There are many versions of wing chun history and each of these versions place origin of the art on different place and in different time . Furthermore most of these versions of “history” tend to give definitive answers about origin and development of wing chun , usually without any research of any kind. There are very little real research on this subject and almost all were done by nonprofessionals without any method in collecting , sorting , interpreting and verifying the data .
On the other hand , historical research in some small parts doesn’t have to be purely concentrated on collecting historical and archeological information and it doesn’t require a degree in history or archeology , but it does require some knowledge in technical aspects of wing chun and some other arts.
It is widely believed that Fujian White Crane is predecessor of Wing Chun . It is also common believe that White Crane is mixed with some other art and that mixture became wing chun. Most version take as other art , which was mixed with white crane , some form of snake style kung fu, at least that is what popular legends are telling us.
There are also group of White Crane masters from Taiwan who believe that Wing Chun is sub style of White Crane . I will return to this claim little later.
Before I start , I want to say that I also did some historical research regarding the origin and development of Wing Chun and I gave my best to uphold the standards of scientific method . My findings shaped my view on the matter of wing chun history but it is also important to say that I do not claim to have any definitive answer or definitive version of history of the art. Furthermore I am not a historian nor archeologist , I have master’s in Economics and organization sciences , and although I did gave my best to do research according to scientific standards , not being a professional in required fields my research should be taken with a reserve ( as much as all others) . I am open and really looking forward for new , better researches and new information which can give some better view on the history of the art we all love so much and also can help my research and make it more complete and more accurate. My version of history can be seen here
Now , what I want to share is technical comparison of two old southern fighting styles , Wing Chun and Zong He quan ( style of White Crane). Both styles are old and both styles are preserved in their original form, from the time of foundation. Both style were founded around the same time although Snake Crane Wing Chun is little older.
I am practicing Wing Chun for a very long time and I also practice Zonghe quan in a close group of practitioners led by Master Hong Guo Rong in Tainan, Taiwan for two years or more. I am not Zong He expert but I do have ,if nothing else, a basic knowledge of the style .
Being practitioner of both styles I am in a situation to make an accurate comparison of these two fighting arts. Both styles are almost identical when we talk about basic principles and theories , I can say more than 95 % of basic principles , strategies , theories are identical , it name of the style is not specified it wouldn't be possible to determine whether they are talking about SCWC or Zong He . Of course 5% are different and these 5% are what give both styles different appearance and different expression of techniques and training . It is just like DNA comparison of human kind and apes , there are only 2% difference in DAN sequence while 98% are identical ,but these 2% are what makes all the difference .
While different on first glance , closer look reveals many identical things on purely technical level . It is important to notice that I am talking about identical , not similar things . Two most important things that are identical are body structure of the basic stance and power generation . Position of the spine , neck , area know on Chinese as"kwa" ( hips \ pelvic area ) , knees , distance between feet , all these things are identical . Power generation , concept and technology of generating , focusing and releasing power are also identical. These two things are the most important parts of any Chinese martial style , the basic foundation on which any given style is built . Furthermore , many hand positions and way of their application are identical . Of course , there are a lot of differences , but thous differences are on combat application level . For example , both arts have different footwork , but the way of transferring weight , center of gravity and keeping balance during the movement are identical. All hands positions from WC can be found in Zong He ,although Zong He has some hand techniques which cannot be found in WC . Chi sao is also in some segments completely the same , for example "big huen sao" platform in both styles is the same , Both styles have several other chi sao platforms but the way of applying them and purpose of practice is the same ,as well as power management , whether is releasing of power or managing incoming power . Movements are different but basic principles and bio mechanics behind those movements are the same.
I could write a lot more details but this is enough and all this identical things leads to one possible conclusion , both arts came from the same source . There was no mixing Withe Crane with some other art it is just a different path of development influenced by different historical , geographical , political , cultural and environmental factors as well as other factors connected to the personal lives and personal characteristic of people who developed the style over time like education, character , believes ect. At the end I can say , if I would be forced to use Zong He in confined space such is a boat or some narrow passage , it would look like WC ,