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Is Ip Man a True Story?


While he had a fascinating life, how much of it is truly reflected in the movies. As you can probably guess, the truth has been a little exaggerated! Let’s learn more about Ip Man and the history of this infamous martial artist. Let’s get started!During this training period, Bruce Lee learned the foundations of Wing Chun, the importance of speed, precision, and adaptability in combat, and the importance of discipline and mental focus in martial arts.

At the age of 24, Ip Man returned to his hometown and a much better and more skilled martial artist. At this time he took up a role in the police force, a fact which was not shown in the movies.  Due to the skills he possessed, Ip Man took a job as a police officer. Following the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man returned to Hong Kong.

Is Ip Man a true story?

Born in Foshan in China, Ip Man is one of the most famous martial artists of all time. Along with being a grandmaster of Wing Chun, he’s also one of the most important people in Bruce Lee’s journey to being a superstar. Ip Man taught Wing Chun in Hong Kong in the 1950s. Bruce Lee joined his school in the 1960s and apprenticed with him for several years.5. Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)Table of Contents

The Real Story of Ip Man Movie

3. Ip Man 3 (2015)

Ip Man (2008)

Did Ip Man train Bruce Lee? Yes, absolutely. Ip Man was a highly respected martial artist and teacher who had a significant influence on Bruce Lee’s development as a martial artist. Bruce Lee spent years studying under Ip Man and eventually became a legend in the martial arts world.If you wanted to see a documentary about Ip Man, then watching these films is not going to be a great idea. However, it is widely accepted that Ip Man was a highly skilled martial artist who played a significant role in the development and popularization of Wing Chun.While the movie was always going to dramatize it, the real story of Ip Man and Bruce Lee is still a great one. He had a huge influence on Bruce Lee and the young fighter quickly become one of his most exciting students.

  • In real life, he was a police officer, a fact not included in the movie
  • He never fought a Japanese general
  • He was never shot

Bruce Lee was able to grow as a martial artist as well as the mentality which made him such a legend. The bond between Ip Man and Lee was very strong and eventually, he’d create his own style of martial arts, called Jeet Kune Do.

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Donnie Yen defeats Japanese General Miura in the film IP MAN (2008)

After training under Chung-sok, for almost a year, Ip Man moved to Hong Kong and continued his martial arts training. Here he fought against a man called Leung Bik, who beat him easily. While he lost the fight, this became an important learning experience for him. 

The Real Story of Ip Man

As you can see, these are some significant differences, with the biggest being that there’s no account of him ever fighting the Japanese general. While this wasn’t historically accurate, it did make for an exhilarating scene in the movie.The movie Ip Man is a great film. But whether it is “Gladiator,” “300,” or “Pearl Harbor,” writers and directors often need to use artistic license with historical films and play with the truth to make things a little more exciting. Let’s look at what is fact and what is fiction in Ip Man.Here are the most important parts of the movie which weren’t true:He grew up in a relatively wealthy family and didn’t start learning Wing Chun until he was 12 years old. His original teacher suffered a stroke and the responsibility of teaching Ip Man went to his son, Ng Chung-sok.2. Ip Man 2 (2010)There have been a total of five Ip Man movies to date.

Ip Man School in Hong Kong

When it comes to Wing Chun Ip Man is its most famous grandmaster. While he is a legend of martial arts and had an incredible life, the movie that bears his name is highly fictionalized.Ip Man had five children, one of them being Ip Chun, also known as Yip Chun, who went on to develop Ip Chun Kung Fu. Another of his sons, Ip Ching, was also a grandmaster of Wing Chun martial arts.Bik was very impressed by Ip Man’s fighting style and abilities. Instead of losing hope, Ip Man saw this defeat as an opportunity for growth and to use the knowledge of Leung Bik to get better. Impressed by Ip Man’s humility and determination, Leung Bik agreed to become his mentor.1. Ip Man (2008)

