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yip man's legacy

Ip Man was born to Yip Oi-dor and Ng Shui, as the third of four children. He grew up in a wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong, and received traditional Chinese education, alongside his elder brother Yip Kai-gak, his elder sister Yip Wan-mei, and younger sister Yip Wan-hum.

Ip started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun in 1906 when he was 12. Chan was 57 at the time, and Ip became Chan's 16th and last student. Due to Chan's age, he was only able to train Ip for three years before suffering a mild stroke in 1909 and retiring back to his village. Ip learned most of his skills and techniques from Chan's second eldest disciple, Ng Chung-sok (吳仲素). At the age of 16, Ip moved to Hong Kong and there he attended school at St. Stephen's College, a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners living in Hong Kong. 

Six months after moving to Hong Kong, a classmate of Ip's named Lai told him that a friend of Lai's father who was an expert in Kung Fu techniques was living with them, and had offered to have a friendly sparring match with Ip. At the time, Ip was undefeated so he eagerly accepted the challenge. He went to Lai's house on a Sunday afternoon, and after exchanging brief pleasantries, challenged the man to a duel. The man was Leung Bik, and he easily overwhelmed Ip Man. Incredulous at the speed with which he had been countered, Ip requested a second duel and was beaten again, just as soundly. Discouraged by his defeat, Ip left without a word and afterward was so depressed that he did not dare mention that he knew Kung Fu. A week later, Lai told him that the man he had fought was asking after him. Ip replied that he was too embarrassed to return, at which point Lai told him that Leung Bik had highly praised his Kung Fu techniques and that he was the son of Leung Jan, who trained Ip's master Chan Wah-shun. Ip proceeded to train with Leung Bik until Leung's death in 1911.

Ip man and Yip Ching.jpg

Yip Man and Yip Ching

Yip Man and Williang cheung

Ip returned to Foshan in 1917 when he was 24 and became a police officer there. He taught some Wing Chun to several of his subordinates, friends, and relatives, but did not officially run a martial arts school. Ip later married Cheung Wing-sing and they had several children; sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching, and daughters Ip Nga-sum (葉雅心) and Ip Nga-wun (葉雅媛).

Ip, his wife Cheung, and their daughter arrived in Hong Kong through Macau in 1950. Initially, Ip Man's teaching business was poor in Hong Kong 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 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 schools. They would go on and spar with other martial artists to compare their skills, and their victories helped to increase Ip's fame.

In 1967, Ip and some of his students established the Ving Tsun Athletic Association (詠春體育會).


The largest influence on Bruce Lee's martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun. Lee began training in Wing Chun when he was 16 years old under the Wing Chun teacher Yip Man between late 1956 and 1957, after losing to rival gang members. Yip's regular classes generally consisted of the forms practice, chi sao (sticking hands) drills, wooden dummy techniques, and free-sparring. Yip tried to keep his students from fighting in the street gangs of Hong Kong by encouraging them to fight in organized competitions.

After a year into his Wing Chun training, most of Yip Man's other students refused to train with Lee when they learned of his mixed ancestry, as the Chinese were generally against teaching their martial arts techniques to non-Asians. Bruce Lee's sparring partner, Hawkins Cheung, states, "Probably fewer than six people in the whole Wing Chun clan were personally taught, or even partly taught, by Yip Man".  However, Lee showed a keen interest in Wing Chun and continued to train privately with Yip Man and Wong Shun Leung.


Yip died on December 2nd of 1972 in his unit at 149 Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong, from throat cancer, only seven months before the death of Bruce Lee. About 6 weeks before he died he asked his 2 sons and his student Lau Hon Lam to film him performing the Wing Chun system as a practice by him. He only managed Sil Lim Tau, Chum Kiu, and the Dummy form. This is because he was in a lot of pain and was weak and unsteady on his feet. He was going to do Biu Gee, the Knife form and long pole. However Grandmaster Ip Chun and Ip Ching and Sifu Lau Hong Lam stopped Ip Man because Biu Gee, the knives and full pole form require a lot of energy to perform. Yip Man had many students and worried some of them were adapting the system due to their own incomplete knowledge and felt that filming it was the only way to stop the frauds and cheats. Ip's legacy is the global practice of Wing Chun. Ip Chun, the eldest son of Ip Man, is passionate and relentless in keeping his father's Wing Chun kung fu legacy alive. In 2014, Ip Chun was selected to represent Wing Chun as the inheritor of the legacy of Wing Chun-style kung fu.

Yip's notable students include: Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, Chu Shong-tin, Wong Shun Leung, Bruce Lee, Moy Yat, Ho Kam Ming, Chow Tze Chuen, and many others kept alive Yip Man's legacy.

William Cheung

William Cheung , born October 1940, is a Chinese Wing Chun kung fu practitioner and currently the Grandmaster of his lineage of Wing Chun, entitled Traditional Wing Chun (TWC). He also heads the sanctioning body of TWC, the Global Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Association. Cheung is responsible for introducing Bruce Lee to his master Ip Man when they were teenagers in Hong Kong.

In the 1950s Cheung grew up in Kowloon, where fighting skills were considered a measure of self-worth and pride, At age 11, Cheung's challenge matches were on the school playground and his fighting style was Tai Chi Chuan, which was not sufficient to elevate him among the youth of Hong Kong. This fighting was a concern and frowned upon by his father who was a police inspector; hence Cheung avoided becoming involved in gangs. A turning point in Cheung's life was when a gang leader who was undefeated in combat challenged an old man who was rumored to fight in a little–known Kung Fu style of a woman. Cheung witnessed the challenge and watched as the thin old man who was Ip Man quickly defeated the gang leader. Impressed by the old man's skill, Cheung visited Ip Man and became his student. Over the next few months, Cheung became a favorite of Ip Man and became a live-in student for 3 years, before leaving Hong Kong.


During his time living with Ip Man, Cheung introduced a then 15–year–old famous child actor, Bruce Lee, whom he first met at Lee's 9th birthday to Ip Man. Cheung and Lee became friends and training partners.


It was in 1977, at the age of 14, that Didier Beddar began studying traditional Wu Shu (North Shaolin) with Fred Bohm, the disciple of Grand Master Alan Lee. For 10 years, he learned this demanding style, the battles took place with real strikes, without protection. "In combat, many styles leave a lot of improvisation when in contact with the opponent. This is why I sought a complementary style, of perfect martial objectivity, which would leave no room for improvisation, and which would offer an overall strategy covering all the tactical areas of the art of combat. . Wing Chun style, one of the most complete in southern China, then imposed itself on me. "D. Beddar, Shil Lim Tao. This encounter occurred in 1986, during a seminar given by William Cheung in Paris, which was attended by several students of Fred Bohm. Impressed by the pragmatism of the style and the charisma of the Master at the time, the School decided to send a student to learn this style with a direct disciple of Yip Man. Already a Wu Shu teacher, Didier Beddar goes to train with the Grand Master in Australia, to perfect the Art of Combat by bringing a fist technique from the South. ADWCT was created in 1989 to promote and develop Wing Chun in France.

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