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Beautiful Springtime

     In the province of Yunan in southern China there lived a lovely young woman called Yim Wing Chun.  She was in love with here childhood sweetheart Leong Bok Chao.  Leong had gone away to work and in his absence Yim was making all the necessary preparations for their forthcoming marriage.  In the mountains above her village there lived a bandit who had seen Yim and wanted her for himself, even though he knew she was betrothed to another.  He sent his men to the village and they made threats to Yim and here father, saying that unless she broke off the engagement and married the bandit chief bad things would happen to her and her family.  There was no consoling Yim because she knew if she did not marry the brigand he would kill her father and take her anyway.  One day whilst out collecting wood for the fire Yim was crying about everything that had befallen her.  A passing nun named Ng Mui heard Yim's weeping and went to see if there was anything she could do to help.  
     After Yim had explained her problem, the nun told her not to worry as she had a plan.  First of all Yim had to send a letter to Leong Bok Chao to call off the engagement for one year, saying that she wanted to seek guidance through the temple.  Yim's father then told the brigand that Yim had broken off the engagement and that she was now free to marry, but not for one year because she was looking for spiritual guidance.  The bandit laughed with glee because he thought that he had won Yim's hand.  
     Now, Ng Mui was a Shaolin nun and an expert in the mui fa chuan (plum flower fist) system of kung fu, and it was said that she was one of the survivors of the sacking of the Shaolin monastery.  By her ruse she had gained enough time for her to instruct Yim in all the fighting techniques of the system.  Hour after hour, day after day, Yim trained hard, and by learning on a one-to-one basis she was able to perfect the fighting skills at a much faster rate than normal.  She grasped all the advanced techniques of the plum flower fist system within six months.  But she felt uncomfortable with many of the moves as she thought them too complex and relied too much on power techniques.  She searched through the scrolls at the temple to find another system perhaps better suited to a woman's strength and capabilities.  However, not finding anything suitable she began to experiment with what she already knew.
     She changed strikes and kicks to match her own stature.  Strength blows were substituted for subtle body maneuvers.  Eventually, through continued experimentation, she developed her own style of fighting which was based upon direct line attacks, working on the principle that a straight line is the shortest distance between two objects.  Under the guidance of Ng Mui, Yim finally arrived at total competence in a system that achieved her aims exactly.  The year passed and Yim left the temple and went back to live with her father.  She had him put posters up around the town which stated she would marry anyone who could beat her in hand-to-hand combat.  She also had her father spread the word that she had trained in kung fu all her life.  When the brigand heard what was going on he had his gang come down from the mountains in order to beat the little girl up and claim her as his bride.  The fight was held in the town square and all the villagers came to watch.  The brigand charged at Yim in order to overwhelm her, but she just hit him hard in the throat when he came within range.  Getting up, his pride and throat badly bruised, he charged even harder at the girl.  Yim caught him with an open palm strike to the nose and down he went again.  The brigand even more enraged and with blood streaming down his face charged again, but this time kicked out at Yim with a front kick.  His kick missed but Yim's didn't, though it seemed she hadn't moved at all, such was the subtlety of her new style.  She caught the brigand full on the side of the knee breaking his leg and he fell to the ground screaming in pain.
     Yim had won the day and the brigand had to be helped back home by his men, losing so much face that he never attempted to intimidate her again.  Yim Wing Chun immediately sent a letter to Leong Bok Chao asking him to come back and marry her.  Yim dedicated this new style to Ng Mui, but named the style after herself, Wing Chun, which translates to beautiful springtime.  It is the only kung fu style invented by a woman.  The nucleus of this style was the first kung fu system learned by Bruce Lee.

This story was taken from the book "Myths and Legends of the Martial Arts"