Shaolin wing chun history
In the middle of China located at the foot of the holy mountain of Song Shen, in the province of Henan lies the Northern Shaolin Temple, a monastery, of which many legends have been told, it is the origin of all martial arts that were developed for defense and never for aggression. For more than 1500 years, the monks have developed and perfected these martial techniques known as Shaolin Kung Fu, and used their Kung Fu to fight for righteous causes. The monks of Shaolin put themselves in life-or-death situations in order to test their spirituality. The success of their legendary endeavors was not only due to the high level of physical conditioning and skill they worked to develop, but primarily because they allowed themselves to be governed by a higher level of consciousness, with no illusions or attachments, thus giving the practitioner freedom from connecting to anything that would prevent them from achieving emptiness. It is in this clear state of mind that we cease to anticipate or hesitate, which results in the ability to “live in the moment”, meaning we successfully adapt to change rather than become defeated by it.
There were 24 dynasties in China, the Ming and Qing were the last. In 1644 the Manchurians, a nomadic people of Mongolian descent, sent their army to invade China. They marched all the way to the gates of the Capital in Beijing, “The Forbidden City”, and conquered the Ming forces. As a result the Ming Emperor committed suicide. This was the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. The survivors of the Ming royal family, together with loyal supporters in the military, fled to the Northern Shaolin Temple. The royal family enlisted the support of anyone who would rally to their cause to fight the foreign invaders, including the civilian martial arts community and the Shaolin monks. They gathered many allies, but due to the Northern Shaolin Temple's close proximity to Beijing, they chose to set up a base of operations in the Southern Shaolin Temple, located in the Fukien province instead.
The Ming Dynasty was called the “bright dynasty”, alluding to the fact that the time of Ming rule was a time of illumination, much like the European Renaissance. The name “Wing Chun” means “praising spring”, “spring”, symbolic of new growth, represents the Ming Dynasty.
Wing Chun was created, by already skilled martial artists of the Ming loyalist factions, their goal being the ability to employ a martial arts system that could express maximum efficiency to defeat the Qing by optimizing Time, Space, and Energy.
Because the Southern Shaolin Temple had become a special meeting place for the Chinese patriots, in the late 1660’s, under the rule of Qing Emperor K’ang Hsi, the Southern Shaolin Temple was destroyed. It was under these circumstances that the martial artists who were in temple, were forced to separate and spread throughout China; some even travelling to other countries.
After the fall of the Southern Shaolin Temple, Wing Chun was hidden by the Secret Societies, and later the Red Boats, due to the persecution by the Qing government. As a complete Martial Arts System it is the culmination of the years of training by the monks and the military expertise of the Ming Generals. Many Wing Chun families developed their own special form of the art in order to keep it alive and continue the “praising” in hopes of the return of the Ming to power.
Shaolin Wing Chun is a Shaolin Kung Fu system, developed by Grand Master Benny Meng , using the teachings that follow the original concepts and principles that were established by the monks of the Shaolin Temples, of which he became a certified instructor in 2014.
Grand Master Meng began his Wing Chun Kung Fu training in Hong Kong in 1982 under the movie star Sifu Lee Hoi Sang, a student of Jiu Wan. Jiu Wan had completed training in the Wing Chun system through Chan Yiu Min in China prior to beginning his training with Ip Man. Chan Yiu Min was the son of Chan Wah Shun, the first teacher of Ip Man. Benny Meng's training under Lee Hoi Sang was interrupted after 1½ years of intense study by his return to the United States. He resumed full time training under Sifu Moy Yat in New York City in 1985. Grand Master Meng officially started teaching Wing Chun in his own school in 1987.
In 1994, Grand Master Meng began another journey through the Wing Chun system with Sifu Moy Yat through private lessons. Moy Yat was a notable student of the legendary Ip Man, who has been most recently depicted in a series of movies by Donnie Yen. Ip Man's most famous student, Bruce Lee, was a Kung Fu sibling to Moy Yat.
With Moy Yat's blessing, Grand Master Meng began another journey the system in 1995 via extensive private lessons with his Sibak (kung fu uncle) Ip Ching, the son of Ip Man.
The Ving Tsun Museum, the Ving Tsun Athletic Association, and the Moy Yat International Ving Tsun Federation have certified him as a Senior Instructor (7th Degree). Grand Master Meng is recognized worldwide, and affiliated with the International Moy Yat Ving Tsun Federation (USA), the Ving Tsun Athletic Association (Hong Kong), the World Wing Chun Union (Hong Kong), the Fatsan Jing Mo (China), the Wushu and Kuoshu Kung Fu Federations (USA), and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (USTU).
With the establishment of the Ving Tsun Museum project in 1993 and the official Grand Opening in 1998, Grand Master Meng's passion for Wing Chun research has been fueled at an ever-accelerating rate by his position as Curator. To broaden the knowledge of his original Wing Chun system, he sought further research and training from numerous lineages outside the Ip Man family.
Based on his research, the oldest forms of Wing Chun still in practice today fall under the umbrella of 'Shaolin Wing Chun' a term coined by the Ving Tsun Museum to refer to lineages that still maintain a tradition of teaching Chan Buddhism, Health Cultivation, Self-Defense, and Fighting Skills as one seamless whole.
Sifu Paul Mason's Shaolin Wing Chun journey began in 2008 under Master John Lambert, who has studied with Grand Master Meng since the year 2000. Furthermore, Master Lambert has over 60 years of martial arts experience. In addition to Shaolin Wing Chun, he has trained in:
Tien Shen Pai
Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun
Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun
Master Lambert is a disciple of Grand Master Meng, and considered a pillar of Grand Master Meng's international organization.