Grandmaster Ip Chun’s 90th Birthday
In September, Grandmaster Ip Chun celebrated his 90th birthday. What a incredible milestone to reach. Most of us would be happy enough to reach this age, but when you realise that he is still fit and active and still able to Chi Sau with anyone it is quite amazing. I remember the very first time, my Sifu, Master Tse told me Sigong was coming over to the UK to teach a seminar, we thought it was incredible that a 63 year old man was able to overcome all of us. It still makes me smile to think, “He was only 63.” Now at 90 he is busier than ever. He has been involved with so many movies about his legendary father, Grandmaster Ip Man, and is also teaching Wing Chun in different parts of China and involved in the maintenance of the Ip Man Tong and Ip Man Memorial Hall. It is a testament to his achievements that over the two birthday parties that were held in his honour, one in Loucun and one in Hong Kong, about 1500 people came to celebrate with him.
Unfortunately, due to the imminent arrival of twin boys, this time I was not able to travel with my Sifu and my Kung Fu brothers and sisters to see Sigong and celebrate with them all. However I was there in spirit and Sifu passed on my best wishes to him and Sigong was very happy to hear my exciting news.
Relationships are very important. Relationship with you Sifu is most important and this takes time and effort to build up. This is a very traditional Chinese value and something that is valued highly. This is something I have grown up understanding. Seeing the strong bond between my Sifu, Master Tse, and my Sigong, Grandmaster Ip Chun is great to see and to know that I am also part of that bond is something to treasure.
Traditional Chinese people always strive for harmony and balance between people and this is based on developing good relationships. Recently a sad event occurred. The New Hong Kong Restaurant in China Town Manchester closed. Now of course there are businesses opening and closing all the time, but this restaurant in particular has played a very important part in my life and also many others. This is the place where we would go with Master Tse to eat after class. When Sifu left Manchester, we kept this tradition going. For over 25 years it was our regular haunt and we came to know the owners and the staff very well. I even had my wedding reception there. Around those tables, we have talked and discussed training, teaching and life in general for more hours that I could count. Even Sigong Ip Chun would ask how they were whenever we went to see him in Hong Kong. As a last farewell I took a large group of students there to say our goodbyes and wish them all well. We had a large feast, but the family would not take any money off us, not matter how much we insisted. Vera, the manager and owners daughter, said it was their thank you to us for being with them for so long. It was such a nice gesture and I will look on that relationship with happy memories forever. Relationships need to be respected, built and treasured.
Rujia (Confucianism) tells us:
Respect our seniors.
Look after the juniors.
Treat those of the same level (generation) how we would like to be treated ourselves.
This makes everything harmonious and gives us guidelines on how to behave an interact. Then everything just works and flows along. Sifu, in his wisdom, has always stressed and this foresight has always been proved right. Good things just happen as a result, but of course they never just happen. Do the right things and you will get a good result.
Now Sigong Ip Chun has put together a family tree which lists all his genuine students, grand students and great grand students etc. I am very happy to be on that tree, under my Sifu and with all my Kung Fu brothers and sisters. It is a recognition of our efforts and our relationship. Do the right things and you will get a good result.