Ip Man was a Chinese martial artist. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee.
Ip Man grew up in a wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong, and received a traditional Chinese education.
Ip started learning Wing Chun Kung Fu from
Chan Wah Shun when he was 13. Since Chan was 70 at the time, Ip was Chan’s last student. Due to his teacher’s age, Ip learned most of his skills and techniques from Chan’s second eldest disciple, Ng Chung Sok. Chan died three years after Ip’s training started and one of his dying wishes was to have Ng continue teaching Ip.
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 Ip’s time at St. Stephen’s, he saw a foreign police officer beating a woman and he intervened. The officer attempted to attack Ip, but Ip struck him down and ran to school with his classmate. Ip’s classmate later told an older man who lived in his apartment block. The man met with Ip and asked what martial art Ip practised. The man told Ip that his forms were “not too great” The man challenged Ip’s Wing Chun against the man in Chi Sau (a form of training that involves controlled attack and defence). Ip saw this as an opportunity to prove that his abilities were good, but was defeated by the man after a few strikes. Ip’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, Ip continued learning from Leung Bik. So Ip Man’s Wing Chun was a modified version to the previous Wing Chun he learnt from Chan Wah Shun. Hence there are different lineages of Wing Chun. (Guang Zhou Wing Chun, Foshan Wing Chun..etc)
Ip returned to Foshan when he was 24 and became a policeman. He taught Wing Chun to severalof his subordinates, friends and relatives, but did not officially run a martial arts school. Ip 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. Ip left Foshan for Hong Kong in 1949 after the Chinese Communist established the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland.
Initially, Ip Man’s teaching business was poor because Ip’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 Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students had attained proficiency in Wing Chun and they 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 Ip’s reputation. One of them is Late Master Wong Shun Leung who was a senior tutor of Bruce Lee the actor.
Wong Shun Leung
Wong Shun Leung was a Chinese martial artist from Hong Kong who studied Wing Chun Kung Fu under Ip Man(葉問) and is credited with training Bruce Lee. Wong reportedly won at least 60, and perhaps over 100, street fights against martial artists of various styles. Due to his reputation, he came to be known as ‘Gong Sau Wong’ or (in English) ‘King of Talking Hands’.
Wong reportedly trained in several martial art styles in his youth, primarily in Tai Chi and either boxing or kick boxing. He abandoned boxing because Wong said he had defeated his boxing coach with Wing Chun techniques: “I was sparring with my instructor and I hit him very hard, he got real mad and came at me very hard. I fought back with wing chun and he ended up bleeding. Boxing was over for me!
The second incident came about from Wong’s fascination with the stories of legendary Wing Chun figures, such Chan Wah Shun (陳華順) and Leung Jan (梁贊). This interest led Wong to look for a Wing Chun teacher. Friends of his older brother took him to meet Ip Man. According to one version of events, after defeating at least two of Yip’s students, Wong had a match with Yip himself and was defeated easily. Another version is that after Wong faced Lo Man Kam, Yip Po Ching defeated Wong. In any case, Wong joined the Wing Chun group and eventually came to assist Ip with teaching, with students including Bruce Lee. 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. Wong carefully modified his Ving Tsun Kung Fu (Different spelling to Wing Chun) from his experiences in sparring against other styles. His system is well known for Practical usage compared to other students of Ip Man.
When Wong opened his school in Yau Ma Tai, Sifu Wan Gam Leung was one of the first few students who joined and started training the Wong Shun Leung system Wing Chun. (or in a different spelling WSL Ving Tsun).
Wan Kam Leung
More information about Grand Master Wan, please visit “About Grand Master Wan Page ”
Photos of Wan Kam Leung, Bruce Lee & Wong Shun Leung.
Please also visit Sifu Wan Kam Leung’s Official Website for more information about Grand Master Wan Kam Leung’s Practical Wing Chun.
For more information about Regional Director Jack Leung, Please visit About Instructor Jack Leung Page