Yong Chun Quan (In Mandarin) or Wing Chun Kuen (In Cantonese) is one of the youngest style of Traditional Chinese Martial Art and it have been constantly refined and adapted over its 300 - 400 years of existence. There are more than 50 known lineages of Yong Chun Quan in China and around the world today, most lineages used the Chinese Characters 咏春拳 for Yong Chun Quan while older lineages prefer to use the Chinese Characters 永春拳, both have the same pronunciation in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Each Yong Chun Quan lineage has its combat and weaponry specialties, each lineage also has differences in set-routines or "Tao Lu 套路". Most lineages have 3 set-routines while some have up to 12 set-routines, but all lineages is known to practice the "Small Thoughts or Xiao Nian Tou 小念头" set-routine.
Founded during China’s Qing Dynasty (1644AD - 1912AD), Yong Chun Quan is considered to be one of the three most popular Southern Kung Fu styles, along with Hung Gar Kuen 洪家拳 and Bai He Quan 白鹤拳(White Crane Fist).
Yong Chun Quan differed greatly from other Southern Kung Fu Styles in term of structure, movements and means of generating force, aiming to eliminate unnecessary movements during defence and generating force for attacking in the most efficient way. It is said that Yong Chun Quan trains the awareness of one's own body movement derived from muscular, tendon, and articular sources. Performing Yong Chun forms on the Wooden Dummy also greatly improve proprioception.
Yong Chun Quan is noted for using a relatively high, narrow stance with the elbows kept close to the body know as the "Goat-Gripping Stance or Er Zi Qian Yang Ma 二字鉗羊马". Within the stance, arms are generally positioned across the vitals of the body's centreline with the hands in a vertical position to readily block and parry attacks or strike the opponent.
There are many different claims to the origins of Yong Chun Quan. The Ye Wen Yong Chun 叶问咏春 (Ipman Wing Chun) lineage from Hong Kong claimed a Buddhist Nun, Wu Mei 五枚 developed a martial art style suitable to be used by females then imparted this martial art style to a female martial artist named Yan Yong Chun 严咏春, and it was how Yong Chun Quan got its name.
The China government listed National Intangible Cultural Heritage, Shun De Yong Chun 顺德永春 and other older lineages of Yong Chun have a totally different claim to its origins. According these older lineages, Yong Chun Quan was created by the Southern Shaolin Kung Fu Monk, Zhi San Chan Shi 至善禅师. It is said that in the Qing Dynasty 清朝, Zhi San Chan Shi 至善禅师 escaped with few other disciples to Guangdong 广东 from a Fujian Southern Shaolin Temple 福建南少林, as the temple was attacked and burned down by Qing Dynasty Soldiers for involvement in Anti-Qing activities 反清. In Guangdong, Zhi San Chan Shi 至善禅师 found work as a chef in a Chinese Opera Boat, on the boat he developed a unique martial art style suitable for using in the confined space of a boat and he imparted this martial art style to the opera troupe members. Zhi San Chan Shi 至善禅师 named this martial art style, Yong Chun Quan 永春拳 to commemorate the Yong Chun Hall 永春殿 of the Fujian Southern Shaolin Temple he used to reside in. Overtime some practitioners of Yong Chun Quan 永春拳 renamed the martial art style’s Chinese Characters to "咏春拳" to avoid detention from the Qing Government as many of its practitioners were involved in Anti-Qing activities.
Below is a Chinese documentary with English sub-titles about Yong Chun Quan or Wing Chun Kuen. Commentaries from Wing Chun Master, Lee Hang Cheong 李恒昌.
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