Ving Tsun was developed by the Shaolin Abbess Ng Mui after the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 C.E.) fell to the Qing forces, and the Shaolin Temple was burned to the ground. Five monks fled the temple, each going their own way. Ng Mui sought refuge in the White Crane Temple. There she met a fifteen year old girl named Yim Ving Tsun who a bandit was attempting to force into marriage. Ng Mui developed Ving Tsun by studying a snake and a crane fighting, and modifying the kung fu she already knew. She taught Ving Tsun this new kung fu so she could defend herself against the bandit. A conflict took place where the bandit was seriously injured by Yim Ving Tsun.
From Yim Ving Tsun, the kung fu was passed on person to person until it was taught to a thirteen year old Yip Man by Chan Wah Shuen in the early Twentieth Century. Grandmaster Yip Man was the first Sifu to teach Ving Tsun openly. He had several students who later became world renowned martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee.
In 1957, Grandmaster Moy Yat became one of Grandmaster Yip Man’s students. In 1967, Grandmaster Moy Yat became the youngest Sifu recognized by Yip Man at the age of 24. He moved to the United States in 1973, and opened his first U.S. school a year later, in New York City. He was very well known and respected as a Grand Master of Ving Tsun and also as a highly skilled calligrapher, painter, stone seal maker, and master of massage. He was a pioneer in the field of ear acupuncture, discovering and mapping new points on the back of the ear which are now being used by acupuncture doctors throughout the world.
One of Grandmaster Moy Yat’s closest disciples is Master Moy Tung. Moy Tung began training in Ving Tsun in 1980 after ten years of martial arts training in other styles. In 1986, Moy Tung founded his first school in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Since Grandmaster Moy Yat’s passing in 2001, Moy Tung has been the Grand Master of our system of Ving Tsun. Today, Grandmaster Moy Tung has thousands of students, grandstudents and even great-grandstudents.
Sitaigung Robert Squatrito began his Ving Tsun training in Richmond while attending medical school. Like his Sifu Moy Tung, he was already a karate sensei when he became a student of kung fu. He left Richmond to study oncology in Iowa and opened a Ving Tsun school in Iowa City in 1993. As one of Moy Yat’s favorite grandstudents, Robert Squatrito was given the Chinese name Moy Yat Tung. Sigung Moy Yat Tung opened the Virginia Beach Ving Tsun school in 2001 while being a surgeon in the practice of oncology.
Sigung Owen Matson began his training in Iowa City in 1999. As a close grandstudent of Moy Tung and student of his sifu Moy Yat Tung, he is a member of their MY4 and ICC inner circles. He opened the Detroit school in 2006.
Sifu Sam Kohlenberg, who is also a practicing psychotherapist, and Sifu Mez Charney are both inner circle students of Sifu Owen Matson, as well as members of the MY5 training group. They endeavor to train and learn traditional Ving Tsun while making it available to others.