Wing Chun Kung Fu is a Southern Chinese Boxing Martial Arts system, developed in China approximately 400 years ago. It came about during a time of civil war, up until that period most (if not all) Chinese Martial Arts were based on animal movements, hence took many years to learn as the movements were unnatural to human functionality. The people needed a relatively easy system to learn and apply readily. So a group of Shaolin (Sil Lum) Masters from different Martial styles collaborated and developed Wing Chun.
Wing Chun was then secretly taught throughout China via the Hung Suen (Red Boat) Opera Troupe to the rebels in anticipation of the civil uprising.
Wing Chun Kung Fu then dispersed in two directions. On the surface it became sport-like. It was no longer needed for war as such, so it was practiced for health and enjoyment. The system also went underground, practiced by the Chinese mafia – the Triads.
Many years passed, and by chance a man named Ip Man – who had been taught the sport-like Wing Chun – came upon a Master of the Triad style Wing Chun. Ip Man, now knowing both systems, publicly taught the sport-like style to the masses and, privately taught the Triad style to one man, William Cheung.
William Cheung and Bruce Lee were training partners and great friends. In letters Bruce Lee wrote to William Cheung he would refer to William as the greatest street fighter he had ever known. So when Bruce Lee passed and these letters came to light it attracted a lot of attention, further increasing the popularity of Wing Chun.
When Ip Man passed away William Cheung had to decide whether to teach the sport-like system of Wing Chun or the Triad style – which he deemed the real way of Wing Chun, as that system was tested in real life and was what Wing Chun would have been if the original Masters had kept developing the art.
He chose to teach the “real” Wing Chun. This upset a lot of people and there is still a great deal of politicking about it today.
He was teaching in Melbourne, Australia when (now) Sifu Rick Spain began studying under him in 1975.
Sifu Rick Spain later went on to win state and national titles in Kickboxing and various Martial Arts tournaments in Australia. Then in 1982 he represented Australia as a Middleweight at the International Chinese Martial Arts Tournament (much like the MMA tournaments we see today, with less rules!) in Hong Kong and won the World Title.
Some time after returning to Australia, and before returning to the fighting circuit, Sifu Rick Spain had a severe car accident that ended up costing him his professional fight career. It did however, open the door to his career as a Martial Arts Coach and has been teaching in Surry Hills Sydney now for 30 years.