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The Only Wing Chun Clan from the South-West of China

Snake Wing Chun clan maybe the only one that was born in the south-west of Mainland China. This clan was established by Leung Bok Chau/ Liang Bochou, the husband of legendary Yim Wing Tsun.

Leung Bok Chau/ Liang Bochou taught Wing Chun kung fu to Law Marn Kung/ Luo Wan gong.

Nicknamed Law Marn Kung/ Luo Wan gong the Divine Fists, Law was regarded as the top kung fu expert in his town. Law Marn Kung ‘s disciple, Kok Bo Chuen/ Guo Bao quan, was renowned for his use of the doublebroadsword. As a result, he was nicknamed Kok Bo Chuen the Double-broadswordsman.

The Kok Bo Chuen Wing Chun style is quite soft and most of the hand techniques imitate the movements of a snake. Therefore it was also called Sheh-Ying Wing Chun or the ‘Snake-Pattern Wing Chun’, or just Sheh-Ying Sau which can be literally translated as the ‘Snake Pattern Hands’.

Yuen Chai Wan/Ruan Ji yun, nick-named “Dou-Pay Chai” or “Pocked Chai” was a student of Kok Bo Chuen/ Guo Bao quan. Yuen Chai Wan/Ruan Ji yun loved wushu since his childhood. He had studied with many teachers, until one day he met the famous martial arts master Kok Bo Chuen/ Guo Bao quan. Since then, Ruan Ji yun trained hard, invested all the time and effort in the comprehension of wushu and achieved great success in this field.

Yiu Choi started to learn Wing Chun under Yuen Chai Wan/Ruan Ji yun when Yiu was in his teens. Yiu Choi followed Yuen Chai Wan for 15 years or so until Yuen Chai Wan moved to Plmom Penh Cambodia where he opened a Kung Fu school.

After Yuen left, Yiu Choi soon found Ng Chung So/ Wu Zhong su, the second student of Wah the Money Changer/ Chen Hua shun, and continued his Wing Chun training under him.

Ng Chung So/ Wu Zhong su was very passionate about teaching Wing Chun. Students could come to his gym at any time and practice. Yiu Choi and Ip Man were students of Wu Zhong su, but techniques of Ip Man and Yiu Choi differ a lot.

Wu Zhong su passed at the age of 72. 10 years before he closed his gym and move to his student Yiu Choi. Yiu Choi supported his teacher Wu Zhong su until his end. Wu Zhong su lived in his student’s house and taught Yiu Choi and his sun Yiu Kay.

Yiu Choi, under the careful guidance of his teachers and thanks to intensive training, has achieved great success. There are many legends about the skill of Yiu Choi. In the 20s, a martial arts master came from afar and declared himself the most powerful master in China, he could cut the whole log with one blow. He boastfully declared that he can defeat the South China Sea. He set the wrestling platform and invited famous masters to compete with him. Several masters from the Shaolin monastery could not resist his blows. Yiu Choi brilliantly used the Wing Chun technique and inflicted a crushing defeat on his opponent. The defeated master left the southern province in disgrace and returned to his homeland, and Yiu Choi was applauded by local residents for a long time.

In Yiu Choi’s Wing Chun the concept of the punching method of Yat-Gee Chung Kuen or ‘Character ‘Sun’ Thrusting Punch’ is called pouja-lek or ‘explosive power’. A Wing Chun practitioner needs to relax his muscles from start to finish when launching a punch. The force is just like using a whip to hit an object, but the fist should be aimed at the target, just like shooting an arrow at its target. This is why the Wing Chun people of earlier times referred to this method of training as Che Chin-Kuen or Che Chin-Tsui which means ‘to launch punches like shooting arrows. This is the characteristic of the unique straight punching method of Wing Chun.

Yiu Kay, the son of Yiu Choi, was born in 1922, died in 1996. From childhood he studied martial art from his father and at an early age achieved great success in mastering Wing Chun. In the 1940s the strongest masters often got together in his house to help each other hone their skills. A frequent guest of Yu Kai was Li Shou peng, the famous master of pole, the last student of Wu Zhong su.

Yiu Kay became famous for his excellent technique, speed of reaction, explosive force of impact, perfect mastery of the Chi Sao technique. Yiu Kay considered it a matter of his life to perfect his Wing Chun and train his students.

Yiu Kay was a very close friend of Mr. Leung Ting who wrote an interesting analysis “Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun”. We use his materials in this article.

Grandmaster Yiu Kay passed in summer 1996 at the age of 76. Yiu Kay’s sons, Yiu Hon Keung, Yiu Chung Keung, his Si Dai Fok Chiu, and some of the senior students, continue the family tradition.

There are 4 basic exercises in the Yiu Family School: Huen Sao, Dan Chi Sao, Suen Sao (or “Snake Hands”) and Chi Sao.

Particular attention should be paid to Huen Sao and Suen Sao (“Snake Hands”) — special features of this Wing Chun style.

In the «Snake Hands» exercise contact with the opponent’s hands takes place at long range. If the long-distance attack was lost, and you had no opportunity bypass the enemy’s hands and attack, you can proceed to a closer distance to Chi Sao. The «Snake Hands» can be compared with a tightening helix. For those who practice the pole, I would compare it with the circular movements of the pole, which allow you to control all entry points.

The “Snake Hands” exercise, the “Huen sao” exercise and the bamboo dummy set came to the Wing Chun Snake style from Sifu Ruan Ji yun.

A special feature of the Wing Chun Snake style is a bamboo dummy — Chuk Chong. Unlike a wooden dummy, a bamboo dummy teaches to form an effort correctly, control the opponent’s hand and attack at any moment of contact.

In all styles of Wing Chun Chi Sao appeared quite late, as the order of the Triads against the police officers’ Qin-na. Chi Sao on the two hands in the Snake style has its own characteristics. A hand starts screwing on the attack, but does not remain in the “Snake Hand” position, but transfers to the «Crane wing», which allows avoiding the breakdown of the hand. Also in this exercise there are many wrist grips. This technique resembles Qin-na and Fan-Qin-na. In the Snake style of Wing Chun great attention is also paid to the elbows’ work.

The Double-broadsword Techniques came from Master Guo Bao quan and had their own defense and attack principles.

There are the following exercises in the Yiu family school today:

It is worth saying that the Yiu Family School has been closed for aliens for a long time. Only 15 years ago, when Grandmaster Yiu Kay went to another world, the school began to teach openly.

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