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Ucwe.comLong Before Buffy or Lara Croft - Discover the Chinese Woman Warrior who Started it All
Friday 23 December 2005, by Webmaster
/UCWE/ - She fought bandits rather than vampires and raided invading armies instead of tombs but, in Chinese folklore, Wingchun stands out as one of the most famous and revered heroes of them all, and is the only woman credited with actually creating her own martial art, the original art of none other than Bruce Lee, and the art that still bears her name—Wingchun Kung Fu.
“A bandit was trying to force her to become his wife,” says acclaimed martial arts author, René Ritchie, “and so a Shaolin nun, Wumei, took her in and taught her how to defend herself. And since she couldn’t count on being bigger or stronger, she had to be smarter, she had to use only the most effective, the most devastating skills.” This and other remarkable stories form the basis of Ritchie’s novel, Legends of Wingchun: Embers of the Shaolin (0-9738804-0-6).
“She meets up with Boklao, a rogue fighter,” says Ritchie, “and together they face the Imperial Army, the Heaven & Earth Rebellion, the Bandits of the Eight Immortals, and a ruthless killer from the very edge of the world, all in a desperate quest to discover the truth behind their own pasts-a truth that threatens the lives of everyone around them-and to unravel the mystery of the Fist of the Elders-the secret martial art that caused the utter destruction of the Shaolin Temple itself.”
Martial arts hero novels (wuxia) have been popular in Asia for centuries, fueling both Hong Kong cinema and Japanese Anime. Indeed, Wingchun has previously been portrayed in movies by Michelle Yeoh (Memoirs of a Geisha, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) as directed by Yuen Woo-Ping (The Matrix, Hero). What can readers expect from this novel? “Action, adventure, and romance, but with a twist,” says Ritchie. “Supremely talented creators such as Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and J.J. Abrams (Alias) have helped make the strong woman hero a staple of Western media and really paved the way for the older classics to be re-introduced to modern audiences. They’ve had these kinds of characters for literally thousands of years in China, and now they can entertain and inspire a whole new generation.”
Legends of Wingchun: Embers of the Shaolin is available in North America and Europe from major online retailers like Amazon, and can be ordered through traditional book stores such as Barnes and Nobles, and Chapters. For up-to-date information and expanded and enhanced content, please see www.legendsofwingchun.com.
About the Author
René Ritchie is author of Yuen Kay-San Wing Chun Kuen, co-author of Complete Wing Chun, and has had articles featured in Inside Kung Fu, Martial Arts Illustrated, Martial Arts Masters, and Martial Arts Legends. Trained in Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, and China, Ritchie lives in Montréal, Québec.
Title: Legends of Wingchun: Embers of the Shaolin