Ng Mui - The Nun Who Invented the Martial Arts Wing Chun

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Two grandmasters of the Shaolin Temple Shi DeRu

Ng Mui - The Nun Who Invented the Martial Arts Wing Chun

Although they are rarely mentioned, accounts of female warriors in history are increasingly researched and studied. Among the most well-known historical figures are Hua Mulan of 6th century China, Itagaki of 13th century Japan, the Celtic queen Boadicea in 1 CE and Joan of Arc of 15th century France. Of martial artists, however, the accounts are rarer still, and generally become a mix of historical facts and legends. One such story is the Shaolin Abbess Ng Mui, her student Yim Wing Chun, and their roles in the conception of a martial art called the Wing Chun Kung Fu.

It is widely accepted that Wing Chun Kung Fu originated during the 17th century as a more concise version of the rigorous and complex art forms taught in the Shaolin Temple of Southern China. It then evolved into a very popular Chinese martial art of Wing Chun, which literally means “everlasting springtime”. Wing Chun Kung Fu, therefore, means “everlasting springtime achieved through great effort.”

Although Ip Man is widely credited for bringing awareness to the style and made it famous, the originator of Wing Chun was a woman. She was Shaolin Abbess Ng Mui, a master of Shaolin Kung Fu who used this knowledge to invent a way to take advantage of the weaknesses found in other Shaolin systems.

The Pagoda forest, about 300 meters west of the Shaolin temple in the Henan province, China.

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