AMERICAN KANG DUK WON KARATE
This probably should begin with, “Once upon a time...”, because no one really knows what is fact or fiction of Wing Tsun's beginnings.
The story of Wing Tsun begins with a fire at the Siu Lam Monastery. There are two different tales of this event. They vary in who set the fire, who escaped the fire, and when the fire occured.
1674 A.D., 1733 A.D., and 1734 A.D. are all dates for when the Siu Lam Monastery was to have burned. It would problably be safe to say that Wing Tsun is 200 to 300 years old, for the burning of the monastery set a chain of events in motion that led to the birth of Wing Tsun.
In the most popular version, Buddhist Mistress Ng Mui was one of the skilled martial artists that escaped the fire. Although Ng Mui found a seemingly safe haven in the White Crane Temple she still worried that the Manchu government or the Siu Lam defectors would find her. (The Manchu government most certainly hired the burning of Siu Lam and most certainly the Siu Lam defectors were involved.)
She felt the only way to protect herself was to devise a fighting system that was different from the Siu Lam system.
One day Ng Mui observed a fight between a fox and a large wild crane. The fox, using its speed, ran around the crane trying to make surprise attacks with its paws. The crane turned with the fox and blocked the fox with its wings and counter-attacked with its beak. This inspired Ng Mui with an idea for a new fighting system.
The Siu Lam Kung-Fu system that she had trained in emphasized fixed patterns of regular movements. She felt these were too complicated. The new system she created consisted of simple basic movements incorporated into three boxing forms and a set of wooden dummy techniques (Muk-Yan-Chong Fa) for practicing purposes.
Ng Mui emphasized defeating an enemy with “method” rather than “strength”. This new system utilized chasing steps and infighting techniques. The Sui Lam system used the front stance most often, where Ng Mui used the back stance. This allowed for the executing of front thrusting kicks and also quick retreats.
Ng Mui was still at the White Crane Temple and frequented the market place, down the mountain, for supplies. She became acquainted with a stall owner and his teen age daughter, named Wing Tsun. Ng Mui learned that the local bully threatened to force Wing Tsun to marry him and Wing Tsun's father was too old to protect her. Ng Mui decided she would train Wing Tsun in the new system of kung-fu.
After three years of training at the White Crane Temple, Wing Tsun had attained competence. She was ready to return home and when she did the bully was there to confront her. Wing Tsun challenged him to a fight. The bully was convinced he would have a wife, but Wing Tsun defeated him.
After being taught in secret to select heirs over the years, Wing Tsun surfaces in 1949. The man who brought it out of secret was Yip Man. Wing Tsun was especially popular with the Hong Kong police force.
Between 1970 and 1971, Bruce Lee, one of Yip Man's students brought Wing Tsun to the attention of the world. This also brought to the world's attention the Muk-Yan-Chong (Wooden Dummy) training device.
It is not known which came first, Wing Tsun or Muk-Yan-Chong. There were stories that the Siu Lam monastery had a “wooden dummy alley”. It is believed that the first wooden dummy was an erected wood stake to take the place of a trainee's opponent. Later Wing Tsun practitioners improved the training device.
Originally, when Wing Tsun was first developing, there were 140 Muk-Yan-Chong techniques. These were divided into ten sections for reasons of practice.
Later, Grandmaster Yip Man feeling the 140 techniques were too numerous and complicated, pared it down to 108 techniques. (108 is a number liked by the Chinese people. It corresponds to a special set of stars.) After years of experience, he determined some of the essential parts of the Muk-Yan-Chong were not included. He then regrouped the techniques into 116 movements as it still is today.
1. Bong-Saulran-Sau & Lower Lying-Palm
2. Double Tan-Sau/Huen-SaulDouble Lower Palm Strike
3. Double Tan-Sau/Double Upper Lying-Palm
4. Indoor Area Pak-Sau (slap hand)
5. Lower Bong-Sau/Sideward Slap-Palm & Man-Sau
6. Bong-Sau/Grappling Hand & Throat-Cutting Hand/Pak-Sau & Spade-Hand
7. Bong-Sau/Grappling Hand & Sweep-Kick
8. Bong-Sau/Elbow break/Reverse Bong-Sau/Palm strike/Elbow strike
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