1 October 1893|
Foshan, Guangdong, China
|Died||2 December 1972
Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
|Other names||Yip Man,
|Teacher(s)||Chan Wah-shun & Wu Chung-sok (吳仲素),
later Leung Bik and Yuen Kay Shan
(simplified Chinese: 张永成; traditional Chinese: 張永成; pinyin: Zhāng Yǒngchéng; Cantonese Yale: jēung wíhng sìhng)
|Notable relatives||Ip Chun (son; b. 1924),
Ip Ching (son; b. 1936)
Chu Shong Tin ,
Wong Shun Leung,
Lo Man Kam
"Ip Man" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
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Ip Man (Chinese:葉問; 1 October 1893 – 2 December 1972), also known as Yip Man, and also Yip Kai-man, was a Chinese martial artist, and a master teacher of Wing Chun. He had several students who later became martial arts masters in their own right, including Wong Shun Leung and Bruce Lee.
Yip was born to Yip Oi-dor and Wu Shui. He grew up in a wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong, and received a traditional Chinese education. His elder brother was Yip Kai-gak, his elder sister was Yip Wan-mei and his younger sister was Yip Wan-hum.
Yip started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun when he was 7. Chan was 64 at the time, and Yip became Chan's last student. Due to his teacher's age, Yip learnt most of his skills and techniques from Chan's second eldest disciple, Wu Chung-sok (吳仲素). Chan lived three years after Yip's training started and one of his dying wishes was to have Wu continue teaching Yip.
At the age of 16, Yip moved to Hong Kong with help from his relative Leung Fut-ting. One year later, he attended school at St. Stephen's College—a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners living in Hong Kong. During Yip's time at St. Stephen's he saw a foreign police officer beating a woman and intervened. The officer attempted to attack Yip, but Yip struck him down and ran to school with his classmate. Yip's classmate later told an older man who lived in his apartment block. The man met with Yip and asked what martial art Yip practised. The man told Yip that his forms were "not too great". The man challenged Yip's Wing Chun in chi sao (a form of training that involves controlled attack and defence). Yip saw this as an opportunity to prove that his abilities were good, but was defeated by the man after a few strikes. Yip's opponent revealed himself to be Leung Bik, Chan Wah-shun's senior and the son of Chan's teacher, Leung Jan. After that encounter, Yip continued learning from Leung Bik.
Yip returned to Foshan when he was 24 and became a policeman. He taught Wing Chun to several of his subordinates, friends and relatives, but did not officially run a martial arts school. Some of his better known informal students were Chow Kwong-yue (周光裕), Kwok Fu (郭富), Lun Kah (倫佳), Chan Chi-sun (陳志新), Xu He-Wei (徐和威) and Lui Ying (呂應). Among them, Chow Kwong-yue was said to be the best, but he eventually went into commerce and stopped practising martial arts. Kwok Fu and Lun Kah went on to teach students of their own and they passed down the art of Wing Chun in the Foshan and Guangdong region. Chan Chi-sun and Lui Ying went to Hong Kong later but neither of them accepted any students. Yip went to live with Kwok Fu during the Second Sino-Japanese War and only returned to Foshan after the war, where he continued his career as a police officer. Yip left Foshan for Hong Kong at the end of 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War because he was an officer of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), the Communists' rival in the Civil War.
Life in Hong Kong
Initially, Yip Man's teaching business was poor because Yip's students typically stayed for only a couple of months. He moved his school twice: first to Castle Peak Road in Sham Shui Po and then to Lee Tat Street (利達街) in Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students had attained proficiency in Wing Chun and were able to start their own schools. Some of his students and descendants sparred with other martial artists to compare their skills and their victories helped to increase Yip's fame.
In 1967, Yip and some of his students established the Wing Chun Athletic Association (詠春體育會). The main purpose of the Wing Chun Athletic Association was to help Yip tackle his financial difficulties in Hong Kong.
Death and legacy
Yip's legacy is the global practice of Wing Chun. His notable students include: Ho Kam Ming, Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, Chu Shong-tin, Wong Shun Leung, Bruce Lee, Moy Yat, Leung Ting, Victor Kan, his nephew Lo Man Kam, and his sons Ip Ching and Ip Chun.
