Grandmaster Ip Man

Ip Man, Yip Man, 葉問; (1 October 1893 – 2 December 1972) was a Chinese martial artist from Canton. He was famed as one of the 3 heros of Wingchun, Ip man, Yuen Kay San and Yiu Choi. One of his most famous student was Bruce Lee.

Ip Man was the 3th child born to Yip Oi-dor and Ng Shui. His family was wealthy 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 when he was 9 or 13 which which placed the learning to be around 1902 or 1906. Chan was 57 at the time, and Ip became Chan's 16th and last student. Due to Chan's age, Ip was trained for three years by Chan before he directed his second eldest disciple, Ng Chung-sok (吳仲素) to continue teaching Ip. The reason was that Chan had suffered a mild stroke in 1909 and wished to retire to his village in Shunde.

At the age of 16, with help from his relative Leung Fut-ting, 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 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).

Some of his best known informal students were Chow Kwong-yue (周光裕), Kwok Fu (郭富), Lun Kah (倫佳), Chan Chi-sun (陳志新), Xu He-Wei (徐和威) and Lui Ying (呂應). Among them, Chow Kwong-yue was said to be the best, but he eventually went into commerce and stopped practicing martial arts. Kwok Fu and Lun Kah went on to teach students of their own and they passed down the art of Wing Chun in the Foshan and Guangdong region. Chan Chi-sun and Lui Ying went to Hong Kong later but neither of them accepted any students.

Ip went to live with Kwok Fu during the Second Sino-Japanese War and only returned to Foshan after the war, where he resumed his career as a police officer. Ip found some time to train his second son Ip Ching during the year 1949. At the end of 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War, as Ip was an officer for the Kuomintang, Ip, his wife and their elder daughter Ip Nga-sum left Foshan for Hong Kong.

Ip, his wife Cheung and their daughter arrived in Hong Kong through Macau in 1950. His wife and daughter would later return to Foshan to retrieve their identity cards. However, due to the closure of borders between China and Hong Kong in 1951, Ip and Cheung were separated for good, with the latter remaining in Foshan.

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 own schools. They would go on and spar with other martial artists to compare their skills, and their victories helped to increase Ip's fame. Some of his famous students were Leung Sheung, Tsui Shong Tin, Wong Shun Leung, Andrew Ma, Bruce Lee and many more Masters.

Meanwhile at Foshan, his wife Cheung died of cancer in 1960 and his sons arrived in Hong Kong to reunite with him in 1962.

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

Ip died on 2 December 1972 in his unit at 149 Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong,from throat cancer, seven months before the death of Bruce Lee. He was buried at Fan Ling,Hong Kong.

Ip's legacy is the global practice of Wing Chun.

Ip wrote a history of Wing Chun. Many artifacts of his life are on display in the "Yip Man Tong" museum in the Foshan Ancestral Temple grounds. Ip Man is also included in many films based on his life.

credits to Wikipedia