We are sharing the most-known legend with you narrated by Ip Man, the Grandmaster of our system who was also narrated by his masters, albeit there are a few different thoughts and sources about WingChun Kung Fu and the story of its release. Below, you will read the story of WingChun written by the Grandmaster Ip Man.
History of WingChun (by GM Ip Man)
Ms Yim WingChun
Ms Yim WingChun, the founder of WingChun Kung Fu system was a Cantonese-indigenous person. She was a clever, athletic, honoured, virtuous, honest and straightforward young girl. Her mother passed away in a short while after she engaged to Leung Bok Chau who was a salt trader from Fukien. Her father Yim Yee was blamed wrongfully for murder and they had to run away from there because of his sentence. Eventually, they settled at the foot of Tai Leung Mountain between Yunnan and Szechaun lives selling fresh curd.
Shaolin Monastery Under Attack
According to the legend, Ng Mui was abbess at the Shaolin Monastery in Sung Mountain in Honan State. During Emperor K’hangi Ching’ ruling (1622-1722) the martial arts taught at this monastery was very sought-after and the monastery became very strong. This situation scared Manchurians’ Manchu government and caused sendin soldiers to attack against the monastery.
Monastery is on fire
After a few failed attempts of attack, Chan Man Wai who was a local government man charged there and trying to cringe to the government offered a plan. According to this plan they would seize the monastery, by the help of a priest named Ma Ning Ye and his friends who were persuaded to betray the others arsoning the monastery while the other soldiers attacking from the outside. They succeeded it. The monastery burned, the priests and students straggled. Ng Mui, Jee Shim, Bak Mei, Fung Do-Dak and Miu Hin escaped and went on their ways.
Ng Mui sheltered the White Crane Temple at Tai Leung Mountain (also known as Chaitlar Mountain). She encountered Yim Yee and her daughter WingChun from whom she used to buy curd cheese on the way home from the market place. Beauty of WingChun who was fifteen years old, whose hair was gathered together showing she’s at the age of marriage according to the traditions of those days attracted the hector of that location. He started pushing her to marry him and his endless threats annoyed her and her family. Ng Mui became sorry and pitied on her when she heard about it. She decided to teach her fighting techniques so that she could protect herself. WingChun followed Ng Mui going to the mountains and started learning Kung Fu. She practiced day and night to excel in the techniques.
Later on, WingChun who challenged the hector invited him for a duel and beat him. Then Ng Mui went to a nation-wide trip but told her to fully honour the techniques, continue developing her Kung Fu after marriage and help people struggling to overthrow Manchu government to re-establish Ming Dynasty.
Chin Shin and Long Pole techniques
WingChun taught Kung Fu her husband Leung Bok Chau after marriage. He narrated these techniques to Leung Lan Kwai in successively. Then he (Leung Lan Kwai) narrated them to Wong Wah Bo. Wong Wah Bo was a member of an opera community known as Red Junk Opera. Wong worked with Leung Yee Tei at Red Junk Opera. Meanwhile, he encountered Abbot Chi Shin working as a cook at Red Junk who disguised himself after escaping from Siulam. Chi Shin taught Leung Yee Tei Long Pole techniques. Wong Wah was close to Leung Yee Tei, they were friends and shared what they learned about Kung Fu. They both shared and developed each other and progressed. Thus, long pole techniques were concatenated to Kung Fu. Leung Jan perceived the deep secrets of WingChun reaching the highest point mof mastership. Various Kung Fu masters challenged him but all experienced defeat. Leung Jan became very famous.
Then he narrated his Kung Fu to Shan Wah who embraced me, my Kung Fu elder siblings including Ng Siu Lo, Ng Chung So, Chan Yu Min and Lui Yu Jai decades ago. Because of this, WingChun system could be mentioned to be directly narrated to us since its origins.
I am writing this story of WingChun system to the respectable dear memories of my old masters. I will be appreciating them forever fort he traits they taught me. A person must think the source of the water everytime when drinking it. This is exactly the the emotion of sharing keeping us together. Isn’t it the way reflecting our country’s light and introducing Kung Fu?
Written by Grandmaster Ip Man
(WingChun History from GM Ip Man's original handwriting).
Translated by: Ömer