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Wing Chun Kung Fu

by Caroline Seawright

 

I want to find out about Kung Fu, but there's nothing here!

Does anyone out there do kung fu?

I'm trying to find out about Wing Chun, and anything about an instructor called Gabriel Yamin... and what to look for when picking a martial art class.

Now this will be my first attempt (apart from with friends for a couple of weeks!) at any sort of martial art, and I want to get it right, and not go to a dodgy place that will teach me the wrong methods.

The place I am thinking about going to is the Melbourne Martial Arts Academy (Australia), at 367 Flinders St, Melbourne.

This is what their flyer says about their Kung Fu:

Head Instructor Sifu Gabriel Yamin has been studying the art of WING CHUN Kung Fu for 20 years and has a distinguished career in tournament fighting. The system contains two weapons forms, the long pole and the butterfly knives which are taught when a student is advanced in the art.

This is what they have to say about Sifu Gabriel Yamin:

Personal Protection Concepts founder, Gabriel Yamin, began training in 1978 under Sifu David Peterson, then from '85 began making regular visits to Hong Kong to train with Master Wong Shun Leung himself. Between '87 and '94, Gabriel taught privately in the US and the UK, and in 1995 he opened the WEST COAST WING CHUN ACADEMY in LA, California. PPC came about from a need to instil more realism into what was becoming a practical system, entering an all to comfortable state. Wing Chun defense is being taught to counter a wing chun attach in a controlled environment. Concepts and free expression are being forgotten. There is no right or wrong here, just what works best for you.

They do have a semi-private introduction session, but unlike most places, this will cost me about AU$15 (approx. US$7 at the current exchange rate)... so I'd like to find out all that I can, before I shell out the cash.

Legend has it that it was a Buddhist nun by the name of Ng Mui who developed Wing Chun in China, about 300 years ago.

The founder of the Wing Chun Kung Fu System, Miss Yim Wing Chun was a native of Canton [Kwangtung Province] in China. She was an intelligent and athletic young girl, upstanding and forthright...

During the reign of Emperor K'anghsi of the Ching Dynasty (1662-1722) Kung Fu became very strong in the Siu Lam [Shaolin] Monastery of Mt. Sung, in Honan Province. This aroused the fear of the Manchu government [a non-Chinese people from Manchuria in the North, who ruled China at that time], which sent troops to attack the Monastery. Although they were unsuccessful, a man named Chan Man Wai, a recently appointed civil servant seeking favor with the government, suggested a plan.

He plotted with Siu Lam monk Ma Ning Yee and others who were persuaded to betray their companions by setting fire to the monastery while soldiers attacked it from the outside. Siu Lam was burned down, and the monks and disciples scattered. Buddhist Abbess Ng Mui, Abbot Chi Shin, Abbot Pak Mei, Master Fung To Tak and Master Miu Hin escaped and went their separate ways.

Ng Mui took refuge in the White Crane Temple on Mt. Tai Leung [also known as Mt. Chai Har]. It was there she met Yim Yee and his daughter Yim Wing Chun from whom she often bought bean curd on her way home from the market. At fifteen, with her hair bound up in the custom of those days to show she was of an age to marry, Wing Chun's beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing Chun to marry him, and his continuous threats became a source of worry to her and her father. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing Chun. She agreed to teach Wing Chun fighting techniques so she could protect herself. Wing Chun followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began to learn Kung Fu. She trained night and day, until she mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the bully to a fight and beat him.

Ng Mui later traveled around the country, but before she left she told Wing Chun to strictly honor the Kung Fu traditions, to develop her Kung Fu after her marriage, and to help the people working to overthrow the Manchu government and restore the Ming Dynasty.

It seems to be a great style for a woman to learn!

Tenna Perry has given me a link to a cool site - http://www.wingchun.org/country/austral.html - have a look around this site if you're interested in Wing Chun! Thanks, Tenna!

Want to see how my first Wing Chun lesson went?


© Caroline 'Kunoichi' Seawright 2001 - present

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