Arguably the patriach of modern Wing Chun
(Cantonese: Beautiful Springtime), a form of kung fu (specifically Chinese boxing
). Noted for founding the first school of Wing Chun in Hong Kong after its abolishment in mainland China shortly after the Communist Party came to power in 1949. Famously the first sifu of Bruce Lee
Yip Man was born October 1893 in the town of Fatshan in Namhoi County, Kwantung
Province in Southern China. The son of a wealthy merchant, Yip Oi Doh, he began training with Master Chan Wah Shun at the age of six in 1899 - the last student of the aging master of a class of sixteen, and one of the youngest students in the history of the style. Chan died in 1905. Yip Man's training was continued under the tutelage of Ng Chun Sao (an advanced student of Chan's) and his two students, Yuen Kay Shan
and Yiu Choi.
At the age of 16, Yip Man was sent to St. Stephen's College in Hong Kong. Rumoured to have trained with Leung Bik - the son of Grandmaster Leung Jan - during this time. On completion of his studies, Yip Man returned to Fatshan. Led a relatively uneventful life, although his opposition of the Japanese from 1937-1945 are well documented.
Fled Fatshan in 1949 to Hong Kong, via Macau. Began teaching Wing Chun in July 1950 at Dai Lam Street, Kowloon. Taught mainly Restaurant Union workers. In 1953 moved the school to Hoi Tan Street for a year after the defeat of Leung Sheung (a student of his) in the union elections. Moved back in 1954 on Leung's re-election. Continued to move the school as demand and availability of space dictated. From 1957 onwards, he gave mainly private lessons as his initial batch of students reached competancy. Bruce Lee began training with Yip Man in the period from 1955-1957. Founding member of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association
in 1967, the first martial arts organistion to be officially registered with the government.
Died 1st December 1973, aged 79.