Wong Shun-leung

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Wong Shun-leung
Wong Shun Leung and Wan Kam Leung.jpg
Wong Shunleung and Wan Kamleung
Born(1935-06-08)8 June 1935, (农历)五月八
British Hong Kong
Died28 January 1997(1997-01-28) (aged 61)
British Hong Kong
Native name黃淳樑
Other namesKing of Talking Hands (講手王)
StyleWing Chun
Teacher(s)Ip Man
Notable studentsBruce Lee
Philip Ng
Wan Kam-leung
Stephen Chow

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.[1][2][3] Due to his reputation, his students and admirers referred to him as 'Gong-sau Wong' (講手王 or 'King of Talking Hands').[4][5][6]

Early martial arts training[edit]

Wong Shun-leung and William Cheung at Ip Man's resting place

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.[7]

Friendship with Bruce Lee[edit]

Grandmaster Ip Man once spoke to Wong after Lee achieved superstardom "如果没有你的多方鼓励和指导,李小龙断无今日的成就" (Without your guidance and encouragement, Bruce Lee wouldn’t be having such achievement").[8][9]

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,[10] which has been translated into English as an appendix to an article by Wong.

很久沒有通信你好嗎?邵在湧(Alan Chaw)從加拿大來信,有問及你借我用的8mm電影,我真是十分道歉,因為多次搬屋以遺失,本來是很磨耗的了,故之很少用而失了,十分抱歉。
我在BEL-AIR買了一新屋,有半英畝大,很多樹是牧場風格,在山頂上近Beverly Hills。再者,除了我的兒子Brandon外,我有一位七個半月大的女兒Shannon。你有再結婚嗎?請代問候你的姊妹。
近來我組織了一間製片公司,且寫了一本"Silent Flute"故事,由James Coburn和我主演,Stirling Silliphant編劇,他是金像名作家 in the Heart of the night,我們預備作第一次荷李活武俠片很有成期望,大約六月左右開鏡,所有合作的均是從我學習的,將來Steve Mc Queen可能又有合作,我對於這籌劃萬二分興奮。
至於武道方面,我仍然是日日修習,與一班徒弟和朋友每星期兩次,無所謂是西洋拳,跆拳道或摔角,派別是無所謂,只要和和氣氣不要反面矣。自從66年開始認真去練習後,覺得以前的偏見是錯了,因此改叫我的心得練出的為截拳道,截拳道衹是名稱矣,至緊要還是不要去局部偏見而練,當然我是日日練走,修習工具,日日要提高基本條件。拳理雖是要緊,現實的還是重要,兩者雖需要。我是感謝你和師父在港時多多指導我詠春門徑,其實是多得你使我多去走現實路,由其是在美國的西洋拳家,我也多和他們練,很多所謂"詠春名家", 我希望他們不要自作勇為去和他們打!


(English translation)
Dear Shun-leung, Jan. 11, 1970

It has been a long time since I last wrote to you. How are you? Alan Shaw's letter from Canada asks me to lend you my 8mm film. I am sorry about that. It is because I have lost it when I moved my home. That film is already very old and I seldom use it, so I have lost it. I am sorry for it. Now I have bought a house in Bel-Air. It is about half an acre. There are many trees. It has the taste of oranges. It is located on a hill top near Beverly Hills. Moreover, besides my son Brandon, I have had a daughter, Shannon, who is seven months old now. Have you re-married ? Please send my regards to your sisters. Recently, I have organised a film production company. I have also written a story "The Silent Flute". James Coburn and I will act in it. Stirling Silliphant is the screen-play writer. He is a famous screen-play writer (In the Heat of the Night). We plan to make the first fighting film in Hollywood. The prospect is good. About six months later, the filming work will begin. All who participate in this film are my followers. In the future, Steve McQueen may also work together with me.

I am very excited about this plan. As to martial arts, I still practice daily. I meet my students and friends twice a week. No matter they are western boxer, Taekwondo learner or wrestler, I will meet them as long as they are friendly and will not get angry. Since I started to practice realistically in 1966 (Protectors, gloves, etc.), I feel that I had many prejudices before, and they are wrong. So I change the name of the gist of my study to Jeet-kune-do. Jeet-kune-do is only a name. The most important thing is to avoid having bias in the training. Of course, I run everyday, I practice my instruments (punch, kick, throw, etc.). I have to improve my fundamentals daily. Although the principle of boxing is important, practicality is even more important. I thank you and Master for teaching me the ways of Wing Chun in Hong Kong. Actually, I have to thank you for leading me to walk on a practical road. Especially in the States, there are western boxers, I often practise with them too. There are many so-called masters in Wing Chun here, I really hope that they will not be so arrogant as to fight with those western boxers.

I may make a trip to Hong Kong. I hope that you will live in the same place. We are intimate friends, we need to meet more and chat about our past days. That will be a lot of fun? When you see Master Yip, please send my regard to him. Happiness be with you!

Bruce Lee, 1970

Martial Arts Accomplishments[edit]

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."[2]

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.[13][7]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[15] Thus, while many of Wong's students have referred to him as "one of the greatest fighters of this century"[5]

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."[2]

Enter the Dragon[edit]

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.[16]

Game of Death[edit]

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.[15] 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."[17]

In popular culture[edit]

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.

He was portrayed by Huang Xiaoming in the 2010 film Ip Man 2.

He was portrayed by Wu Yue in the 2010 film Bruce Lee, My Brother.


  1. ^ "What is Wong Shun-leung Wing Chun?". Combatscience101.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Poon, D.: Interview with Wong Shun-leung (originally published in Qi Magazine). Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Peterson, D. (1990): Wong Shun-leung: Wing Chun personified (originally published in Inside Kung Fu, vol. 18, no. 2). Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  8. ^ "黄淳梁是如何影响李小龙实战理念的".
  9. ^ "黄淳梁是如何影响李小龙实战理念的".
  10. ^ Lee, B. (1970): Bruce Lee's letter to Wong Shun-leung on 11 January 1970 (scan). Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  11. ^ "【心中的龍】李小龍當年寫給師兄黃淳梁的一封中文信(有圖)".
  12. ^ "當年李小龍寫給黃淳梁的親筆信件_長春詠春拳吧_百度貼吧".
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ a b c 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).
  16. ^ 龍一九七三以後 (Dragon since 1973). Retrieved 8 July 2009.
  17. ^ Wong, S. L.: Wong Shun-leung on Bruce Lee. Retrieved 7 July 2009.