The Legendary Ip Man: Grandmaster & Gentleman of Wing Chun

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Bruce Lee was one of Ip Man’s students at his kung fu school in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

“It is difficult for a student to pick a

good teacher, but it is more difficult for

a teacher to pick a good student.”

IP MAN (1893 – 1972) 

Ip Man, also known as Yip Man (葉問), was an Asian icon like no other. Born on 1 October 1893 in Foshan, Guangdong to a wealthy family, he is most well-known for being the grandmaster of Wing Chun kung fu and the teacher of Bruce Lee.

Though the art was taught and practiced throughout the Qing Dynasty during the 17th century, it was Ip Man who was credited for teaching Wing Chun to the public, with his account of the art believed to be the oldest written history of Wing Chun.

Believing that Wing Chun should be used for the benefit of the down-trodden and the defenseless, Ip Man, whose real name was Yip Kai-man, was known to be a reserved and quiet man who appeared more like a scholar than a kung fu practitioner.

His legacy continues to live on at the Yip Man Memorial Hall, which was opened in 2002 near Foshan Ancestral Temple in Guangdong, China, where everything from his personal writings to photographs and newspaper clippings is on display for the world to see.

Having been portrayed countless times in popular Hong Kong movies by actors like Donnie Yen, Tony Leung, Anthony Wong and Dennis To, his legacy continues to live on – not just for martial art practitioners but for all upholders of Chinese culture.

Check out the rest of this article in Asian Geographic No.115 Issue 6/2015 here or download a digital copy here

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