The History of Wing Chun Kung Fu

Some myth, some legend and a whole lot of controversy!

This history of Wing Chun Kung Fu has always been shrouded in myth and legend, difficult to prove and passed down from instructor to student by story telling.  Never documented and difficult to authenticate.

Amongst Wing Chun practioners and enthusiasts – it has become an area of interest, controversy and created divides within the community.  It stimulates healthy debate and questioning one what our martial art is for, why we do certain techniques and the underlying philosophies behind Wing Chun Kung Fu.

But lets not get distracted from the fact that regardless of your lineage and explanations … it’s all Wing Chun and our progress in the art that matters most.

Here are some of the popular, unpopular and current accounts on the history of Wing Chun.

Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun Kung Fu

Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun is translated as “Black Flag Wing Chun”.

Originating in the Fukien Provence of Southern China – the local Fukienese dialect (Hokkian) is the reason behind the spelling “Eng Chun Kun” versus the more common “Wing Chun Kuen”.

At the Southern Shaolin Temple there were different training halls.  One of them was called the ‘Hall of Forever Spring’ or Eng Chun Tim.

The creation of Eng Chun was in response to the Qing who had invaded and overthrown the Ming rulers.  Groups were formed to fight back and made up of civillians, military and martial artists – they exchanged information and one of the locations used was the Southern Shaolin Temple.

It became a base to remove the Qing.

The exchange of information brought about Eng Chun as a martial art and it was kept secretive, only shared with certain members of the rebellion and used to preserve the wisdom and knowledge within the Shaolin Temple.

After the Shaolin Temple was attacked and burned to the ground by the Qing – Five branches of secret societies were formed by the survivors – they were called the Black Flag, Red Flag, Yellow Flag, White Flag and Green Flag.

After the burning of the Southern Shaolin Temple five lodges of secret socieites were set up.  The Hek Ki Boen (or Black Flag) were one of the five lodges of secret societies.  These were the gatekeepers of the original Shaolin Wing Chun Kung Fu system.

Of the five societies – the Blag Flag were the most secretive and trained to assasinate Manchu officials and traitors within the other Flag groups.  The last known Chief Instructor of the Black Flag group – KongCo Tija Fun Jiao – escaped to Indonesia in 1907.

In Indonesia KongCo Tija Fun Jiao was found by Sujo King Yang.  For over two years King Yang looked after Tija Fun Jiao .  During that time Tija saw that King Yang was a dedicated practioner of Chinese Martial Arts and to thank him for his help – Tija taught King Yang all he knew about Black Flag Wing Chun.

In 1986 – Sujo King Yang died at the age of 87 years.  He was the 2nd generation lineage holder of Black Flag Eng Chun and had choosen a sucessor in SuKong Tio Tik Kwi. 

In 2000 – Tio Tik Kwi appointed his successor Suhu Lin who for the first time open the door to Black Flag Eng Chun to the West.

Read more about Black Flag Wing Chun at the VT Museum and why it stayed so secretive.

Read about Black Flag Wing Chun at Wikipedia.