.
Due to her skill as a martial artist, Ng Mui was the
most skilled martial artist at the temple. She
studied a martial art style called Mo Dong Mountain.
She also developed a style after studying a mouse
walking, called Sui Bo Mui Fa Kuen (little mouse
footwork, plum flower fist). After studying a snake
and a crane, she improved the style. It became known
as Sei Ho Bak Bo (snake and crane eight steps). Ng
Mui then refined the style and it became known as Ng
Bo Mui Fa Kuen (plum flower fist). These are the
styles that preceded Wing Chun.
In the years of the Ming Dynasty gung fu was
practiced as a form of exercise. Later the
Manchurians and Ching dynasty would come to power.
The Ming patriots sought refuge in the Sui Lum (Shao
Lin) temple. There they trained for the day that
they would fight back against the Ching Dynasty.
Unfortunately, an insider betrayed them and the
Ching emperor would dispatch his troops to burn down
the temple. Only a few people and the five elders
escaped. To be sure that no one would use the
information of the five elders the Ching Emperor
dispatched martial arts experts to terminate them.
To save the arts Ng Mui devised a new modified
system of fighting based on what she had learned at
the temple. The style would use techniques that
utilized efficiency of motion and direct line
attacks. The style could also be learned in a short
Ng Mui?s best student was a girl named Yim Wing
Chun. She lived with her father. He had prearranged
a marriage for his daughter. An evil landlord came
and wanted Yim Wing Chun for himself. She rejected
the landlord, so he planned to take her by force. Ng
Mui taught Yim Wing Chun to defend herself. When the
landlord came back, Yim Wing Chun defeated the
landlord and his men.
Yim Wing Chun continued to study with Ng Mui. She
later married a man named Leung Bok Chau. Yim Wing
Chun used the principles of the art and began to
improve and simplify the art. Her husband, who was
an accomplished martial artist in his own right, was
impressed and wanted to learn from his wife. She
taught him, and he studied hard to learn the art.
Even though Ng Mui created the art, it is named
after Yim Wing Chun because of her improvements to
Leung Bok Chau taught the style to his uncle Leung
Lan Qui. Leung Lan Qui taught Wing Chun to Wong Wah
Bo and Leung Ye Tai. But, Leung Bok Chau was their
primary instructor. Wong Wah Bo was an oarsman for
the red boat in the Chinese opera, and he did other
labors. He was muscular. Throughout the generations
from Leung Bok Chau to Wong Wah Bo the Wing Chun
system became harder and tighter. Leung Ye Tai was
an opera singer who played female roles. His Wing
Chun was softer. It was during these years that the
weapons were incorporated into the Wing Chun system.
Wong Wah Bo taught Leung Ye Tai the six and a half
point pole. Leung Te Tai taught the butterfly knives
to Wong Wah Bo. Leung Jon was an herbal doctor. He
was taught by both Wong Wah Bo and Leung Ye Tai.
Leung Jon was able to put the hard and soft elements
back together. Leung Jon?s pupil Chan Wa Soon, was
not able to incorporate the soft elements and made
the system hard again.
Chan Wa soon was Yip Man?s first teacher.
Unfortunately, Chan Wa Soon died young and Yip Man
was unable to complete his instruction. Yip Man was
studying English in Hong Kong when he met Leung Bik,
who was the son of Leung Jon. Yip Man challenged
Leung Bik and was defeated. Later, Yip Man
discovered who Leung Bik was and asked to become one
of Leung Bik?s students. Leung Bik was a smaller man
and did not use muscles. His style was not as hard
as Chan Wa Soon?s style was. Yip Man was able to
learn both the hard and soft elements. (Another
story from that time tells how Leung Bik?s
daughter-in-law defeated Yip Man with her kicking
skill in Wing Chun. From that time forward Yip Man
would never say he was the number one Wing Chun
practitioner as long as the others lived.)
Upon completing school in Hong Kong, Yip Man
returned to his hometown in mainland China. There he
worked as and trained police officers. While on duty
Yip Man killed a person in the line of duty. Due to
the communist government Yip Man feared reprisals.
He decided to flee from China. He was not able to
take any of his possessions with him. When he got to
Hong Kong he had only his skills in Wing Chun to
make a living. In Hong Kong Yip Man met an old
friend of his, Go Dai Chung. Go Dai Chung was a Choy
Lay Fut teacher. He had two schools. Teaching at
both schools was too difficult, so he gave one of
his schools to Yip Man. The school was located at
Dai Lum Gai in Kowloon. Yip Man began to teach and
make a living as a Wing Chun instructor.
Leung Sheung was an assistant teacher to Go Dai
Chung. He challenged Yip Man and lost. Leung Sheung
then became Yip Man?s first student. Some of Yip
Man?s early student?s were; Lau Ming, Lau Kau, and
Lee Yu. Yip Man became the man known for bringing
Wing Chun out of China and into Hong Kong. There
were only certain type of people Yip Man would
teach. He would not teach relatives, because they
would not give him the respect that he felt he
deserved. He would not teach women, because he felt
that women would be distraction in the gym. Which
would be strange because a woman started the art. He
would not teach non-Chinese people. He did not want
to teach children, because he felt they would not be
disciplined enough to train. Finally, he would not
teach poor people, because he felt they had to work
hard as it was and would be to tired to train.
Yip Man?s students are divided into three
generations. The first generation was taught how to
use Wing Chun for fighting. This way Yip Man would
be able to establish a name for Wing Chun. For the
first generation the art was not emphasized. Once
the name was established the second generation was
able to focus on the art. The last and third
generation never touched hands with Yip Man. He was
no longer teaching, as now the si-hings were the
teachers of the classes. Because Yip Man was a
traditional teacher he always kept a line drawn
between he and his students student?s. He would talk
to them, but not attempt to teach them.
Ho Kam Ming was a second-generation student of Yip
Man. He spent his life training with the late
grandmaster. He was one of the few men to learn the
entire Wing Chun system. Yip Man held Ho Kam Ming in
high regard. When Yip Man became ill it was Ho Kam
Ming that was asked to teach his classes for him. Ho
Kam Ming also cared for Yip Man while he was ill. He
would care for him both in the hospital and at home.
Yip Man revealed many of the finer points of Wing
Chun to Ho Kam Ming. Yip Man also gave the
responsibility of teaching his private students to
Ho Kam Ming. By this time Ho Kam Ming had opened
schools in Macao and Hong Kong. He also organized
The Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun Association, which was
authorized by the Yip Man Wing Chun Association.
Today, Ho Kam Ming is well known and respected in
both Hong Kong and Macao. His full contact Wing Chun
teams have fought in martial art tournaments
throughout Southeast Asia and has earned both
recognition and respect.
Augustine Fong began studying Wing Chun at a young
age. In 1964 Ho Kam Ming?s school had grown in
number and reputation. A challenge match was against
the school and Ho Kam Ming chose Augustine Fong to
fight the match. Fong was Master Ho?s best student
and toughest fighter. Fong, in a three round fight,
dispatched the opponent. After the fight Master Ho
asked Fong to assist him in teaching. Augustine Fong
continued his training. In 1969 he decided to move
to America. He eventually settled in Tucson and
opened a school of his own, Fong?s Wing Chun Gung-Fu
Federation. With over 38 years of experience Master
Fong is considered and respected as one of the most
knowledgeable and skilled Wing Chun practitioners in
the world today.
It is through Augustine Fong that Edward De La Cruz,
Ken Weingart, and Edward Basile of the Windy City
Wing Chun Federation traces their line.
2004 Windy City Wing Chun Gung Fu Federation,