The Life and Career of the Legendary Ip Chun

IP Man, Wing Chun

There are not many more famous martial artists than Ip Man. His son, Ip Chun, had to follow in his footsteps and did a wonderful job of continuing his teachings. Ip Chun became a legend in his own right with a fascinating life story.

As with his father, Ip Chun became a prominent Wing Chun practitioner but also crafted his own legacy. Here we’ll look at his life in more detail and celebrate the life of this incredible man. Let’s get started.

Early Life and Training

Born in Foshan on July 10, 1924, Ip Chun (also known as Yip Chun, Yip Ju, and Chun Ip) grew up in a family deeply immersed in the world of martial arts. Specifically, Ip Chun was exposed to Wing Chun from an early age due to his father Ip Man being a hugely respected and skilled martial artist.

Under the guidance of his father, Ip Chun began training Wing Chun when he was just a child. This would help to lay the foundation for an incredible career. However, even by his own admission, he wasn’t committed to Wing Chun training until his late 30s.

Eventually, Ip Chun would dedicate countless hours to his training and worked hard on mastering Wing Chun. This would lead to Ip Chun, along with his brother Ip Ching, becoming a Grandmaster of Wing Chun.

Fleeing to Hong Kong

The outbreak of World War II followed by the Chinese Civil War presented many challenges for Ip Chun’s family and millions of others. Initially in 1949, his father (the famous Ip Man) left for Hong Kong when Ip Chun was 24.

He stayed in China to continue his studies and later decided to become a teacher of history, music, and science. However, he would eventually have to leave China and return to his father in 1962 after the Cultural Revolution.

While his father remained in Hong Kong, his mother returned to China in 1951 to retrieve her identity card.

Sadly, the border was closed while she was there, meaning she couldn’t travel back to see her husband. Ip Chun’s mother died in 1960 of cancer, meaning she and Ip Man were never able to see each other again.

Becoming An Instructor

With a return to Hong Kong, Ip Chun once again started practicing Wing Chun under the tutelage of his father, but this time he was fully committed. Initially, he was working as an accountant and reporter by day, but training in Wing Chun in the evenings.

His commitment to the martial art increased when he took an important role with the Ving Tsun Athletic Association when he became one of its founding members. He was in the first batch of members and was given the membership number #9.

He would initially work as a treasurer in the organization but would eventually join the board of directors and become chairman too.

It was in 1967 that Ip Chun went it alone and started teaching Wing Chun. Many of his students, such as Leung Chung-wai and Ho Kay would stay with him for decades as his reputation as a teacher grew. He has since spread these teachings worldwide through seminars.

His father died in 1972 and would go on to continue his legacy. In 2014, Ip Chun was selected as the inheritor of the legacy of Wing Chun-style kung fu but there was plenty of debate around this.

The teachings of Ip Chun can be seen as both traditional and innovative. He was able to adapt his father’s teachings to his students while still keeping the true essence of Wing Chun by building on the Ip Man Wing Chun stance and Ip Man Wing Chun techniques.

His huge popularity has also come from his approachable demeanor and patient approach. This has long earned him a loyal following from students who not only admire him as a great teacher but also a great person who has preserved the art of Wing Chun.

Promoting Wing Chun Worldwide

In huge part due to one of his father’s former students, Bruce Lee, the popularity of martial arts films boomed in the 1960s and 1970s. With that increase in the popularity of cinema, the popularity of marital arts increased in general.

Ip Chun rode with this surge in popularity to help spread Ip Chun Kung Fu around the globe. He’d go on to travel around to various countries conducting both seminars and workshops. He did a wonderful job of demonstrating the elegance and effectiveness of Wing Chun.

There is no doubt about the role that Ip Chun has played in increasing the respect and awareness of Wing Chun worldwide.

Ip Chun in the Movies

Grandmaster Ip Chun is no stranger to the silver screen either. While he has worked as a consultant on many films, he has also made a brief appearance in a few as well. His first appearance was a brief role in the biopic “Bruce Lee: The Man, the Myth”.

In recent years, he has worked quite closely on the Ip Man films which are (very loosely) based on the life of his father. He was a consultant on all five films while also appearing as Leung Bik in “The Legend Is Born: Ip Man” and as a stall owner in “Ip Man: The Final Fight”.

While exaggerated, these Wing Chun martial arts films have contributed to the popularity of Wing Chun and helped to bring it to a brand new audience.

Ip Chun’s Family

Little is known about Ip Chun’s descendants as there are very few details about an Ip Chun wife or an Ip Chun son. However, we do know that he has two sons and four siblings, with two of them being sisters and one of them being a half-brother.

The other sibling was his little brother Ip Ching, who was also a grandmaster of Wing Chun and died in 2020 at the age of 83. Being the son of a famous father must have its pressures but Ip Chun and his family have continued to build on the Wing Chun Ip Man legacy.

Legacy and Cultural Impact

It’s clear that Ip Chun’s contributions to the world of martial arts have extended well beyond his skills as a practitioner and instructor. He has helped to preserve the traditions of Wing Chun with a commitment to sharing his knowledge.

This has helped to earn Ip Chun a huge amount of respect from his peers and the generations that have followed him. This respect has also been fostered by his personality which has always been warm and approachable.

He more than anyone appreciated that Wing Chun is not just a martial art. He’s always emphasized the importance of the philosophical and ethical aspects of Wing Chun. This wise thinking has often resonated with many of his students and admirers.

Not only has he been a noble supporter of Wing Chun, but Ip Chun has also helped to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western martial arts communities, which is closer than ever. It’s with people like Ip Chun that Chinese martial arts have become widely respected around the world.

In recognition of his contributions, Ip Chun received numerous accolades and awards throughout his lifetime, solidifying his status as a living legend in the martial arts world.

Even after his death, his legacy is sure to continue with the Wing Chun Ip Chun Academy. Situated in Hong Kong, it continues to teach thousands of students with its master Wing Chun practitioners who have all grown under the guidance of Ip Chun.


Is Ip Chun still alive?

Yes! Ip Chun was born in 1924 and at the age of 99, is still going strong. He credits Wing Chun for his health as it has helped to keep him active and fit. Not only is he still alive, but he still enjoys practicing Wing Chun, even if his speed and reflexes aren’t quite as good as they once were!

Who taught Ip Chun Wing Chun?

Ip Chun was mostly taught by his infamous father, Ip Man. He started learning from his as a young child but his interest in Wing Chun was a little hot and cold. This continued until he was separated from his father in his mid-20s.

When they were reunited in his late 30s, Ip Chun became dedicated to Wing Chun under his father’s teachings. Ip Man is probably the most respected figure in the history of Wing Chun and his son dutifully followed in his footsteps.

How many Ip Man movies are there?

“Ip Man” is a series of martial arts films based on the martial art of Wing Chun which loosely follow the life of Ip Man. As it stands, there have been five of these films made with two future films in the works. The films made so far are:

The films in production are the yet to be named sequel to “Master Z: Ip Man Legacy” along with “Ip Man 5”.

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Kenny Jarvis
Kenny Jarvis
I have been practicing and studying boxing since I was a teenager. I am passionate about the sport, along with many other martial arts. While my fighting days may be over, I love channeling my passion into my writing to provide insightful blogs.