Who Did Yip Man Learn Stuff From?

Oily Dragon

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It's not something I ever paid attention to. I suppose a Bui is a snake hand and bong is a crane wing etc but my knowledge of other Chinese arts is limited other than general viewing pleasure.

"Hok" is the word for crane. Biu, not bui, means to dart (like a snake). And crane wing is Hok Yik Sao. Bong (蝬) means to tie up.

There are at least 3 animals associated with Wing Chun. It's not quite as terrible as the Liu He Ba Fa with the dozen animals, or Hung Ga's five.
 

Poppity

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"Hok" is the word for crane. Biu, not bui, means to dart (like a snake). And crane wing is Hok Yik Sao. Bong (蝬) means to tie up.

There are at least 3 animals associated with Wing Chun. It's not quite as terrible as the Liu He Ba Fa with the dozen animals, or Hung Ga's five.

Hi, If you don't mind could you explain the reason you referenced the bong symbol you did?.

the"bong" you referenced does mean tie up, but it is not the symbol or word referenced when people in wing chun generally refer to bong, the latter being meaning, shoulder and wing and being used because of the bongs default position at shoulder height.

This symbol also appears in Moy yats stone kuen kuit, approved by Ip man.

Interestingly the "biu" Moy yat uses on the kuen kuit is not darting at all, but is 璅 meaning top most branches of a tree, again these were approved by Ip man.

I am not trying to be difficult but would generally like to know why you referred to 蝬 as the wing chun bong?
 

Poppity

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Yup!

Good post man!

Would you mind explaining this as I may be missing something.

All the martial literature I have seen shows bong as .

蝬 does not appear anywhere though it sounds similar if you ignore tonal shifts.

It seems similar to someone saying do you have any pears?, well Yes I have two bananas.
Oh yes, good point.
 

wckf92

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Would you mind explaining this as I may be missing something.

I wish I could explain; but I don't parlay the language so I can't. All I know is that @Oily Dragon is the only other person to define/describe Bong like that so it caught my attention.

"Tied up" is how I'd heard it described many years ago and it seemed to make sense to me based on how we trained that concept.

Sorry, not much help I know but... hopefully more knowledgeable folks will chime in.
 

Poppity

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I wish I could explain; but I don't parlay the language so I can't. All I know is that @Oily Dragon is the only other person to define/describe Bong like that so it caught my attention.

"Tied up" is how I'd heard it described many years ago and it seemed to make sense to me based on how we trained that concept.

Sorry, not much help I know but... hopefully more knowledgeable folks will chime in.

Thank you.
 

geezer

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Thank you.

Snark! I know from comments I heard from my old Chinese Sifu many years ago that there are a lot Of "double meanings" in Wing Chun terms. He was a reasonably well educated man having completed college in Hong Kong and he spoke Cantonese, Mandarin, and reasonably good English. He also travelled to Fo'shan on the mainland to do WC research back in the 80's when that was still closed territory to most outsiders. So early on he made a study of the different ways WC terms were written down in Chinese and English.

He pointed out that many of the different English names and spellings used in WC (for example: Siu Lam Tao, Siu Nim Tao, Siu lum Tao etc.) came not just from different regional accents being translated imperfectly into the English alphabet, but also had to do with the fact that over the generations of WC's evolution, many sifus were not very literate in their own language and often didn't know the correct characters for certain terms. This is one factor that has led to different WC groups today using similar sounding names but with different Chinese characters and/or English spellings, with different meanings.

And, to confuse matters even more, when certain terms sound similar to the Cantonese speaker's ear (even though they may be written differently, often the second meaning is also significant ...almost like cockney rhyming jargon ("apples and pears" for "stairs"). This is a Cantonese cultural thing. So for example, the number 4 in Cantonese is considered bad luck because it sounds like the Cantonese word for death.

So, when talking about Wing Chun terms like bong sau, many say that the real meaning of bong sau is "tying up arm" since that's what it does to your opponent's arms. On the other hand, using different characters, bong sau has been translated as "wing arm" ...which roughly describes it's appearance, and fits nicely with some origin stories regarding Ng Mui being inspired to create the art by watching a fight between a crane and a snake, fox, rat... or another animal (depending on your lineage).

My old Sifu's position was that sure, some spelling differences were a simple matter of right and wrong (as he held regarding his preferred use of the spelling Siu Nim Tau for the first form), others were a matter of lineage identity such as "Wing Chun" or "Weng Chun" (the latter being a significantly different art) or, as with "Wing Chun" (generic) vs. "Wing Tsun" (his own specific, trademarked subsystem). Then there is the third category (like "bong sau") where the existence of multiple interpretations results from words sounding alike and, regardless of the original version, both versions work together adding to the meaning and depth of understanding ...sort of like a WC double entendre.

