Wing Chun Las Vegas
Kung Fu School

Martial Arts Articles

Article Sitemap

Martial Arts Article RSS Feed

More Articles

Martial Arts ArticleChoosing a Self Defense Martial Arts School a Parent s Guide

Martial Arts ArticleTai Chi Chuan the ancient path to stress free living

Martial Arts ArticleHow to Select Your Martial Arts and Self Defense Equipment

Martial Arts ArticleEverything You Need To Know About Judo Uniforms

Martial Arts ArticleMartial Arts and Your Personality Type

Martial Arts Article20 Reasons Women Choose Self Defense At Home

Martial Arts Article7 Surefire Self Defense Tips Criminals Want Women To Never Learn

Martial Arts ArticleThe Bizarre Self Defense Secret That Terrifies Violent Thugs

Martial Arts ArticleEmotion Based Defensive Response A Non Traditional Martial Arts Approach to Self Defense

Martial Arts ArticleSimple Self Defense Move Forces People Who Have You Pinned Down To Jump Off You As Fast As Possible

Martial Arts ArticleSelf Defense Fighting Techniques Part One Kicking Does It Work In A Real Fight Or Not

Martial Arts ArticleChin Na Fa Skill of Catch and Hold

Martial Arts ArticleTai Chi for Over Fifties

Martial Arts ArticleSelf defense Against a Knife Myths Fantasies and How to Stay Alive Part One

Martial Arts ArticleThe Benefits of Martial Arts Training

Martial Arts ArticleAll About Martial Arts and Other Fighting Styles

Martial Arts ArticleIf You Think English is Difficult Try Mandarin Part 2

Martial Arts ArticleSelf Defense Fighting Techniques Part Two Kicking Does It Work In A Real Fight Or Not

Martial Arts ArticleChildren Need More Exercise and Martial Arts Can Help

Martial Arts ArticleTai Chi for Over Fifties And Under Fifties

Martial Arts Articles Self Defense

Ip Man - the Man who Taught Bruce Lee Kung Fu

Lo Man Kam Wing Chun Las Vegas Kung Fu School

Ip Man - the Man who Taught Bruce Lee Kung Fu

Author: Daniel Land

Ip Man was the second son of a wealthy and influential family. His early years were set against a backdrop of civil unrest and conflict. A bloody conflict with Japan was lost and China was forced to cede territory and money to Japan A coup d'etat followed three years later and for the following few years the country was thrown in to further turmoil by the "Boxer rebellion" (a bloody uprising of martial artists against foreign influence in China). By the time he was 12 the uprising had long since been quelled and the remaining martial artists who hadn't been put to death were maintaining a very low profile.

It was at this time that Ip Man started to take an interest in Wing Chun, after watching classes run in the Ip family clan hall by Chun Wa Shun. Although Ip Man was only able to train for three years before Chan passed away. At 15 Ip Man moved to Hong Kong to attend high school. Ip Man described himself as an arrogant youngster quick to get into fights. After a fight with a policeman he found beating a Chinese woman, during which he impressed those around by dispatching the much larger and older man armed with a baton, he came to the attention of Leung Bik a student of Chun Wa Shun's own teacher.

Their first meeting went very badly. He was unaware of why he had been summoned to meet Leung Bik, but turned up as requested, as the tradition in those days was that young people were expected to respect the wishes of their elders. Leung Bik asked Ip Man to demonstrate his Wing Chun, which Ip Man was initially happy to do and then pointed out a number of deficiencies in his skills. Ip Man was enraged and when he was finally asked to practice Chi Sau (a form of sparring used in Wing Chun training) thinking that he now had an opportunity to teach the old man a lesson, Ip Man immediately threw a punch which was blocked, with Ip Man thrown effortlessly to one side, two more attempts both left Ip Man lying on the floor wondering what had just happened. Ip Man was furious and stormed out, it was only the next day when he had calmed down and asked who Leung Bik was that he realised that he had a lot to learn from this man. He went back to see Leung Bik, apologised and asked him to take him on as a student. For the next four years, until his death, Ip Man refined his Wing Chun skills under Leung Bik's guidance.

