Every once in a while somebody will say something like ‘Isn’t Wing Chun Kung Fu that art invented by a woman?’ Inside that statement is a prejudice against women who can be pretty darned good. The statement also shows basic ignorance of the style.
Many years ago, the story goes, a certain warlord during the Qing dynasty was forcing his affections on a young peasant girl. The girl ran into the forest sobbing, where she was found by a Shaolin nun named Ng Mui. The nun taught the girl enough Kung Fu to fight off the warlord, and thus the pretty, little thing was able to marry the man of her dreams.
The man of her heart, a fellow named Leung Bac-Chou, also praticed Gung Fu. During a little marital argument he decided to teach his bride a lesson, and wound up being given a lesson of his own. Fortunately, wifey decided to share her style with hubbie, and he popularized the style and named it after the wife: Wing Chun (beautiful springtime).
While one could find certain plot inconsistencies with this legend, the fact remains that it is one of the more workable and enduring systems of the Chinese Martial Arts. This is because the martial style is concept based, but reality driven. In other words, Wing Chun students don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.
The system concentrates on short range techniques. The main drill of the style is Chi Sau, or ‘Sticky Hands,’ a method by which practitioners circle arms and learn to be sensitive to a foe. People practicing the Sticky Hands Method for any length of time become able to ‘read the mind’ of an opponent fairly easily.
The system also has the famous wooden dummy. This is a thick stand of wood with short extensions of arms and legs. The student learns how to block, smack and manipulate an opponent by training for endless hours with this wood dummy.
Close range combat is not the only feature of Ving Tsun, however. For middle range work one learns to wield the Butterfly swords. For long range work there is the long spear.