Tradition and greatness captured in one video: GM Ip Man performing Chum Kiu. Great and inspiring. In case you want to see more Ip Man’s original footage don’t forget to check out his Siu Nim Tao.
Ip started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun when he was 7. Chan was 64 at the time, and Ip became Chan’s last student. Due to his teacher’s age, Ip learnt most of his skills and techniques from Chan’s second eldest disciple, Wu Chung-sok. Chan lived three years after Ip’s training started. One of his dying wishes was to have Wu continue teaching Ip.
At the age of 16, Ip moved to Hong Kong with help from his relative Leung Fut-ting.
Ip returned to Foshan when he was 24 and became a policeman. He taught Wing Chun to several of his collegues, friends and relatives, but did not officially run a martial arts school. Ip went to live with Kwok Fu during the Second Sino-Japanese War and only returned to Foshan after the war. There he continued his career as a police officer.
Ip left Foshan for Hong Kong at the end of 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War. He did so, because he was an officer of the Kuomintang, the Communists’ rival in the Civil War.
Initially, Ip Man’s teaching business was poor. In fact, 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 in Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students had attained proficiency in Wing Chun. This way they were able to start their own schools. Some of his students sparred with other martial artists to compare their skills. Their victories helped increase Ip Man’s fame.
In 1967, Ip and some of his students established the Wing Chun Athletic Association. The main purpose of the Association was to help Ip tackle his financial difficulties in Hong Kong.
Ip died on December 2, 1972 in his unit at 149 Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong, from throat cancer, only 7 months before the death of Bruce Lee.
Ip’s legacy is the global practice of Wing Chun. Ip Chun, the eldest son of Ip Man,is as 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. His notable students include: Ho Kam Ming, Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, Chu Shong-tin, Wong Shun Leung, Bruce Lee, Moy Yat, Victor Kan, his nephew Lo Man Kam, and his sons Ip Ching and Ip Chun.