Wing Chun Legend
The ancient Ming Dynasty of China was ended upon the 1644 invasion of China by the Manchus, who established the Ching Dynasty, which did not end until 1911. The occupying Manchus, although an ethnic minority, introduced a number of onerous and repressive measures to control the majority Han Chinese. These included the prohibition of weapons, work restrictions, and the infamous binding of women’s feet, making women entirely dependent on men, thus constraining men’s ability to participate in revolutionary efforts to overthrow the Manchus.
The Shaolin Temples were a long-revered Buddhist institution in China and respected and feared by the ruling Manchus. These Shaolin temples became both a sanctuary for Ming revels and a center for revolutionary planning and training by Ming loyalists determined to overthrow the repressive Manchu regime.
Traditional Shaolin fighting systems were based on animal movements and required the mastery of dozens if not hundreds of intricate, complex forms, requiring up to fifteen or twenty years to master as a fighingt art.
Ming revolutionaries recognized that this approach to training soldiers for battle with the Manchus was inadequate for rapidly training a fighting force. They developed a new system of kung-fu based entirely on bio-mechanics and principles of combative theory, achieving a streamlined fighting system which took only five years to train a recruit into an efficient fighter, versus the 15-20 for a traditional Shaolin fighter.
The system was called Wing Chun, named after the Eternal Springtime (Wing Chun) training hall of the temple.
The Manchus, alerted to the rebel activity at the temple, orchestrated the destruction of the temple. All temple monks and rebels were killed, except five monks who escaped – Bak Mei, Fung Do Dak, Mui Min, Jee Sin and the nun Ng Mui. The five went their separate ways.
Ng Mui took refuge in the faraway White Crane Temple in Yunnan. This is the point at which most Wing Chun myths and legends diverge, producing numerous and rich legends as to the dispersement of the Wing Chun system.