YIP MAN (1893-1972)

Grandmaster Yip Man was the first master to teach the martial art of Wing Chun openly.

He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right,

one of them being Bruce Lee.

Born in Foshan in 1893, he started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun

at the age of thirteen. Because of his sifu’s old age,

Yip Man had to learn much of his skills and techniques

from his master’s second eldest disciple Ng Chung-so.

Three years into Yip Man’s training Chan Wah-shun died,

but one of his dying wishes was that Ng will help Yip complete the system.

In 1908 he went to Hong Kong and enrolled in St. Stephen’s College,

a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners who lived in Hong Kong.

Through a classmate he came to meet Leung Bik, the son of his master’s master

and he learned from him for four years.

In 1914 he returned to Foshan and until 1937 his job was mainly in the army

 and police force. He married Cheung Wing Sing and had four children,

sons Yip Hok Chun, Yip Hok 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.

He 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 .

In 1937 Japan invaded China. Yip Man swore not to be used

by the puppet Japanese government so he became very poor.

Luckily his good friend, Chow Ching Chuen gave him financial support

from time to time. In order to repay his friend’s kindness, Yip accepted his son,

Chow Kong Yiu as student.

From 1941 – 1943, he taught Wing Chun Kuen in Luen Cheung Cotton Mill.

After the surrending of Japan in 1945, for Yip Man started a very busy period at work.

He even had to give up training for a while.

After the communists took over in 1949, Yip Man went through Macao to Hong Kong.

In July 1950, at the age of 57, Yip Man started teaching in Tai Lam Street, Kowloon .

The first Wing Chun class was for the Restaurant Workers Association.

There were only people including Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu in the first class.

Later, the class was joined by Tsui Sheung Tin, Yip Bo Ching, Chiu Wan,

Lee See Wing and others. This period of time was called the forefront

 of the Restaurant Workers Association.

Yip Man also taught in the Restaurant Workers Union Headquarters in Hong Kong Island .

Between 1953 – 1955 the school was moved twice and students like Wong Shun Leung,

Wong Kiu, Ho Kam Ming, Lee Kam Sing, William Cheung etc. started training.

Yip Man moved the school in 1955 to Lee Tat Street, Kowloon.

Students like Chow Tze Chuen, Lee Siu Lung (Bruce Lee), Chan Shing,

Cheung Hok Kin (Hawkins Cheung), Siu Yuk Man, Pang Kam Fat and others

 joined by that time. In the following years the school was moved again

 a few times, the last location being

on the top floor of the Tai Sang Restaurant on Fook Chuen Street.

In 1965 this school was closed. Because of his advanced age, Yip Man was partly retired.

Despite this, he was still teaching one to one private tuition.

The Ving Tsun Athletic Association, founded in 1967, was the first

martial arts society to be officially registered with the government.

The Association decided to open Wing Chun classes at the headquarter,

 with Yip Man in charge and assisted by Chung Ching On, Fung Hon,

Wong Hon Chung and others. However, this was only for about 3 months.

Yip Man passed away at his home on Tong Choi Street on 1 st December 1972,

at the age of 79 years. His tomb is now situated in Fanling.

 

 

~ by pinoro on December 19, 2010.

31 Responses to “YIP MAN (1893-1972)”

  1. wow wow…i’m proude of yip man…so that i’m doing wing chun in sri lanka..it’s greatest style my life…but i’m not wing chun wooden dummy…but i most love this style…..good luck all the best

  2. it’s great it’s awesome….master yip man

  3. Yip Man is inspirational….i’m 23 and wanting to start learning Wing Chun in England, is it a good place to learn true Wing Chun?

    • Hi Dan, thank you for the comment! England is definitely a good place to learn Wing Chun, I have two names for you: Adam Gerken and James Sinclair. Wish you good luck!

  4. He is the reason why I am choosing Wing Chun to study. Thanks you for the posts. Very good. I hope to study under Sifu Jason Lau in Atlanta, GA.

  5. i am very impresed with ip man and sons and sam kwock. i am 66 yrs old and not good health. Can wing chuan help me?

  6. To whom this may concern. I am very overwelmed by the recent view of the two part film donnie yen made. IP and IP2. amazing performances . made my feelings for yip kai-man to never be forgotten. supposely these films did not hit the top charts in usa, but for me not only did it hit top best history story ive ever seen, it made me see the calm simplicety side of martial arts. I am a true favor for bruce lee, but i dont need to have that killer way . A new door has open in my life ,it has touched my heart and dont want to look away. I am ruben jr 40 from massachusetts and am interested in joining in wing chun school, is there a place closest?

  7. Hi i am a 27 year old woman! I have watched the IP Man 1,2,3 and honestly its a very inspiring movie, its a heart warming movie and a great history. I wondered why this movies didn’t hit. this makes me interested in wing chun, is there any good school in the Philippines? And this movie should be watched by everybody, The story has being executed beautifully.

  8. IP and IP2. amazing performances . made my feelings for yip kai-man to never be forgotten. supposely these films did not hit the top charts in usa, but for me not only did it hit top best history story ive ever seen, it made me see the calm simplicety side of martial arts. I am a true favor for bruce lee, but i dont need to have that killer way . A new door has open in my life ,it has touched my heart and dont want to look away. I am ruben jr 40 from massachusetts and am interested in joining in wing chun school, is there a place closest?

    Ruben colon jr. said this on September 15, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Reply

  9. yip man is the best wing chung martial art, in the world then come bruce lee.

  10. we wish that one of you wing chun masters could seriously consideer opening a school in Lae,
    Papua New Guinea.

  11. indeed IP 1 and 2 are great!!!!!!!!!!! awesome!!!!!!!!! full of wonderfull skills!!! Live long martial arts!!!!!!!!

  12. look for the grandmaster(s) (war kung hai)think thats the producers name but its supposed to be the best yip man movie

  13. the story of Yip Man was very inspiring to me. Are there any schools that are under direct lineage in the USA Virginia area?

  14. Just watched the movie “ipman”. I am now in my thirties. Think I am a bit old for learning such an art. But what I liked is his courage. Bravo

  15. Has anyone every seen grandmaster yipman do chi sue with anyone on film?

  16. It is truly a nice and useful piece of info. I’m glad that you just shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I am a Wing Chun student under the Jason Lau system. Sigung Lau was taught by Jiu Wan who was also taught by Chan Wa Shun. Jiu Wan and Yip Man were friends who learned the style together when they were younger. Just a little tid bit of info!

  18. ola meu nome e Diogo e gostaria se saber um academia boa de wing chun no brasil preferencialmente em pernambuco

  19. are there any wing chin schools in wisconsin or illinois i have always wanted to practice wing chun since i was in 2nd grade?

  20. un grande maestro!

  21. I have been learning wing chun since two year and I have no any master but I learning from youtube and I practice with my father now I know the self defense🙂

  22. Hello there. Thanks for creating this nice blog…

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