» Wing Chun
Yip Man (traditional Chinese: 葉問; simplified Chinese: 叶问; pinyin: yè wèn, Cantonese Jyutping: jip man; main spelling Ip Man; also known as 葉繼問 1 October 1893-2 December 1972) was the first martial arts master (Chinese: Sifu)to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee.
Ip Kai Man was the last Wing Chun student of Chan Wah-shun when he was 70 years old. He was born to Ip Oi Dor and Ng Shui, and was the third of four children. He grew up in a very wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong, and received an exceptional traditional Chinese education. His older brother was Ip Kai Gak. His older sister was Ip Wan Mei and his younger sister was Ip Wan Hum.
When Ip Man was thirteen years old he started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun (陳華順). Because of his sifu’s old age, Ip Man had to learn much of his skills and techniques from his master’s second eldest disciple Ng Chung-sok(吳仲素). Three years into Ip Man’s training Chan Wah-shun died. One of his dying wishes was to have Ng continue training Ip. At the age of 15 Ip man moved to Hong Kong with help from Leung Fut Ting, a relative. At age sixteen, Yip Man attended school at St. Stephen’s College in Hong Kong . It was a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners who lived in Hong Kong. According to Ip Man’s two sons, while at St. Stephen’s Ip Man intervened after seeing a foreign police officer beating a woman. The story goes that the Police officer tried to strike Ip Man who used his martial arts to strike the officer down, at which point Ip Man and his classmate ran to school. The classmate is said to have told an older man who lived in his apartment block. Ip Man was invited to see this man and the man asked Ip Man what martial art he studied. The man then asked Ip Man to show him his first 2 forms (Sil Lim Tao and Chun Kiu). The man then told Ip man that his forms were “not too great.”. Ip Man was then invited to Chi Sau(a form of training that involves controlled attack and defence), Ip Man saw this as an opportunity to prove his Kung Fu was good, but he was beaten after just a few strikes. It turned out that the old man was his master’s elder fellow-disciple (and so, by Chinese tradition Yip Man’s martial uncle), Leung Bik (梁璧), son of his master’s master Leung Jan(梁贊). After that encounter, Yip Man continued his training lessons from Leung Bik. By the age of 24, Yip Man had returned to Foshan, his Wing Chun skills tremendously improved.
In Foshan, Yip Man became a policeman. He did not formally run a Wing Chun school, but taught several of his subordinates, his friends and relatives. Amongst those informal students, Lok Yiu, Chow Kwong-yue (周光裕 (六仔)), Kwok Fu (郭富), Lun Kai (倫佳), Chan Chi-sun (陳志新) and Lui Ying (呂應) were amongst the most well-known. Chow Kwong-yue was said to be the best student among his peers, but eventually he went into commerce and dropped out of martial arts all together. Kwok Fu and Lun Kai went on to teach students of their own. Wing Chun in the Foshan and Guangdong area was mainly passed down from these two individuals. Chan Chi-sun died young, and Lui Ying went to Hong Kong. Neither of them took any students.
Yip Man went to Kwok Fu’s village house during the Japanese Occupation. He only returned to Foshan after the war, to once again take up the job of a police officer. At the end of 1949, after the Communist party won the Chinese civil war, being an officer of the Kuomintang,he decided to escape to Hong Kong without his family when the Communists had come to Foshan.
In Hong Kong, he opened a martial arts school. Initially, business was poor because his students typically stayed for only a couple of months. He moved his school twice, to Hoi Tan Street (海壇街) in Sham Shui Po, and then to Lee Tat Street (利達街) in Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students were skilled enough that they were able to start their own schools. Among the first were Leung Sheung,Lok Yiu,Chu Shong-tin, and Wong Shun Leung.
Some of Yip Man’s students and descendants compared their skills with other martial artists in combat. Their victories over other martial artists helped to bolster Ip Man’s reputation as a teacher.
In 1967, Ip Man and some of his students established the Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic Association (香港詠春拳體育會). In 1972, Ip Man suffered throat cancer and subsequently died on the 2nd of December that same year.
Within the three decades of his career in Hong Kong, he established a training system for Wing Chun that eventually spread across the world.
