Interesting take on WC's past...

wckf92

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Saw this on another forum. Hoping it may spark some renewed discussion energy here.

What say you?


Conclusions of AWCKRI
The conclusions drawn by the “Ancestral Wing Chun Kuen Research Institute” - will redefine how we look at the Wing Chun system, its original Face and its evolution over the 1900-s to 1950′s when it was first taught publicaly. What is so significant about this research, is that first, its the only other known Leung Jan Foshan Lineage, other than the Lineage stemming from Chan Wah Shun Family. Second, it substantiats the tradition that Cho Gar and Yuen Kay Shan preserve, in that, Wing Chun Kuen was once a Single form. Third it substantiates the tradition preserved in Kulo Village that states, Wong Wah Bo broke the single hand Form into the 3 hand forms we see today. This is also cooborated by the fact that Yuen Kay Shans first Sifu, Fok Bo Chuen also learned from Wong Wah Bo along side Leung Jan. Hence Fok Bo Chuen Also had the broken down Hand forms, like Leung Jan. Fourth it substantiates that a San Sik method existed at the same time as the Single 4 section Hand form, thatLeung Yee Tai practised. Yuen Kay Shan’s Second Sifu, Fung Siu Ching was also known to have practised a San Sik based Wing Chun Kuen System , as well as Sum Nung’s First Sifu Cheung Bo Fifth it suggest’s that Kulo Villages Legend of Leung Jan creating the San Sik system that he passed down in his time in Kulo, is probably nothing more than Ancient urban legend. And suggests that the art Leung Jan passed down in Kulo, was simply the second system of Wing Chun he learned from Leung Yee Tai. This possibly indicates that Leung Jan, returned back to that the San Sik Method of passing down the Wing Chun system, as he felt it was simpler.

After examining this information i think we can see some interesting patterns emerge, when cross referancing it across other known Wing Chun Kuen Systems.

1) Cho Gar, Yuen Kay Shan, Kulo Village, and Lo Kwai family all preserve that the Wing Chun Kuen Hand forms, were a single Hand form that with either 3 or 4 sections, that was broken down by most probably Wong Wah Bo, when he was teaching is Foshan.

This inversly implies that any Wing Chun System, that contain the standard 3 hand forms, must be of a Post 1900′s period. Hence modern Wing Chun systems that state they are the oldest branch - couldnt contain the broken down Hand forms if they were indeed the Oldest version of the system.

2)The 4th form/section still exists in various forms. Its information is contained in various Muk Yan Jong Sets, as well as Dao and Gwun Sets. The core information of the the 4th form is passed down still in not only Lo Kwai Lineage, but also Chan Wah Shun Family, as well as Chan Wah Shuns Diciple Ng Chun So’s Branch. This form essentialy fuses together the 3 hand forms into a combat form showcasing all the footwork contained within the system. This section may have been created based on San Sik design or San Sik Wing Chun may be designed after the 4th Form/section.

3) There existed 2 versions of the Wing Chun system. One was a single form with 4 sections, that would later be broken down into the modern 3 Hand forms + Jong and Weapons that Wong Wah Bo an dYik Kam Practised. The other a San Sik based system, that Leung Yee Tai and Dai Fai Min Kam practised.

  • A) Yik Kam passed down the Single Hand form to Cho Shun and Cho Family
  • B) Wong Wah Bo passed down the Single Hand Form to Leung Jan and later broke it down into the 3 Hand forms + Jong and Weapons. Leung Jan passed down the Single hand form to Lo Kwai and Taught Chan Wah Shun in 2 parts. The first was Siu Lien Tau and Siu Lien Sae Mun(4th section). The Second was Shum kiu and Biu Jee together.
  • C)Wong Wah Bo passed down the 3 Hand forms + Jong and Weapons to Fok Bo Chuen, who passed it down to Yuen Kay Shan and his brother Yuen Chai Wan.
  • D)Leung Yee Tai passed down a San sik system to Leung Jan, which Leung Taught in Kulo Village when he retired.
  • E) Dai Fa Min Ka Passed down a San Sik system to Fung Siu Ching, who passed it down to Yuen Kay Shan, Yuen Chai Wan and Au Tzu. Yuen Kay Shan passed his system to Sum Nung. Au Tzu Taught Wai Yuk Sang, who in turn taught Cheung Bo, Sum Nungs first Sifu.
4)Wing Chun is derived from Weng Chun County White Crane mixed with a Snake Style Boxing, possibly from Emie mountain range. 3 other systems may have contributed parts as well.

