Tang Sang (鄧生, 1929-1987) was a wing chun practitioner, and the head of CID for the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. He was a student of Yip Man during the mid-60's. The character Tang Shing played by Jordan Chan in Ip Man: The Final Fight was based on Tang Sang's life.
Hong Kong Martial Arts Leader
Tang Sang was the first chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Association. This Association was pivotal in the promotion of Chinese kung fu, even before Bruce Lee helped to popularize it worldwide after 1971. It was around this time that the Ving Tsun Athletic Association was formed by Yip Man with the help of Tang Sang and other senior students of wing chun.
Footage of Yip Man
Most notably, Tang Sang is responsible for the famous set of photographs of the late Yip Man performing the 116 wooden dummy techniques (Muk Yan Jong) in 1967. These photographs were originally never intended for public consumption. During the late 60's very few people had access to these photos. It was also during this time that a 8mm film was taken of Yip Man performing the wing chun sets, including the wooden dummy and long pole techniques. This film was taken five years prior to the widely distributed film of Yip Man (the one taken in 1972, ten days before he died). This film was taken at a time when Yip Man was still in good health and could perform all the sets to proficiency (better than in the 1972 footage). The current sole owner of this precious footage is Tang Sang's friend and WingTsun Leung Ting. For years it was speculated that this footage didn't really exist prompting Leung Ting to release two very short clips to the public.
Despite rumors to the contrary, this early video of Yip Man is NOT the video that Leung Ting purchased from Yip Man's sons. This earlier footage taken by Tang Sang was never in the possession of either of Yip Man's sons. The only other person said to be in possession of this footage is Leung Ting's top student Keith Kernspecht.
As a chief detective during the sixties and early seventies, Tang Sang was regularly accepting "tea money" from local gangsters (hak sai wui - black societies). It was not uncommon for police, especially those in a high ranking position to accept these bribes - corruption was a standard operating procedure for the Royal Hong Kong Police Force in the sixties and seventies. Tang Sang was fairly well off financially which may explain why he never had any wing chun students of his own.
In 1974 the Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong) or ICAC was formed to combat corruption in the police force. Tang Sang was charged with corruption, yet was so wealthy at the time he easily paid the HK$330,000 in bail before leaving for Taiwan.
Roots and Branches of Wing Tsun by Prof. Leung Ting (ISBN 978-9627284239)
Ip Man: Portrait of a Kung Fu Grandmaster by Ip Ching
- Various (November 2005). Ip Man Ving Tsun 50th Anniversary. Hong Kong: Ving Tsun Athletic Association Ltd. p. 19.
- Ip, Chun (2010). Ip Man Ving Tsun 2. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-988-19063-2-8.
- Various (May 1, 1990). Genealogy of the Ving Tsun Family (First ed.). Hong Kong: Leung's Publications. p. 60.
- Kernspecht, Keith (1993). Die Geschichte des Yip Man - Stiles. Germany: WuShu Verlag. pp. 44–45. ISBN 3-927553-06-9.
- Booth, Martin (1999). The Dragon Syndicates. Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. p. 173. ISBN 0-7867-0735-6.