Who Was Yip Man?
Yip Man, also known as Ip Man, was born on October 1, 1893, in Foshan, China. He studied Wing Chun and went on to become one of the most respected martial arts masters of his time. Among his most notable students was Bruce Lee. Yip Man died on December 2, 1972, in Hong Kong. In 2013, two films about his life were released, The Grandmaster and Ip Man: The Final Fight.
Yip Man, also known as Ip Man, was born Ip Kai Man (or Yip Kai Man) on October 1, 1893, in Foshan, China. He was the third of four children and was raised by his wealthy parents, Ip Oi Dor and Ng Shui.
Political upheaval served as the backdrop for Man's younger years, but he received a traditional education until, at age 12, he was able to begin studying Wing Chun--a system of martial arts developed in southern China more than 300 years ago--under the tutelage of Chan Wah Shun, who charged him an exorbitant amount of money for the service, initially believing he would discourage the boy. But Man would learn much from his teacher in the three short years before Wah Shun's death.
At the age of 15, Man moved to Hong Kong, where he later attended St. Stephen's College. While in Hong Kong he also continued his martial arts training. Man eventually returned to Foshan at the age of 24 and was employed as a police officer. By this point, his Wing Chun skills were such that he was able to begin giving private lessons.
In 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party came to power, Man fled to Hong Kong, where he opened a Wing Chun school, charging for his services and becoming the first martial arts master to train students publicly. One of Man's most notable students was Bruce Lee, who studied under the master in 1953. At the age of 13, Lee was an excellent and intense student and became proficient in the Wing Chun art. Lee would return to visit Yip Man in later years, the two having become friends.
Personal Life, Later Years and Legacy
Yip Man was married to Cheung Wing Sing, and the couple had two sons, Ip Chun and Ip Ching, both of whom became martial arts specialists. There is little information about his daughter or daughters, whose names are believed to be Yip Ar Sum and Yip Ar Woon.
Man died from complications of cancer on December 2, 1972, in Hong Kong. He was 79. Since his death, many works have been made about his life, including the 2001 book Ip Man: Portrait of a Kung Fu Master by Ip Ching and Ron Heimberger, and the films The Legend is Born: Ip Man (released in 2010) and 2013's The Grandmaster and Ip Man: The Final Fight.
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