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Brief History of WT


WingTsun Kung Fu was founded by a Buddhist nun called Ng Mui more than 250 years ago in China. Ng Mui designed the new system to take advantage of the weak points of Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu - for the purpose of hunting down the traitors of the Shaolin Monastery.

She passed this new system to a woman called Yim WingTsun. Yim later taught it to her husband, Leung Bok Chau. For the honour of his beloved wife, Leung named it WingTsun Kuen ("Kuen" means Fist-fighting Arts).


Ng Mui and WingTsun
Ng Mui teaches WingTsun

Grandmaster Yip Man
Grandmaster Yip Man


WingTsun Kung Fu was passed down from generation to generation as a top secret system. Not until the 40's when the late Grandmaster Yip Man started to develop it in Hong Kong.

Among his early disciples were Wong Shun Leung, Tsui Sheung Tin, Hawkins Cheung, Ho Kam Ming , Bruce Lee, Leung Sheung, etc.


Ill heath influenced Grandmaster Yip Man's decision that he would retire from teaching WingTsun and hand over the running of his gymnasium to his students. In Chinese tradition Grandmaster Yip Man had "Closed his door!".

Never did Grandmaster Yip Man expect a teenager would turn up on his doorstep who was so fond of him and his WingTsun techniques. Grandmaster Yip accepted Leung Ting as his last student and taught him the most advanced techniques of WingTsun.


Leung Ting standing beside Grandmaster Yip Man
Leung Ting standing beside Grandmaster Yip Man

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee may have been the first one in the USA to give this Chinese fighting art an English name, "Wing Chun". Whereas the other students of Grandmaster Yip Man in Hong Kong spelt it "Ving Tsun".

Click here to hear Bruce Lee.


When Yip Man passed away in 1972 and Bruce Lee was the hottest movie star in south-east Asia after wrecking public havoc with blockbusters such as The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon, Leung Ting - the late grandmaster Yip Man's ONLY closed door private student, began his work to further develop, upgrade and modernise the art of WingTsun.

Click here to hear Leung Ting.


Enter the Dragon

Leung Ting
Leung Ting


In 1973, Leung Ting exclusively adopted the name "WingTsun" to distinguish his teaching method, thus marking the new and modern way of the art. He also formed a brand new organisation, entitled:

IWTA logo
International WingTsun Association

which today is the world's largest individual kung fu organisation, represented in forty-six countries and with the headquarters situated in Hong Kong (where Leung Ting still runs a school on the bustling Nathan Road - the original gym where Grandmaster Yip Man taught). Leung Ting was the first to refine Wing Chun from a non-systematic-teaching style to a complete fighting system suitable for the modern world and has now developed it all over the world.


In 1975, the European WT Organisation was founded by Keith Kernspecht, the result of a visit by Leung Ting.

Keith Kernspecht has been immensely successful in propagating and organising WingTsun throughout Europe. Today, "the father of WingTsun in the West" supervises more than 14 countries including Germany - the European capital of WingTsun.

The EWTO Headquarters/European Centre For Excellence is located in Heidelberg, Germany. There you will find the magnificent Langenzell Castle.

Langenzell Castle
Langenzell Castle


Keith Kernspecht
Keith Kernspecht

Emin Boztepe
Emin Boztepe


Among the many outstanding students of Keith Kernspecht is Emin Boztepe.

Emin has acquired master status in WT and he is a testament to the high quality results that the EWTO structured teaching system brings.

Other students include:

Stefan Fischer (left), Frank Schäfer (right)
Stefan Fischer (left), Frank Schäfer (right)

Thomas Mannes, Frank Ringeinsen, Victor Gutierrez, Tassos Panagiotopoulos, Peter Vilimek, Andreas Grosse, etc.


For any questions or comments, send e-mail to WT@manner.globalnet.co.uk
Copyright © 1999 IWTA and EWTO.
Click here to go back to the EWTO-GB London Home Page.