A Chronicle of the Life of Grandmaster Ip Man.

Posted By : eWingChun Admin
Date: Sep 17, 2011

Born October 14th 1893, died December 1st 1972

Grandmaster Ip Man spent his whole life as champion of the cause of Wing Chun Kung Fu. He was responsible for advancing Wing Chun Kung Fu to its eminence today. Throughout the world, students of Wing Chun Kung Fu continue to publish articles about Grandmaster Ip Man, his life and achievements. Therefore to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grandmaster Ip Man this chronicle is being produced for all those interested in Wing Chun Kung Fu. This chronicle is about Ip Man and his contribution to the style of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Therefore the details of his life, his education and profession, will only be covered in brief. There are thousands of practitioners of Wing Chun Kung Fu and those who are not mentioned in this tribute must bear with the author for lack of space.

Ip Man was born on October 14th 1893, in the Chine Dynasty (Kang Shoui-September 5th, in the Chinese calendar), in Fut Shan town in Kwong Tung province, which was, then in Lam Hoi country. So Ip Man's birthplace is often referred as Lam Hoi in Kwong Tung.

Grandmaster Ip Man's father was called Ip Oi Dor, his mother was Ng Shui, he was one of four brothers and sisters. His older brother was called Gei Ger (Grandmaster Ip Man was originally called Gei Man), his sister's names were Wan Mei and Wan Hom.

1899 to 1905 (Ching Kwon Shui)
Grandmaster Ip Man 6 to 12 years old.
Location: Fut Shan. Grandmaster Ip Man studied Wing Chun Kung Fu with Chan Wah Shun ( Money Changer Wah). The location was in Fut Shan town main street (Song Yun Dai Gai) in the Ip family hall. The garden is now owned by the government and the hall is no longer there. At that time studying together with Grandmaster Ip Man were Lui Yui Chai, Ng Chung Sao, Ng Siu Lo and others.

1905 (Ching Kwon Shui)
Grandmaster Ip Man is 12 years old.
Location: Fut Shan.

Chan Wah Shun passed away, but before he died he asked Ng Chung Sao to help Ip Man to complete the Wing Chun system. Chan Wah Shun's body was taken by his Kung Fu disciples to Chan village in Shun Dak, for burial.

1905 to 1907 (Ching Kwon Shui)
Grandmaster Ip Man 12 to 14 years old.
Location: Fut Shan.

Grandmaster Ip Man followed the last words of Chan Wah Shun to study with Ng Chung Sao. Ng's school was situated in Sin Huen Gai Street. In Ng's school at the time were Yuen Kei Shan, Yiu Choi (Yiu Kei's father) and others.

1908 (Ching Kwon Shui)
Grandmaster Ip Man is 15 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

Grandmaster Ip Man came to live at Kane Road, Hong Kong with the help of a relative, Leung Fut Ting, and was sponsored to study at St Stephen Collage in Stanley.

1909 to 1913 (Ching Shun Tong)
Grandmaster Ip Man 16 to 21 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

Grandmaster Ip Man, through classmates, came to know Leung Pik, the second son of the late Grandmaster Leung Chan. and studied with him for four years. (A short story by Ip Chun has recorded this).

1914 to 1937 (Man Kwok year 3 to 26)
Grandmaster Ip Man 21 to 44 years old.
Locations: Hong Kong - Japan - Fut Shan.

During this 20-year period his job was mainly in the army and police work. He married Cheung Wing Sing, who's family were descended from Cheung Yum Hang, one of the last of the Ching Dynasty ministers. He had four children, sons Ip Chun, Ip Ching, daughters Ar Sum and Ar Wun. When he was not working, Grandmaster Ip Man liked to get together with other Martial Artists to study and practice.

He became famous, throughout the martial arts community of southern China, everyone came to know the name of Ip Man from Fat Shan. In Ip Man's large garden a lot of ideas were exchanged about the Wing Chun style. In the corner of his living room was a wooden Wing Chun dummy. Practising at the time with Ip Man were Yuen Gei San, Yiu Choi, Yip Chung Hong, Lai Hip Chi, Tong Kai and others.

