Notes on Wing Chun History
During the reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) gung fu was practiced in the Siu Lum (Shao Lin) monastery in southern China primarily as a form of physical exercise. With the usurpation by the Manchurians and the establishment of
the Ching Dynasty, however, many Ming patriots sought protection in the temple where their lives were not endangered and where some of the people were sympathetic to their cause. Meanwhile, they readied themselves for the day when
they would attempt to overthrow the ruling government. It was during this period of time that gung fu reached its peak in China. Quite ironically, when almost everything was prepared for them to launch their strike, the Mings were
betrayed by an insider. Consequently, the Ching emperor feared a revolution was astir, and his soldiers attacked and burned the monastery.
Only a handful of people escaped, and one was a Siu Lum nun named Ng Mui. Like the few surviving practitioners of the various styles of martial arts in the temple who had fled to dferent parts of China, Ng Mui, a Siu Lum master, began
to teach the arts to laymen. These disciples were obliged to conceal their activities because the Ching government had dispatched numerous martial arts experts to exterminate them. Ng Mui realized that she would have to save the Siu
Lum fighting arts from the emperor's efforts to erase all traces of their existence. Thus, she devised a new, modified system of fighting based on her knowledge of what she had mastered in the temple. In essence, the style utilized
techniques of efficiency of motion and direct line attacks and could be perfected in a short period of time.
Ng Mui's best student, a beautiful young girl named Yim Wing Chun, lived with her father, Yim Sam Soak, in a small village where they earned their livelihood by making and selling bean cakes. Yim Wing Chun's popularity in the area
and news of her beauty attracted the attention of a malevolent landlord named Wong. Although such matters were often customarily prearranged between two families before the birth of the children, and Yim Wing Chun was already promised,
Wong decided he would marry her anyway. Upon presenting himself to ask for her hand in marriage, Wong was flatly rejected by both Yim Wing Chun and her father, so he plotted to take her by force. When he returned with his men, a confrontation
ensued during which Wong was seriously injured by a straight punch that Yim Wing Chun had learned from Ng Mui.
Yim Wing Chun continued to study under Ng Mui, and later married Leung Bok Chau. During the years to come, she used the principles of the style that she had learned from Ng Mui and commenced to improve and simplify the art. After refining
the significantly, Yim Wing Chun began to teach it to her husband. Leung Bok Chau was already rather adept in other styles of the martial arts. Impressed by Yim Wing Chun's knowledge and ability, he studied her style diligently and
learned it quickly. Thus, although Ng Mui founded the art, it bears Yim Wing Chun's name owing to her improvements.
The art passed down form Leung Bok Chau to Leung Ye Tai, Wong Wa Bo, and Leung Jon. Leung Jon in particular achieved notable renown for spreading Wing Chun throughout the province of Canton in southern China during his lifetime. One
of his best students, Chan Wa Soon, promoted the style even further and later accepted as his disciple a young man named Yip Man. Upon his masters death, Yip Man moved to Hong Kong where, quite by coincidence, he met Leung Jon's son,
Leung Bic. Leung Bic accepted Yip Man as his student and ultimately taught him the most advanced stages of Wing Chun.
Some years later in Hong Kong, Yip Man began to teach his own students. One of his most skilled and devoted students, Ho Kam Ming, spent more than a decade learning the art of Wing Chun and was, in fact, one of the few men to complete
the entire system under Yip Man. Ho Kam Ming was so highly regarded by the late Grand Master Yip Man that when he fell sick in his later years and had to go to a hospital, Ho Kam Ming was asked to take him there and subsequently requested
that Ho Kam Ming accompany him during those times. As a result, the Grand Master revealed many of the fine points of Wing Chun to Ho Kam Ming during his final days. Yip Man also appointed him to assume the responsibility of instructing
his private students.
By this time Master Ho had already opened his first school in Macao and another school in Hong Kong and organized the Ho Kam Ming Wing Chun Association which is authorized and approved by the Yip Man Wing Chun Association. Today, Master
Ho is well known in Hong Kong and Macao, anhis full contact Wing Chun team which has fought in martial arts tournaments throughout southeast Asia has achieved considerable recognition.