Wing Chun Forms Origin

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by DanT, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    My phone deleted half the last sentence. I'm sorry, it was supposed to read: "At some point during the 1700's the complete SLT form was placed in the care of a 22nd generation Shaolin grandmaster named Yat Kim who taught it to Tan Sau Ng."

    According to our MMK tradition, Tan Sau Ng (or Cheung Ng/Zhang Wu) did not invent the 108 movements of SLT, they were created by Wu Mei (or Ng Moy) and Miu Hin in Sichuan province at Emei mountain after the destruction of the original Shaolin Temples.

    The original Shaolin Temples were destroyed in the first place by the Qing Army for working with and harboring rebel Ming soldiers. It's very likely the Ming Army had just as much importance to play in the development of Siu Nim Tao as the Shaolin monks did, which would explain its combative scientific theories and drills.

    I believe that after the Shaolin Temple was burned down by the Qing Army, the surviving monks and Ming rebels were scattered in many directions. After the death of the abbot Hong Mei, the next abbot was Gee Sim who became their leader. He maintained the southern Shaolin monastery until the Qing Army destroyed that one too, then Gee Sim fled again and hid on the Red Boats disguised as an actor.

    Meanwhile, other monks and Ming rebels had fled north into Sichuan province where they took refuge at the White Crane Temple on Emei mountain. Pai Mei and Fung Dou Dak became spies and infiltrated the Qing Army while Wu Mei and Mui Hin secretly trained with what remained of the Ming Army, and that's how it all began. From the White Crane Temple the entire system was passed down to Yat Kim (or Yat Chum) who passed it to Cheung Ng.

    According to MMK tradition, SLT is sometimes rendered as Sil Lum Tao or the "Shaolin Way" and the 108 movements are supposed to represent 108 monks who were killed during the Shaolin Temple's destruction.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  2. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    The various legends of Ng Mui and the five elders of the supposed Southern Shaolin temple (which probably never even existed) have been oft discussed here and historically carry little if any weight.

    On the other hand, such stories do have instructive value, almost like parables, in that they give us a sense of the deep roots of WC/VT and often encapsulate core values and concepts of the system. As we say in our school, the fable of Ng Mui and Yim Wing Tsun tells us that true WC/VT should be so efficient and effective that it would even work for an old woman or young girl! :)

    A little clarification may be in order here. MMK tradition?!? A "tradition" is, by definition, a long standing and widely accepted way of doing things within a culture. Or, as in "oral tradition" a long standing and widely accepted group of stories of tales. My understanding, based on your previous posts on other threads, is that "MMK "is a style you made up, with a made-up Chinese name that you practice with a few friends. It is a new thing. Ergo, although you cannot have "traditions". If you want to talk "tradition", post back in a century or so. ;)
     
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  3. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    "MMK tradition" refers to the oral tradition that has been passed down in my system for over a decade. It is the same creation myth from other Chinese styles. The oral tradition itself is at least 100 years old by now, and is shared by many styles. I don't think it's fair to claim it as being strictly a Wing Chun tradition, in my opinion. The story itself pre-dates modern Wing Chun, so let's be realistic since nobody here is over a century old (not yet, anyway). Also, my style isn't new and I didn't "make it up," so that could give people the wrong idea. The name is new, that I did come up with in 2017 (originally MMK had no name, it was simply refered to as "martial arts"). However, the system now known as MMK has been in practice for over a decade. It's hardly "new" or "made up" like you said. I just wanted to clarify that. And according to our tradition and the story that I have, SLT was already a distinct 108 movement empty-hand form (distinguishable from CK and BJ) by the time it was passed down to Cheung Ng, which is rather important because MMK doesn't have CK or BJ forms.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  4. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Cheung Ng? That opera actor with the nick-name "Tan-sau Ng"or "Begger Ng" supposedly because he spread his palm out as a begger? Yes there was a brief historical note of such a character. It is far from certain whether he had anything to do with what later became known as Wing Chun.

    Personally, I have not seen anything concrete and convincing that relates to Wing Chun before Leung Jan in the mid 19th Century. Possible antecedents could have been Fukien Yongchun baihe (Wing Chun bak hok) and southern shortbridge systems including Southern Hakka (Southern Mantis, pak Mei, Dragon, etc.) ...and other influences have been suggested as well. Each of these groups, in turn has there own creation myth. There are some parallels between the Ng Mui / Wing Chun story and the Yongchun baihe (Wing Chun White Crane) myths that also suggest a connection. But WC as we know it today is a different thing altogether.
     