A Chronicle Life of Grandmaster Yip Man
Born on 14 th October 1893 , died on 1 st December 1972
1899 – 1905
Yip Man 6 to 12 years old
Studied Wing Chun kungfu with Chan Wah Shun (Money Changer Wah) at Yip's family hall, Main Street of Foshan (Song Yuen Dai Gai)
Yip Man 12 years old
1905 – 1907
Yip Man 12 to 14 years old
Yip Man 15 years old
1909 – 1913
Yip Man 16 to 21 years old
1914 – 1937
Yip Man 21 to 44 years old
Japan - Foshan
In 1914, with the help of Yip's brother, Yip Gai Gak, he originally planned to further his study in Kobe , Japan but this plan was spoiled for some reasons.
During this 20 years, Yip's job was mainly in the army and police force. He married Cheung Wing Sing and had four children, sons Yip Hok Chun (Yip Chun), Yip Hok Ching (Yip Ching) and daughters Yip Ar Sum and Yip Ar Woon.
When Yip was not working, he liked to get together with other martial artists to practice and exchange kung fu ideas with his wing chun schoolmates in his house. Yip installed a wooden dummy in the corner of his living room. Practicing at that time with Yip Man were Yuan Kay Shan, Yiu Choi, Yip Chung Hong, Lai Hip Chi, Tong Gai and others. He became famous among the martial arts community of southern China .
Yip Man 44 years old
1937 – 1945
Yip Man 44 to 52 years old
Yip Man 52 years old
1945 – 1949
Yip Man 54 to 56 years old
Yip Man 56 years old
Yip Man went through Macau to Hong Kong . Yip had stayed 2 weeks at Cho Dui Street with friends who owned a bird shop.
1950 – 1953
Yip Man 57 to 60 years old
1953 – 1954
Yip Man 60 to 61 years old
1954 – 1955
Yip Man 61 to 62 years old
1955 – 1957
Yip Man 62 to 64 years old
1957 – 1962
Yip Man 64 to 69 years old
Yip Man moved the school to Li Cheng Uk Estate. At this time, students were Chow Tze Chuen, Ng Chan, Wong Chok, Mak Po, Yeung Hei, Moy Yat and Ho Kam Ming. Most of Yip Man's private lessons were taught during this period of time. They were :
• Shun Kei Pottery Shop, Shaukeiwan. Students were Wong Bak Yee, Wong Wing, Yeung Chung Hon, Wong Kwok Yau and others.
• Po Lak Hong, Tsimshatsui. Students were Tong Cho Chi, Lee Wai Chi, Chan Tak Chiu, Tam Lai and others.
• Tai Po Road . Students were Chung Kam Chuen and Chung Wing Hong.
1962 – 1963
Yip Man 69 to 70 years old
1963 – 1965
Yip Man 70 to 72 years old
1965 – 1972
Yip Man 72 to 79 years old
The school at the Tai Sang Restaurant finished and Yip Man lived in his apartment on Tung Choi Street . Because of his advanced age, Yip Man was partly retired. Despite this, he was still teaching one to one private tuition. Going to Yip Man's home during this period of time were Wong Chung Wah, Wong Hei, Hon Chak Chuen and others. He also went out teaching to three places.
• The Ving Tsun Athletic Association, which in 1967, was the first martial arts society to be officially registered with the government. The Association then decided to open Wing Chun classes at VTAA. The classes were in charge by Yip Man. Assisting him were Chung Ching On, Fung Hon, Wong Hon Chung and others. However, this was only for about 3 months.
• Chan Kai Hong's home on Waterloo Road . Learning here were Chan Kai Hong, Siu Lung brothers, Wong Tze On, Chan Kam Ming, Chung Yau, Lau Ying Kau, Man Yim Kong and othrs.
• Tze Yau Road . When Chan Kai Hong could not continue offered the place at Waterloo Road , Yip Man moved to the roof top of Lau Ying Lam's home. Joining here were Wong Chi Ming and a female student called Ng Yuet Dor.
• Siu Fai Toi at Yip Sing Cheuk's home. Yip Sing Cheuk was a solicitor. Apart from him, the rest of students were also mostly solicitor. This was the last place that Yip Man taught Wing Chun.
Yip Man passed away at his home on Tong Choi Street on 1 st December 1972 . He had 79 years of life. His tomb is now situated in Fanling.