Where does Wing Chun come from?
Wing Chun is a traditional southern Chinese style of Kung Fu that historians agree was developed around 300 years ago. There have been many different accounts and explanations of where Wing Chun Kung Fu originated, but according to legend the most documented is that it was a martial arts style that was adapted by a young Buddhist nun named Ng Mui who studied and lived in the Shaolin Temple before its first destruction in the 17th century. Historians have also documented that she was a master of a variety of martial arts including Shaolin Kung Fu, Dragon Style and White Crane to name a few. After surviving the destruction of the Shaolin Temple Ng Mui fled to the safety of another temple in a mountain province of southern China. Whilst living in this region she met a young teenage girl named Yim Wing Chun to whom she taught her adapted style of Shaolin Kung Fu. Ng Mui gave the young teenager private lessons so that she could learn the style quickly in order to protect herself without the need for developing super strength. The reasons for teaching the young girl was so that she could protect herself in a fight against a warlord who wanted to force her into marriage.
These are the chinese symbols for writing Wing Chun which by definition means 'eternal' or 'beautiful springtime'.
Why is Wing Chun Kung Fu so popular?
Wing Chun is a very practical and adaptable style of martial art that can be used in close-quarters and is mainly an empty hand system meaning you can defend yourself even while unarmed. Many of the self-defence techniques can be taught in a relatively short amount of time, plus it can be learned by students of varying age, height, weight and fitness ability. It is suited to both men and women and focuses on structure rather than strength and timing rather than speed. It is also based on human anatomy rather than the movements of animals so it doesn’t require super strength or athleticism. Wing Chun was made popular by Grand Master Ip Man when he began to teach it widely in Hong Kong and China, his students continued to study and teach it to people worldwide. One of Grand Master Ip Man’s students famously being the late martial arts superstar Bruce Lee who brought martial arts to the masses not only by teaching it but also by making movies about it such as ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Game of Death’, ‘The Big Boss’ and many others. Most recent martial arts movies are the popular Ip Man films which are all highly entertaining tributes to this Grand Master and breathtaking demonstrations of Wing Chun.
Ip Man and Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was taught by Grand Master Ip Man from a young age before developing his own way of 'fighting without fighting' known today as Jeet Kune Do.
What are the benefits of learning Wing Chun?
Wing Chun is based on reflexive movements and the development of sensitivity, balance, endurance and co-ordination so with repetitive training it teaches you to respond instinctively to an attack as opposed to the responses that may happen in a sparring match or combat sport. It is cleverly simplistic in its application yet highly effective, direct and efficient. Consistent training develops not only a high level of physical fitness, but it can also improve your self-confidence and mental focus. In training the forms you can quiet the mind and focus your thoughts as well as develop core stability and posture. Also when training the forms in a calm state of mind this can help to relieve stress and tension. It is this relaxed and balanced state of mind that enables you to effectively respond to someone who might be bigger and stronger than you are. Wing Chun trains you to defend and attack simultaneously without warning using a direct reflex action at speed so that your opponent is unaware of what’s coming and because the training uses the structure of the entire body, to create and deliver power in a small space, it also enables you to overpower your opponent’s structure and get them off-balance which gives you the advantage over your opponent.
Wing Chun training builds self-confidence and improves posture
Wing Chun Kung Fu can be taught to both men and women of varying height, size, age and physical fitness.
How can learning Wing Chun benefit children?
Children can learn Wing Chun Kung Fu in lessons that are appropriately structured in accordance with age and learning abilitiy. There are many benefits that children can gain from learning this style of martial art such as helping the child’s ability to focus the mind, build self-confidence, improve balance and co-ordination. It also teaches children and teenagers to respect themselves and to show respect for others, e.g. family members, classmates and if they were to see someone being bullied or if someone was upset, they are usually more inclined to help that person and build up their resilience to negative situations. Children also need to vent their pent up energy and it is widely known that physical fitness is a great way of releasing all that energy that may sometimes be exerted in negative behaviour. Consistent training can also benefit a child’s ability to concentrate more on tasks at school which then improves their willingness to learn and retain facts, problem solving and dealing with social anxiety and peer pressures.
Training can help a child's ability to focus
Wing Chun training can help to focus the mind to be calm and problem solve increasing the ability to help themselves and their classmates.
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