Gulao (Pien San) Wing Chun

Pien San (Side Body) Wing Chun originates from the village where Dr.Leung Jan retired after leaving Foshan. Gulao was his home (a small village in Heshan province).Traditionally in Chinese culture the leading Kung Fu master of thevillage would teach the village youngsters in order that they would beable to protect their village from bandits and raiders who were prevalent at this time and would prey on the weaker villages. Like allstyles of Kung Fu this teaching had two purposes, one was to provide apractical fighting system that would allow the youngsters to defendthemselves and their loved ones. The second was to promote health inmind and body to allow the youngsters to live long lives. In additionwith the ability to deal out deadly techniques, there must be someresponsibility so the Master much teach the youngsters to be mature,responsible people.

Leung Jan therefore taught a method of Wing Chun that was different fromthe stylized approach he had previously taught in Foshan. It was quickand easy to pick up being made up of separate techniques (San Sao). Thatthe beginner could repeat in order to strengthen his body and use veryquickly in a fighting situation. Yet there was a lot more to Leung Jan’steaching than mere body movements. At a more advanced stage the studentwould realize that these San Sao actually encompassed all theunder-lying principles that make up Wing Chun. Once this was realizedthe student would be able to apply them with ease to any situation -including fighting with sticks, pole and knife.

Many people today fail to realize that Wing Chun is primarily a set offighting principles. The basic movements taught are merely a vessel tofocus these principles. Today many instructors teach like this, the movemust be done this way, rather than focusing on the principle behind themove. This will allow the student to learn much faster, and allow WingChun to become a part of themselves rather than a set of foreignmovements that a student must repeat with the hope that they may one dayassimilate them. This, I believe, was the original intention of LeungJan.

What then happened to this Pien San or Gulao Wing Chun, and what does ithave to do with the man who brought Wing Chun to England? Indeed, whowas the man who brought Wing Chun to England?

Wing Chun was brought to England towards the end of the 1950’s by myMaster, Lee Shing. Who’s first teacher was Fong Yee Ming, who himselfhad learnt from Wong Wah Sam who hadlearnt from Leung Jan. Lee Shing had a real interest in Wing Chun andwas a keen disciple who was interested immediately in researching allthe different styles of Wing Chun inspired by his knowledge of PienSan Kuen. He therefore, in his research, went on to study under FungSang who was one of the central points of Pien San Wing Chun, havingstudied under his father Fung Lim and his uncle Koo Siu-Lung (bothstudents of Wong Wah Sam). He then went on to learn from the famous Kung Fu master Ng Jung So, and later Jiu Wan. Please excuse me for the detailin this article but I try to maintain interest in the history of WingChun.

Even though the present of Wing Chun is more important than the past, itis important to know where your roots lie. This can give you an insightinto the reason: mg behind your art and the techniques used. Lee Shingeventually moved to Hong Kong where he met and trained with Lok Yiubefore being introduced to Yip Man in the 50’s before being allowed toopen up a school on Hong Kong island – with the opening ceremony beingconducted by Grandmaster Yip Man. It was at this time that Lee Shing met Yip Chun who had resumed his studies in Wing Chun. The two became firmfriends and henceforth when Yip Chun came to England, he would alwaysstay at Lee Shing’s home.

Lee Shing eventually moved to England and went on to teach many cur-rentday masters such as Joseph Chung, and was well respected by all Londonbased Kung Fu Masters; Nigel Fan, Eddie Yeoh, Tan Man Kun, How Bing Sam,Austin Goh and Joseph Man.

His syllabus comprised of the following Siu Lim Tao (little idea form) intended to give beginners an idea of the scope of Wing Chun, Chum Kiu(seeking the bridge) teaching how and when to make first contact, Biu Jee and Dai Lim Tao (big idea form). This is as important as Siu Lim Taoin that it encompasses the scope of Wing Chun but this time with theidea for the techniques to be used in all situations. The principles ofthe hands can therefore be applied to the feet, ie. Bong Gerk or whilst grappling.

The Form consists of the following 12 Handsets;

  1. Siu Lim Tao
  2. Dai Lim Tao
  3. Sam Jheen Choi (Three finger jab)
  4. Biu Choi (Charging/Thrusting punch)
  5. Sap Jee Choi (Reverse meridian/Cross hand punch)
  6. Dip Cheung (Double Butterfly Palm). Alternating low palm strikes.
  7. Lan Kiu (Bar Arm bridge)
  8. Teet Jee Chum Kiu (Iron Finger Sinking bridge). Back fist flowinginto low strike followed by low palm strike.
  9. Tang Ma Biu Jee (Rising thrusting finger with phoenix eye).
  10. Hok Bong (crane bong). Level Bong Sau, moving into side body withsimultaneous attack.
  11. Wan Wan Yeu (Life after Death). Using the waist to lean back toavoid strikes detected late, then using the return waist power in thehand strike.
  12. Fook Fu (Subduing the Tiger). Mixture b/w Gan and Fak Sau withphoenix eye.

Also included in the syllabus are Dai Bong (Low soft Bong), Fu Mei (lowstrike to the groin), Gwai Lung Na (double Lop Sau), Sam Bai Fut (Threebow to Buddha), Sam Jhin Chiu (Three arrow blow), Fan Kup Choi (uppercut), Lien Wan Fai Jeung (linked fast palms), and important principleslike the double bridge – double, Flicking Tan Sau with forward energy tobrige the Gap in Chum Kiu.

Pien San teaches you also how to modify these points depending on thesituation and how to combine them effortlessly in free flowingtechniques so that they are not static but flow freely along withcorrect footwork.

I would like to dedicate this article to the Wing Chun Family,especially of the Lee Shing lineage and I would also like tocommemorate the recent unfortunate passing away of one of the Lee ShingWing Chun Family, Nigel Fan, who has done a lot of work in film andtelevision programs as both a stuntman and actor. Always ready with ajoke, he would often drive to my school on his motorbike before we wouldgo off for a quiet meal with the rest of my indoor students – may herest in peace.

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