Wong Shun Leung
The most famous and respected of the Ving Tsun fighters is a man named Wong Shun Leung. Having fought victoriously in (some say) hundreds of challenge fights, Wong Shun Leung would later be dubbed by the Hong Kong press as “Gong Sau Wong”, or the “King of Talking Hands”. The character for Sifu Wong’s surname in Chinese is synonymous with the character for king, and “talking hands” was what people used to delicately describe a no-holds-barred challenge match.
Wong Shun Leung began his studies of the martial sciences with western boxing and Tai Chi. Having seen and heard of Ving Tsun fighting prowess, Wong decided to “visit” Yip Man’s academy. It was during the Chinese New Year, so many of Yip Man’s more capable students were not present. After defeating several of Yip Man’s students in attendance, Yip Man decided to take Wong on himself. After being soundly defeated by Yip Man, Wong Shun Leung began his tutelage under the grandmaster. According to Sifu Wong Shun Leung himself, Yip Man intercepted all of his attacks and backed him into a corner using only interceptions and good positioning, which impressed Wong quite a bit. So seemingly not offended, Sigung Yip Man instructed the young Wong Shun Leung to begin training at his school after the new year.
Sifu Wong (while acting as an assistant instructor) continued his study of Ving Tsun with Sigung Yip Man until Yip Man’s passing in 1972. Sifu Wong would go on and spread the fighting methods of Ving Tsun to literally thousands of people all over the globe until his own untimely passing on January 28, 1997.
Though known widely for his unparalleled fighting abilities, Sifu Wong Shun Leung was a friendly man whose down-to-earth demeanor often caught those first meeting him by surprise. Sifu Wong’s fierce reputation often instills in many an image that contradicts his actual appearance and demeanor. Many who first meet him are actually quite taken at how “normal” Sifu Wong appears. Sifu Wong Shun Leung was always ready with a smile and a joke to put who ever he was with at ease.
However, as soon as Sifu Wong began demonstrating his uncanny understanding of the Ving Tsun method, one immediately understands the source of his reputation. Pragmatic and honest, Sifu Wong Shun Leung knows that his approach works because he had used it successfully in every occasion. From his numerous challenge matches to his real life street encounters, Sifu Wong Shun Leung’s methods are formulated and distilled through bloody combat. He believed in what he taught. He offered his followers universally applicable fighting concepts that were simple, direct, and efficient, rather than situation-specific techniques and sequences.
Most importantly, Wong Shun Leung believed that Ving Tsun is simply a scientific tool created to serve its user. His pragmatic and logical approach together with his experiences as both a fighter and a teacher sets Wong Shun Leung apart the rest.
Sifu Wong Shun Leung was a great man and is sorely missed by his students, family, and friends.