Wing Chun was started in Southern China between 250 and 300 years ago by a Buddhist Nun and grandmaster of Mui Fa Kuen named Ng Mui. Wing chun is based on the mongoose and the snake. Our story begins during the reign of Emporor K’anghsi of the Ching Dynasty (1662-1722) within the Honan province. A Shaolin Monastery called Siu Lam (Mt. Sung) had become increasingly powerful as a result of training in Kung Fu. The Manchurian government felt threatened by the power of this monastery and sent troops to destroy the temple, aided by traitors within the temple who set light to it.
Only a few monks managed to flee the arrival of the Manchurian army, including Ng Mui. In order to find a way to defeat the Siu Lam trained Manchurians she set to work developing a close quarter combat system, discarding many old traditional learning techniques focusing on speed and subtlety to overcome an opponents potential superior strength. She abandoned the focus on muscular strength (lik), bone conditioning and muscular flexibility in favour of using explosive movements based inside contraction and relaxation.
The techniques she developed used finger jabs to the eyes, elbow strikes to the face and using knees and feet to attack the opponents lower body. It was after Ng Mui’s creation of these new techniques that she met and became friends with Yim Wing Chun. Yim Wing Chun had moved to Mt Tai Lung with her father (escaping the risk of imprisonment for a crime her father was falsely accused of). They set up a bean curd shop to make their living but it was not long before the beautiful, intelligent and young Yim Wing Chun was attracting attention. A local bully focused his attention on Yim Wing Chun wishing to marry her and eventually attempting to rape her.
It was after this that Ng Mui took Yim Wing Chun into the mountains to teach her the new techniques she had developed so that Yim Wing Chun would be able to protect herself. She practised under Ng Mui’s direction with fierce dedication and became a master of this new style. Using what she had learnt Yim Wing Chun returned to the village and defeated the bully. Ng Mui was so impressed with the young woman’s ability and dedication she named the style she had developed Wing Chun (perpetual/beautiful springtime or forever spring) Kuen (fist) in honour of her student. In time Wing Chun passed her skills on to her husband who in turn taught his brother and so began a tradition passed down through the years.
Wing Chun kept a promise she had made to Ng Mui and after Ng Mui’s death continued to fight against the Manchurian government until her own death.