Source: Conclusions of AWCKRI | eWingChun
 

Danny T

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"The conclusions drawn by the “Ancestral Wing Chun Kuen Research Institute” - will redefine how we look at the Wing Chun system"
Not so much


“Wing Chun Kuen was once a Single form”
Ok. No argument and does that really matter?

“Wong Wah Bo broke the single hand Form into the 3 hand forms we see today…plus the information contained in various Muk Yan Jong Sets, as well as Dao and Gwun Sets”
Ok again does that really matter… learning one long version or breaking it up into smaller sections?

What I gather is:
The information is there just presented broke up into smaller parts for learning, there is more to the system than just what is presented in the forms, and all of the forms are inter-related. Meaning, as you learn the information from the different parts of the system that information isn’t specific to that part of the system but is to be used with what is learned in other parts.
 

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I appreciate when people do this kind of research when they do it without an agenda (to create an origin story that supports their own claims of exclusive correct-ness). This seems pretty well researched and neutral. I am somewhat like Danny T, though in that I can't get too worked up about it.

I have settled into the beliefs over the years that Wing Chun seems to have been a single, long form prior to being organized the way that most of us received it. I don't think that makes it better or unlocks any magic secrets, but it seems plausibility historically accurate. I had a chance to start learning a long form some years ago and picked up a few notions that helped me look at things slightly differently, but it's not better or worse. It's interesting, not life altering.

I also generally subscribe to the idea that Wing Chun was mostly likely derivative from a crane system and it does seem pretty coincidental that there would be a region in Fukien with the same name that had a village crane system. But I also see some commonality between many Ming loyalist southern short bridge systems and it doesn't take a giant leap of the imagination to decide that political allies from the same part of China would have shared and cross-pollanated somewhat. The story behind most Chinese systems that involved a Taoist living in a cave for x years and then emerging with a completely unique system that defeated all others not only doesn't seem right, but doesn't hold up when you start to look at systems side by side.

Wing Chun is differentiated from neighboring systems more by it's principles and priorities than unique techniques (IMHO) and the forms and drills that we have do a good job of framing all of those things for us. I appreciate how the early forms are pretty restrictive (one hand at a time, no shifting or stepping) and they open up as the go. It's a good pedagogy. Maybe whoever broke them up did it for that reason or maybe it's a happy coincidence. I'd be delighted to learn older or alternate versions if I had a good source and opportunity and though I haven't worked on it too much lately, the bit of crane that I've learned has helped me understand my WC better (I think).

Training is good. I think that in the era of Chinese people fighting for their safety and self preservation that they argued less about purity and focused more on getting better. Then again, I have no way of knowing that for sure and it's tough to really even solve these historical mysteries for certain from where we sit. Even European history, which is generally better documented, was written by the victors, as they say.
 

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Hendrik Santos got someone else to drink his kool aid.

I like how these "conclusions" have no sources. This reeks of having a solution and then finding evidence to support it rather than a ground up look at how things were.

Most "single form" transmissions were termed as Siu Lien Tao (Little drilling in the beginning) instead of Siu Nim Tao (Little Idea in the beginning). This implies heavily a san-sik style transmission of the art. However, the San sik that teaches WC concept is found in the mythical founder - Tahn Sau Ng - this is both a title and a coding of the system, there are five uses of Tahn sau that show the WC framework in totality. For my money, this is where WC really started, and no version in the san-sik transmissions I've seen has all 5.

It seems more likely that, as Yip Man did, different people were taught differently. Your in-house people got the concepts and forms (Siu Nim Tao), your outside people got application (Siu Lien Tao). My teacher has often said this is how both of his teachers taught people, and was considered common practice.

I don't know if White Crane is a true ancestor, it is certainly plausible. I wonder more if it was just the most popular style at the time, and as such it influenced WC that way. Kind of how we see the rise of MMA change how TMAs are taught right now.
 
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wckf92

wckf92

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the mythical founder - Tahn Sau Ng

Interesting reply Eric. Thx. I'm glad my post is getting some discussion going again in this forum! hahaha. So, is this person you mention as a founder, in your lineages history? Does he pre-date Leung Jan for example?

there are five uses of Tahn sau that show the WC framework in totality

Care to expand on this more? By five uses...are you referring to angles? Energies? Tactical / situational uses? etc? And by framework, do you mean the angle or structure of a Tan sau itself?

no version in the san-sik transmissions I've seen has all 5.

