Speculation on the likely origins of Wing Chun and Weng Chun


Black Belt
Oct 9, 2013
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Been doing some thinking about this subject lately. This is all PIDOOMA and based largely on posts here from Hunschuld, research from Ben Judkins, and a boatload (heh) of speculation on my part, and will contradict a bunch of my old posts that I made here years ago.

The theory is as follows:

1. On the red boats, there were some White Crane practitioners and Hung Gar practitioners, and they were probably from YongChun County (Weng Chun County in Cantonese) and knew each other.

2. They didn't have enough space to train so they brainstormed together and came up with a way to practice their respective styles in a cramped space (the boats)

3. The training method itself, rather than the resulting respective styles of the Crane and Hung Gar practitioners, would have been called YongChun/Weng Chun boxing after where the practitioners were from.

4. From this point, their training methods were largely transmitted orally and not actually written down. The systems, for a time, were not formally structured and would have been mostly san sik based. The Crane camp (there probably weren't actually entirely separate "camps," a bunch of them probably knew both), consisting of people like Leung Yee tai, Fok Bo Chun and later Leung Jan, eventually came together to structure the training methods into the standard 3 empty hand forms, dummy, pole and knives that we know today. To differentiate themselves from YongChun White Crane, they modified the 瘞 character into 閰, and thus, "Wing Chun" as we know it today was born.

5. The Hung Gar camp, which would have included Wong Wah Bo and Fung Siu Ching (again, a bunch of them probably did both styles) structured their system along similar lines and retained the original 瘞 character, and thus "Weng Chun" was born

In conclusion, Wing Chun and Weng Chun are just the sailor versions of White Crane and Hung Gar respectively. The reason this isn't the actual oral history that's been transmitted is because, in Chinese culture, taking credit for your own innovations is considered in bad taste and will cause you to lose face, so you would instead credit your own innovations to your ancestors . Thus the systems were credited to Ng Mui and Chi Sim respectively.

Interestingly, it would follow from this that there could have been "Wing Chun" versions of various of other styles besides Crane and Hung Gar which have since been lost to time.
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Orange Belt
Nov 18, 2023
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This is interesting. A simple idea and logical. I think most origins of particular martial arts are not glorious but rather become glorious as time goes on.

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
May 2, 2020
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This is a lot to unpack but I think a couple of facts can be plucked to support this.

For one, Wing Chun and Hung Ga are closely related, in some places the training is identical.

Hung Ga being what it is today can be traced back a long way, arguably further than Wing Chun, but this is good for Wing Chun because it legitimizes a lot of what is taught.

Shaolin Crane being what it is, is so spread all over Chinese history it's like tracing water flowing over a table.

But I can see this theory happening

I have a pet theory of my own, that the more styles a school Hoovered up, the better it got over time, and it is hard to know exactly what styles were Hoovered, unless the dude kept good notes.

Sometimes like with Bruce Lee or Wong Fei Hung, they left behind a lot of copy. Other times, sure, it was some dudes in a boat catching fish, and sharing ancient secrets.

Which if you go back to the roots of kung fu, was always the way.