Thread: Could Yip Man Fight?
3/19/2015 11:45am, #1
Could Yip Man Fight?
The first I ever heard of Yip Man was when was a kid investigating the great Bruce Lee. Yip Man was Lee's kung fu teacher that taught him Wing Chun. Of course, even then, it was common knowledge that Lee had rejected a lot of WC and had only been a student for a relatively short time, so I didn't credit Yip with much. Nor did I feel Lee's abilities reflected much on Yip.
As years passed by, I developed a rather dim view of the effectiveness of WC. I always loved it in the movies! Warriors Two was an awesome flick! But every time I saw someone try to apply it in a real fight, I was not impressed. So, I never really paid much attention to Yip. He seemed little more than a relatively obscure kung fu teacher who accomplished little of note, outside of being connected to Bruce Lee. But then, something happened.
Donnie Yen made what is undoubtedly one of the best Kung Fu movies in years! It was called, Ip Man. While I am aware that many people, especially in the WC community, had an interest in Yip before this, it seemed interest in Yip exploded after that movie. Then add in a sequel and no less than two other versions of essentially the same movie (such as the Grand Master and Ip Man, The Final Fight) and suddenly I am seeing Yip Man's name listed along side of true martial art greats like Mas Oyama, Helio Gracie and Jigoro Kano!
Now, as far as I know, Yip Man has no documented fights with named fighters. Also, as far as I know, Yip did nothing to change or advance the martial arts. Basically, he was a Wing Chun teacher who taught Wing Chun. The only people I have seen give credence to his fighting prowess are Wing Chun people/organizations. Added to that are my own misgivings about the effectiveness of Wing Chun and the fact that Yip was tiny (Lee, who weighed about 125 dwarfed him), and I find it hard to believe that he was an effective fighter.
But then again, I really don't know.
So, I turn to my fellow bullshidoka to answer the question, could Yip Man fight?
3/19/2015 11:49am, #2
Could Bruce Lee fight?? It's basically the same unanswerable question, both are dead so without a video it's just random speculation.
3/19/2015 12:02pm, #3
We know two things:
1. Wing Chun is for pussies.
2. Yip Man was a chunner.
From that we can infer:
3. Yip Man was a *****.
Therefore, no, he would probably get his ass beat by anyone with training in an alive art. Just like chunners today.
3/19/2015 12:06pm, #4
Now, I don't want to turn this into a debate about Lee, so is there any comparable evidence about Yip Man?
3/19/2015 12:19pm, #5
Bruce Lee was an actor, writer, philosopher, choreographer a martial artist, and was well promoted. Since he choreographed his fight scenes, it appeared that he could fight really well. IMHO, his 'breaking from tradition, use what works & abandon what doesn't' philosophy on the martial arts was well-intentioned and a neat concept.
Does this make him a great martial artist; a great anything? He was well-rounded, charismatic and athletic. Still, I cannot find a fight-record, only urban legends detailing his alleged antics and street fights as a young man in the mean streets of Hong Kong.
What does this say about the man who taught Bruce Lee for a brief period of time? Nothing really. It is impossible to conclude anything about Yip Man from what we have outside a really well choreographed movie about his life.
3/19/2015 1:25pm, #6
Thanks for your response, dunc!
"Does this make him a great martial artist; a great anything? He was well-rounded, charismatic and athletic. Still, I cannot find a fight-record, only urban legends detailing his alleged antics and street fights as a young man in the mean streets of Hong Kong."
I believe we do have more to go on with Lee. We have the testimony of many of his peers (many of whom did fight and have records), and we have a guy he helped train (and both admit that Lewis was a chance to Lee to test out some of his theories) that was a successful kickboxer. So there is evidence to suggest, at that very least, that Lee was a good martial artist and his stuff worked.
"What does this say about the man who taught Bruce Lee for a brief period of time? Nothing really."
I agree. Even if we could determine that Lee could fight, it doesn't mean Yip could. Nor would it necessarily mean that Yip had anything to do with his abilities.
" It is impossible to conclude anything about Yip Man from what we have outside a really well choreographed movie about his life. "
Well that's the question. Is there anything outside of movies to suggest that Yip could fight?
3/19/2015 1:26pm, #7
3/19/2015 1:28pm, #8
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i hear ip man wrestled with the opium pipe a lot."Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
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3/19/2015 1:36pm, #9
3/19/2015 2:14pm, #10
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Personally, I think Joe Lewis would have kicked Bruce Lee's (and Ip Man) ass in a "real fight".Falling for Judo since 1980
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