I know lots of ways to use Tan...aside from the way it is codified in the forms. These were taught to me via San Sik. But I'm just trying to understand where you are coming from on this topic.

Thanks and sorry for all the follow up questions!
 

Eric_H

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Interesting reply Eric. Thx. I'm glad my post is getting some discussion going again in this forum! hahaha. So, is this person you mention as a founder, in your lineages history? Does he pre-date Leung Jan for example?

AFAIK, both HFY and Pao Fa Lien claim this person to be an ancestor. By legend, he's the founder of all WC and the original founder of the king fa qui gwoon (Red Boat Opera). One of our students went to a famous library in Hong Kong (I really don't know which one it was) and found some proof about him existing, but was not allowed to take photos. Next time I run into him, I'll see if I can get the name of the place. Also, just because he existed doesn't mean he really had anything to do with WC, but hey, it's something.


Care to expand on this more? By five uses...are you referring to angles? Energies? Tactical / situational uses? etc? And by framework, do you mean the angle or structure of a Tan sau itself?

I'm referring to body frameworks. What we in Hung Fa Yi call two-line defense, 5-line theory, 4 gate/6 gate Tien Yan Dei, and box theory (indoor/outdoor) all are demo'd by 5 uses of Tahn. One of the reasons I subscribe to this as a potential foundation is WC's body vs hands - most of our hand techniques are found in other kung fu, from that standpoint we don't have much unique about us - the thing that separates us is the body framework. We don't do what animal styles do, we don't bend the body or use long/short structures. When you look at arts that evolved on the animal style train of thought, you end up with Hung Gar/Weng Chun.
 

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The breaking down of the forms has puzzled me for awhile now. On top of this I’ve read before that Leung Jan took one long form and designed the three hand forms based on it.

But them I’ve also read supposed quotes from Leung Jan saying that Wing Chun would only be improved if the entirety of its teachings could be condensed into one form (which alludes he did not believe it could be and/or that the single long form was something he didn’t know of)


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The breaking down of the forms has puzzled me for awhile now. On top of this I’ve read before that Leung Jan took one long form and designed the three hand forms based on it.

But them I’ve also read supposed quotes from Leung Jan saying that Wing Chun would only be improved if the entirety of its teachings could be condensed into one form (which alludes he did not believe it could be and/or that the single long form was something he didn’t know of)


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Yeah. I have heard that as well, that Leung Jan said something to the effect of: the person who can condense wing chun into one form without losing the essence of it would make wing chun better than anyone before them.

Add to that too that the three form format is what Yuen Kay San learned from Fok Bo Chun and Fung Sui Ching both of whom are generationally speaking about contemporaries with, and from a different line of wing chun from, Leung Jan, suggests that it is earlier than Leung Jan. Also, in contradiction to what is claimed by this ancestral wing chun research institute, according to Sum Nung both Fok Bo Chun and Fung Sui Ching learned wing chun from Dai Fa Min Kam, Fok Bo Chun did not learn from Wong Wah Bo. So this claim that Fok Bo Chun learned from Wong Wah Bo (which I have heard before and never seen any reason to believe it) is contested.

does anyone have any idea what it is in Yuen Kay San wing chun that allegedly hints to an earlier single form? I lean the stuff from a disciple of Sum Nung and there is no suggestion that wing chun was once a single from in anything I have ever seen or heard, its the opposite in fact.
 

wayfaring

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AFAIK, both HFY and Pao Fa Lien claim this person to be an ancestor. By legend, he's the founder of all WC and the original founder of the king fa qui gwoon (Red Boat Opera). One of our students went to a famous library in Hong Kong (I really don't know which one it was) and found some proof about him existing, but was not allowed to take photos. Next time I run into him, I'll see if I can get the name of the place. Also, just because he existed doesn't mean he really had anything to do with WC, but hey, it's something.

An interesting side note apparently this is confirmed by Ip Chun himself who according to the story did the same research and came across the same book. Apparently the famous library is likely the historic section of the Hong Kong City Hall library. And the book is "A Study on the History of Cantonese Opera", written by Mak Siu Har.