Finally, my personal favorite version of the two animals in conflict observed by Ng Mui: A graceful crane and a rampaging bull elephant! The crane observed the approach of the gigantic and enraged beast crashing through the forest ...and casually spread it's wings and flew away. ;)
 

Poppity

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Snark! I know from comments I heard from my old Chinese Sifu many years ago that there are a lot Of "double meanings" in Wing Chun terms. He was a reasonably well educated man having completed college in Hong Kong and he spoke Cantonese, Mandarin, and reasonably good English. He also travelled to Fo'shan on the mainland to do WC research back in the 80's when that was still closed territory to most outsiders. So early on he made a study of the different ways WC terms were written down in Chinese and English.

He pointed out that many of the different English names and spellings used in WC (for example: Siu Lam Tao, Siu Nim Tao, Siu lum Tao etc.) came not just from different regional accents being translated imperfectly into the English alphabet, but also had to do with the fact that over the generations of WC's evolution, many sifus were not very literate in their own language and often didn't know the correct characters for certain terms. This is one factor that has led to different WC groups today using similar sounding names but with different Chinese characters and/or English spellings, with different meanings.

And, to confuse matters even more, when certain terms sound similar to the Cantonese speaker's ear (even though they may be written differently, often the second meaning is also significant ...almost like cockney rhyming jargon ("apples and pears" for "stairs"). This is a Cantonese cultural thing. So for example, the number 4 in Cantonese is considered bad luck because it sounds like the Cantonese word for death.

So, when talking about Wing Chun terms like bong sau, many say that the real meaning of bong sau is "tying up arm" since that's what it does to your opponent's arms. On the other hand, using different characters, bong sau has been translated as "wing arm" ...which roughly describes it's appearance, and fits nicely with some origin stories regarding Ng Mui being inspired to create the art by watching a fight between a crane and a snake, fox, rat... or another animal (depending on your lineage).

My old Sifu's position was that sure, some spelling differences were a simple matter of right and wrong (as he held regarding his preferred use of the spelling Siu Nim Tau for the first form), others were a matter of lineage identity such as "Wing Chun" or "Weng Chun" (the latter being a significantly different art) or, as with "Wing Chun" (generic) vs. "Wing Tsun" (his own specific, trademarked subsystem). Then there is the third category (like "bong sau") where the existence of multiple interpretations results from words sounding alike and, regardless of the original version, both versions work together adding to the meaning and depth of understanding ...sort of like a WC double entendre.

Finally, my personal favorite version of the two animals in conflict observed by Ng Mui: A graceful crane and a rampaging bull elephant! The crane observed the approach of the gigantic and enraged beast crashing through the forest ...and casually spread it's wings and flew away. ;)


Thank you for a very clear and appreciated response.

I have been told that Chinese has a more broad and poetic meaning, and my own studies, to use the bull as an example, came across the term bull fighting which I found also refers to the star Altair, which is a cowherd in a chinese myth and associated with the middle dan tian. It took me months to discover that.

Sifu Donald Mak has also alluded to westerners needing to adopt a broader acceptance of wing chun meanings as opposed to trying to apply western exactness to it.

My curiosity with oily dragons post is that Ip man was sufficiently educated to correct Moy yats carvings of the kuen kuit before they were set in stone. So the correct symbol (whichever it is) should have been used.

I fully accept that bong can have many different meanings, to tie up or a wing, but I have never seen any literature with the alternative tie up symbol used. It would be very exciting to know if anyone is aware of it actually being written.
 

wckf92

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Thank you for a very clear and appreciated response.

I have been told that Chinese has a more broad and poetic meaning, and my own studies, to use the bull as an example, came across the term bull fighting which I found also refers to the star Altair, which is a cowherd in a chinese myth and associated with the middle dan tian. It took me months to discover that.

Sifu Donald Mak has also alluded to westerners needing to adopt a broader acceptance of wing chun meanings as opposed to trying to apply western exactness to it.

My curiosity with oily dragons post is that Ip man was sufficiently educated to correct Moy yats carvings of the kuen kuit before they were set in stone. So the correct symbol (whichever it is) should have been used.

I fully accept that bong can have many different meanings, to tie up or a wing, but I have never seen any literature with the alternative tie up symbol used. It would be very exciting to know if anyone is aware of it actually being written.

@Snark back in the 90s, Duncan Leung produced some VHS tapes. In it, he describes Bong as "tied up". Here is a video of his son saying the same thing, and the character... hope this helps?

