Pien San (Side Body) Wing Chun originates from the village where Dr. Leung Jan retired after leaving Fatshan. Gulao was his home (a small village in Hessian province). Traditionally in Chinese culture the leading Kung Fu master of the village would teach the village youngsters in order that they would be able to protect their village from bandits and raiders who were prevalent at this time and would prey on the weaker villages. Like all styles of Kung Fu this teaching had two purposes, one was to provide a practical fighting system that would allow the youngsters to defend themselves and their loved ones. The second was to promote health in mind and body to allow the youngsters to live long lives. In addition with the ability to deal out deadly techniques, there must be some responsibility so the Master must teach the youngsters to be mature, responsible people.
Leung Jan therefore taught a method of Wing Chun that was different from the stylized approach he had previously taught in Fatshan. It was quick and easy to pick up being made up of separate techniques (San Sao). That the beginner could repeat in order to strengthen his body and use very quickly in a fighting situation. Yet there was a lot more to Leung Jan’s teaching than mere body movements. At a more advanced stage the student would realize that these San Sao actually encompassed all the under-lying principles that make up Wing Chun. Once this was realized the student would be able to apply them with ease to any situation - including fighting with sticks, pole and knife.
Many people today fail to realize that Wing Chun is primarily a set of fighting principles. The basic movements taught are merely a vessel to focus these principles. Today many instructors teach like this, the move must be done this way, rather than focusing on the principle behind the move. This will allow the student to learn much faster, and allow Wing Chun to become a part of themselves rather than a set of foreign movements that a student must repeat with the hope that they may one day assimilate them. This, I believe, was the original intention of Leung Jan.
What then happened to this Pien San or Gulao Wing Chun, and what does it have to do with the man who brought Wing Chun to England? Indeed, who was the man who brought Wing Chun to England?
My Master, Lee Shing, brought wing Chun to England towards the end of the 1950′s. Who’s first teacher was Fong Yee Ming, who himself had learnt from Wong Wah Sam who had learnt from Leung Jan. Lee Shing had a real interest in Wing Chun and was a keen disciple who was interested immediately in researching all the different styles of Wing Chun inspired by his knowledge of Pien San Kuen. He therefore, in his research, went on to study under Fung Sang who was one of the central points of Pien San Wing Chun, having studied under his father Fung Lim and his uncle Koo Siu-Lung (both students of Wong Wah Sam). He then went on to learn from the famous Kung Fu master Ng Jung So, and later Jiu Wan. Please excuse me for the detail in this article but I try to maintain interest in the history of Wing Chun.
Even though the present of Wing Chun is more important than the past, it is important to know where your roots lie. This can give you an insight into the reason behind your art and the techniques used. Lee Shing eventually moved to Hong Kong where he met and trained with Lok Yiu before being introduced to Yip Man in the 50′s before being allowed to open up a school on Hong Kong Island - with the opening ceremony being conducted by Grandmaster Yip Man. It was at this time that Lee Shing met Yip Chun who had resumed his studies in Wing Chun. The two became firm friends and henceforth when Yip Chun came to England, he would always stay at Lee Shing’s home.
Lee Shing eventually moved to England and went on to teach many current day masters such as Joseph Cheung, Joseph Lee, Hau Bing Sam, Tan Man Kun, Nigel Fan, Eddie Yeoh, Sam Kwok, Simon Lau, Austin Goh and Joseph Man. He was well respected by all London based Kung Fu Masters
His syllabus comprised of the following Siu Lim Tao (little idea form) intended to give beginners an idea of the scope of Wing Chun, Chum Kiu (seeking the bridge) teaching how and when to make first contact, Biu Jee (shooting fingers) and Dai Lim Tao (big idea form). This is as important as Siu Lim Tau in that it encompasses the scope of Wing Chun but this time with the idea for the techniques to be used in all situations. The principles of the hands can therefore be applied to the feet, i.e. Bong Gerk or whilst grappling.
Dai Lim Tao
The Form consists of the following 12 Handsets;
* Siu Lim Tao * Dai Lim Tao * Sam Jheen Choi (Three finger jab) * Biu Choi (Charging/Thrusting punch) * Sap Jee Choi (Reverse meridian/Cross hand punch) * Dip Cheung (Double Butterfly Palm). Alternating low palm strikes. * Lan Kiu (Bar Arm Bridge) * Teet Jee Chum Kiu (Iron Finger Sinking bridge). Back fist flowing into low strike followed by low palm strike. * Tang Ma Biu Jee (Rising thrusting finger with phoenix eye) * Hok Bong (Crane bong). Level Bong Sau, moving into side body with simultaneous attack * Wan Wan Yeu (Life after Death). Using the waist to lean back to avoid strikes detected late, then using the return waist power in the hand strike * Fook Fu (Subduing the Tiger). Mixture b/w Gan and Fak Sau with phoenix eye.
Also included in the syllabus are Dai Bong (Low soft Bong), Fu Mei (low strike to the groin), Gwai Lung Na (double Lop Sau), Sam Bai Fut (Three bow to Buddha), Sam Jhin Chiu (Three arrow blow), Fan Kup Choi (uppercut), Lien Wan Fai Jeung (linked fast palms), and important principles like the double bridge - double, Flicking Tan Sau with forward energy to bridge the Gap in Chum Kiu.
Pien San teaches you also how to modify these points depending on the situation and how to combine them effortlessly in free flowing techniques so that they are not static but flow freely along with correct footwork.
(Lee Shing - Three and a half point Pole)
Saam Dim Boon Kwun (Three-and-a-Half Point Pole) is the standard pole set of the Gulao (Pien Sun) Wing Chun Kuen system. This version originates from the Lee Shing teachings of Fong Yee-Ming and Fung Sang.
* Huen (Circle) * Dim (Point) * Gwot (Cut) * Doy (Pull Back) * Biu (Thrust)
Siu Lam Seung Dao (Shaolin Double Knives)
Siu Lam Seung Dao (Shaolin Double Knives) is a double broadsword set of the Gulao (Pien Sun) Wing Chun Kuen system, This version originates from the Lee Shing teachings of Fong Yee-Ming and Fung Sang.