Who really taught Bruce Lee Kung Fu (not Ip Man)

Ip Man is famous for being Bruce Lee’s kung fu master, but he wasn’t the one who taught him kung fu. This is who his real teacher was.

Despite Ip Man’s reputation for being by Bruce Lee A kung fu master, he’s not actually the person responsible for most of the actor’s martial arts training. It is well documented that the kung fu legend was a student of Ip Man in the 1950s. The training he received at Ip Man’s school laid the foundation for the kung fu stills for which he became so famous later in life.

Ip Man was a highly respected Wing Chun grandmaster who lived in Hong Kong for much of his life. During this time, he took on a teenage Lee as a student and paved the way for Bruce Lee to become a martial arts expert. Their relationship was highlighted in the Ip-Man films, which starred Donnie Yen. Lee trained at Ip Man’s school for a few years before being sent to the United States where he completed high school. Thanks in large part to the knowledge and experience he gained at Ip Man’s Wing Chun school, Lee was able to open his own martial arts schools and create a unique style of kung fu called Jeet Kune. Do.


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While it’s true that Ip Man was instrumental in Bruce Lee’s journey to becoming a kung fu legend, it should be noted that Wong Shun Leung is under-credited, who actually played a much more active role in Lee’s development as a Wing Chun practitioner. . Since Ip Man was understandably too busy to oversee each student’s training individually, he delegated personal, one-to-one lessons to his senior students. The person in charge of teaching Lee was Wong Shun Leung. During his Wing Chun training, Lee spent most of his time learning from Wong and only received occasional lessons from Ip Man himself.

Bruce Lee’s relationship with Wong Shun Leung explained

In a letter Lee wrote to Wong years after leaving Hong Kong, the actor acknowledged the fact that Wong Shun Leung was the one who taught him kung fu (not Ip Man). In the letter, Lee said: “Even though I’m (technically) an Ip Man student, in reality I learned my kung fu from you guys. What Lee conveyed in his letters to Wong reflects how much he appreciated the advice Wong provided during his teenage years and shows that the two maintained some degree of contact after Lee’s kung fu film career began. . Lee even invited him to the set of Enter the dragon to observe the combat scenes.

According Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly, Lee’s respect for Wong was accompanied by an interest in one day surpassing him. Years after training with Wong, Lee challenged his mentor to a friendly fight to see if the student could finally beat the master. Based on an account by one of Wong’s students, Lee won the fight (though neither Lee nor Wong could agree on the outcome). Looking how far Bruce Lee was able to come and the skills he demonstrated in his five kung fu films, there is no denying that Wong Shun Leung trained Ip Man’s student well.

More: Has Bruce Lee Ever Lost A Fight? Rumors and true stories explained

Kimberly B. Nguyen