At this reference on Buddhism Wing Chun - Introduction to the family tree of Buddhism Wing Chun | eWingChun I find a large amount of information seemingly coming from Ip Chun's book? Can any confirm this? I mean not that it's true, but that it comes from Ip Chun's book? I don't own a copy.

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"
In his writing “Researching the Origin of VingTsun” in “Genealogy of the VingTsun family”, Sifu Ip Chun wrote “Character "TWO” adduction stance is best used on boats. Looking further, the various sets of martial arts strokes and practice areas are closely related to practice on narrow boats”. Apparently, WingChun techniques are suitable for close range fighting such as in a narrow boat. Eight-cutting Double knives (Bart Cham Dao) of WingChun when used in a large area will be normal knives. However, in a narrow boat, the knives will be pulled back along two hands for striking and defending. The long pole for fighting is actually used to paddle the boat. Particularly, in WingChun techniques, the kicks are rarely used, including high kicks and this leads to a misperception that WingChun does not have kick techniques. In a restricted area such as a small boat, applying kicks, especially by two legs will be very disadvantaged, (not to say about a principle of “legs should not leave ground”. Thus, we can say that the techniques of WingChun was perfected by the grandmasters of Hung Fa Wui Koon and passed on to today. That is why, we cannot ignore Grandmaster Cheung Ng. with nickname of Tan-Sau Ng. Grandmaster Cheung Ng. was mentioned in a book on Cantonese Opera. According to Sifu Ip Chun, Grandmaster Cheung Ng. taught kung-fu to people in Red boat:

“Later, I unexpectedly unearthed some information about Tan-Sau Ng. recorded in old literature on the history of Chinese opera. This information closely connected to the origin of VingTsun. There was a book by one Mak Siu Har -“A Study on the History of Cantonese Opera” (now kept in the Hong Kong City Hall library) In it there was a paragraph, roughly as follows: before the reign of Yung Cheng (Manchu emperor, 1723-1736 ), the development of Cantonese opera was very limited. This was due to defective organization and unclear division of labor . In the years of Yung Cheng , Cheung Ng. of Wu Pak, also known as Tan-Sau Ng., brought his skills to Fat Shan and organized the Hung Fa Wui Koon. The book also records: Besides being very accomplished in Chinese opera, Cheung Ng was especially proficient in martial arts. His one Tan-Sau was peerless throughout the martial arts world. Another piece of information appears on page 631, Volume III of the book “A History of Chinese Opera” by Mang Yiu, published by Chuen Kay Literature Publishers, first printed in 1968. “For some reasons, Cheung Ng. could not stay on in the capital , so he fled and took refuge in Fat Shan. This was during the reign of Yung Cheng. This man, nicknamed Tan-Sau Ng. was a character "unsurpassed in literary and military skills, and excellent in music and drama". He was especially proficient in the techniques of Siu Lam. After settling down in Fat Shan, he passed on his knowledge in traditional opera and martial arts to the Hung Suyen (Red Boat) followers, and established the Hung Fa Wui Koon in Fat Shan. Today, Cantonese opera groups revere him as Jo-si (Founding Master), and refer to him as Master Cheung”

Thus, the martial arts of Hung Fa Wui Koon has been embedded with the techniques of Cheung Ng. However, we are not clear of the origin of his kung-fu and to what extent it is related to Abbess Ng Mui and Yim Wing Chun or it was just purely originated from Shao lin techniques. According to "Family tree of VingTsun Kuyen", and "Family tree of VingTsun Wooden Dummy, and Six point and a half pole", and Pan Nam WingChun Kuyen, the teacher of Cheung Ng was Yat Chum. We are also not clear that the grandmasters of Red Boat (as in the family tree) received training directly from Grandmaster Cheung Ng. or from whom else as Grandmaster Cheung Ng. lived at the time of Yung Cheng, 1723-1736 while the grandmasters of Red Boat lived in the middle of the 19th century. With about 100 years passed since the reign of Yung Cheng, perhaps there should be at least one more generation, which is after Grandmaster Cheung Ng. and before the grandmasters of Red Boat. Unfortunately, we do not have yet any evidence to verify this.

