Anne Pang lives up to her reputation as one of the top female Wing Chun practitioners in the world when asked to put on a demonstration with minimal notice at the White Crane Kung Fu Research Centre in the town of Yongchun in Fujian, China.
Barry Pang Kung Fu toured Southern China in 2013, visiting important sites and martial artists. This included three White Crane destinations, learning about the connections the style has with Wing Chun and also Karate. Each White Crane School welcomed the Barry Pang Kung Fu team with much enthusiasm lion dancing, organic country cuisine and tea ceremony. The local Overseas Chinese department officials also kindly accompanied the team from Australia to local attractions and enjoyed many ‘gan bei’ with local delicacies.
White Crane Kung Fu School
The White Crane Kung Fu School (永春翁公祠武术馆) (Weng Gong Ci Martial Gym Yongchun Fujian China) is in the suburbs of Yongchun. Founded in 1928 and the founder’s grandson is the current Sifu. There are precious early records of the elders of Goju Karate visiting them till paying homage to the Kung Fu that inspired them present days and the history of White Crane style in the inaugural national Chinese martial arts tournament in the early 1900’s. We exchanged form demonstrations and then we practiced some Chi Sao and sparring. There was also a rare and superb demonstration of wooden dummy techniques, including an invitation to try it out.
White Crane Kung Fu Museum
The town of “Big Feather” in the local hills of Yongchun (福建永春大羽武术馆， 中国永春白鹤拳) is a place where everybody trains in White Crane Kung Fu. At the White Crane Kung Fu Museum, our team saw historical photos and articles about the style. There was also a lot of information on the various Karate schools that visit regularly to pay homage to the Kung Fu that inspired their Karate systems. The locals performed some forms and we followed suit with our Sil Lum Tao and Chum Kil forms, plus some Chi Sao and sparring.
White Crane Kung Fu Research Centre
Arriving at the White Crane Kung Fu Research Centre (永春白鹤拳鹏翔研究会), we were met with a lion dance complete with drums and traditional weapons. The resident instructors then provided a brief history of their school.
We learnt that both Wing Chun and White Crane are the only styles that use the Canton Butterfly Swords. The other similarity is the use of the long pole as a weapon. White Crane uses a 3m long Dragon Pole.
Having witnessed many fantastic White Crane Kung Fu demonstrations, it was our turn to reciprocate and show some Wing Chun. We exchanged and discussed the similarities and differences between the styles with such delight and humility. Having trained for nearly 40 years at this point, both in Wing Chun and Lung Ying, Anne Pang was ready but had very little time to warm up.
Anne gave a blistering demonstration of Wing Chun’s advanced 3rd form, Bil Jee (See the video above). At the end of the form she opted to showcase her remarkable martial arts athleticism. The audience met this with full applause around the room, recognising her advanced skills. We then exchanged gifts and banners and took some very memorable photos.
It was an incredible day of sharing stories, watching demonstrations and deepening martial arts knowledge. It was also a day that helped put the women of Wing Chun back on the map, through Anne’s exceptional demonstration.