January 1, 2020
One example of a little idea that became reality: The Ving Tsun Museum
It was just a little idea - a student inviting his Sifu to a wedding
Twenty years ago, the late Grand Master Moy Yat travelled to Dayton, Ohio for the first time to attend the wedding of one of his Disciples, Benny Meng.
It was just a little idea - a vision shared with a Disciple
It was 2am on the morning of the wedding, when Grand Master Moy Yat said, "your school should not just be an academy of martial arts; it should be a museum for the Ving Tsun Kung Fu! This is my idea from a long time ago, but this dream of mine has not happened due to the difficulties of making something like that happen. We should dedicate and establish this Museum for the art, and to pay respect back to my Sifu, the late Grand Master Ip Man." That was in October of 1993.
It was just a little idea - a vision was shared from a Master to his own Disciples
Benny Meng, now a recognized Grand Master in his own right, gladly accepted the challenge of making his Sifu's vision a reality. Meng quickly formed a committee from within his own students and disciples to make it happen as fast as possible, while Grand Master Moy Yat connected with his own kung fu brothers, noted leaders in the Ip Man lineage, back in Hong Kong.
It was just a little idea - one that became a bright spark
In 1995, three of the senior Grand Masters in the Ip Man clan - Grand Masters Ip Ching, Ip Chun, and Moy Yat – came together in Dayton for a seminar on the Ving Tsun System and participate in the Ving Tsun Museum's Ground Breaking.
In 1997, the first Ving Tsun Museum official seminar was held featuring Grand Masters Moy Yat and Ip Ching, together with many of the senior leaders in the Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kung Fu Family: Jeffrey Chan, Sunny Tang, Henry Moy, Mickey Chan, Pete Pajil, William Moy, Miguel Hernandez, Curator Benny Meng, and Leo Imamura
In 1998, the second Ving Tsun Museum Multi-Grand Master seminar was held featuring Grand Masters Moy Yat, Yip Ching, Yip Chun, Chu Shong Tin, Mak Po, Hawkins Cheung, Moy Bing Wah. This was the first seminar to feature so many direct students of the late Grand Master Ip Man together after he passed away. This seminar was also proceeded by the VTM hosting a Ving Tsun Athletic Association Senior Instructor Certification program, led by Grand Masters Moy Yat, Yip Ching, Yip Chun, and Chu Shong Tin.
Since these trendsetting seminars, The Ving Tsun Museum has continued to research into the Ip Man lineage of Wing Chun, with additional research into Ho Kam Ming, William Cheung, Leung Ting, and Wong Shun Leung’s lineages.
While active in research, the VTM was also active in establishing a standardized set of international rules for Wing Chun Chi Sau competition, as well as hosting Wing Chun Friendship Exchanges starting in 1995, publishing books and DVDs, conducting Instructor Certification seminars and workshops, and even researching into lineages outside the Ip Man lineage.
It was just a little idea - one that sparked into a flame
After the Grand Opening of the VTM, Grand Master Moy Yat’s vision for a home for all Wing Chun families to gather, share research, and celebrate the diversity of the lineage through multiple families and generations was an established reality. Many famous Masters and Grand Masters attended the Grand Opening, with over 250 participants in attendance. Behind the scenes, Grand Master Moy faced challenges from the Hong Kong Wing Chun community in regards to names; he wanted to use the term "Ving Tsun Tong" but the Hong Kong Wing Chun community countered that there was already a Ving Tsun Tong in Hong Kong at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. Grand Master Moy Yat was happy and proud to share his accomplishments to his kung fu brothers from around the world, saying, "After this, the heart of Wing Chun is here in the USA." Because he could not use the name "Ving Tsun Tong" Grand Master Moy Yat came up with the name Ving Tsun Museum, using the Chinese Characters to mean "Hall of the Skillful Nun" which pays respect this, the heart of Wing Chun is here in the USA." Because he could not use the name "Ving Tsun Tong" Grand Master Moy Yat came up with the name Ving Tsun Museum, using the Chinese Characters to mean "Hall of the Skillful Nun" which pays respect to the oral legends in many Wing Chun lineages about how the system was founded.
