Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ip Man Fought For Dignity

"Ip Man" is a Chinese kung fu master in Foshan and Hong Kong, China. He was not well-known until the movie "Ip Man" was released in early 2010. He was born in 1893 and started his kung fu training at the late age of 13. His master could recognize Ip Man's talent. His master's dying message was he wished he would be able to continue to train him. He continued to learn from his master's top student after his master died.

His kung fu style is Wing Chun. Wing Chun was a branch of Tai Chi started by a woman, named Wing Chun, who learned Tai Chi to defend herself from people who tried to harass her. Her teacher gave her the basics of Tai Chi instead of full training. Being talented in martial arts, she developed her own style based on the training from her teacher. This historical background gave this style of martial arts the advantage of short and accurate strokes, speed, and flexibility. It is in contrast with the Northern's style Shao Lin, or Karate with long strokes, strength, and power. It also has a unique definition of fighting with many people, to face them one-by-one, instead of trying to fight the group as a whole.

Ip Man was a calm and friendly person with a caring spirit. Although he did not have any intentions to use his martial arts skills for fighting, he continuously helped his friends, neighbors, and the people in the city. Then World War II began when Japan invaded China.

Soon Ip Man started to have a problem against the Japanese army. In the beginning, he did not show his martial arts ability. At the end of the movie, Ip Man needed to fight against the Japanese soldiers in order to protect the Chinese citizens. A Japanese General noticed his strength and skill level because the general was a master of Japanese style himself. The general asked Ip Man to teach his Wing Chun to Japanese soldiers. He answered that the Japanese were abusing the spirit of martial arts; he had no martial arts to teach to such individuals. When he was asked to fight with the general, he said he would fight for the sake of the dignity of Chinese people.

Ip Man defeated the Japanese general who showed his dignity. He needed to flee to Hong Kong, whereas the people continued to ask him to teach them Wing Chun. He decided to open his Wing Chun school. His students included prominent kung fu fighters including a young Chinese boy called Li Xiao Long, later known as Bruce Lee.

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