Women in Martial Arts: Wing Chun

Women in Martial Arts:

Wing Chun

Wing Chun is thought to be the only martial art that was founded by a woman. The name means “everlasting springtime.” When combined with kung fu one of the translations is “everlasting springtime, hard-earned.” This is also one of the youngest styles of Kung Fu at about 300 years old. Wing Chun is considered to be one of three major marital arts styles of Southern China.


The Legend

The legend goes that in the 1700’s there was a Martial Arts Master named Ng Mui (sometimes named Ng Mei)  at a temple. She had to leave the temple for some reason and ended up needing to develop a new form of fighting that was more efficient and quicker to learn.

That is about where the legends agree. The reasons for her leaving the temple vary depending on the origin being told. The most popular of the origins places Ng Mui as coming from the Shaolin Temple with 4 other Master martial artists. The temple was attacked and they were the only survivors. The Masters then dispersed. Afterward, Ng Mui came across a young woman who is often referred to as Yin Wing Chun later in her life. She was being attacked before Ng Mui saved her. Wing Chun wished to learn how to protect herself and so Ng Mui used her knowledge of martial arts to develop a quicker style of martial arts that did not rely on brute strength.


painting of the Shaolin Temple fight




Sadly the validity of these legends is unverified.

Historically in China Kung Fu was often only taught to a very few students and so there was little widespread knowledge. As time passed many of the more modern practitioners have changed the story repeatedly. This included the person who brought this art to popularity, Ip Man. When he first made the style more open he changed the name and even who started it. Later he spread the story we now know. Others who trained under him told yet another story at times. 

In addition to this issue from word of mouth is the time this art was developed. Wing Chun was created during a time of civil war in China and due to this records are unreliable or simply nonexistent. Most histories of this kind were mostly kept due to oral tradition. With people changing the story and oral tradition dying out for most of the world it means we are unlikely to ever truly know the origin of this art. 



Over the years several big names in the Martial Arts world have spent time learning Wing Chun. This would include household names such as Bruce Lee and Robert Downey Jr. The success that these people have can be attributed, at least in part, to Ng Mui as the founder of Wing Chun.

belt display


For more Women in Martial Arts check out these posts!

Women in Martial Arts: Onna-musha

Women in Martial Arts: Sarah Mayer

Women in Martial Arts: Edith Garrud and Crabapple Martial Arts Academy has been selected the nation’s #1 martial arts schools for SIX YEARS IN A ROW by the American Budokai International!

Founded in 2013 by Mr. C. Matthew White is a 5th-degree Black Belt in Karate and 6th-degree Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu, and Master Instructor. Crabapple Martial Arts Academy has Karate lessons for pre-school children to elementary kids ages 4 and up. These classes are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need – specialized for each age group – for school excellence and later success in life.

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About C. Matthew White, Renshi:  Matt is a fifth-degree black belt in a traditional Japanese and Okinawan Martial Arts – Shuri Ryu Karatedo. He is also a sixth-degree black belt in Japanese Jiu Jitsu – Shintoyoshin Kai Jiu Jitsu. He is a master instructor with the title of Renshi, which means Scholar in Japanese.  Matt has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Physiology. He has been training and teaching martial arts for over 27 years. He has owned Crabapple Martial Arts Academy since 2013. Renshi White is a motivational speaker and educator, and teaches seminars in bullying, business, and martial arts training.

Crabapple Martial Arts Academy Headquarters is in Alpharetta, Georgia at 12315 Crabapple Road., Suite 124, Alpharetta GA 30004. You can locate the Chief Instructor, Sensei Robert Reed there or directly at (770) 645-0930.