|Born||8 June 1935, (农历)五月八|
British Hong Kong
|Died||28 January 1997 (aged 61)|
British Hong Kong
|Other names||King of Talking Hands (講手王)|
|Notable students||Bruce Lee |
Wong Shun-leung (Chinese: 黃淳樑; pinyin: Huang Chunliáng; Jyutping: Wong4 Seon4loeng4; (8 June 1935 – 28 January 1997) was a Hong Kong martial artist who studied Wing Chun kung fu under Yip Man (葉問) and was one of Ip Man's senior students who helped with training Bruce Lee. Due to his reputation, his students and admirers referred to him as 'Gong-sau Wong' (講手王 or 'King of Talking Hands').
Early martial arts training
Wong reportedly trained in several martial art styles in his youth, primarily in Tai Chi and either boxing or kickboxing. He abandoned boxing because of two incidents: one with his boxing coach and one with Ip Man. The first incident apparently occurred because Wong accidentally struck his boxing coach during sparring. The angry coach attacked in earnest, only to be eventually knocked out by Wong; the incident caused Wong to leave boxing.
Friendship with Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee once wrote in a letter to Wong, "Even though I am (technically) a student of Ip Man, in reality I learned my Kung-fu from you." Wong was believed to have carried the letter in his wallet. Perhaps the best-known letter from Lee to Wong is that of 11 January 1970, which has been translated into English as an appendix to an article by Wong.
Bruce Lee, 1970
Martial Arts Accomplishments
Beimo (比武) competitions supposedly had no rules, protective equipment, or time limits. As Wong recalled in an interview, "When I competed, it was in secret. We went into a room, and the door was shut and there were no rules. The government did not allow them. They were illegal, but we didn't care. We fought until the other guy was knocked out."
Different kung fu schools met secretly with each other for challenge matches. Wong was said to have faced opponents from many disciplines—"virtually every style of martial art in the colony." Reportedly, Wong won most of these contests within a few punches.
On 22 November 1957, the inaugural Taiwan–Hong Kong–Macau Open Chinese Kung Fu Competition (台港澳國術比賽) was held in Taiwan. Thirty-two competitors from Hong Kong and Macau formed a team and participated in this competition, but only two Hong Kong competitors scored a victory. Wong competed in his weight class and had a preliminary match with Wu Ming-jeet (吳明哲), a Taiwanese fighter known for his powerful kicks, but was knocked out and eliminated. A documentary film covering the competition was played in Hong Kong, with a first-day showing on 12 February 1958. In 1974, Unicorn Chan (小麒麟) recalled that it was in 1958 when Bruce Lee took him to watch a documentary film on kung fu competitions, and that Lee had watched it seven times before within the last four days.
Wu and Wong's match in the 1957 kung fu competition in Taiwan is the only documented proof of Wong's involvement in fighting competition; the only records of Wong's beimo matches are from eyewitnesses. Since beimo competition was held secretly, the loser often denied involvement in the fight afterward, or both sides would claim victory after the fight. For example, in the match between Ni Yuk-tong (倪沃棠) and Wong, various accounts of the fight exist, and no one is sure of where the fight took place, how the fighters performed, and who won. Thus, while many of Wong's students have referred to him as "one of the greatest fighters of this century"
Wong's participation in, and views on, tournaments reflected his philosophy on martial arts. When asked, "Did you compete in any organized tournaments with rules?" Wong replied, "Not in boxing. When I competed, it was in secret. We went into a room, and the door was shut and there were no rules. The government did not allow them. They were illegal, but we didn't care. We fought until the other guy was knocked out."
Enter the Dragon
Some sources claim that Wong choreographed some fight scenes in Enter the Dragon (龍爭虎鬥), saying that "... when shooting Enter the Dragon in Hong Kong, he [Bruce Lee] invited Wong to come on location to discuss the fight scenes" and that "Wong in fact had been invited to choreograph some of the fight scenes in Enter the Dragon. The documentary Dragon since 1973 consists of interviews with various Hong Kong personalities, mostly those who worked with Lee in his Golden Harvest days. None of the interviewees, including Bee Chan (陳會毅; one of Lee's most trusted assistants), Shek Kin (石堅), and Chaplin Chang (張欽鵬), mentioned that Wong had been invited to work as a fight scene choreographer for Enter the Dragon.
Game of Death
Wong received an invitation to appear in Game of Death (死亡遊戲), but declined. He was scheduled to attend a screen test on the set of Enter the Dragon after Bruce Lee had finished shooting the film and was working on dubbing. Lee returned to Hong Kong from his last trip to the United States of America in late May 1973. Thus, Wong would have attended the screen test sometime in June 1973. Wong recalled, "About two months before he (Bruce Lee) died he gave me a phone call ... After this he left Hong Kong to settle his film business. When he came back, he called me up and wanted me to participate in the making of Game of Death. He had also invited me to the studio to attend a screen test. I did not promise to act in the film, yet I still went to attend the screen test to please him."
In popular culture
He was portrayed by Chapman To in the 1999 film What You Gonna Do, Sai Fung? (a.k.a. 1959 某日某).
He was portrayed by Eric Chen in the 2008 Chinese drama The Legend of Bruce Lee.
- "What is Wong Shun-leung Wing Chun?". Combatscience101.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016.
- Poon, D.: Interview with Wong Shun-leung (originally published in Qi Magazine). Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Peterson, D. (2001): Wong Shun-leung Ving Tsun Gung Fu: A scientific approach to combat (originally published in Fight Times, October 2001, New Zealand). Retrieved 15 March 2009.
- Peterson, D., & Verratti, E. (1998): Ving Tsun by definition: Getting it right ... the “Wong Way"!!! (originally published in Martial arts legends: Wing Chun, November 1998, USA). Retrieved 7 July 2009.
- Peterson, D. (2001): Get out of the way, ... and make them pay: The street-effective footwork of Wing Chun (originally published in Fight Times, December 2001 and January 2002, New Zealand). Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Mu Jizheng, Liang (20 May 2019). "咏春拳学大师黄淳梁的武术生涯". Longshuo Culture Net (Online). Guangzhou Longshuo Culture Communication Co., Ltd. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- Peterson, D. (1990): Wong Shun-leung: Wing Chun personified (originally published in Inside Kung Fu, vol. 18, no. 2). Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- Lee, B. (1970): Bruce Lee's letter to Wong Shun-leung on 11 January 1970 (scan). Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Martin, M. (2004): David Peterson: If you always assume that there’s always something to learn, you will always be successful! (originally published in Combat Magazine, September and October 2004). Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Longley, K.: Dave Lacey 'Lai Dai-wai': Buck Sing Choy Lay Fut's unrepentant 'Black Panther' (originally published in Impact International Martial Arts Magazine). Retrieved 7 July 2009.
- Li, P. (July 1998). 李小龍: 神話再現 (From limited to limitless: The ways of Bruce Lee) (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Oriental Resources Company (東方匯澤公司).
- 龍一九七三以後 (Dragon since 1973). Retrieved 8 July 2009.
- Wong, S. L.: Wong Shun-leung on Bruce Lee. Retrieved 7 July 2009.