View Full Version : (y)ip man and addiction

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Tcp/Ip Man
9/12/2003 5:13pm,
I am very interested in the history of various martial arts, specifially those originating in Southern China.

Does anyone have any information to substantiate the claims that WC grandmaster (y)ip man was an opium addict? My limited research has indicated that he was just a recreational user in Foshan (exchanging kung fu techniques with his kf "brothers" in local smokehouses), and did not become a full blown addict until he moved to Hong Kong in the early 1950's.

Of course this is a very touchy subject for many, so all I have had to go on is allusions and hints. Based on various accounts of his life, that is what I have been able to piece together.

Can anyone shed some further light on this subject?


The greatest sin is fear. God hates a coward.
- Batman

9/12/2003 11:22pm,
Once you start Opium, it is extremely difficult to quit. In fact, I would say it is one of the most addidictive drugs out there. He probably was a closet addict until the point that he moved in a smokehouse due to financial considerations. Most Opium addicts behave in this pattern. They keep up the pretense of a normal life until they can't hack it financialy, then just give up.

Tcp/Ip Man
9/14/2003 4:04pm,
Interesting thought, thanks for the reply.

Any others?

The greatest sin is fear. God hates a coward.
- Batman

Darting Fingers
9/14/2003 6:38pm,
"Yip's difficulties with his students. Were further aggravated by his continued drug use. According to Cheung, he would use school fees to support his psychological addiction to cocaine. Sometimes the school rent would go unpaid. By 1956 Yip had been evicted from his first school in Yaumatei."
This is an extract from "The William Cheung Story" published in Blackbelt .

10/13/2003 9:50pm,
Wow, I really had no idea he was an addict. That's very interesting.

Hello God? Is this heaven? . . . or am I in television?

Tcp/Ip Man
10/14/2003 11:00pm,

Indeed. From what I understand, he also picked up a good sized cocaine problem when he moved to HK.

It kinds makes me feel better about my own flaws. ;-)

10/22/2003 11:06pm,
I heard from a friend that as Yip Man got older, and because of his drug addiction, that during his last years of training he didn't teach foot work.

Is there any validity to this?

I thought it was kind of stupid when he told me, but if his drug problem was as bad as people are saying, then maybe he was too lazy to practice anything other than hand drills?

And if anyone has seen Scarface, you'll know that cocaine gives you the ability to go mental and get shot heaps.;)

Of course you don't actually survive the shots, you can just stay standing for a while...

10/25/2003 11:01pm,
From everything I've ever heard about Yip Man, I think I would have hated the self-righteous prick. He wouldn't train with most of his students because he was afraid of "losing his edge".

Umm ... let's see ... **** you and the horse you rode in on.

10/25/2003 11:50pm,
When I took Wing Chun, I was fortunate enough to study from a man that was only 2 generations removed from Yip Man in instruction.

Yip trained Cheung and Chueng trained another man named Jim(who lives in Anaheim, CA), who inturn trained my instructor.

In any case, I cannot confirm or deny any of the drug addiction information, but I do know that Yip Man suffered from cancer the last 3-5 years he was alive. If he didn't teach the last few years, I'm sure that was, at least in part, the cause.


10/26/2003 4:02am,
Apparantly, he never trained his students personally, with a very few exceptions (Cheung, Bruce Lee, a couple of others). He reportedly felt that training with the unskilled would make him sloppy.

10/26/2003 1:30pm,
Yip trained Cheung and Chueng trained another man named Jim(who lives in Anaheim, CA), who inturn trained my instructor.

That's pretty cool. My boss's gas station attendant's uncle's dad was a sound guy for the original Star Wars. He said George Lucas was a cool guy, if not a bit loopy.

10/26/2003 1:54pm,

The YIP MAN lineage triumphs again!!!
I am truely proud to be a descendent practitioner of Yip Man!

(LOL this is news!)

10/27/2003 1:14am,
I guess he was very traditional in that manner. He had a core circle of students that he would 'show' things to and that was it.

The stories that I was told, was that Yip would literally walk into the class, do something on Dummy or show the class a drill, not say a word, then leave the room. The students were then expected to work out based on what they say.

I don't know how much truth there is to that story, but hey...that's what I heard.

Boyd, lineage is important in MA. If someone is attributed as reinventing an MA and you learn from one of their direct students, the chances of the teachings being watered down is less than if you learn from someone that is for example ten generations removed from the progenitor or 'reinventor' of the MA.

Like I said, I only studied WC for like 4 months. The reference to lineage was more for credability concerning the information that I had than anything else.


10/27/2003 2:55am,
If that's the way he taught his students, then im surprised people learnt anything under him.

I can imagine his thought pattern:

opium, opium, opium, teach, opium, opium...

training with the unskilled would make him sloppy?!


10/29/2003 2:52pm,
Yip Man was a traditional Chinese teacher, with all that that entails. I met one of his students from the restaurant he taught at when he first came to Hong Kong.

I have it on his authority that towards the end of his life, Yip Man was physically too ill to teach footwork. However, when he first came down, he was an excellent teacher and very hands on.

I don't know how many people are aware that he was also a college graduate. In those days, when most of the population were lucky to graduate grade school (poverty, a couple wars...), it was an extremely Big Deal.

One more thing: I witnessed this old (80-something) man, hold off an earnest attack from a 40-something former prison guard (admittedly, no foot sweeps used) using Wing Chun. Quite cool, as it goes.

10/29/2003 3:03pm,
What a MA that has/had a chemical dependency problem ????
The horror !!!!!
The shock !!!!
The amazment !!!!!!
( I am being sarcastic by the way)