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  5. Eric_H

    Eric_H Black Belt

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    I'm not a doctor, but I'd say that if you're looking at SNT as a collection of 108 movements, you don't understand WC's SNT.
     
  6. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Knowing a form, and knowing the history of a form are two different things (in my opinion). I was merely emphasizing that the SLT form (which we call Siu Nim Tao or Sil Lum Tao) in MMK has only 108 movements, as opposed to some SLT forms which sometimes have 116 movements or more. I was merely being distinctive. I do not practice WCK.
     
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  7. Juany118

    Juany118 Senior Master

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    They of course have a purpose but the number 108 is VERY important to Buddhism (there are 108 Feelings) additionally in many Chinese Martial Arts schools (likely do to this influence) they believe there are 108 Pressure Points. So while they are more than simply a "collection" of movements the fact that each form has 108 movements, vs 100 or 112 etc, more than likely has to do with the traditional importance of the number.
     
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  8. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Correct. :)
     
  9. Eric_H

    Eric_H Black Belt

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    I'm not debating the cultural, and sometimes stylistic importance of that number, you've both highlighted that already. It just doesn't really have much to do w/ SNT.
     
  10. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Well I think the OP intended for this thread to be more about the history and development of WCK forms, rather than their applications.That's the only reason I decided to chime in. Again, I don't practice WCK so I might be out of place here, but I feel like the old creation myths and the 108 number might be rather important and significant in discovering where SLT and other WCK forms actually originated. Personally, I feel there is some truth to the legends, even if they can't be supported by modern evidence.
     
  11. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    We already mentioned Cheung Ng, the founder of the Chinese opera. We know he existed and we have records to prove it. Skip forward in time and we then get Dr. Leung Jan and the Apricot Tea Hall in Foshan, which I'm sure every WCK practitioner has heard of regardless of their lineage. What's really interesting to note is that when I first heard the story of Leung Jan as a child, there was as yet no evidence to prove he even existed. But today, all you have to do is Google his name and now you can even find photographs of Leung Jan, his ancestral home and pharmacy. So now it's a matter of drawing that missing link between Cheung Ng and Leung Jan, but that's neither here nor there. Another interesting thing I probably should mention is that Lama Pai tells a completely different Ng Moi story. According to their accounts, Ng Moi was a male monk and a disciple of Kay-Lam Buddha.
     
  12. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Although different styles and systems all offer different lineages and accounts of how their particular branches came to be, it seems they all share a basic root. The common ancestor's name is Wu Mei (sometimes rendered as Ng Moi), so even without any further scientific evidence to support his/her existence, I think it's still fairly safe to assume that Wu Mei was a real person and not just a product of Wuxia fiction. Yes or no?
     
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  13. Eric_H

    Eric_H Black Belt

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    Not exactly sure, TBH. For us Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun are codewords that tie in to the boxer society history of my branch, not actual people. Doesn't mean there weren't also people by those names in various points of history that may mean different things to different arts.
     
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  14. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    I am aware of the codename of Yim Wing Chun, in reference to it being Yim ("secretive"). Wing Chun being a reference to the secret Shaolin training hall near
     
  15. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Forgive me, stupid phone. I've heard about the secret Shaolin training hall near Wing Chun county. I have struggled to find the secret hidden codename in Ng Moi, however. All I ever got out of it was the number Ng ("five"). Could you maybe shed some more light on this subject, in reference to the hidden meanings?
     
  16. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    After some reflection, I wonder if it's possible that five different martial artists (Shaolin monks and Ming soldiers) got together and created Sil Lum Tao by cross-training and exchanging 5 different styles. It's possible that one of these five rebels was a female, though highly unlikely she was a Shaolin nun. It seems there was also some influence from the southern Hakka styles, so perhaps one of the five martial artists was of Hakka origin. Just a thought. Not saying it's true, just another "What if?"
     
  17. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Possible? Sure. Probable? I don't think so. ;)
     
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  18. Mou Meng Gung Fu

    Mou Meng Gung Fu Purple Belt

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    Yeah on second thought you're probably right. It was fun to think about for a minute though.
     
  19. wingerjim

    wingerjim Green Belt

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    That is interesting because I have done them as one long set. I see them as many pieces of a very large puzzle that need connected but also have substance alone. So I could believe it was one set slit into 3 weather that is true or not.
     
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  20. anerlich

    anerlich Brown Belt

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    I did a fair amount of study on WC history in my younger days. Then I found there was little evidence or real scholarship, and decided it was more fun to make up my own.

    My MA - tall tales and true: Bil Jee
     

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