Imagine: having the opportunity to spend a year working with the master who taught Bruce Lee kung fu. Awesome! In 1982, I wrote and directed the first video on Wing Chun – The Science of In Fighting, with Wong Shun Leung. He was one of Grandmaster Yip Man’s inner circle disciples and who’s fighting abilities were recognized by his title, “King of Talking Hands”.

Wing Chun and JKD aficionados may know that although Yip Man is Bruce Lee’s formal master, it is Wong Shun Leung who actually taught Lee. In Fiaz Rafiq’s book, Bruce Lee Conversations, according to Master William Cheung, Lee’s Hong Kong friend, after less than a year in Yip’s school, students pressured Yip Man into expelling Bruce Lee. Cheung implies this stemmed from jealousy of Lee’s great skills and reflected the conservative mindset that kung fu not to be taught to foreigners because Lee was a quarter-German. Perhaps this incident motivated Lee to defy tradition by teaching non Chinese in the States.

Wong Shun Leung may have been a motivation for the young Lee to explore other martial arts. Jesse Glover, Lee’s first student in Seattle, recalls in his book that after a visit to Wong in Hong Kong, Lee realized he was unable to defeat Wong Shun Leung using pure Wing Chun. Lee’s desire to find ways to surpass his teacher may have lead to his creation of the eclectic JKD.

Master Wong Shun Leung, quiet and humble, was surprisingly open in explaining and demonstrating the secrets of Wing Chun to me, to transmit his beloved art.

Interestingly, the presence of this famous master is found not only in Wing Chun and JKD, but also in our TanDao System. The theoretical foundation of Wing Chun (centerline, economy of motion, etc…) holds universal principles that apply to all systems and forms the basis of TanDao.  It is evident in our animal combat (tiger, snake, crane, leopard and dragon) and Tan’s Dazzling Hands (internal open hand combat) which evolved beyond Wing Chun punching. Check out our TanDao Tiger Combat video and ebook, see if you can discover these principles concealed behind our practical modern animal combat.

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Lawrence Tan

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1 Comment on Bruce Lee’s Teacher – Wong Shun Leung

  1. Sifu Lloyd says:

    Master Tan, your depth of knowledge and willingness to share never ceases to amaze me. Thanks.

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