Ip is a grandmaster of Wing Chung.  He quietly studied and trained, refusing to take students.  Yet, all around him lessor martial artists were teaching their young followers their personal Kung Fu style.

There is tension in the home.  Ip Man’s wife is resentful that he is so engrossed in the arts that he is neglectful of his son.  She does not hide her feelings. 

Tensions and complications escalate when a bully martial artist from the North shows up with a group of ruffians.  They challenge and brutally embarrass the local Kung Fu teachers.  Ip Man takes up the challenge and overwhelms the bully, restoring the name of the Southern Kung Fu reputation.

World events disrupt Foshan even more.  The Japanese invade, confiscate Ip Man’s house and brutalize the Chinese population.  Ip Man loses his home and wealth.  To survive he takes menial job at a coal mine.

The Japanese occupational general Miura is a karate master.  He arranges an arena where Chinese martial artists fight his military trainees.  The incentive for the Chinese is a bag of rice for every match that they win.

Treachery follows the competition.  One of Ip Man’s friends wins his solo match.  But, when he refuses to fight three more, he is shot.  Infuriated, Ip Man demands a match and fights ten karate artists at one time, defeating them with ease.

The Japanese general and Ip Man meet in a public fight for national honor and his own love for Kung Fu.  Ip Man wins.  It is a brilliant match.  But, the deputy for the General shoots Ip Man.

His wife and friend carry him away to safety.  After he heals he escapes to Hong Kong, sets up a school for Wing Chun and teaches many students, including the legendary Bruce Lee.

The movie starts off very slowly.  Characters take a long time to develop.  But, eventually, the story takes shape.  You respect Ip Man, marvel at the resiliency of the Chinese people under persecution, admire the art of Kung Fu and cheer on a family that overcomes duress and builds a real family together. 

Ip Man brings into his teaching more than the arts.  He has a heart with values that give its practitioners worth.  His life is inspirational and the movie paints that portrait with slow but lasting impact.  Ip Man marked the lives of his many students.  One of his students changed the world, especially for Chinese men.

photo credit: google image