What is Wing Chun Kung Fu?
Wing Chun (詠春) is a Chinese martial art and form of self-defence utilising quick striking and specialising in close-range combat. It is a relatively young martial art, with most historians agreeing that it developed in southern China approximately 300 years ago.
According to legend, Wing Chun was created by the Buddhist nun Ng Mui, who was a master of Shaolin Kung Fu. Using her martial training and personal experience, she synthesised a compact form of Kung Fu to exploit weaknesses inherent in the other combat styles of her time and give an advantage to smaller fighters like herself. This new system was well-guarded and passed on to only a few dedicated students. Her style became known as Wing Chun, after Ng Mui's first student, a woman named Yim Wing Chun.
Wing Chun originated in and was developed for crowded urban environments such as the cities. It is a close-quarters system that can be used even when assaulted in a confined space like a cramped hallway, stairwell or elevator. It is primarily an empty-hands system, allowing someone to defend themselves even when unarmed. It is based on reflexive movements, training you to respond instantly and instinctively to a surprise attack as opposed to a consensual fight or sport combat match. Finally, Wing Chun is simple, direct and efficient, eliminating techniques that are not needed so much in the modern world, such as high-kicking an enemy off of his horse.
While many systems of martial arts require a decade or more to learn, Wing Chun was designed to be learned in the shortest time possible. With regular, consistent practice you can learn the entire core system in about three years. Mastery of the system, of course, takes a lifetime.
Wing Chun can be practiced by people of all ages, sizes, shapes and degrees of physical ability. It is equally applicable to both men and women, although there is a trend for women to make progress much faster. Wing Chun uses structure rather than strength and timing rather than speed.