Ip Man (葉問) [October 1893 - December 2, 1972] was the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right.
Ip Man was the last Wing Chun student of Chan Wah-shun when he was 70 years old. Ip Man was thirteen years old he started learning Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun (陳華順). Because of his sifu's old age, Ip Man had to learn much of his skills and techniques from his master's second eldest disciple Ng Chung-sok (吳仲素). Three years into Ip Man’s training Chan Wah-shun died. One of his dying wishes was to have Ng continue training Ip. At the age of 15 Ip man moved to Hong Kong. At age sixteen, Ip Man attended school at St. Stephen's College in Hong Kong. It was a secondary school for wealthy families and foreigners who lived in Hong Kong. According to Ip Man's two sons, while at St. Stephen's Ip Man met an old man who was his master's elder fellow-disciple (and so, by Chinese tradition Ip Man's martial uncle Si-pak), Leung Bik (梁璧), son of his master's master (Si-gung) Leung Jan (梁贊). After that encounter, Ip Man continued his training lessons from Leung Bik. By the age of 24, Ip Man had returned to Foshan, his Wing Chun skills tremendously improved.
In Foshan, Ip Man became a policeman. At the end of 1949, after the Communist party won the Chinese civil war, being an officer of the Kuomintang, he decided to escape to Hong Kong when the communists had come to Foshan.
In Hong Kong, he opened a martial arts school. He moved his school twice, to Hoi Tan Street (海壇街) in Sham Shui Po, and then to Lee Tat Street (利達街) in Yau Ma Tei. By then, some of his students were skilled enough that they were able to start their own schools. Among the first were Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, and Chu Shong-tin.
In 1967, Ip Man and some of his students established the Hong Kong Ving Tsun Athletic Association (香港詠春拳體育會). In 1972, Ip Man suffered throat cancer and subsequently died on the 2nd of December that same year.
During his 30-year career in Hong Kong, the Grandmaster Ip Man guided and inspired many students. WingChun spreaded all around the world by him and his students followed him.