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Returning to the origins!
The History of Wing Chun in Russia continues…
On 7th-19th of June 2002, a dream came true! We travelled to Foshan, China to visit the International Centre of Martial Arts. This is the Motherland of Wing Chun!
Foshan is located in a small province called Guangdong.
The Wing Chun Centre itself was established in 1921 and is situated in a very beautiful park, where the culture and ancient architecture have been preserved in their primordial state. Hundreds of people study at the Centre. Wing Chun is not the only activity you can see. A great diversity of Wushu types, Tai Chi etc also take place.
Sometimes it seems that every third Foshan inhabitant is engaged with martial arts. You see young and old practicing their skills all over the place. We were greeted and made to feel very welcome. The Eastern hospitality is famous everywhere! They were surprised to know that Wing Chun is practiced and much loved in Russia! Our delegation consisted of three people: Korolev Nikolay Veniaminovich (Head of the Department of Combat and Non-Traditional Sports and State Representative from the Moscow Department of Education and Sports Development), General Secretary Pichugina Ludmila Victorovna and Martynov Valeriy Vasilyevich, the President of the All-Russia Yun Chun Quan (Wing Chun) Federation. They were accompanied by interpretor Vey Vey.
More then twenty Wing Chun Masters gathered in the hall for the classes. All expressed a great interest in the Russian contingent.
Heated debates took place on the Wing Chun school topic as well as other techniques and forms. Even proof testing took place! The following day was very serious: judges, senior Masters and an examination.
Everyone had to show what they knew and, thankfully, everything went with approving applause.
A photograph of Martynov Valeriy Vasilyevich (the President of the All-Russia Yun Chun Quan (Wing Chun) Federation) was put among the Masters and it was Russia's only victory.
His Mastership was approved and confirmed with documents: a Certificate, student's mark book and Master book.
Then the introductions to the Masters and an exchange of Business Cards between senior Masters took place.
Yan Kai San's branch (younger brother of Te Kong) still exists in Foshan and is continued in Guangdong by the Master Tsen Neng.
To show our respect and appreciation, we visited the Foshan Master Gou Fu. He studied with Yip Man and is now 89 years old. He cordially welcomed us and openly shared his experiences with us. His son continues to follow his father's school but, according to Gou Fu's words, his hands are not that soft. They remind him of the Hong Kong technique. I also managed to try Chi Sao with the son. And we were both pleased with our meeting. In Guangdong we met the Wing Chun Master Tsen Neng and expressed a hope to meet in Moscow and hold seminars.
Friendship and collaboration are both dry words today but they still bring us back to eternal values! Our trip continued on to Shaolin: a legendery place for all those engaged with or who simply just heard of martial arts. The Temple's walls still breathe with and exude a spirit of battle with the external and internal enemies. Yes, today it is a museum for everybody. Somewhere there, however, deep within the temple walls, glimmer the ancient shadows of practicing Masters and monks. Children wearing specially styled monk's garb carry big buckets of water so, who knows, perhaps the monastery’s past life will be re-enacted after all?
China maintains its traditions despite the rapid growth of its economy and civilization in general. Internal discipline, maintaining architectural monuments, nature, temples! All of them are the collective face of the Сhinese people. I would like to think that, some day, our people will wake up and find their national pride, feel their earth and each other as being native.
31st of May 2002: The All-Russian Yun Chun Quan (Wing Chun) Association was established. This is an opportunity to organise a Russian equivalent of the Foshan Centre of Wing Chun Development, where Masters and students could avail of great knowledge and could exchange experience. Most importantly, we could officially and consciously develop a combat style, which would take its respected place among already aknowledged types of martial arts in Russia and abroad.