1937 (Man Kwok year 26)
Grandmaster Ip Man is 44 years old.
Location: Fut Shan.

The Japanese invaded south China.

1937 to 1945 (Man Kwok year 26 to 34)
Grandmaster Ip Man 44 to 52 years old.
Location: Fut Shan.

For 8 years Ip Man fought the Japanese but Fut Shan was occupied and ruled by a puppet government. Grandmaster Ip Man swore not to be used by the puppet government so he became very poor and often went hungry. Luckily his good friend, Chow Cheng Chung, gave him food from time to time. Grandmaster Ip Man wanted to repay his kindness and so accepted his son, Chow Kwang Yiu, as a student. From 1941 to 1943 he taught Wing Chun Kung Fu in the cotton mill at Wing On.

Studying at this time with Chow Kwong Tiu were Kwok Fu, Chan Chi Sun, Ng Ying, Lun Kai, Chow Sai and others. These were the first generation of students that Grandmaster Ip Man taught. Kwok Fu and Lun Kai are still alive and teaching Wing Chun Kung Fu in Chin today, in Kwong Chow, Fut Shan.

1945 (Man Kwok year 34)
Grandmaster Ip Man is 52 years old.
Location: Fut Shan.

The year Japan surrendered.

1945 to 1949 (Man Kwok year 34 to 38)
Grandmaster Ip Man 54 to 56 years old.
Location: Kwong Chow, Fut Shan.

During this period of time, Grandmaster Ip Man was at his busiest at work, even through he loved Wing Chun Kung Fu he had to leave it for a time. Until, in 1948, through his very good friend Tong Kai, he was introduced to Pang Lam who begged Ip Man to teach him Wing Chun Kung Fu. Through this was a busy time for Ip Man he coached Pang Lam on the forms at the Fut Shang Cheung Yee Athletic Association.

1949 (Man Kwok year 38)
Grandmaster Ip Man is 56 years old.
Locations: Macao and Hong Kong.

Grandmaster Ip Man went through Macao to Hong Kong but while in Macao he stayed for two weeks at Cho Doi Street with friends who owned a bir shop.

1950 to 1953 (Man Kwok year 39 to 42)
Grandmaster Ip Man 57 to 60 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

In July 1950, through Lee Man's introduction, Grandmaster Ip Man started teaching in Dai Lam Street, Kowloon. The first Wing Chun Kung Fu class was for the Restaurant Workers Association. When he opened the class there were only 8 people including Leung Shang and Lok Yiu. All these were restaurant workers, but later he was joined by Tsui Shan Tin, Yip Bo Ching, Chiu Wan, Lee Yan Wing, Law Peng, Man Siu Hung and others.

This period of time was called the forefront of the Restaurant Workers Association. Grandmaster Ip Man also taught in the Restaurant Workers, Shang Wan branch, Union HQ in Hong Kong. Students included Lee Wing, Yue May Keug, Lee Leung Foon and others.

1953 to 1954 (Man Kwok year 42 to 43)
Grandmaster Ip Man 60 to 61 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

When Leung Shang was defeated in the union elections, Grandmaster Ip Man moved the school to Hoi Tan Street. Learning at this time were Wong Shun Leung, Wong Kiu, Wong Chaok, Ng Chan and others. Grandmaster Ip Man also taught private lessons at Three Prince Temple on Yue Chow Street. Students were Lee Hong and others.

1954 to 1955 (Man Kwok year 43 to 44)
Grandmaster Ip Man 61 to 62 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

Leung Shang was re-elected chairman of the Restaurant Workers Union and so Grandmaster Ip Man moved back to the union HQ. This was called the later stage of the Restaurant Workers Association. At this time he was joined by Lee Kam Sing, Kan Wa Jeet (Victor Kan), Lo Man Kam, Cheung Cheuk Heng (William Cheung) and others.

1955 to 1957 (Man Kwok year 44 to 46)
Grandmaster Ip Man 62 to 64 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

Grandmaster Ip Man moved the school to Lee Tat Street, Yao Ma Tei in Kowloon. The students here were Lee Siu Lung (Bruce Lee), Chan Shing, Haw Kin Cheung, Siu Yuk Man, Poon Bing Lid, Pang Kam Fat and others.

