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What is Wing Chun?

The History of Wing Chun

snake and crane logo

The style of Wing Chun is said to have been invented anything up to 300 years ago from the Siu Lam temple (during the Qing dynasty). The Siu Lam temple was not only used for its religious purposes but also for hiding anti Qing revolutionaries (criminals) from the military. Because of this and also due to a fear of the monks fighting skills, the Manchurians decided to react by using insiders to burn down the temple and kill all inside.

It was said that the five elders of the temple escaped (and are often written about in Chinese history as ‘the venerable five’), one of these was the Bhuddist nun Ng Mui, a Siu Lam boxer. Whilst on the border of Sichuan and Yunnan province she witnessed a fight between a snake and a crane, and decided to bring this together with her own previous studies, to eventually create, a new, unnamed art.

How Wing Chun Got Its Name

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Ng Mui eventually took onboard a student, a young girl by the name of Yim Wing Chun (Wing Chun meaning ‘beautiful springtime’). There is also a story that after training for some time the beautiful Yim Wing Chun was harassed by a local thug who wanted to marry her and would not leave her alone. To put an end to this she challenged him to a fight and in no time at all after seeing him off, she had created her reputation as a fighter. Later Yim Wing Chun married Leung Bok Chao and after learning his wife’s skills he decided to name the style ‘Wing Chun Keun’ (Wing Chun fist) in her honour. This was passed down from selected disciple to selected disciple until it reached Ip Man (Yip Man) in Foshan, China. Ip Man decided to break tradition by teaching openly (but only to Chinese students), one of his students was a young man named Jun Fan (Bruce Lee).

Wing Chun Today

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Bruce Lee over later years brought Wing Chun into the eyes of the Western world but for a long time it was not taught outside of the Chinese community. Ip Man’s eldest son, Ip Chun (Yip Chun) decided to break that tradition by starting to teach Westerners.

Even so there are only a handful of disciples in the world qualified to represent his teachings and only three of those are western. Sifu Colin Ward is one of those three.

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Sifu Colin Ward

Sifu Ward began his Martial Arts training in the 1970’s, and began studying Ip Chun lineage Wing Chun around 1985.

It was in 1989 when (already a Wing Chun teacher at that time) Colin was invited to train Wing Chun Kung Fu in Hong Kong under the direct personal tuition and guidance of Grandmaster Ip Chun himself.

Master Colin Ward is also Chief Instructor of the Northern Wing Chun Kung Fu Association purewingchun.co.uk, which was established in Feb 1991 on the sole request of Grandmaster Ip Chun (Yip Chun), who wished for his senior student (Sifu Ward) to teach and promote original and pure Wing Chun in the United Kingdom.

Since 1991 the association has flourished, with the first UK school still running today. Having had over 10,000 classes since it’s opening, the UK school alone has helped students and Instructors develop through schools not only across the UK but also in Europe, Canada and Asia.