Little Idea | Big Screen
Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) Kung Fu continues to be one of the most popular and recognizable martial arts styles used in movies. This is largely due to many famous Ving Tsun icons, including the late Yip Man (Ip Man) and Bruce Lee. Below are some examples of films about Yim Ving Tsun, the namesake of Ving Tsun, Yip Man, and other related films.
Yim Ving Tsun Movies
In the Yip Man lineage, the creation of Ving Tsun (Wing Chun) is attributed to Ng Mui, a female monk who escaped the destruction of the Shaolin Temple. The story goes that after she escaped, she saw a fight between a crane and a snake and was inspired to create a new martial art. Later, Ng Mui would teach this new martial art to her first student, and the namesake of Ving Tsun, Yim Ving Tsun. Although, no one can be certain about all the events during that period, these movies provide their version of this famous story.
Wing Chun features action stars Michelle Yeoh as Yim Ving Tsun and Donnie Yen as Leung Pok Toa, Yim Ving Tsun's husband. This film takes a lot of creative liberties regarding the life of Yim Ving Tsun. However, the fight scenes and stunts by Michelle Yeoh are what separates this film apart from other films that depict Yim Ving Tsun.
This film also touches on the social aspect of Yim Ving Tsun as a female martial artist and her struggles with social norms in that era.
Kung Fu Wing Chun
Kung Fu Wing Chun is the latest film to tell the story of Yim Ving Tsun and the origin of Ving Tsun. Like the 1994 film, Wing Chun, this movie also takes a lot of creative liberties regarding the life of Yim Ving Tsun. However, there is considerable time spent on the story of Ng Mui, the female monk who created Ving Tsun and her first student, Yim Ving Tsun.
Bai Jing, who plays Yim Ving Tsun, was a student of Yip Chun in real life and played some of her techniques to a crowd during the red carpet release of the film.
Yip Man (Ip Man) Movies
Within the past decade or so, there has been an explosion of interest in Grandmaster Yip Man. This is in large part due to the success of many films depicting him as a martial arts legend and Sifu (teacher) of Bruce Lee. Although many of these movies contain many fictional events, they do still offer a glimpse into the life of Yip Man and the highly effective style of Kung Fu he championed, Ving Tsun (Wing Chun).
The Legend is Born: IP Man
The Legend is Born: Ip Man stars Dennis To as a young Yip Man. This film offers some insight into what life may have been like in Yip Man's early years and is one of the few films to include Yip Man's Sifu, Chan Wah Shuen (played by Sammo Hung), his Sihing (older Kung Fu brother), Ng Chung So (played by Yuen Biao), and Leung Bik (played by Yip Man's son, Yip Chun). Yip Man also studied Ving Tsun under Leung Bik in Hong Kong. Leung Bik was Chan Wah Shuen's Sihing and also the son of Leung Jan, Chan Wah Shuen's Sifu and Yip Man's Sigung (grand teacher). To learn more about Yip Man, visit our lineage page.
This film is often seen as a prequel to many of the other Yip Man movies, including the popular Ip Man series.
Ip Man trilogy
Arguably, the most famous series that depicts Yip Man (Ip Man) is the action-packed and aptly titled Ip Man series of movies starring Donnie Yen. There are currently three movies in this series, Ip Man, Ip Man 2, and Ip Man 3. It is important to note that although there are several true events in these movies, they are largely fiction.
In order to make the films, Donnie Yen studied Ving Tsun under Yip Chun, Yip Man's oldest son. Check these movies out if you haven't already, they may just inspire you to train harder!
Ip Man: The Final fight
Ip Man: The Final Fight provides a more realistic portrayal of Yip Man in his later years than the aforementioned Ip Man trilogy. When Yip Man immigrated to Hong Kong, he was in his 50's and struggled to make ends meet. He received help from friends and students, including his first student in Hong Kong, and Grandmaster Moy Yat's Sihing, Leung Sheung, who is depicted in this movie by Timmy Hung. This film also humanizes Yip Man compared to the Ip Man trilogy as it hints at some of his personal flaws.
More than any of the other Yip Man movies, Ip Man: The Final Fight also provides some perspective from the eyes of Yip Man as a Sifu (teacher).
Bruce Lee Movies
Bruce Lee is the most famous and most celebrated martial artist of all time. His legacy includes not only his talents as an, actor, filmmaker, and philosopher, but his role as the father of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and student of Grandmaster Yip Man.
Enter Ving Tsun
Bruce Lee began his study of Ving Tsun under Grandmaster Yip Man in 1957. Prior to Ving Tsun, Bruce had been beaten in several Hong Kong street fights. It is said that Bruce's fighting ability improved greatly under the guidance of Yip Man and his fellow Ving Tsun Kung Fu brothers. Yip Man encouraged his students to fight in organized competitions in an effort to keep them out of gangs and off the streets.
As Bruce Lee began making a name for himself in film, he never forgot his Ving Tsun training and incorporated much of it into his movies. These techniques can be seen in films such as, Enter the Dragon, The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, and more.
More Ving Tsun Movies
There are many other movies that utilize Ving Tsun or tell a piece of the Ving Tsun story. Although there are too many to name here, below are a couple additional Ving Tsun movies worth mentioning.
The Prodigal Son
The Prodigal Son is considered by many to be one of the best traditional martial arts films. It stars Yuen Biao who plays Leung Jan and Sammo Hung who plays Wong Wah Po. If you're unfamiliar with who Leung Jan and Wong Wah Po are, check out our linage page to see where they fall in the Ving Tsun Lineage.
This movie is known for it's great fight scenes and even won an award for Best Action Choreography in Hong Kong.
The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung as Yip Man. Although it's easy to assume this movie is about Yip Man by the title and trailer, the story actually centers around several Grandmasters. This is an all around good film for showcasing various popular Kung Fu styles like Bagua, Xing Yi, Hung Gar, and Tai Chi along with Ving Tsun.
This film has been praised for its cinematography and performances by actors Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi.
Banner image source: Ip Man. Courtesy of Well Go USA.