My Way of Wing Chun

The Learning Curve

A Scandal of the Wing Chun School – Someone Falsely Claims To Be Leader of the School

The tradition of Chinese kung Fu attaches utmost importance to the cultivation of martial virtue. Kung fu learners consider it first important to respect their teachers and adhere to the principle. Therefore, an expert of kung fu is venerated by his colleagues first of all because of his martial virtue, and secondarily because of his martial skills. Chinese kung fu has all along considered important the difference of seniority.

If one is a third-generation disciple, he must not claim that he is of the second-generation, or he will be considered treacherous. Any martial artsman who tries to confuse seniority is looked upon as a traitor to his teacher and the founder. He will be intolerable to his school and will be looked down upon by people of other schools of the martial arts community. (By the way seniority is also clearly distinguished in martial arts circles in other countries. Take karate for example, a learner of the white belt is not allowed to identify himself as of the black belt.)

0.scandal.of.the.wing.chun.schoolA scandal recently broke cover when Sifu Leung Ting of the WingTsun School falsely claimed himself to be “Head of the Wing Chun School”. Martial artists of the Wing Chun School were astonished and irritated when the report that he claimed himself “Head of the School” was published in the press. People recalled that even late Grandmaster Ip Man, with his indisputably lofty prestige, never considered himself head of the school despite that he had every reason to do that.

After his death, Ip Man’s many achieved disciples like Sifu Leung Sheug, Sifu Lok Yiu , Sifu Wong Shun Leung, Sifu Toi Shan Tin and the internationally renowned Bruce Lee, etc. all have been eligible to be elected the head. But none of them ever attempted to be the leader of the Wing Chun School, neither had anyone moted the election of a head.

1.scandal.of.the.wing.chun.schoolThat Leung Ting should claim himself Head of the Wing Chun School made People of the School aware of the gravity of the event. The three major organizers of the Wing Chun School in Hong Kong, ie., “Wing Chun United General Association”, ‘Ving Tsun Athletic Association” and “Wing Chun Chinese Martial Arts General Association in Honor of Yip Man”, held a joint conference on that very evening and unanimously arrived at the conclusion that it was necessary to clarify matters to the martial arts circles and society with respect to the incident of Leung Ting claiming himself head of the school. Therefore a press conference was held to which major senior exponents of various schools were invited. (it was what was called “Wu-Lin T’ieh a practiced that has gone on for very long time in martial art circles, whereby if a treacherous disciple emerges in a school, the school invites martial artists of various schools to denounce the offender.)

The press conference of the Wing Chun School gained wide attendance and the people there were emotional. Apart from the many chief instructors of the School, it was attended by senior members of more than ten schools and more than ten leading members of the Chinese Martial Arts General Association of Hong Kong, as well as innumerable journalists.

2.scandal.of.the.wing.chun.schoolDuring the session, Sifu Wong Shun Leung pointed out: Leung Ting did not begin to claim himself head of the school now. In fact, even before Grandmaster Ip Man passed away, he already identified himself the future head of the school to a reporter of a foreign martial arts magazine. Leung Ting even went so far as to say that he represented Wing Chun, “Leung Ting” is tantamount to Wing Chun, Wing Chun is tantamount to “Leung Ting”. He also said that Grandmaster Ip Man personally selected him as the leader of the instructors of the Wing Chun School. In many of his own articles, the self-styled “Chief Instructor of the Wing Chun School”, “Grandmaster Ip Man’s youngest disciple”. He even blatantly printed the words ’8th Dan Black Belt of Wing Chun on his visiting cards.”

Sifu Wong Shun Leung went on to point out: “The Wing Chun School is a Chinese kung fu school. It hat no black belt and white belt at all, neither is its practice to divide disciples! into dans or ranks. Leung Ting has persistently falsified, claiming himself ‘Leader of instructors’, ‘chief instructor, head of the school’, and the ‘youngest disciple’. All these are his tricks to raise his position. Now he even dared to deceitfully claim himself head of the school. We, members of the Wing Chun School can no longer tolerate this in muteness and allow a traitor to fledge in order to appease him.”

3.scandal.of.the.wing.chun.schoolNow, after all, is Leung Ting a disciple of Grandmaster Ip Man? Ip Man’s eldest son Sifu Ip Chun testified that he had never seen his father teaching pugilism to Leung Ting. This proves that Leung Ting is not a disciple personally-tutored by Ip Man.

Some said that if Leung Ting was not Ip Man’s pupil, he was at least Sifu Leung Sheung’s pupil. (in other words, he was Ip Man’s second-generation disciple.) But Sifu Leung Sheung declared that neither was Leung Ting his disciple. The Sihing of the Wing Chun School Leung Sheung said at the press conference: “I have a disciple called Chong Pei, Leung Ting has followed Chong Pei to learn kung fu.”

This unambiguously establishes that Leung Ting was a junior member of the Wing Chun School, instead of being Ip Man’s disciple, he is Sifu Leung Sheung’s second generation disciple, or Grandmaster Ip Man’s third-generation disciple, up to now the most junior member in the Wing Chun School.

The four most highly-achieved exponents of the Wing Chun School at Present are Sifu Leung Sheung, Sifu Luk Yiu, Sifu Wong Shun Leung and Sifu Toi Shan Tien. They have all been given an in-depth teaching of true learning by Ip Man and are well-known in martial art circles.

4.scandal.of.the.wing.chun.schoolAside from the weapon techniques of the Eight-Slash Broadsword Skill and the Six-and-a-Half Dotting Staff Skill (the Wing Chun School has only three sets of pugilism, i.e., the “Little Idea”, of the elementary level, which is the foundation of Wing Chun Pugilism; “Looking for the Arm”, which is good at finding the enemy’s arms to launch counter-attacks, Sifu Lok Yiu is distinguished for this skill; the set of the supreme level is “Biu Gee”, or Thrusting Fingers, of which Sifu Leung Sheung has a high and profound mastery.

Sifu Toi Shang Tin, meanwhile, is expert of traditional Chinese surgery. Sifu Wong Shun Leung has made great contributions by adding glory to the Wing Chun School, in earlier years, Sifu Leung always contested with skilled masters of other schools and won praise in the martial arts community. He also taught pugilism to his younger fellow disciple Bruce Lee on behalf of Grandmaster Ip Man.

Members of the Wing Chun School asked: “What right is a disciple of the third generation to be pretend head of a school?”

 

Sources:
[1] Hsuan Kung Tze, A Scandal of the Yung-Chun School – Someone Falsely Claims To Be “LEADER OF THE SCHOOL”, Secrets of Kung-Fu vol. 1 no. 10, pp. 24-27 (Oct 1977)

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