Siu Lam Temple; the birth place of the Wing Tsun principles
|Also called||Wing Chun, Ving Tsun|
|Country of origin||China|
Wing Tsun (Chinese: 詠春拳; pinyin: yǒng chūn quan; Cantonese Yale: wihng chēun; literally "spring chant"), also romanised as Ving Tsun or Wing Chun, (and sometimes substituted with the characters 永春 " eternal springtime"); (also known as Snake-Crane style); is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilising both striking and grappling while specialising in close-range combat.
The alternative characters 永春 "eternal spring" are also associated with some other southern Chinese martial arts, including Weng Chun Kung Fu and White Crane Weng Chun (Yong Chun).
Wing Tsun originated in the late Ming Dynasty, in the rule of the last Ming Emperor. Wing Tsun was born in the Weng Chun Dim. According to Yip Man, the former head of the Wing Tsun Clan, it began with Ng Mui Sitai. it is said that in the Southern Shaolin temple Ng Mui, one of the Shaolin Five Elders, created the style after studying the movements of Shequan and Bai He Quan. After combining the two, Ng Mui developed a new, unnamed form of fighting based on three simplistic martial science principles. After the Qing proceeded to slaughter the South Shaolin Temple, Ng Mui fled to Foshan, and met a girl named Yim Wing Chun, being harrassed by the local gang leader. She taught her the unnamed Kung Fu and with it, Wing Chun defeated the gang leader. Eventually she would marry Leung Bak Chou, and he would learn the art and name it "Wing Chun" in his wife's honor.
Wing Tsun is categorized by three set principles, plus two practice principles.
- Siu Nim Tao- 小念頭 Little Imagination FormThe first, and most important form in Wing Chun, Siu Lim Tao is the foundation or "seed" of the art from which all succeeding forms and techniques depend. Fundamental rules of balance and body structure are developed here. Using a car analogy: for some branches this would provide the chassis, for others this is the engine. It serves basically as the alphabet for the system. Some branches view the symmetrical stance as the fundamental fighting stance, while others see it as more a training stance used in developing technique.
- Chum Kiu- 尋橋 Sinking Bridge- The second form, Chum Kiu, focuses on coordinated movement of bodymass and entry techniques to "bridge the gap" between practitioner and opponent and move in to disrupt their structure and balance. Close-range attacks using the elbows and knees are also developed here. It also teaches methods of recovering position and centerline when in a compromised position where Siu Nim Tao structure has been lost. For some branches bodyweight in striking is a central theme, whether it be from pivoting (rotational) or stepping (translational). Likewise for some branches, this form provides the engine to the car. For branches who use the "sinking bridge" interpretation, the form takes on more emphasis of an "uprooting" context adding multi-dimensional movement and spiraling to the already developed engine
- Biu Tze- 鏢指 Bullet Fingers- The third form, Biu Jee, is composed of extreme short-range and extreme long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and "emergency techniques" to counter-attack when structure and centerline have been seriously compromised, such as when the practitioner is seriously injured. As well as pivoting and stepping, developed in Chum Kiu, a third degree of freedom involving more upper body and stretching is developed for more power. Such movements include very close range elbow strikes and finger thrusts to the throat. For some branches this is the turbo-charger of the car. For others it can be seen as a "pit stop" kit that should never come in to play, recovering your "engine" when it has been lost. Still other branches view this form as imparting deadly "killing" and maiming techniques that should never be used if you can help it. A common wing chun saying is "Biu Jee doesn't go out the door." Some interpret this to mean the form should be kept secret, others interpret it as meaning it should never be used if you can help it.