In 1912 Ip Man returned to Foshan, being from a priveleged and wealthy background he didn't need to work and was able to devote the next few years to refining his Wing Chun skills and passing them on to others. Challenge matches between kung fu schools were an everyday reality of Chinese Martial Arts culture and Ip Man quickly acquired a reputation that made him the target for many of these challenges. He was however, able to despatch all his challengers. One of these more famous encounters involved a master of Praying Mantis, who, when laying down the challenge smashed his fist through a brick wall. The fight was held on a stage and watched excitedly by the whole town expecting an evenings entertainment, their evening was cut short as Ip Man managed to finish the fight within a few seconds of it starting by throwing his opponent off the stage and breaking three of his ribs in the process.

In 1937 following the invasion of China by the Japanese Empire, Ip Man's fortunes changed radically. The family wealth was confiscated and Ip Man was obliged to find a job to support himself. As a result of his reputation not only for martial skills, but for his honour and honesty, Ip Man was offered the job of police chief for Foshan. He carried out this job dilligently using much of his spare time to teach wing chun, until the communists took power in China in 1949. He joined the exodus of nearly a million Chinese to Hong Kong, to escape the forced reformation of Chinese culture.

Ip Man spent the rest of his life teaching in Hong Kong. He arrived in Hong Kong without a penny to his name, so to support himself ran a school on behalf of the Hong Kong Restaurant Workers Association. At that time Wing Chun was an obscure style of kung fu practiced by a minority. However as his school grew and his pupils took part in and usually won the many illegal rooftop fighting competitions of the day, Ip Man's reputation grew across the island, and students flocked to his school. He never advertised , feeling that this would not give him the option of turning away potential students that he thought would be unsuitable, but as a result of the fighting prowess of his students he was never short of people who wanted to train with him.

Ip Man made a point of teaching Wing Chun to each student in a way that was adapted to their personality, profession, education and body build. One example that he gave was when he taught a professional hairdresser, because of her job she found it very difficult to keep he elbows in, spending her entire working life with her elbows pushed out. So rather than try to correct this, he taught her techniques to compensate for this poor elbow position.

It was this constant adaptation and variation in teaching that led to many disputes following his death about the "correct" way to perform particular techniques. In one case one of his students claimed that he was the only person Ip Man had ever taught the "true wing chun" to. Not surprisingly most of these squables and grandiosed claims came after Ip Man's so that he couldnt' refute them.

It was during this period in the fifties and sixties that Ip Man trained some of his most famous students. Amongst these was the young child actor and son of an opera star Bruce Junfan Lee. Bruce aged twelve had been beaten up by a local gang and wanted to learn how to defend himself. Initially Ip Man was reluctant to take the young boy on, and only agreed as a result of his persistance, a character trait that he was legendary for having in abundance. Bruce Lee studied with Ip Man for two years before moving back to his country of birth the united states only having learned a small part of the Wing Chun system. As there was nobody in the US qualified to further his training he took an interest in Karate and taekwondo to supplement his trainning. Eventually he merged all these systems into his own hybrid system called Jeet Kune Do.

The story of Bruce Lee's rise to stardom is well known, within a few years of making his first martial arts film, he had become a household name in the West. The fact that Lee had learned Kung Fu from Ip Man created a demand for Ip Man's students to teach wherever they went. As a result schools quickly sprang up across Europe and the United States.

As is the tradition in Chinese Martial Arts schools senior students (Si Hing's) are expected to take an active role in teaching their younger "kung fu brothers" (Si Dais). The temptation to distort this to a claim that they had taught kung fu to Bruce Lee and gain a lot of kudos with his army of fans, proved too much for many of Ip Man's students. Hence today there are many conflicting claims about who Bruce Lee's instructor was, although non dispute the fact that he studied under Ip Man during his time in Hong Kong. This more than any other disagreement has been a significant factor in the many splits and political divisions that have occurred between the schools of the Ip Man lineage.

