Fist of the Opera

Old China was very much underdeveloped. Roads in many places consisted of paths that had been cut away in forests in order to provide access routes. Because of the many riverways, tributaries and canals, water tended to be the most prevalent means of travel throughout china. The Chinese had developed boat building techniques. Such techniques were refined and led to the creation of the ‘Junk’ types boats, with their great masts. These boats were capable of carrying heavy cargoes and hundreds of travelers and were the types of boats used to transport opera performers from village to village.

During long and boring journeys among cities or villages the daily routine of the acrobatic opera performers were virtually impossible on board the boats. As a result the shorter range required in Wiung Chun (Yong Chun) made it a popular system amongst them. The system of Wing Chun that Leung, Kwok-Keung referred to was Hei Ban Wing Chun (Opera House Wing Chun).

The practitioners of Hei Ban Wing Chu do not consider themselves to be a separate system at all. They too acknowledge the founder as the nun Ng Mui. Leung confirmed that there are different versions of the Wing Chun system which prevail around the various provinces and areas of china. Hei Ban Wing Chu was a splinter system, mostly practiced by people within the travelling opera houses.

It has to be recognized that the Wing Chun on the Red Junks was exposed to various other Gung Fu styles. This could be one of the reasons why the Hei Ban system has a wider and more general perspective that more readily available versions of Wing Chun.

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2 Responses to “Fist of the Opera”

  1. authenticizeit Says:

    VERY interesting. The opera vocals I have been involved in have been powerful. I feel the connection. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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