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The birth of Wing Chun is wrapped around many fabulous legends. There are no actual historical proofs regarding the truthfulness of any of them but they are all fascinating nonetheless. What can be assured, in any case, is that Wing Chun is a martial art that has originated from the South of China as a self-defense kung fu style and, like for many others, it comes from the fluid integration of several influences that merged during a long period of time, thanks to those who have been dedicating their lives to perfection it and pass it on. There are different lineages, however, linked to the most prominent teachers of Wing Chun and embraced, also, by those who followed a specific master. They are: Yip Man, Yiu Choi, Jiu Wan, Gulao (Koo Lo) Village, Pan Nam, Yuen Kay Shan, Nguyen Te-Cong, Cho family, Hung Fa Yi, Pao Fa Lien and Fut Sao. 

As ELYWCIMAA, of course, our traditional lineage passes through the life and teaching of Master Lok Yiu and the Great Master Yip Man. However, except for a relatively unimportant historical accuracy, related to the identity of what defines the true Wing Chun, what matters is the merit of the discipline itself. This is found exclusively in the actual practice. This is why to understand and appreciate the Lok Yiu Wing Chun above any others, it is necessary to try and live this exceptional martial art style and tradition.

The ELYWCIMMA believes that the style of Wing Chun taught by the Great Master Yip Man to our Master Lok Yiu cannot be perfected. Its system of movement has been so perfectly designed that any variation actually will result in the failure of the self-defense system itself. Modifying the Lok Yiu Wing Chun with our own ideas, will not bring a better Wing Chun but a different one, more failable and infective. Every moment, training sessions, principles, theory, and techniques are essential components that make the Lok Yiu Wing Chun the most effective. Whoever wants to appreciate and learn such beautiful wing Chun, must decide to discard any other previous knowledge of martial arts to plunge themselves into the fluidity of deeper knowledge.

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Historically, martial arts were taught within a family and, usually, in small villages, unless when aimed at governmental military training. In a time when the survival of family clans was very difficult and knowledge was not at everyone’s disposal, a family kung fu tradition was an incredibly precious treasure to cherish and to pass on. Thanks to this exclusivity a family could not only guarantee the name succession but also a special consideration within the society where they lived and work. This is the reason why a specific kung fu knowledge, style, and philosophy, within a clan, was severely protected and preserved by fathers and sons. Everyone who was singled out to receive the responsibility of carrying on such an important tradition had to be trusted without any possible doubt. 

When the culture of the Chinese kung fu clans opened up towards worthy people of no family relations, kung fu students were selected from everywhere and were “adopted” by the family clan.  Still today, in fact, the names and roles that define the relationship between school instructors and his students reflect and maintain the same meaning. This is how:

  • SIFU: father and instructor, identifies who teaches martial arts. 
  • TO DAI: martial arts student.
  • SI HING: among the To Dai is the students’ oldest “brother.”
  • SI DAI: among the To Dai is the student’s younger “brother.”
  • SI JE: among the To Dai is the student’s older “sister.”
  • SI MUI: among the To Dai is the student’s younger “sister.”
  • SI BA: is the teacher’s “brother.” 
  • SI GUNG: is the teacher’s teacher.

Wing Chun’s nomenclatures are many more, but for today’s experiences, within the ELYWCIMAA’s schools, these are sufficiently explanatory. What must not escape the attention, though, is the real meaning behind those titles. The Lok Yiu family does not keep this tradition alive for a mere formality. It is expected by anyone who enrolls in any ELYWCIMAA school to understand, respect, and behave always coherently with each other role, in and outside the school. A student’s Sifu will always remain as such even if a student decides to give up Wing Chun. They will always try their best to honor their mutual relationship by living in accordance with the moral, practical codes that shared.