Wing chun (aka ving tsun; Mandarin: yong chuin) is a Chinese martial art that arose soon after the burning of the Song Shan Shaolin Temple circa 1735. Because of a lack of written historical records, wing chun’s origins are still heavily debated.
One story states that Shaolin monk Zhi Shan and Shaolin hero Hong Xi-guan created a fighting style that could generate punching power even in confined spaces. The style was named wing chun after either the Shaolin Temple’s Wing Ching Hall (named for a nun named Wing Chun), or after Hong’s wife Fang Wing-chun.
Another version explains that anti-Ching revolutionary Yim Yee taught his daughter Yim Wing-chun the style taught to him by the art’s creator, Wu Mei (Cantonese: Ng Mei). Upon Wing-chun’s death, her husband, Leung Bok-chau, named the martial art wing chun in her honor. An alternative version has Wu Mei teaching Yim Wing-chun to defeat a bully.
Much of today’s wing chun popularity stems from the fact that Bruce Lee trained extensively in the style under the late Hong Kong-based master Ip Man.
– June 23, 2014