Ip Ching Followed in His Famous Father's Footsteps, but Then Changed Careers
If you're a martial arts fan, then you've probably heard of the name Ip Man spoken with a certain amount of reverence. The Wing Chun master is famously known for teaching film star / fighting legend Bruce Lee who inspired tons of fighters to become professional pugilists and helped shape the history of martial arts forever.
Ip Man's son, Ip Ching, was also a Wing Chun master, and fans of the martial artist want to know: is he still alive?
Is Ip Man's son still alive? One is, the other isn't.
The second son of the Wing Chun grandmaster, Ip Ching, passed away in January of 2020 and although he wasn't as well-known as his father, he still lived a rather extraordinary life. His older brother, Ip Chun, is 95 years old and very much alive.
Ching was taught the hand-dominant martial art from his father, and while Bruce Lee sought out their father's instruction because of his love for martial arts, it was believed that both Ip Ching and his older brother, Ip Chun, became masters in Wing Chun to honor their father's legacy.
Both Ip Ching and Ip Chun taught the martial art up until their father's death in 1972. Following the grandmaster's passing, however, the brothers didn't immediately delve into offering lessons to more prospective students. In fact, they pursued other interests entirely. Ip Ching invested his assets into a successful business. There was a huge boom of industries in 1960's China, and Ip Ching capitalized on this growth.
Ip Ching opened a manufacturing factory in the New Territories, and the only way to secure lessons from the grandmaster was through select private lessons he continued to offer. It would take decades before he would return to instructing Wing Chun to individuals.
Contrary to popular belief, Ip Ching actually never met Bruce Lee, either. So students who hoped the grandmaster would regale them with tales of the icon were let down.
This was all the result of timing, not because Ip Ching and Ip Chun were kept "separate" from Bruce Lee for any reason. While Bruce was undergoing training from their father, they were located in Foshan, Guangdong province. Once they moved back to Hong Kong in 1962 to escape the cultural revolution, Lee was long gone and back in the USA.
In the 1990s, Ip Ching had officially retired from operating his successful business, and this is when he returned to the world of martial arts instruction. He offered lessons in Wing Chun at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association in Mong Kok and hosted a number of seminars all over the world.
In 2008, Donnie Yen's Ip Man film, a highly stylized fighting biopic about Ip Ching's father filled with martial arts action, became a worldwide phenomenon.
Ip Ching and Ip Chun weren't immediately consulted for work on the film or its sequel, however, they were brought in for the third Ip Man movie and helped star Donnie Yen with his moves.
Donnie had said that the third Ip Man film would be the last in the series, however, it seems that he intended to make Ip Ching a big character in the series, potentially setting up new films that chronicled another stylized story of the grandmaster's son's life.
In Ip Man 4: The Finale, Taiwanese actor Jim Liu portrays Ip Ching, who is expelled from school after tussling with a bully. After this occurs, Ip Man then decides to head to San Francisco, with Ip Ching in tow. He didn't pick San Fran at random, either — that's where Bruce Lee was born.
Ip Man 4 was released on Christmas, 2019, so we'll see if it really is the "finale" of the Ip Man film saga, or if there are new movies to be made about Ip Ching.
Will there be an 'Ip Man 5'?
While no pre-production schedule has been set, Donnie Yen has said that he is certainly not ruling out the possibility of another film. The ending of the last movie certainly leaves that open. With a box office of over $193 million and a production budget of $52 million, it certainly looks like continuing to make films about the Wing Chun grandmaster is a profitable enterprise.
Would you want to see more installments in the martial arts series? Or do you have your hands full with actual combat sports now that UFC's Fight Island is up and running?