Many of Grand Master Moy Yat's kung fu brothers complimented him on this milestone in the history of Wing Chun – amazed that something like a Ving Tsun Museum was even possible. The size of international interest and the success of the VTM's seminars left a deep impression on Ip Man’s sons and fueled a flame inside them to create an Ip Man Tong and multi-Grand Master format seminar of their own.
Returning to Hong Kong, the seniors of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association led by Grand Masters Ip Chun and Ip Ching were quick to organize events in Hong Kong and China – including the 1999 1st Ving Tsun World Conference which featured many direct students of the late Grand Master Ip Man and the establishment of the Ip Man Tong in 2002. The VTM was happy to play a strong supporting role in the Ip Man Tong project, even being recognized as the official US representative organization.
As the Ip Man Tong project started to gain momentum in the early years of the new millennium, the VTM was well under way into extensively researching other lineages of Wing Chun. Today, based on our research, we've come to identify Wing Chun as evolving through six stages, from most recent to most ancient:
International - when the system spread out of Southern China to reach an international stage
Hong Kong - when the system established a larger following in the Chinese martial arts community
Futsan - when the system moved off the Opera boats and out of the secret societies and into the public eye
Opera - when the system move away from the Shaolin roots and more solidly into the secret societies, and mixed with the public for the first time
Secret Society - when the system left Shaolin and entered the anti-Qing secret societies
Shaolin - when the system was developed as a vehicle of cultivation of Chan, health/fitness, and self-defense
The opening of the Ip Man Tong was in 2002 and was tremendously successful. More than 800 people from around the world met in the city of Futsan, the city of Ip Man's childhood. Soon after that, became a folk hero in Futsan and Hong Kong.
Checkley Sin, a movie producer, was studying Grand Master Ip Chun and wanted to make a movie about Ip Man. After many challenges and difficulties, the international smash film Ip Man starring international action star Donny Yen went to #1 in China - followed by many more films: Ip Man 2, The Legend is Born - Ip Man, The Grandmaster, Ip Man: The Final Fight; and even a TV series. The success of the Ip Man movies have also generated renewed interest in Wing Chun within China, and inspired other Wing Chun themed movies.
The status of Ip Man has since grown to the stature of a national hero, coming out of a humble martial art character. It was said that so long as the late Sifu had his yum cha, his majong, and his students, he was very content with his path in life.
Today two of the most recognizable names in the world of martial arts movies are Bruce Lee and Ip Man, and both are from the same martial art family, practitioners of this special treasure called Wing Chun.
It was just a little idea - a vision shared, and shared again...
But it all started from a little idea that the late Grand Master Moy Yat had, which was to pay respect and honor his teacher, the late Ip Man. As the idea grew, the mission became an obsession of GM Meng and his team. As the idea grew, was shared, and results were produced, new ideas were sparked.
After Moy Yat's death in 2001, one of his kung fu brothers was credited as saying: "The death of Moy Yat is a great loss not only to the martial art of Ving Tsun, but also to the world. He was a very learned man, a good painter, poet, artist and a gentleman. This is a great loss to Chinese culture."
After 20 years, Grand Master Meng and his team feel the roots of Wing Chun have been discovered, found squarely within the ancient Shaolin Temples. Today, the VTM is recognized by the Shaolin Temple for its contribution to the research, development, and promotion of Wing Chun internationally.
The next little idea...? That would be, under Grand Master Meng's leadership, test out the skill and the theories, ultimately developing professional fighters that can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the Mixed Martial Arts world while maintaining the traditional attitude of respect, discipline, and confidence - with the unique flair of Wing Chun efficiency.
Traditional attitude of respect, discipline, and confidence - with the unique flair of Wing Chun efficiency.