During the years from 1911 through the 1920’s the Warlords controlled China. They were having a civil war with the people who wanted to implement the new government of the Republic of China. By the 1930’s China was so weakened by this strife that it was vulnerable to foreigners and was attacked and defeated by the Japanese. The Japanese controlled China until the end of World War II in 1945, and the Communist began their quest to take over China and succeeded in 1949.
The “Peoples Government” began to persecute the intellectuals and wealthy and then turned their persecution to the Martial Artist, fearing that they would create a counterrevolution. Masters were being slaughtered in the streets and were forced to go underground or flee to Hong Kong.
Many of the Wing Chun practitioners continued to teach only in the secret societies and maintained a high level of the art and passed it down through their family or society lineages. The level of training and understanding of the art varied and each practitioner continued their training as best as they could, under these circumstances, and some of their students begin teaching others. The evolution of the systems, due to the various interpretations and the approaches to the training methods by the Masters, created an environment for multiple results from their Southern Shaolin Temple origins; Chu Ga Tong Long (Southern Praying Mantis), Ng Jou Kuen (Five Ancestors Boxing), Fujian Bai He (White Crane), Bak Mei (White Eyebrow), and Lung Ying Kuen (Southern Dragon Boxing) are examples. Three of the Wing Chun arts that have purported to have maintained their original Systems are Chi Sim Weng Chun, Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen, and Hek Ki Boen Eng Chun Pai. Many others have been the outgrowth of the originals and have taken on the identity of the master and therefore become a style.
It was this purging of the martial arts, in China, that created the flourishing of Wing Chun in Hong Kong. It was through Ip Man that Bruce Lee emerged as a Wing Chun practitioner and popularized the Art in the late 1960’s. Even though the Ip Man style was best known to the public there were other effective Wing Chun systems that were being maintained in secret. As of today the secretive Wing Chun systems, such as Hung Fa Yi, and Hek Ki Boen are emerging and being offered to the public..
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