For many decades, Wing Chun Kuen stayed around the Foshan and Guangzhou area and never spread much further. Today many people still don’t know this “short bridge narrow horse” boxing art. Decades ago in Guangdong Wing Chun Kuen was known as “Gwai Ga Kuen” (”Returning Home Boxing”). This meant Wing Chun Kuen was not like the “long bridge big horse” boxing arts which look good in demonstrations. Wing Chun Kuen is not good looking in demonstration but then, that is not where Wing Chun Kuen’s value lies.
20 years ago, Wing Chun Kuen had not spread far and its circle remained very small. Not many people had learned the art and those with good quality did not easily teach others. Thus, only a few were successful with it. Since then, however, the Wing Chun Kuen of founder Mr. Yip Man has been spread in Hong Kong and around the world. Now, many people know of Wing Chun Kuen. Besides the branch of Mr. Yip Man, there is another system with different methods and techniques.
The reader may ask, why are there different branches? Like Taijiquan, it has spread and developed different branches. Now in Hong Kong a different branch is becoming popular.
Wing Chun Kuen Has Two Branches
This branch has the same origins as Mr. Yip Man’s branch but the techniques and methods are a little different. This article will introduce the “Guangzhou Wing Chun Kuen”.
The name Guangzhou Wing Chun Kuen is only used to distinguish the system from Mr. Yip Man’s style. Like Taijiquan has Yang, Chen, and Wu branches, but they all remain Taijiquan. While the distant origins of Wing Chun Kuen may lie with Siu Lam, its development must be traced to the Foshan area. One teacher of Guangzhou Wing Chun Kuen is Kwok Wan-Ping sifu who operates the Guangzhou Wing Chun Institute. So we refer to it as Guangzhou Wing Chun for convenience.
According to Kwok Wan-Ping sifu, he learned Wing Chun Kuen in Guangzhou from Sum Nung. 20 years ago, Sum Nung and Mr. Yip Man knew each other. Now, Sum Nung is still in Guangzhou. This branch of Wing Chun comes from Jee Shim and Ng Mui – Red Junks – Fung Siu-Ching – Yuen Kay-San and Cheung Bo – Sum Nung – Kwok Wan-Ping.
Difficult to Research the Origins & Development
Kwok Wan-Ping says:
“Today, if you want to trace the origins and development and find out what happened a long time ago its very difficult. You commonly hear two different origins. One is that Jee Shim taught it to the Red Junks. The other is that it comes from Ng Mui. After this, this boxing art spread to a few people on the Red Junks. After, Fung Siu-Ching, Yuen Kay-San, and Cheung Bo’s skills were all passed down to Sum Nung.”
New Martial Hero: “So, is this Wing Chun Kuen different then Yip Man’s?”
Kwok Wan-Ping: “I don’t know much about Mr. Yip Man’s Wing Chun Kuen. I can only tell you about the Wing Chun Kuen I learned. This Wing Chun has the three fundamental forms of Siu Lien Tao (Little First Training), Chum Kiu (Sinking Bridge), and Biu Jee (Darting Fingers). It also has Sup Yee San Sao (Twelve Separate Hands), and more the 150 Wooden Dummy techniques. These are the important points for training wrist power.
“Do you have a Wooden Dummy?”
“Yes, we have the Hong Jong (Air Dummy) and the Yut Jong (Real Dummy). I learned Wing Chun Kuen with sunken chest and dropping shoulders. The body shape faces the side.”
“You go to the side for simultaneous canceling and hitting?”
“Yes, but we have front body, facing body, chasing body, etc. For example, when I am at the center, I can follow the opponent with my stance like the radius of a fan.
“You said Air Dummy and Real Dummy before, what does that mean?”
“They are two methods of training the dummy form. One trains flexibility, the other power.”
Wing Chun Kuen Kicks Are Not Higher Than the Chest
“Kwok sifu, does Wing Chun Kuen have leg techniques?”
“Yes, but never higher then the chest, like Invisible Kick, Heart Piercing Kick, Tiger Tail Kick, Lifting Groin Kick, Side Nailing Kick, etc.
“Wing Chun Kuen has Yee Jee Kim Yeung Dit Ming Do (Parallel Shaped Groin Clamping Life-Taking Knives) and Luk Dim Boon Gwun (Six-and-a-Half-Point Pole).
“I’ve heard the pole has a Dummy too?”
“The Six-and-a-Half-Point Pole has a Dummy, but since there is not a lot of space it’s easier to use a ball hanging from a string. The aim is to train speed and accuracy, there’s no secrets.”
“Kwok sifu, I saw you teach your students before and some of the movements did not look like Wing Chun Kuen.”
“Those were Gai Bun Gung (Basic Work). You have to train the whole body- joints, muscles, and tendons. It’s just basic work. Its goal is to build power, inner strength, speed, flexibility, and softness. In my opinion, when learning kung-fu, the basic work is the mother of the fists. I studied at the Guangzhou and Wuhon Sports Institutes where these exercises come from. They’re important so I never forgot them. In every activity, you need good basics, fist fighting is the same.”
Kwok Wan-Ping learned at the Guangzhou and Wuhon Sports Institutes for 4 years. He won the All-China lightweight wrestling championship during this time. At the institute, he studied Mongolian, freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling. He also learned weightlifting, fencing, and Chinese martial arts. Besides the Wing Chun Kuen of Yuen Kay-San and Cheung Bo he also learned Chen and Fu Taijiquan, Xingyi, Wuxing Bashi, Yin Yang Bagua, and Longxing Bagua palms, spear, knife, pole, flying dragon sword, etc.
Kwok Wan-Ping teaches Wing Chun Kuen, Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua and other methods.
With Kwok Wan-Ping, New Martial Hero. Roughly translated from Chinese