A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun.
Ip Man, or Yip Man, was a real guy. He lived from 1893-1972 and is considered the first martial arts master of the now popular Wing Chun style of kung fu – his many disciples included Bruce Lee. Wilson Yip’s film focuses on Ip Man’s life in his hometown of Foshon, China, in the 1930s, when the Japanese invaded much of China. Ip Man and his family – his wife (Lynn Hung) and their young son – are ousted from their family home by the Japanese, who use it as a military headquarters. Ip Man closes his martial arts school, sets his family up in a shanty and works in a labor camp.
It isn’t long before he emerges from anonymity, as the Japanese are killing Chinese volunteers in martial arts tournaments designed to prove Japanese superiority. Ip Man takes up the challenge and becomes a rallying cry for the oppressed Chinese.