How many stles of Wing Chun exist?
Sifu Michael McIlwrath who teaches Wing Chun privately in New York and New Jersey https://www.facebook.com/SifuMcIlwrath replies:
To me there is only one style of Wing Chun with many interpretations as there are teachers.
I will list what I think are distinct versions. The one’s I’m aware of are:
1. Ip Man-which is the most propagated style of Wing Chun.
2. Yuen Kay San – his most famous student was Sum Nung.
3.Gulao or slant body Wing Chun propagated by Leung Jan who retired in Gu lao village.
4. Cho family WCK which comes from Indonesia.
5. Traditional Wing Chun ( TWC ) founded by William Chueng who claims is a secret version taught to only him by Ip Man.
6. Fut Sao or Buddha hand Wing Chun- brought to NYC by GM Henry Leung. The system contains 4 sets and hei gong training.
I think, like tracing DNA, it’s going to get harder and harder to trace lineage into the future.
Each new generation makes adaptations and creates their own lineage. Sometimes for fundamental reasons, sometimes for marketing reasons.
If you’ve ever been confused by the spelling of Wing Chun (in European letters especially), the main reason is because different sifus have broken away and made adaptations that they want differentiate with different spelling.
That’s the case with spellings such as Wing Tsun, Wing Tjun, there’s even a Weng Chun school and Wing Tchun. These are examples of spelling changes for business branding purposes more than anything else.
Wing Chun is the most common way of spelling. However, there’s Yong Chun which is the direct transliteration from Mandarin Chinese.