In 2006, my husband Sifu Garry Baniecki decided to go China to meet Wing Chun Masters.
I found the idea very exciting and intriguing.
It is every Martial Artists dream to go back to the grass roots of their specific system.
Wing Chun was developed by a woman.
I was honored to be one of the few Females around the World to be involved in Wing Chun.
It would be a great chance to show the inheritors of Wing Chun what a woman could do.
Wing Chun was created by Women.
It would also be the chance of a lifetime.
We could test our skills against the Chinese, being the best Kung Fu practitioners in the world.
Kulao village is ancient and very small and is renowned as a wing chun village.
We wanted to find Kulao and contact the famous Fung family.
They are inheritors of Leung Jan’s final legacy.
Pien Sun is said to be the purist, most unadulterated Wing Chun in the world.
After much research on the Internet, Garry had compiled much information on our trip.
He was unable to find anything on Kulao.
To his dismay his computer crashed and he lost everything on the trip.
Disappointed at having to start again he got back on line.
This time to his absolute joy, he was amazed to find all the Kulao information he needed.
He found a contact in Hong Kong who knew the Fung family well.
I felt it was our destiny to travel to Kulao to meet the inheritors of Leung Jan’s final legacy.
Sifu linda will never forget the sound of the drums, and symbols that greeted our Group.
The noise smashed the silence as we arrived at the Kulao Red Fortune restaurant.
There were about fifty to sixty Kulao Practitioners gathered to meet with us.
Kulao is a Wing Chun village.
The majority of the men in this village train wing chun under different Sifus.
They had all come here on this day for some interaction with our group.
Everyone was very excited as very few westerners have been to KuLo.
We were the first Australians.
Sifu Fung Keun was unable to be there/
His brother Fung Leung takes his place, alias the Tank.
After eating, the elders of the village decided they wanted to start doing demos outside.
So a big circle was formed and we began exchanging forms, weapons and Qi Sao drills.
We had been travelling for six days and were totally exhausted.
We had visited two schools a day so we were very tired.
But the excitement and Adrenalin spurred our spirits on.
It is not every day that one gets to perform Qi Sao with other practitioners in China.
Finally the first challenge was put out for random Qi Sao, and then another and another.
We were like dueling warriors.
We were holding our own against some of the best in China.
I was extremely proud of our school.
The men did not challenge me to Chi Sao.
No one wanted to risk being beaten by a woman.
In the end I made my own challenge.
It was thrilling and a lot of fun to touch hands and compete with the unknown.
The villagers found it very interesting and amusing that I had held my own.
After two hours of dueling we headed off to see Leung Jans house.
This was a spectacle in itself as most of the villagers proceeded to follow us there.
To walk through the ancient streets of Gulao Village took us back in time.
Dr. Leung Jan would have walked, practiced wing chun, eaten, rested and slept here.
It was a very humbling experience, we were back in Wing Chun time.
Later that day we would get to actually hold Leung Jans 200 year old Dragon Pole.
It was absolutely mind blowing to actually be holding this legendary Master’s dragon pole.
Leung Jan’s Pole was over 200 years old.
Wow, what a privilege. Could things get any better?
Well yes, and they did.
We got a surprise visit at Leung Jans house from Grandmaster Fung Chun.
This 86 years young grand master had come especially to meet us.
He sat down with us and talked of Yim Wing Chun being the smartest women in the world.
He explained how she developed Wing Chun.
He also discussed other topics of wing chun history.
This made my day to hear him speak of Yim Wing Chun.
Many people are trying to denounce the very existence of this women warrior.
To hear him speak of her was very rewarding.
The following year, after visiting Leung Jan’s house again, we visited Fung Chun’s house.
He remembered us from the previous year.
He was thrilled to see us.
We all sat around his court yard and he spoke about Yim Wing Chun and Wing Chun history.
He said the system was developed by Yim Wing Chun,
She had to be the smartest woman alive to have such ideas.
He went on to tell us how her husband Leung Bok Cho was a master in a Southern Style.
She tried to convince her husband that he did not need muscles to win in combat.
He only needed the special techniques of position and movement of Wing Chun.
He did not believe her technique could be more powerful than his.
She was far too small and of slight build.
Frustrated by his arrogance she grabbed a pile of tiles broke them all with one strike.
He was so astonished and impressed with how his tiny wife could generate so much power.
He began learning the Wing Chun system from her.
GM Fung Chun explained how her fighting and weaponry enabled her to become a legend.
It was awesome to hear him speak of her.
I found it hard to believe.
We were sitting in this famous masters courtyard listening to him tell us stories.
He is truly a living Wing Chun legend.
From there he unexpectedly joined us for lunch at an eating house.
He sat down with Garry and I and conversed with us and our students for nearly two hours.
His eyes glistened with the memories that must have flooded his mind as he spoke.
He laughed loud and heartily.
It was easy to see he was enjoying every minute of the interaction with us.
When showing technique it was quite clear that he had not lost any of his finesse.
His hands were still so very fast.
It was here that he asked everyone how long they had been training.
He was impressed with the time our students had dedicated to the art.
Especially Sifu Garry with 22 years of training, at that time.
He went on to say that even three years was a long time to put into training.
This is from a man who trained from a very young age, until he was 72 years young.
Now that is inspiring.
When I explained that I was a Sifu in my 17th year of training he was very impressed
He looked me straight in the eye very intently and gave me the thumbs up.
He asked for my photo to be taken.
I was the first Wing Chun woman Sifu, to visit the wing chun village of KuLao.
I was so honored to be recognized by this man.
Every ounce of sweat and pain during 16 years of training had just paid off.
He was very humbled by our visit and touched that we were there.
With a tear in his eye he said he couldn’t believe we had come so far from another Country.
We expressed that we were honored and we would look forward to seeing him again next year.
Finally the time to leave had come and we all got up.
GM Fung Chun was still talking.
We could have stayed for hours.
As we were walking out GM started showing more technique.
He turned to Garry and faced up, touched hands and began doing Fuk Fu with him.
I could see the look on Sifu Garry’s face, he had a smile from ear to ear, he was over the moon.
They then moved on to Huen Sao chi sao, Sifu Garry could not believe his luck,
He was in Wing Chun heaven.
Very few westerners have ever had the privilege of touching hands with GM Fung Chun.
Another great honour that had been bestowed upon us on this trip.
The universe was definitely looking after our interests.
Wow what a trip!