We teach Kung Fu, martial arts from China, which translates to “hard work, well done.” We specialize in a style of Kung Fu called Wing Chun. Here is a brief history of Wing Chun and how Great Way started…
Legendary Origin – Sil Lum (Shaolin) Temple
The Wing Chun style originated over 250 year s ago. It was created in the Sil Lum (Shaolin) Buddhist Monastery of Mt. Sung, in the Hunan Province of China as a reaction to repressive Manchu Government during the Ching Dynasty. Our best source for the origin of Wing Chun is the late Grand Master Ip (Yip) Man. According to Ip Man, it was created by 5 Shaolin Grand Masters at Sil Lum as a new fighting style that would dominate other fighting arts and require much less training time to master. Kung Fu became very strong at Sil Lum and aroused fear in the Manchu Government. The Monastery was burned down and the monks and disciples scattered. The 5 masters went their separate ways. One of the masters named Ng Mui met Yim Yee and his daughter Wing Chun. At fifteen, Wing Chun’s beauty attracted the attention of a local bully who tried to force her to marry him. Ng Mui learned of this and agreed to teach the young girl self-defense techniques. Wing Chun trained night and day until she mastered the techniques then challenged the bully to a fight and beat him. Ng Mui gave the honor of developing the Kung Fu style to Wing Chun.
Yim Wing Chun – Ip (Yip) Man
Wing Chun translates as “hope for the future” or “beautiful springtime.” She taught her husband Leung Bok Chau and through a series of students who became masters the Kung Fu style was taught to Ip (Yip) Man. It can thus be said that the Wing Chun system was passed on to Ip Man in a direct line of succession from its origin. There have been many movies made about Kung Fu and Wing Chun. The most famous was brought to the big screen by Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Donnie Yen, who plays Ip Man in most of the movies about his life.
William Cheung, Bruce Lee and Brian Lewadny
Grandmaster William Cheung was taught by Ip Man in Hong Kong. After the passing of Ip Man William opened up Traditional Wing Chun, teaching the once private style widely across the World. William Cheung’s two most exceptional students were Bruce Lee and Brian Lewadny. Brian Lewadny is the Chief Instructor of the Canadian Wing Chun Association. He pioneered the diverse Wing Chun curriculum complete with traditional and non-traditional weapons and all ranges of combat from standing to ground. This exceptional curriculum is taught only by the Instructors of the Canadian affiliated Wing Chun Academies.
James was born in Penticton, BC and started martial arts training in 1980. James was first to achieve the title of Sifu, Level 10 with Instructor Certification under the Instruction of Sigung Brian Lewadny in Calgary, AB. He was also the first student to complete a Level 10 Instructors Exam by the current high standards and content of the exceptional curriculum mentioned above. Returning to the Okanagan in 1993 with his partner and wife Esmeralda, they opened Great Way Martial Arts. Their passion for the mission of Great Way, “to joyfully inspire the mental and physical well-being of our community” continues to grow year after year.
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If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy “Is Kung Fu Right For You?”
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Sifu James Heinrich