The Real Story of Ip Man and Bruce Lee

While we know that the movie is highly fictionalized, next we’ll go into further detail about exactly what parts of the movie are true and what is fantasy. By the end, hopefully, you have a clearer idea of just how much truth is in these movies!Ip Man, the person, was real. However, how close to reality is the movie that shares his name? Also known as Yip Man, he was a Cantonese martial artist who is famous for being a grandmaster of Wing Chun and a teacher of Bruce Lee.At times Bruce Lee struggled to fit in due to his mixed background, with his grandmother on his mother’s side being English. It’s said that some students were against the idea of martial arts being passed down to someone with mixed ancestry.This didn’t deter Bruce Lee from learning martial arts, and Ip Man was still very happy to teach it to him. Bruce Lee became highly skilled in the art of Wing Chun but departed from the teachings of Ip Man before he could reach the rank of Sifu.Some events were left out of the movie because they did not feel relevant or because it was believed that it could not properly capture the interest of the audience. If you want to know the true story of Ip Man, then join us as we look at a brief history.

Ip Man – FAQs

Who trained Ip Man?

Before his return, Ip Man was freely teaching his friends and family the art of Wing Chun but had yet to formally develop a school. This changed when he came back to Hong Kong as he took his teaching to the next level.

Did Ip Man Really Fight a Marine (Japanese General)?

With the guidance of Ip Man, Bruce Lee helped to popularize Wing Chun and showcase it to a much wider audience. But while they had a close bond, the movies don’t accurately depict the relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee. 

Was Ip Man Really Bruce Lee’s Master?

He faced many challenges in trying to build the school but steadily his reputation grew. His dedication and passion for the art continued to inspire countless students and played a significant role in popularizing Wing Chun globally.Ip Man received instruction in the art of Wing Chun from his master, Chan Wah-shun. He started training at the age of 12 and learned Wing Chun for only 3 years because his instructor suffered a mild stroke. Chan’s oldest son was instructed to train Ip Man. At the age of 16, he relocated to Hong Kong, where he met another influential martial arts teacher named Leung Bik.It also highlights his struggles during the Japanese occupation of China and his dedication to preserving the art of Wing Chun amidst adversity. However, it did add a few things for dramatic effect.

How Did Ip Man Die?

What the movie does correctly from a historical standpoint is show us some real key events from Ip Man’s life. It did a good job of showcasing the type of training he had along with his experiences during the Sino-Japanese War.

How Many Ip Man Movies Were Made?

The school quickly gained popularity and attracted students from various backgrounds, including martial artists from different disciplines seeking to learn Wing Chun.This part of the movie is not true. There is historical evidence or documentation supporting the claim that Ip Man and a Japanese General engaged in hand-to-hand combat during World War 2. This part has been added to the story to increase the dramatic effect. Also, there is no evidence suggesting that he was shot, as shown in the movie, at the end of the fight with the Japanese General.What is true about the movie is that it brilliantly displayed martial arts and captured his lifestyle. With him being the founder and teacher of Bruce Lee, many believed that most of the events were 100% true but that’s not the case. Even though Ip Man 4 was given the title of ‘The Finale’, an Ip Man 5 film has been announced and once again will be starring Donnie Yen in the lead role. The Ip Man films were a huge success, especially as they ended up making five of them in total. While the first Ip Man film in 2008 tells a great story, it’s mostly untrue and only has a few threads of the real life of Ip Man. Ip Man passed away on December 2, 1972, at the age of 79, due to complications from throat cancer. His death wasn’t far from Bruce Lee’s. He died seven months before Bruce Lee’s untimely passing. Ip Man was buried at Wo Hop Shek in Hong Kong.While there are elements of truth to it, Ip Man is not a true story. While Ip Man was a real persona, many of the movie’s elements were either made up, slightly changed, or highly exaggerated. And while the first movie does have some truth, the sequels of Ip Man were almost pure fiction.

Final Thoughts

Under Leung Bik’s guidance, Ip Man further honed his skills in Wing Chun and became a highly skilled practitioner. Bik’s unique teaching style and emphasis on practical application greatly influenced Ip Man’s approach to martial arts.4. Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018)

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