A Beginner’s Guide to All Things Wing Chun Kung Fu
What do you know about Kung Fu? Most people have seen fighting movies growing up, with flying punches and fantastic choreography. These extravagant and grandiose fights are usually based on one martial art or another. Many times, Kung Fu is the center of focus in the martial arts world of Hollywood. What about the real thing? Can you still learn Kung Fu? Let’s learn a little bit about the basics of Kung Fu, in particular, Wing Chun.
The term Kung Fu is a reference to Chinese martial arts. The very first records of Kung Fu date back to around 527 AD, at a Shaolin temple, in the Henan province of China. It came to be when a Buddhist prince by the name of Da Mo decided to meditate for 9 years in order to create Yi Jin Jing. Yi Jin Jing is a collection of exercises focused on the development of strength, internal energy, and vitality. The meditation aspect of Kung Fu teaches respect and humility, as well as patience and good morals.
Wing Chun Kung Fu began near the Henan Province in China, at Tai Leung Mountain’s base. It is here that young Miss Yim Wing Chun and her father had a bean curd shop. While they were living there, the Manchu began destroying Shaolin temples and killing the monks out of fear of their Kung Fu. When the temple that Buddhist Abbess Head Ng Mui lived in, was burned down and the inhabitants scattered, she hid out at White Crane temple on the same mountain as Yim Wing Chun and her father.
Over time, Ng Mui grew to become a friend to Wing Chun and her father, taking pity on her when a local warlord wanted to force her to marry him. The threats got worse and worse as time passed, and Wing Chun and her father became increasingly worried for their safety. Taking pity on the poor girl, Ng Mui agreed to teach her Kung Fu to defend herself. They went into the mountains to train. After studying and mastering the techniques taught to her by Ng Mui, Wing Chun returned to the village and challenged the warlord to combat. She defeated him and married a man named Leung Bok Chau, while strictly honoring and keeping the traditions of Kung Fu. She taugh the martial art to her husband who named the form of Kung Fu after her when she died.
Every martial art has a basis for its movements and practicalities. Wing Chun uses the center line as the basis of movements, attacks, and defense. The stance is unique in Wing Chun, with your toes pointed inward at 45 degrees at shoulder width, and weight lowered to create stability. It is like being a bamboo pole; grounded and strong, yet flexible and fluid. The form Siu Lim Tao, the first, and most important form to learn in Wing Chun, acts as the base for all other forms. It teaches you correct positioning, how to control the center line, and how to use and combine the various body parts into one. Defending the center line is vital because it is the fastest way to an opponent. You do not need to be super strong for self-defense, but react properly and calmly.
Do you want to learn Wing Chun Kun Fu? There are schools all around the world that teach this ancient art. Here in Grand Rapids MI, Master Chan’s Kung Fu School has been passing on the ancient tradition for over 40 years. Located at the corner of Division Ave and 32nd St, Chan’s Kung Fu School offers some of the best training you could ask for. Master Chan is from the very same lineage of Wing Chun as Ip Man and Bruce Lee, two of the world’s most legendary martial artists. Students enrolled at Chan’s Kung Fu School have the opportunity to learn a variety of styles in different classes such as:
Youth Kung Fu
- Little Mantis Kung Fu– This youth class for kids ages 6-8 focuses on the life skills, discipline, and positive structure needed in their lives. This class meets one time per week, and offers an outstanding experience.
- Youth Kung Fu– This youth class for kids ages 8-12 focuses on the basic skills and confidence needed throughout their lives, with the help of positive role models and experiences.
Adult Kung Fu
Chan’s Kung Fu School teaches multiple forms of Kung Fu: Jow Ga, Wing Chun, and Tai Chi.
- Jow Ga Kung Fu– A traditional Chinese martial art combining quickness in the hands and feet, as well as powerful hand techniques for effective self-defense. The five animal forms that you may have heard of, are also part of the Jow Ga Kung Fu training, as well as over 18 different weapons. Classes are offered for skill levels from the very basic, to instructor level training.
- Tai Chi– A form of moving meditation intended to control stress, while strengthening the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Suitable for people of all ages, Tai Chi has tons of health benefits from the digestive system, to high blood pressure, or joint pain. Chan’s Kung Fu School offers Tai Chi classes to its students from all levels of training.
- Wing Chun– Wing Chun is another traditional Chinese martial art effective in close quarter combat. Passed down through the generations, it is the same martial art that the legendary Ip Man and Bruce Lee studied. Wing Chun focuses not on muscles, but instead on keeping a clear mind and reacting properly. Master Chan has instructed students in Wing Chun since the opening of his Kung Fu school in Grand Rapids MI. Classes are offered for all levels from beginners, to advanced instructors, including weaponry.
Master Chan’s methodology can be expressed as follows: “Kung Fu is more than self-defense or fighting. It is a way of life; it is the Chinese culture, humanity, history, and health rooted Eastern medicine and philosophy. When you enroll at Chan’s Kung Fu School, you take part in an ancient tradition that we have carried on for over 40 years.”