Ip Man Fact or Fiction, Florida Wing Chun
WARNING SPOILER ALERT for those who have not seen the film Ip Man, this article touches upon some important scenes. To preserve the amazement of watching the film for the first time, do not continue reading, unless you want to know the truth now.
Ip Man fact, a blockbuster from China that hit that the global cinemas and the martial arts world by storm. An instant cult film among martial artists with fight scenes so exhilarating it makes anyone want to take up Wing Chun. But how much of the film is historically accurate and how much is Hollywood imagination?
In the film Ip Man fact is seen teaching an entire cotton mill of workers Wing Chun. In actuality Ip Man taught only a small group of students, mostly the children of the mill workers, in the back of the mill for around a year. Ip Man fact did not charge fees for his classes and there was believed to be around 6 consistent students. One of his students, Chow Guang Yiu, was the son of the mill owner and fabled to have the most potential. However, he later quit Wing Chun and martial arts all together instead choosing to follow in commerce. Ip Man never worked in a coal mine, as the movie portrayed. During the Japanese Occupation he was a well respected police officer. During his time in the police force, the incident where Ip Man broke a gun really did happen only a thief was holding the gun instead of a fellow officer as the film portrayed. As some legends would have it, Ip Man broke the bullet chamber of the gun with sheer finger strength.
The climatic battle between Ip Man and General Miura was made up for Hollywood audiences too. We should remember through that the movie Ip Man was meant for entertainment. A certain creative license is taken to exaggerate and speed up events to keep an audience interested. Like the Bruce Lee movies that proceeded it the Ip Man fact movies promote and popularize Wing Chun Kung Fu to the masses. Ip Man’s son Ip Chun was an on set advisor to the film. He was pleased with the portrayal of his fathers’ life and struggles.
The film followed an authentic timeline of Ip Man’s life. His beginnings in a wealthily childhood, escape from Communism and the Japanese occupation. Overall the film captured the essence of Ip Man fact as a great fighter, humble, courteous and a faithful practitioner of the ancient Chinese arts in tradition and honor.
Ip Man Fact or Fiction, Ip Man’s life was fact and the courses of the events throughout his life and use of Wing Chun to defend and protect are all true. How those events are interpreted by Hollywood may be adjusted but the man you must look at the facts of his life.
The movie is directed by Wilson Yip with the battle scenes choreographed by Sammo Hung. Donnie Yen, who portrayed Ip Man fact, had never taken Wing Chun before this role! Donnie Yen approached Wing Chun like skilled game of chess, countering your opponents move as you move in. To get a feel for the role as Ip Man Donnie Yen looked at the nature of the film. Taking place in waring and pre-war times Wing Chun is a very practical, grounded style. Each move and fight took on those elements. No wires or swanky acrobatics were needed to demonstrate the realistic power and effectiveness of Wing Chun.
Elizabeth D. – Wing Chun student and martial art practitioner
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images from the Ip Man 1 and Ip Man 2 movies