 

wckf92

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Something to keep in mind, the wing chun of Duncan and the Applied WC folks doesn't sit well with the majority of the wing chun community. Not saying one is right or wrong...just a commonly observed fact.
Now, I have no idea why Moy Yat's stuff is different... ?
 

Poppity

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Something to keep in mind, the wing chun of Duncan and the Applied WC folks doesn't sit well with the majority of the wing chun community. Not saying one is right or wrong...just a commonly observed fact.
Now, I have no idea why Moy Yat's stuff is different... ?


Thank you again! This is very interesting. It is also a very well put together and clear video. The Sil Nim Tao varies significantly from our own in many of the details.

Our sigung is said to have received notes from Ip man which he passed to my sifu and from which my sifu drew up his curriculum, the symbols in the curriculum match Moy yats so I am very interested in alternatives in representation and approach.

Edit: just to say, not because one way is right and one wrong, i am sure multiple meanings were taught, but it will help to provide a broader understanding.
 
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geezer

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...I am sure multiple meanings were taught, but it will help to provide a broader understanding.

I have my hands full trying to get one sifu's interpretation down pat. Still, I wish more people would share like this. Often looking at different interpretations or approaches really helps me get the big picture.

But maybe that's me just looking at things as a professional educator. I value transmission of knowledge and developing critical thinking skills. Others may put a greater emphasis on "being right" as in being the ultimate authority ...and perhaps on lining their wallet or "filling their rice-bowl".
 
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Poppity

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I have my hands full trying to get one sifu's interpretation down pat. Still, I wish more people would share like this. Often looking at different interpretations or approaches really helps me get the big picture.

But maybe that's me just looking at things as a professional educator. I value transmission of knowledge and developing critical thinking skills. Others may put a greater emphasis on "being right" as in being the ultimate authority ...and perhaps on lining their wallet or "filling their rice-bowl".

100% agree
 

Oily Dragon

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Hi, If you don't mind could you explain the reason you referenced the bong symbol you did?.

the"bong" you referenced does mean tie up, but it is not the symbol or word referenced when people in wing chun generally refer to bong, the latter being meaning, shoulder and wing and being used because of the bongs default position at shoulder height.

This symbol also appears in Moy yats stone kuen kuit, approved by Ip man.

Interestingly the "biu" Moy yat uses on the kuen kuit is not darting at all, but is 璅 meaning top most branches of a tree, again these were approved by Ip man.

I am not trying to be difficult but would generally like to know why you referred to 蝬 as the wing chun bong?

You've hit the ultimate mystery of kung fu. Homophonism is used heavily, especially in the southern styles, and especially depending on your depth, to create the learning material.

蝬 is used in several southern family styles to describe a very similar technique to in Wing Chun, so here's where we see the spectrum from physical basics (bong sao uses the human elbow, so we can use to describe it in Wing Chun class notes) to technique specifics (bong sao is a tying hand block) to the metaphorical concepts (it is like a Crane's wing fighting off his fattened enemies).

Or, bong means bong means bong in three different ways at the same time, like a troika doll. You could probably write it using a dozen other different characters, too, depending on how sneaky and creative you wanted to be. That's why we have bong sao, bong sao...
 
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Oily Dragon

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Would you mind explaining this as I may be missing something.

All the martial literature I have seen shows bong as .

蝬 does not appear anywhere though it sounds similar if you ignore tonal shifts.

It seems similar to someone saying do you have any pears?, well Yes I have two bananas.
Oh yes, good point.

What tonal shifts? As far as I know, both bongs are tonally identical. p籀ng.
 

Poppity

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You've hit the ultimate mystery of kung fu. Homophonism is used heavily, especially in the southern styles, and especially depending on your depth, to create the learning material.

蝬 is used in several southern family styles to describe a very similar technique to in Wing Chun, so here's where we see the spectrum from physical basics (bong sao uses the human elbow, so we can use to describe it in Wing Chun class notes) to technique specifics (bong sao is a tying hand block) to the metaphorical concepts (it is like a Crane's wing fighting off his fattened enemies).

Or, bong means bong means bong in three different ways at the same time, like a troika doll. You could probably write it using a dozen other different characters, too, depending on how sneaky and creative you wanted to be. That's why we have bong sao, bong sao...


Thank you very much, very appreciated!

This is all very interesting.

In our own style bong has a wider range of uses than just tying up as it might be used in Kwan sau (binding arm) and so the wing arm is generally used to describe it I guess to cover it's various guises and applications.

Though our can certainly be used as a 蝬 in certain applications.

This has been very informative and useful for me so thank you.
 

FinalStreet

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Wing Xhun hand name like the style, very unique but Not mysterious because the purpose is too evolve. So hand name's not important.
 
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