Saturday, July 9, 2011
365 Movies Day #102 "Ip Man"
Once upon a time, I studied under a cool cat named David de la Vega in San Antonio. David taught an incredible system called Modern Combatives (not to be confused with Army wrestling) that was a mixture of Silat and a style called Wing Tsun. I instantly fell in love with chain punches, chi sao, and the many blocking, parrying techniques. Oddly, I had people scoff at the chain punches when I demonstrated what they were later on. Those same people were blown away by "Ip Man".
"Ip Man" is a "semi-biographical" account of the life of Wing Tsun Master and instructor to the legendary Bruce Lee. Most of Lee's style is rooted in Wing Tsun. Interestingly, the style is reported to have been founded by a woman. The film itself is a very grand, sensationalized telling of Ip Man's life. It reminds me of a biography that would have been written by Homer. In the tale, Ip Man comes from a wealthy background, yet is a wonderfully humble man and talented martial artist. He is forced through the circumstances of WWII to stand up to Japanese occupation which culminates in a tournament versus a Japanese General to prove Chinese superiority. The sequel to the film is basically the same, substituting Britain for Japan.
What's incredible is the demonstration of Wing Tsun in the film. The plot is good enough to keep you watching, but the fight scenes are spectacular. Reminds me of why I love the art. Here is an example of an amazing fight scene from the flick:
Film freaks may recognize Donnie Yen (Ip Man) from films like "Blade II", "Highlander: End Game" and "Hero". He and "Ip Man" director Wilson Yip have also worked on a string of amazing martial arts flicks together.
For fun, here's a video demonstrating the effectiveness of the Wing Tsun chain punch from the show "Human Weapon":
Here is more background on the REAL IP MAN and on WING TSUN.
IP MAN ON IMDB