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Wong Shun Leung

Wong Shun Leung - 黃淳樑

wsl_statigWong was a Chinese martial artist from Hong Kong who studied Ving Tsun kung fu under Yip Man (葉問) and is credited with training Bruce Lee.Wong reportedly won at least 60, and perhaps over 100, street fights against martial artists of various styles.Due to his reputation, he came to be known as 'Gong Sau Wong' (講手王 or 'King of Talking Hands'). Wong recorded one instructional film entitled Ving Tsun: The science of in-fighting.

Early martial arts training

wong_kick03Wong reportedly trained in several martial art styles in his youth, primarily in tai chi chuan and either boxing or kickboxing. He abandoned boxing because of two incidents: one with his boxing coach and one with Yip Man. The first incident apparently occurred because Wong accidentally struck his boxing coach during sparring. The angry coach attacked in earnest, only to be eventually knocked out by Wong; the incident caused Wong to leave boxing. In another account, however, Wong said he had defeated his boxing coach with Ving Tsun techniques: "I was sparring with my instructor and I hit him very hard, he got real mad and came at me very hard. I fought back with Ving Tsun and he ended up bleeding. Boxing was over for me!".

The second incident came about from Wong's fascination with the stories of legendary Ving Tsun figures, such as Chan Wah ShunWong_Dummy1 (陳華順) and Leung Jan (梁贊). This interest led Wong to look for a Ving Tsun teacher. Friends of his older brother took him to meet Yip Man. According to one version of events, after defeating at least two of Yip's students, Wong had a match with Yip himself and was defeated easily. Another version is that after Wong faced Lo Man Kam, Yip Po Ching defeated Wong. In any case, Wong joined the Ving Tsun group and eventually came to assist Yip with teaching, with students including Bruce Lee. Lee once wrote in a letter to Wong, "Even though I am (technically) a student of Yip Man, in reality I learned my Kung-fu from you." Wong was believed to have carried the letter in his wallet. Perhaps the best-known letter from Lee to Wong is that of 11 January 1970, which has been translated into English as an appendix to an article by Wong.


wsl_bong_sauWu and Wong's match in the 1957 kung fu competition in Taiwan is the only documented proof of Wong's involvement in fighting competition; the only records of Wong's beimo matches are from eyewitnesses. Since beimo competition was held secretly, the loser often denied involvement in the fight afterward, or both sides would claim victory after the fight. For example, in the match between Ni Yuk Tong (倪沃棠) and Wong, various accounts of the fight exist, and no one is sure of where the fight took place, how the fighters performed, and who won. Thus, while many of Wong's students have referred to him as "one of the greatest fighters of this century" (i.e., the 20th century), those outside the Ving Tsun community could doubt the claim's authenticity.

Wong's participation in, and views on, tournaments reflected his philosophy on martial arts. When asked, "Did you compete in any organised tournaments with rules?" Wong replied, "Not in boxing. When I competed, it was in secret. We went into a room, and the door was shut and there were no rules. The government did not allow them. They were illegal, but we didn't care. We fought until the other guy was knocked out." When asked, "Did you ever consider competing in combat sports?" Wong replied, "I have always liked boxing, I like anything about fighting, but my kind of fighting is not the sport version, it is real fighting where there are no rules."

Wong Shun Leung's Ving Tsun Lineage:

•Ng Mui
•Yim Ving Tsun
•Leung Bok Chau
•Leung Lan Kwai
•Wong Wah Bo
•Leung Yee Tei
•Leung Jan
•Chan Wah-shun
•Yip Man
•Wong Shun Leung