In order to learn Wing Chun, it is important to understand the history behind it. There are many versions of how Wing Chun came into being. Some say it was started by Ng Mui, a Buddhist nun who developed it over 300 years ago in southern China and named it after her student, Yim Wing Chun. While others believe it was started by a Shoalin monk in the early to mid 1700s.
Wing Chun was almost unheard of anywhere else but China until 1950 when Grandmaster Yip Man began teaching in Hong Kong and his students grew in number. One on these students was the late Bruce Lee who became a master of the form and used Wing Chun as the basis for Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist, the style of martial arts he used in his ever-popular movies. I can still remember being enthralled by Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee using amazing skills of balance, graceful and agile movements and lightening fast strikes. His movies captivated a whole generation and encouraged many to study a martial art in one form or another.
I believe many women learn Wing Chun because of its simple form, relying on position, the use of energy and angles rather than size and power. With short explosive blows by the hand and very low kicks, people of small stature find learning Wing Chun a remarkable form of self-defense. You can be effective without any massive strength at all. You actually learn to use your attackers strength against them. When you learn Wing Chun, you will gain better balance and speed, you will learn about how to position your body and how to refine your movements to their best advantage, mostly getting in close to your attacker. In Wing Chun the principal of the closest point between two points is a straight line holds true. Wing Chun is generally used for defense rather than attack and when first developed strikes were meant to be fatal and pointed at areas such as the throat, eyes and stomach. Many countries have their elite military personal learn Wing Chun, not only for self-defense but also for the quiet execution of the movements in arm-to-arm combat.
It does not take long to learn Wing Chun, in fact it is quicker than most other forms and you can learn to defend yourself in a fairly shot period of time, but true of all martial arts you can practice it for the rest of your life. When you learn wing Chun you also gain health benefits as the meditative side of Wing Chun is a great stress reliever as Wing Chun is also about using your mind, learning to control impulses, relax into the movement and sense your balance, strength and power. As your fitness levels improve so to does your overall health.
Whether you learn Wing Chun for self-defense, sport or simply as an exercise and meditation tool it will be a valuable asset for the rest of your life.