The Ancient World

Abbess Ng Mui, a GrandMaster of Shaolin Kung Fu

Wing Chun, like Mui, understood that a smaller defender must use energy-efficient deflection and parry moves against larger and more aggressive opponents, and she refined her style to reflect this intuitive, Yin-based philosophy. The Yin (Feminine) focuses on diverting the flow of energy rather than the Yang (Masculine) which emphasizes countering or opposing energy flow. The genius of the Wing Chun style is in the psychological practice of Chai Sau (sticking hands), a technique that emphasizes full sensitivity to all aspects of the moment, and treats the hands and feet as extensions of the real weapons, the forearms and legs. Wing Chun's techniques were lost until Bruce Lee's quest to find the roots of Kung Fu, 225 years later. Bruce adopted the Yin-centered philosophy and built his technique Jeet Kung Do directly from Wing Chun.

> I am very interested in Wing Chun and other styles of Kung Fu.
> You seem to know a bit. How do I find out more information? Do

The movie Wing Chun is fun to watch, and it shows the Abbess, and
her student Wing Chun. Not a good way to learn real kung fu, but
at least lots of fun. A movie that has strong female
characters is always good to find.

Bruce Lee was very interested in Wing Chun, and made it a central
part of his martial arts in the early years. People made fun of
him for using "women's" martial arts, and he changed his style to
a more aggressive one, but there are still valid elements that he

Bruce Lee was fairly well published, and his techniques should
contain the elements you seek. Perhaps looking for some of his
books, or other material, or finding a group that is practicing
his art would be of great help.

Most of the early Wing Chun was practiced in secret, I rather
expect there is not a lot of early documentation, but they are
no longer practicing in secret. There are now some public dojos.

...so Ng Mui created Wing Chun. What did she do before that?

She was a Shaolin abbess, and according to the authorities of the
time, she and her fellow monks were spreading dissent. They
burned out the temple, killing lots of monks, and she and some
of her fellow monks went underground.

> Do you think wing chun was really able to learn ng mui's entire system,
> even though during the time of her training all off this turmoil errupted?

Yes. If anything, the turmoil provided a good reason to learn quickly, and immediately apply that learning.

> I never hear wing chun practitioners refer to the five elements
> concept as compared to the different natures of movement, nor the
> necessity of understanding the harmony between heaven and earth.
> I never hear about the plum flower stance movements. Which is
> suprising due to the fact that Ng mui was well known for her
> prowess on the wooden stumps. Do you derive your power thru your
> breathing? If you do this in no way represents the essence of
> Ng mui(Plum flower fist)

Abbess Ng Mui is also known as the Shaolin buddhisst nun Wu Mei and has her own complete Kung Fu fighting system (called Wu Mei Pai). I can't tell you much about Wing Chung, but my Wu Mei teachers have told me that Wing Chung only had limited training in Wu Mei's techniques and that she was never given the complete style. The Wu Mei Pai system stayed within the confines of Shaolin up until about 1913 when for the first time, it was taught to a non-monk, Hseih Peng. I have studied this style with three students of Hseih Peng, including the current holder of the style, Sifu Ken Lo. In Wu Mei Pai, there exists all of the things you speak of. The style has a strong internal element as we all study and infuse Chi Kung into our Kung Fu. Wu Mei has a plum flower fist system, as well as plum flower stances. Wu Mei movements reflect the harmonies between the 5 elements and between heaven and earth. I know of many stories of Wu Mei's battles on the plum flower posts (or wooden stumps as you call them). As well as many stories about Sigung Peng, who taught Wu Mei Pai here in New York City and founded the Wu Mei Kung Fu Association (which still operates today - see www.wumei.com).

Greg Gil

Here is a link to some additional information

For more about the film Wing Chun, click

I would love to know more about Wu Mei. Are they any books about her? Thank you! Don C Reed.

Don, that is an excellent question. I did find a wikipedia entry: Ng Mui

They list the following books as references:
# Chow, David; & Spangler, Richard (1982).
Kung Fu: History, Philosophy and Technique.
Burbank: Unique Publications. ISBN 0-86568-011-6.
# Chu, Robert; Ritchie, Rene; & Wu, Y. (1998).
Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Traditions.
Boston: Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3141-6.
# Leung Ting (1980).
Five-Pattern Hung Kuen, Part I. Hong Kong: Leung's Publications.
ISBN 962-7284-09-2.

Hope that helps!

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