In popular culture
Ip Man, a Hong Kong film based on the life of Yip Man, starring Donnie Yen as the martial artist, was released in cinemas in 2008. The film takes a number of liberties with Yip's life, often for dramatic effect. Yip's eldest son Ip Chun appears in the film and served as a consultant on the production, which focuses on Yip's life during the 1930s to the 1940s during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The film is the first to be based on the life of Yip. The sequel Ip Man 2 focuses on Yip's beginnings in Hong Kong and his students, including Bruce Lee. Ip man has taught many other people. Amid a surge of Yip Man–related film projects in production, Donnie Yen told the Chinese media in March 2010 that after Ip Man 2, he will no longer play the Wing Chun master. He stated, "I would never ever touch any films related to Ip Man. This will be my final film on the subject. Whenever something becomes a success, everyone would jump on the bandwagon, this is very frightening. Did you know how many Ip Man films are in production? Under such condition, we would not progress, it'd only lead to over-saturation of the subject matter." However a new film to the same series - Ip Man 3 - was released on 24 December 2015 having Donnie Yen again starring as the grandmaster of Wing Chun-Yip Man.
Another Hong Kong film based on Yip Man's life, called The Legend Is Born – Ip Man, was released in June 2010. Herman Yau directed the film and it starred Dennis To as Yip Man. Ip Chun makes a special appearance in the film as Leung Bik.
Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster is a 2013 film starring Tony Leung as Yip Man. The film concentrates more on the end of an era in Chinese martial arts history as the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out. It was created in an almost biographical style, highlighting parts of history. In contrast with the other Yip Man–related projects, The Grandmaster is a more reflective film, focusing more on the musings and philosophies between martial arts and life, as well as Yip Man's journey through the early 1930s to the early 1950s.
The 2013 Hong Kong film Ip Man: The Final Fight, directed by Herman Yau and starring Anthony Wong as Yip Man, focuses on Yip's later life in Hong Kong. Ip Chun makes a cameo appearance in the film. This film also focuses on the loyalty of his pupils towards him.
The 2013 Chinese television series Ip Man, based on Yip Man's life, was aired on the television network Astro On Demand between March and May 2013. It was directed by Fan Xiaotian and starred Kevin Cheng as the titular character.
Martial arts lineage
|Ng Mui (one of the Five Elders of Shaolin Monastery)|
|Yim Wing-chun (taught Wing Chun by Ng for self-defence)|
|Leung Bok-chau (Yim's husband)|
|Wong Wah-bo (taught the pole form by Leung Yee-tai)|
|Leung Yee-tai (added his pole form to the system he learnt from Wong)|
|Leung Jan (also taught his son Leung Bik)|
|Yip Man (also learnt from Wu Chung-sok, Leung Bik and Yuen Kay Shan|
|Known students: See Branches of Wing Chun|
- "影武者‧ 葉問次子葉正專訪 (Exclusive Interview with Ip Man's second son Ip Ching)" (in Chinese). Ming Pao Weekly Online. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
旺角通菜街一百四十九號一個單位內， ... 傳奇的老者在那個單位的一張沙發上遽然離世。 [Translation: ... in a unit at 149 Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, ... the legendary old man passed away suddenly on a sofa in that unit.]
- "Ip Man or Yip Man". kwokwingchun.com.
- Title: Yip Man – Portrait of a Kung Fu Master, Page:3, Author(s): Ip Ching and Ron Heimberger, Paperback: 116 pages, Publisher: Cedar Fort (23 January 2001), ISBN 978-1-55517-516-0
- "Sam kwok Wing Chun – Yip Man Family Tree". Kwokwingchun.com. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- Mastering Wing Chun, By Samuel Kwok
- "Ip Man's Biography". Kwokwingchun.com. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Ip Ching, Ip Man: Portrait of a Kung Fu Master (Springville, UT: King Dragon Press, 2001)
- Ip Man Wing Chun 50th Anniversary Journal (Hong Kong: Wing Chun Athletic Association Limited, 2005)
- "Origin". www.vingtsun.org.hk. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit: A Biography, Bruce Thomas, p. 208 "Both Bruce's father and even his wing chun master Yip Man were no strangers to the opium pipe."
- 16 May 2009. "Asia Times Online :: China News, China Business News, Taiwan.".
- Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide to Wing Chun's History and Traditions, Robert Chu, Rene Ritchie, Y. Wu, page 9, Tuttle Publishing; 1st edition (15 June 1998). ISBN 0-8048-3141-6, ISBN 978-0-8048-3141-3.
- "external copy of the History of Wing Chun Written by Yip Man". Vingtsun.com.hk. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "Ip Man tong virtual tour". Foshanmuseum.com. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "Donnie Yen Has Had Enough of Ip Man - Wu-Jing.org". Guangzhou Daily. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Ip Man (Character)". Retrieved 4 February 2011.
TV episode, Played by Cheng-Hui Yu (as Ye Wen)
- "History and Philosophy of Ip Man including family tree". Southfieldswingchun.co.uk. Retrieved 29 November 2011.