Six Harmony Students
Grand Master Yip Man
In Wing Chun Kuen, reaction skills characterized by economy of motion and fluidity are developed through a form of sensitivity training called ("sticking hands") Chi Sao, which serves as a bridge between solo practice and free sparring.
Wing Chun Kuen was popularized by the late Yip Man, who began teaching in Hong Kong in 1950, and his successors, who have promoted the art internationally since his death in 1972. Grand Master Yip Man was the teacher of the famous Bruce Lee.
In Wing Chun's method of defense, one learns to borrow an opponent's power by meeting force obliquely; in counterattack, to issue power using coordinated body movements.
Wing Chun Kuen has relatively few postures and routines, but its applications are unlimited. Techniques are designed to flow together in infinite combinations.
Three bare-hand solo forms contain nearly all the system's blocking and striking techniques, as well as basic footwork. The culmination of individual practice is the use of the Wooden Man, a training apparatus that sharpens skills while allowing for repetitive practice in issuing power.
All Wing Chun techniques are intended for use at close range. Defense is concentrated on an imaginary centerline bisecting the body vertically, along which lie the body's most vulnerable areas. Counterattacks are aimed at the opponent's centerline, and uniformly follow a straight path. As a rule, defense and counterattack are executed simultaneously.
Wing Chun Kuen is said to have evolved out of existing martial arts in South China during the 18th century. It was further developed by successive generations of practitioners in Guangdong Province.
According to traditional accounts, a nun named Ng Mui fled the destruction of a temple known to have given sanctuary to rebels opposed to Manchu rule under the Qing dynasty. She is said to have shared her knowledge of martial arts with a female disciple, Yim Wing Chun.
From their efforts to adapt traditional skills to a woman's smaller, less muscular physique, there emerged a new system that came to bear the younger woman's name.
In contrast to fighting methods that rely upon superior size and strength in attack and defense, this new art emphasized relaxation, speed, sensitivity, and precise distancing and positioning in relation to one's opponent.