Wing Chun Kung Fu, known as the world’s most popular form of the fighting style, owes its creation to a woman who was trying to put off a man who would not take “no” for an answer. He insisted on marrying her, but Yim Wing Chun had other ideas and got the warlord to agree to cancel the wedding if she bested him in martial arts.
According to the legend, the run away bride studied fighting under a Buddhist monk and adapted her style. She went on to best the love smitten warlord and subsequently married another man, whom she taught her version of Kung Fu, which now bears her name. The discipline was established during the Qing Dynasty, which was deposed in 1911. It’s most famous practitioner, movie actor Bruce Lee, helped popularize martial arts in general and Kung Fu in particular.
This form of Kung Fu is a style of fighting for close quarters. It’s major emphasis is on the defensive stand, which is intended to protect others on the street during a battle. While other forms of martial arts use wide attacks that can leave the practitioner open to further attack, students of Wing Chun will not give up their defensive posture. Instead, the discipline is known for its rapid kicks and strikes from the inside that are intended to overwhelm the opponent.
Practitioners of this stye of fighting are heavily dependent on maintaining correct balance and they take pride in never being caught outside of a defensive position. They stand in a tall, narrow posture, elbows close to the body to protect the vital areas along a center line of the body. While maintaining this defense, they will simultaneously attack down the center line with blows to the stomach, groin, nose, eyes, and throat. Attack and defense happen at the same time in an effort to trap and immobilize the opponent.
The training can be divided into several categories. Forms are the practice of moves and attacks by the individual student against an imaginary enemy. They can include kicks, punches, and turning drills, as well as arm cycles that coincide with movements used in adaptation and interception techniques. In Chi Sao, students maintain constant contact with an opponent while practicing the form’s techniques to build the instincts needed in close combat. Finally, students learn to use weapons such as a long pole and the butterfly knife.
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