Ip Man died of throat cancer in 1972, almost certainly as a result of the 20 camel cigarretes a day that he famously smoked, sometimes whilst stood at the side of his classes watching his students train. Ip Man's two sons maintain the family tradition to this day and head up his "Hong Kong Ving Tsun Association" with satellite schools in every country in the world, maintaining Ip Man's no-nonsense approach to teaching a fighting system based on simplicity, speed and efficiency.

Daniel Land is a student of Wing Chun Kung Fu and an editor of the Martial Arts Open Directory. http://www.martialartsopendirectory.org


More Martial Arts and Self Defense Articles

Newest martial arts study today
When we say martial arts, we think of the much publicized Chinese Kung Fu that is graceful yet powerful. Ever since Bruce Lee hit the screen with his Kung Fu flying kicks, people of the West has been mesmerized and in awe of the martial art...read more

Why Every Cop Should Study Judo Part 1
Up until 30 years ago, JUDO was the martial art. Then with the introduction of the more mysterious martial arts with more of a “killing” edge to them this coupled with the focus of the USJF/USJI (the leading Judo organizations in the US and the...read more

LEARNING TAEKWONDO
Taekwon-do is Korean for foot (tae), hand (kwon) and way, or art (do). It can thus be rendered, "the art of fighting using the hands and feet." The word "do", essentially the key to the art itself, implies a totally dedicated way of life, the...read more

The 4 Lines of Self Defense
The cry of "Self defense!" is common among those who get into trouble for fighting. Often this is heard from both parties, which makes the statement suspect. Self defense is a complex concept. The defining the word is the easy part. In terms of...read more

Why The Wizened Old Martial Arts Masters In The Movies Are Dead Wrong
Watch almost any martial arts movie where the old, wise karate or kung fu master is training a new student...and you will almost always hear teacher tell student to "look your enemy in the eye." Bad idea. Really bad idea. Why? Because, while...read more

Tai Chi for Over Fifties
Tai Chi for Over Fifties Tai Chi is an internal martial art which can be soft and gentle. It can and should be practised in a flowing way for practitioners of any age. Particlularly, in China and the est nowadays, people ove r 50 are taking up...read more

Tai Chi Chuan – the ancient path to stress free living
When I began practising Tai Chi in 1991 the thing that struck me about it was its power or at least the promise of its power. What I went on to witness and discover was that there was nothing mystical or particularly esoteric about the power of...read more

Tai Chi for Over Fifties And Under Fifties!
Tai Chi is an internal martial art which can be soft and gentle. It can and should be practised in a flowing way for practitioners of any age. Particlularly, in China and the est nowadays, people ove r 50 are taking up tai chi whilst the younger...read more

Naural Self-Defense Against Breast Cancer - Learning to Cope Successfully with Organochlorine Pollut
What are organochlorines? Organochlorines are chemicals found in some herbicides and pesticides, in chlorine bleach and most chemical disinfectants, and many plastics, especially PVC (polyvinylchloride). Organochlorines are implicated in causing...read more

Martial Arts Training for Real Self-Defense: Making Sense of Chaos
I once had a talk with a student who pointed out the almost insane notion that anyone could think that they could use a preset string of moves (known as a kata, pronounced kah-tah) to handle something as chaotic as a fight. He said it made no sense...read more

Notice: These martial arts and self defense articles are gathered from various public sources and are presented "as is" for for informational purposes only. They do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Lo Man Kam Wing Chun Kung Fu Organization. The authors of this site make no claims and take no responsibility regarding the content of these articles.
Wing Chun Las Vegas Kung Fu School | 6366 W. Sahara Ave | Phone: (702) 768-1201