Wing Chun Kung Fu, the only system believed to have been founded by a woman, is an practical style that is used strictly for self-defence.
The legend relates that a girl named Yim Wing Chun desired to learn martial arts at the Shaolin temple. She caught the attention of a Shaolin nun named Ng Mui, who was an accomplished martial artist. So impressed was Ng Mui with Yim Wing Chun's ability and desire, that she offered to teach Shaolin martial arts to her. The Kung fu that Yim Wing Chun learned consisted of only three forms, instead of the ten or more taught in other Shaolin systems. Her Kung fu was also used only for self-defence and lacked the fancy sets that other styles used to entice potential martial artists into the kung fu systems. Yim Wing Chun's style consisted of short direct movements designed to eliminate any wasted energy and to encourage speed in the counter attacks. It also included training with wooden dummies and Chi Sao (sticky hand) techniques.
Bruce Lee practiced Wing Chun and his famous Sifu Ip Man, who was considered the grandmaster of modern Wing Chun.
Wing Chun concentrates on centerline attacks, using no wasted effort. Blocks are used to redirect the opponent's strike so that the Wing Chun practitioner can counterattack with wither his blocking hand or the other hand, in a very close-in position. Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, there are no circular movements to be seen in most Wing Chun styles. (An exception is based upon short fluid circular movements).
Attacking-hand movements in the Wing Chun system are of the short one-inch punch type made famous by the late Bruce Lee and are all delivered along the centerline of the opponent's body. There are also many knee, elbow and finger attacks. Sixty per cent of attacking techniques are hand techniques and the other 40 per cent is comprised of short low kicks. Hand and foot techniques are delivered simultaneously in the Wing Chun system. All Wing Chun techniques are perfected on the Wing Chun dummy (mook jong). This dummy consists of two arms and a midsection projection from practicing hand techniques and a leg against which the eight types of quick low kicks are practiced.
The wooden dummy allows the Wing Chun student the opportunity to use his full force and power, while at the same time toughening the bones and muscles in his arms and legs. Wing Chun uses the dummy more than other kung fu systems.
Chi Sao (sticky hands) is a unique training feature of the Wing Chun system. In Chi Sao practice two Wing Chun practitioner's face each other and move their wrists and forearms against each other's wrists and forearms in small circles. The sensitivity developed in the wrists and forearms by this practice allows the Wing Chun stylist to predict the opponent's next move. He is also so close in to his opponent that he can use his Chi Sao technique to counter and attack instantly. The practitioner uses the short quick movements of Chi Sao to his best advantage striking before his opponent realizes where the attack is coming from.