Friday, November 25, 2016

Local Martial Arts School Launches Website to Showcase the Self-Defense Effectiveness of Wing Chun

Irvine, CA - Orange County martial arts school, The Dragon Institute, launches its new Irvine-based website to bring local attention to the self-defense advantages of Wing Chun over more popular mainstream martial arts. The site also offers key details and benefits on the school’s unique methods and Irvine area classes.

The site targets local residents in need of adult self-defense in Orange County in order to help them understand Wing Chun’s self-defense effectiveness compared to more widespread martial arts. Those considering Wing Chun in Orange County will have a resource for the features and benefits of Wing Chun as well as exclusive information on the school’s programs and classes.

“Focusing specifically upon self-defense gives Wing Chun a very distinct advantage over martial arts with a sports-based focus to training,” states The Dragon Institute’s founder and program director Adam Williss. “The same martial art methods which dominate in a sporting environment are largely inadequate against real world attacks.”

“Wing Chun, if trained correctly, is one of the world’s most efficient forms of hand-to-hand self-defense,” continued Williss. “We teach that your best response to an attack is a quick, decisive counterattack. Backed with simple, real-world knowledge, people of all sizes, shapes and ages have the power to become a legitimate human weapon.”

Wing Chun is known for its effectiveness in the close-quarter ranges proven to be the most prevalent in a realistic fight. In fact, Wing Chun is the chosen system trusted by some of today’s most highly respected self-defense experts.

The Dragon Institute was voted Orange County’s #1 martial art three out of the last four years by CityVoter’s annual OC Hotlist. It also has been recognized as one the top Wing Chun schools in the nation.

Peter Chang of Irvine described in his online review that he considered The Dragon Institute to be "one of the top Wing Chun schools in the country… 'a true representation of high quality Wing Chun.'"

"I drive all the way from Pasadena to train here," said Ben Hugesson. "Depending on traffic, the travel time is about an hour and a half. The way I look at it, if I'm going to spend my time training, I want it to be the best training I can get. Not just somewhere that's close."

Founded in 2010 in Dana Point, CA, the martial arts school's Irvine academy opened this year as demand grew for its no-nonsense Wing Chun classes. The school teaches the art that was passed down by Grandmaster Yip Man (aka Ip Man) and made famous by his student Bruce Lee. The school is led by Sifu Derrick Mansell, 7th generation lineage holder under Yip Man’s senior-most student, Leung Sheung.

For more information, visit The Dragon Institute’s new site at

Sunday, October 30, 2016

World Ving Tsun Athletic Association Announces 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees

2016 Wing Chun Hall of Fame Inducts Siu Yuk Men and Eric Lilleør

The World Ving Tsun Athletic Association has announced its 12th Annual 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees.

Grandmaster of the Year
Siu Yuk Men 

Siu Yuk Man is a direct student of the late Yip Man. He trained with him in approximately 1956 at a gym on Lee Tat Street at Yau Ma Tei.

Siu Yuk Man has been on the Board of Directors of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association (VTAA) since 1979 and has held numerous positions including Chairman in 1996-1997, 1999-2000, 2006-2007, 2007-2008 as well as Head of Membership Committee in 2010-2011.

The Siu Yuk Men Ving Tsun Kung fu Academy is located in Hong Kong at Flat 5, 5/F., Nga Ching House, Lok Nga Court, Chun Wah Road in Ngau Tau Kok.

Sifu of the Year
Eric Lilleør 

Eric is based out of Helsinki, Finland and is CEO of Mui Fa Publishing and is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Wing Chun Illustrated Magazine. Eric has been training Wing Chun since 1984 and is a certified Sifu under Morton Ibsen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ip Man 3 May Be Last Action Film for Donnie Yen

At the Ip Man 3 press conference, Donnie Yen appeared much thinner than before. He explained that this was by request of director Wilson Yip who “felt that in this installment, Ip Man should look more meager.” Donnie also said that in order to prepare for the role, he put a lot of effort into studying Ip Man’s psychological state in his later years.

When asked if he will continue filming action movies until he becomes too old for them, Donnie replied that Ip Man 3 may be his last action film. “Right now, the most important question for me is not whether or not my body can handle it, but whether or not a movie has creativity,” he stated. “Thus, Ip Man 3 may indeed be my last action film.”

Donnie also shared that when he traveled to different countries, many fans simply called him “Ip Man” when they saw him, which he found extremely moving. “I became popular because of Ip Man,” he said. “So if I’m to leave, I hope it can be with Ip Man as well.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ip Man 2 Actor Dies at 42

Darren Shahlavi, known for his role in "Ip Man 2" as the evil British boxing champ, Twister has died at age 42. 

According to his agent, Shahlavi died in his sleep Jan. 14. Currently, the cause of death has not been revealed.

