Grandmaster Ip Chun
This is a profile on Grandmaster Ip Chun, fate favoured him with being the eldest son of the legendary Yip Man, yet fate can be a two faced coin and it cannot have been easy to live in his fathers shadow, being continuously compared to the late Great Grandmaster of the Wing Chun system. Yet he stands the comparison admirably, whit a humility that we could all do well to learn from.
Many of Yip Man's disciples have made comments in the past, most of which were not exactly flattering about their Kung Fu brothers, it accomplishes nothing to get caught up in the name calling of recent years and Yip Chun done his best to remain disassociated from this destructive ridicule of fellow teachers, also it is not the idea of this article to contradict any of the theories or techniques proposed by other instructors, as everybody's interpretation of concept are open to debate and it is up to the dedicated practitioner to understand Wing Chun and decide for themselves who speaks truthfully. For history is never too kind to those who have deceived others to further their own ambitions, whether it takes months or hundreds of years the truth will always surface. Teachers must remember that words they lay down today will be preserved through the years and represent them when future generations of Wing Chun practitioners look to the past for the true source of their style with eyes that are not clouded by the indoctrination of their instructors.
There have been statements made about Yip Chun that simply do not stand up to examination as much of the recent history of Wing Chun has been documented both by written words and film footage. So here are a few facts that show Yip Chun in a true light for those with clear eyes to see.
Born 27th July 1925, in Fat San, China, the eldest son of Grandmaster Yip Man. Yip Chun purely through tradition and hereditary is the next generation Grandmaster of the Wing Chun System but this is not a title which he proclaims for himself nor wants to as with his father before him, the prestige of being "Number One" or "The Best" (whatever they mean) is not the motivation behind the man, simply that he wishes to pass on the true knowledge that his father passed down to him.
Truth is something that should be clearly understood, never clouded by personal belief, Truth is Fact, Facts are the basis of Wing Chun, which along with the basic principles build a system of fighting methods that cannot be argued against.
Differences occur in interpretation of concept and principle. Personality, Understanding, Application, The When and How, these are the reasons why Wing Chun has so many faces, so called different styles of Wing Chun. Where in reality when you strip all the interpretation away, what remains are the raw concept of principles that run through Wing Chun, its life force, that which has made it today one of the most popular styles of Martial Art.
It is his adherence to the concept and principles of Wing Chun which makes Yip Chun stand head and shoulders above the crowd, his Wing Chun can be judged and believed not because he says so, or because he can hit you, but because his students are taught to "See the Truth" to distinguish between what is right and wrong in Wing Chun.
To understand Yip Chun the Grandmaster you must look at him in the way he wishes to be seen as a normal person, a friend, someone whose knowledge, experience and advise you can respect. Nevertheless in reality he is a highly intelligent and skilled exponent of Wing Chun Kung Fu. It is Yip Chun´s ability to teach whit humility and humour that reinforces his position as a true Grandmaster.
As you can imagine Yip Chun´s Wing Chun study started early in his childhood and continued up to the age og sixteen, then his further education and subsequent career interrupted his Wing Chun practise. It was not until he was 36, after his studies at Wah Lum University and working in accountancy in Fat San that he returned to live whit his father Yip Man in Hong Kong in 1962. Yip Chun had moved to Hong Kong whit his father in 1950 but returned to his studies on the mainland after five months, so it was that in July 1950 that Yip Man first began to teach Wing Chun in Hong Kong. On Yip Chun´s arrival back in Hong Kong he lived whit his father in the Hing Yip Building, and it was at this time that he observed mush of his fathers teaching methods though it was not until 1967 that Yip Chun began to learn full time from his father, starting right from the beginning and completing the whole system. Being constantly exposed to the teaching method of his father along whit the later total commitment to learning Wing Chun this allowed Yip Chun to quickly overcome the major stumbling block of Wing Chun knowledge, Chi Sau, the forms he found relatively easy to pick up, it was Chi Sau that posed the main barrier that took most time to overcome.
It was because of this situation that Yip Chun´s Chi Sau increased in skill very rapidly, in addition, when returning home from lessons, further advise on Chi Sau technique, about energy, its direction and use were passed form father to son, and it was this intimate contact with Yip Man's knowledge and understanding of Wing Chun that allowed Yip Chun to rapidly overtake other students who has practised for longer under Yip Man.
Since teaching full time Yip Chun has travelled the world giving seminars, his hope is to unite all Wing Chun factions, to get rid of the internal squabbles that only damage the image of Wing Chun in the Martial Arts community. Yip Chun believe that Wing Chun is bigger than any person and that any free minded person has the ability to achieve great things in Wing Chun, along with this he teaches students every things he knows, then the student should grow themselves increasing their understanding of Wing Chun, ultimately therefore in time the students knowledge should surpass that of the teacher, such has been the way of progress throughout history. The free trade of ideas in Wing Chun is essential to promote the art; the philosophy of Wing Chun and its future are subjects close to Yip Chun´s heart. Yip Chun believes that all instructors of Martial Arts should set a good moral example to their students, teaching separately to personal ability, encouraging questions as instructors should be confident in themselves to answer, they should train WHIT their students not ABOVE them, this is most important in Chi Sau and you should not be afraid to be hit as we are all human not Gods.
Yip Chun´s knowledge of the syllabus of Wing Chun is comprehensive from the essential basics of Siu Lim Tao comes the training for energy, to learning how to use that energy, concluding whit the practical use of energy in hand techniques, it is this essence of Siu Lim Tao that is generally missing from to many practitioners, the knowledge to be serious and slow, especially in the first third as is only through training this way, Yip Chun maintains, that the proper wrist energy is developed which allows the hand techniques to work.
Students must train gradually never rush to learn new techniques as this will mean that they will never know true power. Energy training MUST come before technique application. Though once energy is achieved it must be understood how to use it. Yip Chun stresses the importance of relaxation in Wing Chun, the arm must be relaxed to travel fast so you that it is not hampered by tension in antagonistic muscles, the energy should only be used in the last few inches then relax again, as if this tension is held after contact is made it can be very dangerous as you will still be committed instead of relaxed and ready to convert to a defensive technique.
This in depth knowledge of the Wing Chun system shows the reverence with which Yip Chun holds for the style, though anyone who knows him marvel at his abilities in Chi Sau which shine out of the brilliance of his understanding of Wing Chun and never fails to impress the point that Wing Chun is not reliant upon youthful strength and stamina or aggressive sparring to hone a practioners skills.
Yip Chun feels that when teaching Chi Sau you must be responsible, never hit students to "show off" as this only builds fears, when you do hit students it should not be hard, and if you get hit yourself, do not be upset as it only means a student is improving, not that you are no good, more often than not the teacher gets hit by a student when there is a hesitation to explain a technique and the student carries on.
Chi Sau is the favourite of Yip Chun, he fells that it has the most practical value out of everything else in Wing Chun, it is the door you must pass through to understand Wing Chun. Yip Chun is one of the few who hold the key to the knowledge of Chi Sau, and it is there for any who have the dedication to seek it.