The History of Wing Chun

Have you already watched Chinese movies? If yes, you might notice those flawless moves and heart-pounding matches. Wing Chun is among the popular martial arts in China that were developed hundreds of years ago.

People who have a great interest in martial arts consider Wing Chun to be one of the effective ways of developing discipline and strengthening the body and soul.


If you are familiar with various traditional Chinese martial arts, like Chi Kung or Tai chi, you have already heard about Wing Chun. It is a concept-based style for traditional Southern Chinese Kung Fu and known as “beautiful springtime.”. Also, it is considered a form of self-defence.

To perform Wing Chun, strong legs and quick arm movements are required to defeat the opponent. Performing the techniques, in a relaxed manner, is important to Wing Chun. It helps maintain one’s softness and flexibility while keeping the inner strength to fight back.

The techniques taught in Wing Chun can be compared to the flexible nature you can see in a bamboo. Some of the famous practitioners of these martial arts include Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Robert Downey, Jr., and Brandon Lee.


Leung Jan, a wing chun master

When it comes to the history of Wing Chun, it’s more of passing from teacher to student verbally, instead of writing. As a result, it became uneasy about confirming the real story behind its creation.

Many have attempted to apply the methods of higher criticisms to Wing Chun’s oral histories as well as to discern its origin. This way, the purpose of Wing Chun techniques can be determined. During the lifetime of Leung Jan, 19th century Wing Chun Master, the appearance of Wing Chun in independent documentation had facilitated the verification of history as well as diverted into branches.


Because of uncertainties about the real history of Wing Chun, several oral histories existed. The oral history of Ip Man and Yiu Kai are two of the popular oral histories.

  • Ip Man
Yip Man, a master teacher of Wing Chun

Around 1730 after escaping the Fujian Shaolin Monastery’ destruction by the Qing forces, the Abbess named Ng Mui decided to fly to the Daliang Mountains located on the borderline between Sichuan and Yunnan.

Ng Mui has a habit of buying tofu at a showed owned by Yim Yee which happens to have a daughter known as Yim Wing Chun. A local warlord was trying to force Yim Wing Chun into marriage. Ng Mui made an effort of teaching the lady with the Southern version of Shaolin Kung Fu to drive off the said warlord.

After completing the training under ng Mui in 1790, Yim Wing Chun was married to Leung Bok-Chao and taught his husband about the fighting techniques she learned from Ng Mui. After the death of Yim Wing Chun in 1840, Leung Bok-Chao decided to explain the new style to Leung Lan-Kwai. Later on, Leung Lan Kwai taught the six members of the respected Red Boat Opera Group in 1850. The opera-group members include Hung Gan Biu, Yik Kam, Wong Wah-Bo, Leung Yee Tai, Law Man Kung, and Dai Fa Min Kam.

  • Yiu Kai

During the early 19th century, another oral history for the creation of Wing Chun was created. This is also the time when it was identified that Yim Sei had a daughter named Yim Wing-Chun. Yim Sei planned to flee with his daughter to Guangxi to avoid persecution. His father the Fujian Shaolin arts taught Yim Wing-Chun. From raw material, a new style was created after seeing a fight between a crane and a snake.

Yim Wing-Chun married Leung Bok-Chao. In 1815, after moving to Guangdong, the couple began to teach the fighting style of Wing Chun to others.


Although there was no exact date when Wing Chun influences in the United Kingdom, the martial arts gained its popularity since the 1980s. Today, there is an increased number for interested individuals who want to learn the discipline and self-defence techniques for Wing Chun.

With so many benefits that a person can get from learning Wing Chun, it is not surprising why there are dedicated people about the martial arts.