Tracing back to history, Grandmaster Cheung Ng. was at the time of Yung Cheng dynasty, 1723-1736, while Abbess Ng Mui was at the time of K'hanghsi dynasty, 1662-1722. Thus, with respect to the history as above described and other family trees as above quoted, I also include Grandmaster Cheung Ng and Grandmaster Yat Chum into the family tree. However, due to the uncertain origin, the two Grandmasters are grouped in a separate branch to the Buddhist WingChun created by Abbess Ng Mui. Instead of being spaced, Grandmaster Cheung Ng and Grandmasters of Red Boat are directly linked as already illustrated in other family trees. "
 

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"E) Dai Fa Min Ka Passed down a San Sik system to Fung Siu Ching, who passed it down to Yuen Kay Shan, Yuen Chai Wan"

Also, it is probable that Fung Sui Ching taught Yuen Kay San and not Yuen Chai Wan. The story that Sum Nung got was that Yuen Chai Wan had to leave China and went to Vietnam (most probably something to do with a killing during a fight so as to avoid repercussions); it seems that this was before Fung Sui Ching was contracted to teach Yen Kay San. Given that Sum Nung was Yuen Kay San's only disciple I'd say that that was coming almost from the horse's mouth. This, I suspect, would partially explain why the Vietnam wing chun coming from Yuen Chai Wan is so different from Yuen Kay San wing chun.
 

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we don't do what animal styles do, we don't bend the body or use long/short structures. When you look at arts that evolved on the animal style train of thought, you end up with Hung Gar/Weng Chun.

I can completely get that your version might not do movements from snake and crane styles, but disagree that bending the body is only found in hung gar or Weng chun. When it is part of the Leung Jan kulo village curriculum. As Leung Jan revised his teaching into a more broken down and segmented style during this period, it seems likely that this was an advanced technique previously held back till later but he started teaching it earlier on and parallel.

In fairness my understanding is that it is generally considered an advanced technique only introduced after a student understands Jong, seven directions and Jung and Jing San principles.

I really wish there was less, if it's not in my lineage it's not wing chun.
 

APL76

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I can completely get that your version might not do movements from snake and crane styles, but disagree that bending the body is only found in hung gar or Weng chun. When it is part of the Leung Jan kulo village curriculum. As Leung Jan revised his teaching into a more broken down and segmented style during this period, it seems likely that this was an advanced technique previously held back till later but he started teaching it earlier on and parallel.

In fairness my understanding is that it is generally considered an advanced technique only introduced after a student understands Jong, seven directions and Jung and Jing San principles.

I really wish there was less, if it's not in my lineage it's not wing chun.


You bend the body in Guangzhou wing chun as well.
 

Poppity

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You bend the body in Guangzhou wing chun as well.

Thank you. that is interesting. It sometimes feels a bit like learning jazz in that, "these are the principles and foundations and in these situations you can stretch them, and here, just do whatever works"
 
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wckf92

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@APL76 and @Snark ... by "bending" do you mean side to side? Or like the "bending" that happens in BJ form towards the end?
 

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Thank you. that is interesting. It sometimes feels a bit like learning jazz in that, "these are the principles and foundations and in these situations you can stretch them, and here, just do whatever works"
Yep, I think people misunderstand the difference between training and application.

In the early to intermediate stages of training you endeavour to keep everything straight without bending or leaning but once you get through the later stages, once the structure and coordination, as well as power transfer through the body it lined up, it becomes much more fluid and open. In application as my Sifu once said to me, once you know and understand the rules, you will know where you can break them.
 

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@APL76 and @Snark ... by "bending" do you mean side to side? Or like the "bending" that happens in BJ form towards the end?

Kinda both. If you look at the side to side turning in chum kil, are you using your hip or waist to lead the movement. Or if you look at a forward and backwards bending, kulo wing chun has a motion called wan wun yiu, which is an emergency technique involving controlled bending back with the force of the opponent's strike to recoil forwards with a counter.
 

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@APL76 and @Snark ... by "bending" do you mean side to side? Or like the "bending" that happens in BJ form towards the end?

Can be both, bending like in the bing bo bui sao section of chum kue in Guangzhou stile and as in the elbow strikes in bui ji, the backwards tilt that's in sui lim tao and in some of the sup yi sik. Or it can be from side to side kinda like a boxer slipping punches. I have seen my Sifu slip punches like that thrown by a boxer. Or it can be hollowing your structure out through your abdomen combined with the jun ma in order to avoid punches to the lower body. Wing Chun definitely has this stuff in it.
 
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