Wing Chun was made known to many Westerners through its most famous disciple- Jun Fan, English name: Bruce Lee. It is from the basic principles of this ancient Chinese martial art, a branch of Kung Fu, that the Little Dragon patterned his own art- Jeet Kune Do after.
The exact origin of Wing Chun, like most of its contemporaries, is quite hazy. In fact even the source of the name itself is a matter of dispute. This is due to the fact that documentation was absent during most of its early years and teacher to student instruction was done orally. Another reason is its origins and inventor may have been covered-up on purpose, as it was developed at a time of anti Qing Dynasty rebellion of the Shaolin movement. The words "Wing Chun" literally translates to "spring chant" or "forever spring". Ironically, if two popular accounts of its origin is correct, this aggressive, deadly martial art done in close range was named after a troubled girl- the one that developed it.
Yim Wing-Chun, as one of the legends go was a beautiful girl who was doing her best not to become betrothed to a warlord who expressed interest in marrying her. She made a deal with the unwanted warrior that she would only give her hand if he beat her in a match. Allegedly, Wing Chun enlisted the aid of a Buddhist nun to teach her fighting techniques and was able to defeat her admirer with the style they came-up with. She then goes ahead and marries her true love who in turn named the martial art after her.
The basic principles of Wing Chun are practicality, efficiency and hitting a target with the least amount of movement as possible. It's all about the fighter's centerline- how to preserve it and at the same time, how to destroy the opponent's.
Typical of Chinese martial arts, Wing Chun has several forms. Siu Nim Tao is the basic foundation for all the other forms and techniques. This is where balance of the practitioner's body through proper stance and its structure is developed. Chum Kiu, the second form develops techniques in approach and attack- close-range blows from elbows and knees are also developed in this form. This is where recovery techniques to regain balance and the centerline are also utilized in case of the loss of Siu Nim Tao- the first form. The third form serves as an emergency plan- in case the practitioner is injured and can't regain his centerline. Comprised of sweeping, longer-range kicks and punches, Biu Jee is to be used only as a last resort as it can impart deadly, mortal injuries. The fourth Wing Chun training form is what most martial artists know Wing Chun for- the Mook Yan Jong utilizing the wooden dummy. Not really shaped like a human, it's purpose is to train the fighter proper energy management and angling of blocks and strikes. The last form, which comes after mastery of the open-hand techniques are the weapons forms. In Wing Chun, the deadly twin Butterfly Swords, the long pole and sometimes throwing darts are the weapons used.
About the Author
Allen Owen has been practicing martial arts of one form or another since he was in grammar school. Check out his eBay store at: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Sublime-Tao-Martial-Arts-Supply