When Ip Man (Yip) the grandmaster of the Wing Chun style of kung fu and Bruce Lee’s teacher, requested to be taught the discipline by teacher Chan Wah Shun, Shun not only didn’t take Ip seriously, but he was also suspicious of where Ip got the money—or for that time 300 pieces of silver; much more than he needed—to pay for the classes.
Believing that Ip, not even a decade old, had stolen enough money to buy a house, he went with Ip to his parents to ascertain where the money had come from.
When Master Shun and Ip’s parents discovered that his desire to learn Wing Chun was strong enough that he was willing to give away his life savings, Ip became the last of Chung’s 16 disciples and the youngest to learn the art form dating back almost 200 years to its origin in the mythical Shaolin Temple in Honan Province; Ip would study with Chan Wah Shun for four years until Shun’s death.
Ip would continue to grow in the discipline and eventually begin to teach. Yet many would be surprised to know the legend of Bruce Lee almost never was. When the 12 year old Lee came to him requesting to be taught--after Lee had taken a beating from a local gang—Man was unwilling to teach him, but it was Lee’s persistence, much like his own, that eventually persuaded the grandmaster.
The movie, The Grandmaster is headlined by Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Hero, Internal Affairs) as Ip Man and Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha). It is written and directed by Wong Kar Wai, and tells the tale of Gong Er’s quest for vengeance and Gong’s path to return honor to her family through a battle with Man.
Also starring Hye-kyo-Song as Cheung Wing sing (Zhang Yongcheng), Chen Chang as The Razor Yixiantian, Woo-pieng Yuen as Chan Wah-shun, and Jin Zhang as Ma San.
The Grandmaster opens Friday, August 30, 2013.
The Weinstein Company