Tai Sigong Grandmaster Ip Man.
Ip Man was born to Yip Oi-dor and Wu Shui. He grew up
in a wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong, and received
traditional Chinese education. His elder brother was
Yip Kaigak, his elder sister was Yip Wan-mei and his
younger sister was Yip Wan-hum.
Ip started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun
when he was 12. Chan was 64 at the time, and Ip became
Chan's last student. Due to his teacher's age, Ip learned
most of his skills and techniques from Chan's second
eldest disciple, Wu Chung-sok. Chan lived three years
after Ip's training started and one of his dying wishes was
to have Wu continue teaching Ip Man.
At the age of 16, Ip moved to Hong Kong with help from his
relative Leung Fut-ting. One year later, he attended school at St. Stephen's College—a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners living in Hong Kong. During Ip's time at St. Stephen's he saw a foreign police officer beating a woman and intervened. The officer attempted to attack Ip, but Ip struck him down and ran to school with his classmate. Ip's classmate later told an older man who lived in his apartment block. The man met with Ip and asked what martial art Ip practised before asking to see his skill.
The man told Ip that his forms were "not too great". The man challenged Ip's Wing Chun in chi sao. Ip saw this as an opportunity to prove that his abilities were good, but was defeated by the man after a few strikes. Ip's opponent revealed himself to be Leung Bik, Chan Wah-shun's senior and the son of Chan's teacher, Leung Jan. After that encounter, Ip continued learning from Leung Bik.
Ip returned to Foshan when he was 24 and became a policeman
himself. He taught Wing Chun to several of his co-workers,
friends and relatives, but did not officially run a
martial arts school at this time. Some of his best known informal
students were Chow Kwong-yue, Kwok Fu, Lun Kah,
Chan Chi-sun, Xu He-Wei and Lui Ying. Among them,
Chow Kwong-yue was said to be the best, but he eventually went
into commerce and stopped practising martial arts.
Kwok Fu and Lun Kah went on to teach students of their
own and they passed down the art of Wing Chun in the Foshan and Guangdong region. Chan Chi-sun and Lui Ying went to Hong Kong later but neither of them accepted any students. Ip went to live with Kwok Fu during the Second Sino-Japanese War and only returned to Foshan after the war, where he continued his career as a police officer. Ip left Foshan for Hong Kong at the end of 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War because he was an officer of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), the Communists' rival in the Civil War.
Initially, Ip Man's school didn’t work very well because Ip's students typically stayed for only a couple of months. He moved his school twice, first to Castle Peak Road in Sham Shui Po and then to Lee Tat Street in Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students had attained some proficiency in Wing Chun and were able to start their own schools as well. Some of his students and descendants sparred with other martial artists to compare their skills and their victories helped increase Ip's schools reputation a great deal.
In 1967, Ip and some of his students established the Ving Tsun Athletic Association (VTAA). The main purpose of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association was the foundation for a longer lasting and overall more professionally run organisation to preserve the skill.
Ip died on 2 December 1972 in his unit at 149 Tung Choi Street in Hong Kong, from throat cancer, only seven months before the death of his most famous student Bruce Lee.
Today, several films that have been produced and museums in China opened dedicated to Ip Man and the legacy he has left behind. His teachings are still been practised and developed worldwide and is direct students, Grand students, Great Grand students and Great Great Grand students now number in the millions.