“IPMAN” – Yè wèn – 葉問
Licensed by All Rights Entertainment
The movie “Ip Man” is loosely based on the life of Yipman, who was the first grandmaster to teach the martial art of Wing Chun. He was raised in China’s Foshan and started learning martial arts at an early age. Later, he attained the rank of teacher in Wing Chun and instructed many pupils, among them Bruce Lee. Yip Man escaped to Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation of China, where he carried on his Wing Chun instruction. He became well-known in Hong Kong as a martial arts instructor, where he taught a number of famous pupils who later became teachers. Yip Man is credited with helping to popularize Wing Chun throughout the globe and is regarded as one of the most important martial artists of the 20th century. At the age of 79, he passed away in 1972. The movie pertains to Chinese history as Ipman takes place during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) when China began to actively oppose Japan’s effort to increase its power which led to a conflict (1931). The Japanese advanced quickly until the end of 1938, the war was essentially at a standstill until 1944, and in the final years, the Allied counterattacks, primarily in the Pacific and on Japan’s home islands, forced Japan to surrender. The war, which wasn’t officially declared until December 9, 1941, can be divided into three periods. In the movie, during the Japanese occupation of China, Ip Man is forced to fight and protect his community against the Japanese army, leading to a series of intense martial arts battles. Despite facing several challenges and losses, Ip Man remains steadfast in his beliefs and values, ultimately emerging victorious and inspiring others to continue his legacy of martial arts and honor. One way that Ip Man has features that pertain to Chinese Pop Culture is through its portrayal of Wing Chun martial arts. In China, martial arts are widely popular, with Chinese Kung Fu being among the most dominant. Wing Chun is a form of Kung Fu, which I think is very interesting as it ties in with the movie directly. Another feature that I want to point out is the actor that plays the main character, Donnie Yen. Donnie Yen is featured in multiple movies as a protagonist/antagonist usually that utilizes mixed martial arts. Finally, the movie displays the virtues of the martial arts stated previously, such as respect, honor, and discipline, which are pretty predominant in Chinese culture. Additionally, the movie creates huge emphasis on the Chinese people’s fight during China’s Japanese occupation, a pivotal moment in Chinese history. Ip Man has become a symbol of tenacity and resiliency in Chinese popular culture, inspiring a new breed of martial artists.
Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Second Sino-Japanese war. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Second-Sino-Japanese-War
Margaritoff, M. (2022, November 5). The astounding story of Yip Man, the Martial Arts Master who taught Bruce Lee everything he knew. All That’s Interesting. Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://allthatsinteresting.com/yip-man
Meredith, A. (2022, January 9). The who, what and why of Chinese Martial Arts. CLI. Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://studycli.org/chinese-culture/chinese-martial-arts/