History of Ving Tsun (Wing Chun)
Within the fighting system there are a variety groups that splintered off from the original Wing Chun fighting system which are now all spelled somewhat differently. There are different interpretations how to translate the original Chinese pronunciation into English, and different variations on the Wing Chun system made use of these variations in English spelling. The style that our school follows is spelled “Ving Tsun”.
Lineage of Masters
Sifu (“Master”) Jay Hitchman traces his Ving Tsun training back nearly 400 years to the style’s originator in much the same way as one would their own family tree.
Sifu Jay was trained by Sifu Pete Pajil (“Moy Bah Hugh” is the Kung Fu name given to him by his Sifu Moy Yat) who was a corrections officer in Graterford maximum-security prison and was the youngest in our Kung Fu family to begin to teach. He began training with his Sifu Moy Yat in 1982.
Moy Yat came to the New York City’s Chinatown and began teaching Kung Fu in 1973. He became well respected in the community as both a Kung Fu master and as an artist as he trained students for more than 20 years. Disciples of his school went on to found schools in such other countries as Canada, Brazil, and Mexico and the number of current Ving Tsun students range in the tens of thousands across the globe.
Moy Yat was very close with his Sifu, Yip Man, under whom he had trained for more than fifteen years. Yip Man believed and taught that, more than techniques, authentic Ving Tsun was a lifestyle – and that the principles of balance, timing, coordination, sensitivity, and relaxation should be applied to every day life. This living by example outside of the classroom has come to be known as “Kung-Fu Life”.
Yip Man began his training at age seven from Chan Wah Shan who taught only sixteen disciples over 36 years.
Chan Wah Shan was one of only three students of his Sifu, Leung Jan, who had become very famous due to his skill and proficiency with the martial arts and also as an herbal doctor. He was challenged by many kung fu masters, and all were defeated. Leung Jan’s other two students were his two sons.
Leung Jan learned his kung fu from Leung Yee Tai in the mid-1800′s. During this time of revolutionary activity in China, it was common to inconspicuously travel aboard ships known as “red junks”. It was on one of these vessels that Leung Yee Tai met Chi Shin, who was a Shaolin monk traveling in secrecy disguised as a cook. Chi Shin taught Leung Yee Tai the Shaolin long pole techniques.
Wong Wa Bo was part of an opera troupe that used the red junks to tour and he befriended Leung Yee Tai. Together, they shared their martial arts knowledge and incorporated long pole techniques into Wing Chun kung fu.
Wong Wa Bo had been trained by Leung Lan Kwai, an herbal doctor who had learned Wing Chun from Leung Bok Chau, the husband of Yim Wing Chun, after whom the martial art system was named.