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Source: Netflix

Did Ip Man Really Fight a U.S. Marine Sergeant Like in 'Ip Man: The Finale'?

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All four Ip Man films are currently streaming on Netflix, attracting an even wider audience to the already popular martial arts films.

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Donnie Yen portrays the esteemed titular Wing Chun Grandmaster, mentor to the legendary Bruce Lee, whose own biographical film was released earlier this year. 

As fans watch all four martial arts films, many are wondering just how real the portrayal of the martial artist is, and whether Ip Man did really fight a marine.

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Source: Netflix
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Why does Ip Man fight a U.S. Marines sergeant in 'Ip Man: The Finale'?

In Ip Man: The Finale, Ip travels to San Francisco with his son and wrestles with tension between martial arts masters and his star student, Bruce Lee (Danny Kwok-Kwan Chan).

Bruce has upset the local San Francisco martial arts community by opening a Wing Chun school and teaching non-Chinese people martial arts. Meanwhile, Ip is looking for another school for his rebellious son, Ip Ching (He Ye), who has been expelled from his school after fighting back against a bully.

Ip discovers that he needs a referral letter from the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in order to enroll into an American school, but Grandmaster Wan Zhong-hua (Yue Wu) refuses to write the letter because Ip is unbothered by Bruce's actions, whereas the other Grandmasters are vehemently opposed to him opening a Wing Chun school.

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Long story short: Ip rescues Wan's daughter (Vanda Margraf) after she's being bullied in school by Becky (Grace Englert), a rival cheerleader, and Wan accuses Ip of using his daughter as a way to get the letter he needs. Wan challenges Ip to a fight, but it's interrupted by an earthquake.

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Source: Netflix
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Meanwhile, Bruce's student Hartman (Vanness Wu), a United States Marine, tries to convince Barton Geddes (Scott Adkins), the Gunnery Sergeant, to incorporate Chinese martial arts into their hand-to-hand combat training. The arrogant and openly racist man isn't keen, but Hartman convinces the unit's Commanding Officer of kung fu's benefits, which infuriates Barton.

At the Mid-Autumn festival, where Wan and Ip's fight is set to resume, we learn that Wan has been arrested by Becky's dad, an immigration officer. Barton instructs the Marines' karate instructor to take on the Grandmasters at the festival, but Ip intervenes and beats him, sending him to the hospital.

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An infuriated Barton sets out to find Wan, and the two fight, but Barton manages to seriously injure Wan. Ip is then brought into the Marines' camp by Hartman, and ultimately defeats the Gunnery Sergeant of the U.S. Marines.

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Source: Netflix
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Did Ip Man really fight a Marine in real life, or was that added for the movie?

While the events of Ip Man: The Finale are riveting and compelling, the real Ip Man never met a single American in his lifetime, with the exception of Bruce Lee, who was American born. He never stepped foot in the United States.

What's more, while the film portrays Ip's son, Ip Ching, as a rebellious teenager who traveled with his father, in reality, Ip Ching grew up far away from Ip Man in mainland China and was a grown man before he reunited with his father in Hong Kong.

All four Ip Man films are currently streaming on Netflix.

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