Lucky In Loucun
I am lucky enough to have just been to Fatshan, China, to take part in the opening of the new Ip Man Memorial Hall in Loucun. Loucun is the town in which the Grandmaster of Wing Chun Kung Fu, Ip Man was born.
It was a truly amazing trip and I joined my Sifu and 50 other of the Centre’s students. Getting around Hong Kong and China in such a big group was challenging but also a lot of fun. There as been a lot written about this trip on the Tse Qigong Centre’s website, www.tseqigongcentre.com so I’m not going to repeat everything here.
What I want to to talk about is my Sigong, Grandmaster Ip Chun. I first met him over 20 years ago. I remember Sifu telling us he was coming over to teach a seminar. At the time he was about 65 and even then we thought 65 was quite an elderly for a martial artist. I remember the very first time I Chi Sau’d with him. His Gong Lik was immense and I also remember being very, very nervous, even to the point where he later joked about it. Over the years I have been lucky enough to get to know him more and have been able to attend many seminars and even accompany him on some when he used to travel to the UK every year.
Over all that time I was always taken by how relaxed and unassuming he was. His knowledge and skill in Wing Chun was always amazing, but also he knowledge about many other things was equally impressive. However what was and is still incredible is how he manages his father’s legacy. He has never claimed to be his father’s successor as his Sijo Ip Man never named one. However as the eldest son he could have quite easily taken that role. However he never has and also does not want to. If you ask him he will simply say he studied with his father and has been practising for over 50 years.
His message has always been the same. To learn Wing Chun correctly and in a positive manner. He has found good methods to teach his skill, holds nothing back and according to all accounts is just like his father in this respect.
Home of Ip Man Wing Chun
On this recent trip I was again lucky enough to get to Chi Sau with him a few times. At almost 88 it is incredible that he can do this, although when you know him you do not even notice his age. How many other people would be able to do this. Yes there are some people who live to a ripe old age and some are very fit and active, but to be able to Chi Sau properly and overcome everyone? At the recent seminar he had just Chi Sau’d with my Sifu, Grandmaster Tse, and when I touched his hands I thought, “Wow” his Gong Lik was just as strong as before. On the previous occasion I had not felt it and assumed he had become even softer and evasive, but it is definitely still there!
He Chi Sau’d with my teacher, then with me and then another of his students. He then taught for two hours and after that did a little Chi Sau with every member of our group all 50 one after another. Before he started he said with a smile, “I am nearly 89, but don’t treat me like an old man!”
As I watched, I could see the nervous wonderment on the faces of all those who touched hands with him, especially those who had not met him before. I recognised it instantly as that was me over 20 years ago.
It occurs to me that I have used the word “lucky” rather a lot in this piece. I truly am lucky as were all of us who there and every single one of them will agree.