1957 to 1962 (Man Kwok year 46 to 51)
Grandmaster Ip Man 64 to 69 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

During these 5 years Grandmaster Ip Man moved the school to Lee Chang Oak Chuen. At this time sudents were Mek Po, Yeung Hei, Moi Yat, Ho Kam Ming and others. During this period of time Grandmaster Ip Man taught mostly private lessons.

1) Sau Kei Wan, Shun Kei Pottery Shop. Students were Wong Pak Yee, Wong Wei, Yeung Chung Han, Chow Lok Gee, Wong Kwok Yau and others.

2) Tsim Sha Tsui, Bo Lak Hong. Students were Tong Cho Chi, Lee Fat Chi, Chang Tak Chiu, Tam Lai and others.

3) Tai Po Road. Students were Chung Kam Chuen, Chung Wing Hong.

1962 to 1963 (Man Kwok year 51 to 52)
Grandmaster Ip Man 69 to 70 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

Grandmaster Ip Man moved the school to 61 Tai Po Road, a unit in the Heng Yip Building. Students were Cheung Yiu Wing, Ho Luen, Jun Ching On, Chan Woon Lam, Chang Tai Yim and Kwok See Yan. Private lessons were taught at Yee Wa Tailor Shop, at Tsim Sha Tsui. Students were Peter Chang and a group of people from Po Lak Hong. It was about this time in 1962 that the two sons of Grandmaster Ip Man moved to Hong Kong from China. His eldest son Ip Chun and Ip Ching.

1963 to 1965 (Man Kwok year 52 to 54)
Grandmaster Ip Man 70 to 72 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

The school was moved to the top floor of the Tai Sang Restaurant on Fook Chuen Street, Tai Kok Tsui. Originally this had been the storeroom, the owner was called Ho Luen who let them use the room. Most of the people from the school at the Heng Yip Building also moved here. As well as Ho Luen there were also Yeung Chung Hon, Wat Yung Sung, Pang Kam Fat, Jun Ching On, Lee Yan Wing and Yau Hak So.

During this period of time Grandmaster Ip Man also taught students, mainly from the police force, privately on Hin Hing Street, San Po Kong. These included Tang Sang, Lam Ying Fat, Yuen Chi Kong, Lee Yiu Fei, Wong Kok and others.

1965 to 1972 (Man Kwok year 54 to 61)
Grandmaster Ip Man 72 to 79 years old.
Location: Hong Kong.

The School at the Tai Sang Restaurant finished and Grandmaster Ip Man moved to live on Tong Choi Street residence because he was getting old. Although he was already partly retired he was still teaching one to one private tuition. Going to Grandmaster Ip Man's home during this period of time, were Wong Chung Wah (Yat Oak Goi Tse), Wong Hei, Hong Jap Sum and others. He also went out teaching at four places.

1) The Ving Tsun Athletic Association, which in 1967, was the first martial arts society to be officially registered with the government. The Ving Tsun Athletic Association then decided to open Kung Fu classes at the association's address. The association placed Grandmaster Ip Man in charge of the instruction. Assisting him were Jun Ching On, Fung Hon, Wong Hon Chung and others. This was only about three months.

2) Chen Wei Hong's home on Waterloo Road. Learning were Chen Wei Hong, the Siu Lung brothers, also Wong Chi On, Chan Kam Ming, Chung Yau, Lau Hon Lam, Man Yim Kwong and others.

3) Chi Yau Road. When Chen Wei Hong and other business, could not continue at Waterloo Road, Grandmaster Ip Man moved to the top roof of Lau Hon Lam's home. Joining here were Wong Chi Ming and he officially accepted a female student called Ng Yuet Dor.

4) Siu Fai Toi. At Solicitor Yip Sing Cheuk's house, apart from Yip Sing Cheuk the rest of the students were mostly solicitors. This was the last place that Grandmaster Ip Man taught Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Grandmaster Ip Man passed away at his home on Tong Choi Street on the 1st December 1972 (Man Kwok year 61) - 26th October in the Chinese lunar calendar. He enjoyed 79 years of life.