Silum Weng Chun History

The history of Weng Chun and Wing Chun is hard to trace.  Though they sound similar, they are very different in many ways, and their oral history tells the stories.  The Chinese characters for Weng Chun and Wing Chun are also different.  Weng Chun (Eternal Spring), and Wing Chun (a persons' name), may sound similar, but depending on the family linkage, they can differ greatly in style and theory, not just in name.  Although there is some commonality in the two styles' visually, their uses and applications are different.

 

SiuLam Young Forest Temple. From the Beginning

 

SiuLam Temple dates back to 206 B.C., when Buddhism and meditation practices were imported into China.  SiuLam has a long history, and it wasn't until around 502-557 A.D. when the emperor invited the Monk Da Mo to preach Buddhism in China.  Da Mo is credited for developing the bone, tendon, muscle change practice Yi Jing Jing, a Yoga practice designed to strengthen the body.  The concept and theory were later used to develop SiuLam martial arts. 

 

According to legend, Weng Chun's history begins in the Qing dynasty at the Shaolinsi or Young Forest Temple, after the Qing army burned the Temple in either 1647, 1674, or 1732 and killed all but five Monks who escaped.  It is believed that two of these five monks played a role in the passing on and development of Weng Chun and Wing Chun.  The female Monk Ng Mui is credited for Wing Chun and Abbot Chi Sim 至善禪師 for Eternal Spring Weng Chun. 

 

Eternal Spring Fist (aka Weng Chun Fist) 永春拳 has its roots in SiuLam (also known as Shaolin) and Abbot Chi Sim (至善禪師).  After the destruction of the Young Forest Temple, Chi Sim became a fugitive to Qing forces, and he traveled, staying in numerous places for short periods of time.  During his travels, he had many students.  How many, we do not know, and what he actually taught is also a mystery.

 

From Young Forest Temple to the Red Boat and then Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺

 

Abbot Chi Sim 至善禪師 was a traveling monk who was known for his martial skills.  He traveled often, teaching various people of that time.  Two known places traveled were the traveling opera troop of the Red Boat and a subsequent temple called Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺. Abbot Chi Sim 至善禪師 was known to be hiding as a cook in the famous Red Boat Opera, thereby passing some martial skills to Wong Wan Bo 黃華寶 and Leung Yee-Tai 梁二娣, two well know historical figures.  Sometime later, after leaving the Red Boat, Chi Sim 至善禪師 traveled to Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺.  Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺 was located just north of Ching-Yuen (清遠), a town of Foshan China where Tang Bun 鄧本 was known to have visited often. 

According to the Tang family records, Tang Bun 鄧本 native of Tang village 橫溪村 of Foshan/Nan Hai 佛山/南海 was a poultry trader that often traveled to Ching-Yuen (清遠).  During Tang Bun's 鄧本 travels to the village of Ching-Yuen 清遠, he met the traveling monk Chi Sim 至善禪師.  Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺 was located just north of 清遠 Ching-Yuen village.  Tang Bun 鄧本 traveled to Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺 often to learn from Abbot Chi Sim 至善禪師.  Tang Bun 鄧本 learned a hand form, dummy set, and a long Pole set.  These sets were not the same as the Red Boat's.  It is believed that the hand form Eternal Spring Weng Chun taught to Tang Bun 鄧本 was different than what was taught to the Red Boat.  Other stories state that Yim Wing Chun was responsible for passing down the Siu Lum Tao, Chun Q, Biu Jee Sets to the Red Boat while other stories state this was a fictitious person.  Still, other stories claim that Chi Sim 至善禪師 taught forms to Wong Wan Bo 黃華寶 and Leung Yee-Tai 梁二娣 before traveling to Fei Loi Temple.  According to Tang Yik's Oral teachings, Tang Bun also visited the Red Boat to meet Leung Yee-Tai 梁二娣 and/or Wong Wan Bo 黃華寶.  Today we can see the similarities between the Red Boat and Tang Family Dummys that make it clear that they must have had a shared past.  What we see today substantiates the close relationship that Fung Siu Ching and Tang family had.

Additionally, according to Tang family history, Tang Bun 鄧本 traveled to meet with Wong Wan Bo 黃華寶 and Leung Yee-Tai 梁二娣.  Chi Sim 至善禪師 recommended to Tang Bun 鄧本 that he visit these two former students.  From this assertion, it should have been later, possibly some years later, that Chi Sim 至善禪師 resided at Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺.  Since Eternal Spring Hall was located at Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺 and the style was named after this place, it is assumed that Tang Bun 鄧本 had the original Weng Chun Kuen. 

 

According to Tang oral history, the style was developed and named by Chi Sim 至善禪師 himself, named after the Eternal Spring Hall (永春殿) (aka in Cantonese - Weng Chun Hall) of Fei Loi Temple 飛來寺 and the style was called Weng Chun Kuen 永春拳. 

 

Chi Sim 至善禪師 was also known to have been the teacher of the founder of Hung Gar, Hung Hay Goon. 

References:

 

Tang, M. (2017) The History of Tang Family Weng Chun https://web.archive.org/web/20191209073251/http://www.tangyik-wengchun.info/history-of-tang-family-weng-chun.html

Hung Kuen Academy Hong Kong. (n.d.). Hung Family.

https://www.hkhunggar.com/hung_family/

 

Alternativehistorychristos Wiki. (n.d) Destruction of the Shaolin Temple https://alternativehistorychristos.fandom.com/wiki/Destruction_of_the_Shaolin_Temple