The origin of Wing Chun Kung Fu can be found in the turbulent, repressive Ching (Manchurian) dynasty of over 250 years ago. It was a time when 90% of the Chinese race, the Hans, were ruled by the 10% minority, the Manchurians. The Manchurians treated the Hans unjustly. For instance, all the female Han infants were made to bind their feet so that when they grew up they would be dependent upon their parents or husband. Men were made to shave the front of their heads and were forced to wear a pigtail (queue) to distinguish them as Han males not Manchurian.
The work opportunity of the Hans was also restricted. They were not allowed to hold a position above a certain level in the Government. Heavy tax burdens were placed on the country, so that the Manchurians could have economic control of the Han people.
Kung Fu training was also banned for the Hans, however the Manchurian Government was adopting the Han culture. The Manchurians respected the Shaolin Temple as a Buddhist sanctuary, since the Manchurians were Buddhists as well.
When all weapons were outlawed by the Manchurians, the Hans began training a revolutionary army in the banned art of kung Fu. The Shaolin Temple became the secret sanctuary for preparatory training of a classic style which took 15 to 20 years for each person to master. Five of China's grandmasters met to discuss the merits of each of the various forms of kung Fu, in order to develop a form with a shorter learning period. By choosing the most efficient techniques from each style, they developed training programs that would develop an efficient martial artist in 5 to 7 years, one-third the original time. However before this new form could be put into practice, the Shaolin Temple was raided and burned by the Manchurians.
Ng Mui, a nun, was the only survivor of the original five grandmasters. She passed her knowledge onto a young orphan girl whom she named Wing Chun. The name means, "Praise Spring", representing "hope for the future". A future without Manchurian domination and injustices. In turn Yim Wing Chun passed her knowledge to her husband, Leung Bok Chao. Through the years the style became known as Wing Chun. Its techniques and teachings were passed onto a few carefully selected students. After Yim Wing Chun passed away, Leung Bok Chao taught his nephew Wong Wah Bo.
Wong Wah Bo joined the Red Junk Opera Company and taught Leung Yee Tai who was an actor in the company. Leung Yee Tai and Wong Wah Bo both taught Leung Jan who in turn became famous for his skill in Wing Chun kung fu. Leung Jan opened an herbal shop in Fatshan, where he practiced medicine. At night he trained his sons and Chan Wah Shun. After Leung Jan passed away, Chan Wah Shun took over the instruction of Wing Chun and Leung Bik left the province. In time, Chan Wah Shun accepted Yip Man as his last disciple.
In 1950 Yip Man started to teach Wing Chun in Hong Kong. One of his first students was the new Grandmaster, William Cheung, head of the World Wing Chun Kung Fu Association.