Wing Chun

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Who Taught Bruce Lee?

Bruce Lee studied Wing Chun Martial Arts with Ip Man in Hong Kong.
Bruce Lee in ‘Fist of Fury.’

Bruce Lee changed the world’s perception of kung fu and the Chinese people. Having a degree in philosophy, his movies express an omnipresent conflict between those who hold power and those who do not. He used martial arts to achieve balance!

Martial artists like Jesse Glover, his first student, in Seattle remained loyal to his “way of the intercepting fist” or Jeet Kune Do. Others, sought to trace the source of Bruce’s power. In Hong Kong, they found the Ving Tsun Athletic Association  (or Wing Chun Athletic Association) which was founded by Ip Man.

The art being practiced in Hong Kong looked nothing like the martial spectacle shown in Bruce’s movies. Wing Chun relied on small, closely connected movements;  it placed an emphasis on relaxation and sensation over the powerful thrusting punches and spiraling kicks of Bruce  Lee; it had “chi sao” or “rolling hands” which Bruce Lee practiced with his students; and, it utilized the wooden dummy which was somewhat similar to the set used in  Jeet Kune Do. Bruce, clearly, had taken core ideas from Wing Chun and used it to develop his own martial art.

At the Ving Tsun Association, there were many men without fame who rivaled and exceeded Bruce’s own abilities in a different way: Leung Sheung, Chu Shong Tin, Wong Sheung Leung, Lok Loi, Leung Tin, William Chen, Ip Ching, and Ip Chun. These men and women trained in the art of Wing Chun attempting to achieve simplicity, and to achieve mastery, ultimately, of both time and space.

Yip Man taught Bruce Lee!

Yip Man, center of front row, with students of the Ving Tsun Athletic Assocation in Hong Kong: Leung Sheung, Chu Shong Tin, Lok Loi
Yip Man, center of front row, with students of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association in Hong Kong. He does not look like someone who could handle Bruce Lee or the students in his class. Wing Chun combines softness, speed, change and control of center!

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