Ng Mui Si Tai

(Lui Sei-Leung)

    Faat Hoi    



Ng Mui






Miu Shun

Yim WingChun

Miu TsuiFa



          Ng Mui Si Tai (Wumei Shitai or Nun, Five Plums), was most often said to have been from the legendary Shaolin Temple and to have been one of the fabled five ancestors who escaped the temple’s destruction. Her true identity was sometimes said to have been Lui Sei-Leung, the Forth Daughter of a Ming general named Lui.

        She lived during the early Ching Dynasty in China at White Crane Cave. She was also a classmate of the famous "White Eyebrow", who was responsible for killing 99% of the Shaolin Masters. Ng Mui wanted to preserve the art and culture of the Ming Dynasty. This was the era before handguns when martial art skills were a matter of life and death. Ng Mui, who was a genius of the martial arts, devoted her life to perfecting her skills. She created many styles of Kung Fu, including the "White Crane." Her style of the White Crane was considered the deadliest skill at that time. It was a favorite style of the Ching Manchu Generals who used it to kill other martial artists. Regretful that her art had fallen into the wrong hands, Ng Mui developed a new concept of combat, one that would be superior to White Crane in speed, power and subtlety of control. Ng Mui was not just a teacher, she is also famous for killing Fong Si Yuk, an undefeated Shaolin kickboxer half her age who was said to possess "iron body conditioning."

In stories where Ng Mui herself created Wing Chun Kuen, such as those of the Yip Man system, it is typically maintained that when the Shaolin Temple was burned, the nun, Ng Mui sought refuge in the distant Bak Hok Jee (Baihesi or White Crane Temple) of the Daliangshan Mountains on the borders of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. There, she practiced her meditation and martial arts. One day, her practice was interrupted by a snake and a crane, locked in combat. Ng Mui watched the snake and the crane, and came to admire their fighting methods. Observing, Ng Mui began to incorporate the unique strengths and tactics into her already well developed martial skills, creating a remarkable new method. Later, in the village below, she met Yim Yee and his daughter Wing-Chun from whom she often bought bean curd on her way home from the market. At fifteen, with her hair bound up in the custom of those days to show she was of an age to marry, Wing-Chun's beauty attracted the attention of a local bully. He tried to force Wing-Chun to marry him, and his continuous threats became a source of worry to her and her father. Ng Mui learned of this and took pity on Wing-Chun. She agreed to teach Wing-Chun fighting techniques so she could protect herself. Wing-Chun followed Ng Mui into the mountains, and began to learn fighting skills. She trained night and day, until she mastered the techniques. Then she challenged the bully to a fight and beat him.

Some versions, by contrast, hold that the above was not the founding of Wing Chun Kuen, but of Bak Hok Kuen (White Crane Boxing). The popular folk stories say Ng Mui went to Yunnan's White Crane Temple where one day she witnessed a fight between a fox and a white crane. The fox lost and Ng Mui used the crane as inspiration create a new style she named Bak Hok Kuen (White Crane Boxing). Ng Mui then journeyed to Guangxi where she met Mui Sun. Mui Sun mixed Ng Mui's Bak Hok Kuen with his own techniques and created the style which would eventually be named Wing Chun.

Another old legend states that Ng Mui's art had a different source. The famed Song Dynasty General Ngok Fei (Yue Fei) created several martial arts including Xingyiquan (Form of Intention Boxing), Yingzhaopai (Eagle Claw Style), and Ngok Ga Kuen (Ngok Family Boxing). Ngok Ga spread to several areas, one of which was the Taoist temples on Mt. Emei. There, the priests passed along the art for generations. Two of the disciples who eventually inherited the style were a priest named Bak Mei (White Eyebrows) and a nun named Ng Mui (Five Plums). Bak Mei went on to create the style which came to bear his name, Bak Mei Kuen, and Ng Mui passed along her art to people who eventually named it Wing Chun Kuen (Praise Spring Boxing).

Ng Mui is also often named as the founder of many, many other systems, including Mui Fa Kuen (Plum Blossom Boxing), Lung Ying Kuen (Dragon Shape Boxing), Chu Ga Tong Long (Chu Family Mantis), Gao Kuen (Dog Boxing), Bak Hok Kuen (White Crane Boxing), Ng Mui Pai (Five Plums Boxing), and Wing Chun Kuen (Praise Spring Boxing). Also, variations of the stories exist where she is case as a Shaolin nun from Fujian rather than Henan, or as a Taoist from Hebei's Wudangshan.

It is unknown if Ng Mui was a real person or simply an alias used to avoid attention from the Qing government. In any event, based on the above, there appear to be two schools of belief as to Ng Mui's role in the Wing Chun Kuen creation myths. In the first, she must be considered the founder who passed along a fairly complete system to Yim Wing-Chun. In the second, she must be considered the primary source who passed down the raw material later shaped by Yim Wing-Chun (or in some accounts Miu Shun) who later founded the art.