Q.What does Wing Chun mean?
A. Wing Chun can be written two ways in Chinese. They translate as either “sing the praises of spring” or “forever springtime”. Both have connotations of continuing to develop and regularly revising your gung fu skills and knowledge.
Q. What does Yun Hoi mean?
A. Yun Hoi means “Ocean of Patience”. It’s the Chinese translation of Sifu Zopa Gyatso’s Tibetan Buddhist name. It is common practice that many of the founders and past masters of Wing Chun and other gung fu systems have several names – Leung Jan, Yuen Kay San and Yip Man amongst them. Many Chinese martial arts practitioners still today have several names. As a Tibetan Buddhist Sifu Zopa has several names anyway – it’s customary. As sifu is a devout Buddhist and Zopa Gyatso is the name by which he goes, and he is well known by his Buddhist name he chose to use it in his gung fu sifu role to link his Buddhist morality with his gung fu. Sifu strongly believes in the old Yuen Kay San advice: “Jing cher Jing choi chu” (good and evil are strongly present). We can see, unfortunately, that a number of martial artists – even some famous personalities – aren’t moral people by everyday observation. We note that sifu however, believes all martial artists ought to be moral people. He insists his students be moral people as they are being taught a very dangerous martial art if it is misused. Sifu doesn’t preach Buddhism or attempt to convert anyone to Buddhism, however. Such an activity would be considered un-Buddhist. Buddhists only teach those who ask for the teachings. No-one who meets the Buddhist criteria for Dharma transmission (yes, there are criteria) would be refused the teaching. How much they learn and understand is only partly the responsibility of the teacher. Mostly it is the student’s responsibility. This is similar to sifu’s approach to Wing Chun.
Q. What does gwoon mean?
A. “Gwoon” means training centre or gym if you like. It refers to any place gung fu is taught.
Q. Where does Wing Chun come from?
A. Guangzhou, Southern China. Yuen Kay San Wing Chun (aka Sum Num Wing Chun or Guangzhou Wing Chun) descends directly from the Chinese operatic Red Boats of the 1800s in Guangzhou. The history of Wing Chun prior to its emergence from the Red Boats is still a mystery and is cloaked in legend, myth and outright lies. No-one can prove any claims made that they have any objectively verifiable information prior to the Red Boat era. Some cloak their speculation in historical fiction – and present their suppositions or wishes that their “history” be taken as objective fact as if these were genuine facts. The only fact is no-one can satisfactorily prove any of the claims made of the Wing Chun history prior to the Red Boat era. Some are working very hard to present their myths or marketing line as if it were historical fact by weaving their claims into actual historical events but this is simply the same as those novels women read that are simply fictitious stories written against a loose history to make them seem credible. According to Yuen Kay San oral tradition passed down painstakingly in the lineage, there were a limited number of actors on the Red Boats who learnt Wing Chun: Dai Fa Mien Kam; Go Lo Chung; Leung Yee-Tai; and, Wong Wah Bo. On these small boats, the exclusive Wing Chun community were all training partners and trained the same art. Wong Wah Bo and Leung Yee-Tai taught Leung Jan who founded Koo Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun, which sifu also studies. Dai Fa Mien Kam taught Fung Siu-Ching and Fok Bo Chuen. Fok Bo Chuen also learnt from Wong Wah Bo. Fung Siu-Ching and Fok Bo Chuen both taught Yuen Kay San who taught Sum Num as his only disciple. Sum Num also learnt in his early days from Cheung Bo, whose lineage Sum Num said to Sifu Zopa he was unsure of yet others have claimed also derived from Fung Siu Ching.
Q. Is Yuen Kay San Wing Chun different to Yip Man Hong Kong Wing Chun?
A. Yes it is. The two arts are related to a limited extent but are recognised in China as very distinct.
Q. Is Koo Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun different to Yip Man Hong Kong Wing Chun?
A. Again, yes it is. The two arts are related to a limited extent but, as anyone who has studied them in depth can readily attest, are very distinct along a number of dimensions considered crucial by Koo Lo Pin Sun practitioners.
Q. Is Koo Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun different to Yuen Kay San Wing Chun?
A. The two are incredibly similar yet both are quite distinct from Yip Man Hong Kong Wing Chun. They have a great deal in common but are slightly different. Both Yuen Kay San Wing Chun and Koo Lo Pin Sun Wing Chun are two lineages closest to the original Red Boat Wing Chun.
Q. Can I learn Yuen Kay San Wing Chun and another martial art?
A. A rare few internal arts may not interfere with your learning true Wing Chun. It is usually the case that the serious gung fu student will want to be a master of one art rather than a jack of many. We don’t endorse any student training in another art without seeking sifu’s advice. We don’t endorse training in any other system of Wing Chun. We don’t endorse the modern notion of cross training that many have applied to martial arts, as it usually translates into folk who haven’t achieved any degree of competence or understanding in one art simply hunting and gathering techniques from a number of arts, thinking that skill in martial art is the mere acquisition of numerous techniques from numerous arts. If the prospective student thinks this way they will make no real progress and would be better off simply following currently popular US trends of dabbling in a number of arts. A student who wants to train multiple arts will find plenty of instructors willing to take their money for a sample of their art. There is more than enough to learn and more than enough to challenge the serious gung fu student in learning one art thoroughly. There is no need to learn any other art.
Q. Yun Hoi is not a public gwoon is it?
A. Correct. Yun Hoi is what is termed a “closed door gwoon”. We operate traditionally not as a modern commercial gwoon. We teach only selected students. Those selected can expect to access the highest quality instruction available. We do not have visitors. We do not offer “short courses”. We do not teach anyone who is not a gwoon member anything. Our students are training to focus their full effort without distraction. We exist only to pass down the undiluted and unpolluted true art to selected students not to show off or for fame or fortune.