Thanks to Shahlavi's performance, aong with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung, Ip Man 2 would go on to become the most successful Asian film at the box office in 2010.

Shahlavi, a lifelong martial artists since the age of 7, recently finished filming “Pound of Flesh” with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and is also known for his work in the “Mortal Kombat: Legacy” TV series, “Arrow,” “Watchmen” (2009), “300” (2006) and “Alone in the Dark” (2005).

Twister - Ip Man 2

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Worlds's Largest Wing Chun Display Record

A new Guiness World record was set on Jan 8, 2015 for the world's largest Wing Chun display.

Record Largest Wing Chun
New World Record for Largest Wing Chun Display Set 
[Photo: China News Service/Liu Zhongjun]
10,012 students at the Sichuan Southwest College of Civil Aviation in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China participated in the demonstration. The civil aviation school offered Wing Chun course in cooperation with masters of martial art to better prepare students for security emergencies in air travel. 

The previous record was set in with 3,167 participants in Foshan, Guangdong province in 2010.

Wing Chun Record

Video - World's Largest Wing Chun Demonstration

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wing Chun Challenge Unites WC Community Against Bullying

The Wing Chun Challenge dares Wing Chun practitioners around the world to update their Facebook cover photo with the Wing Chun Against Bullying banner!

Once a person accepts the challenge they then must issue the same challenge to 5 other people (often accomplished by tagging their friends on Facebook and/or messaging them).

When doing the challenge, please use the hashtags #wingchunchallenge, #wingchunagainstbullyingchallenge, and #wingchunagainstbullying.

About Wing Chun Against Bullying
Wing Chun Against Bullying unites Wing Chun practitioners against bullying of all shapes, sizes and ages. Whether its a schoolyard bully or a keyboard warrior with a superiority complex, we are making a stand against those who belittle others.

For more information, visit Wing Chun Against Bullying at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chu Shong Tin Dies

Our sources have sadly confirmed the passing of Chu Shong Tin at age 81.

Chu Shong Tin (Tsui Sheung Tin) was Yip Man's third Hong Kong student. He was known as the "King of Siu Nim Tao" for his dedication to the first set. He taught Wing Chun for over 60 years beginning his training under Yip Man at 17 years old.

His teachings of the hidden power of Siu Nim Tao, referred to as Nim Lik, continues to influence the art on a global scale across Wing Chun practitioners of many different lineages.

He will be missed in the Wing Chun world but his teachings will live on through his students across the world.

All honor to his name! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ip Man 3 to Focus on Relationship Between Bruce Lee & Ip Man

Ip Man 3, the final film of the popular Ip Man trilogy starring Donnie Yen is slated to begin filming in early 2015 in 3D.

Edmond Wong
Edmond Wong
According to Ip Man 3 screenwriter Edmond Wong, Ip Man 3 will focus "on the master-student relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee… It also portrays Ip Man at a stage when he is searching for the real meaning in life.”

We still don't know who will play the role of Bruce Lee in the movie as it looks to be a very long and difficult search.

Not surprisingly, Well Go USA has secured the North American rights, along with a few other countries. They were the distributor of the first two Ip Man films.

The film brings back Donnie Yen as Ip Man, director Wilson Yip, producer Raymond Wong and writer Edmond Wong. However, Yuen Wo Ping, will replace Sammo Hung as the action director. A move that may very well have been requested by Donnie Yen.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE GRANDMASTER Takes Home 12 Awards Including Best Picture at Hong Kong Film Awards

The winners of the 33rd Hong Kong Film Awards have just announced and Wong Kar Wai's THE GRANDMASTER grabbed a extraordinary twelve awards including best picture! The movie took home Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Action Choreography.

Best Film - The Grandmaster

Best Director - Wong Kar Wai (The Grandmaster)

Best Actress - Zhang Ziyi (The Grandmaster)

Best Supporting Actor - Max Zhang (The Grandmaster)

Best Screenplay - Wong Kar Wai, Xu Haofeng, Zhao Jingzhi (The Grandmaster)

Best Editing - William Chang, Benjamin Courtine, Poon Hung-yiu (The Grandmaster)

Best Cinematography - Philippe LeSourd (The Grandmaster)

Best Production Design - William Chang (The Grandmaster)

Best Costumes & Make-Up - (The Grandmaster)

Best Action Choreography - Yuen Woo Ping (The Grandmaster)

Best Score - Umebayashi Shigeru, Nathaniel Mechaly (The Grandmaster)

Best Sound - (The Grandmaster)

"I remember it was 1994 when I was last here. It was a short walk from the podium to the stage, but it took me 20 years to come back to this spot," said Wong when he accepted the best director award.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Donnie Yen Confirmed to Return for Ip Man 3

Donnie Yen plans to make a return to his highly praised Ip Man role in the film series’ third chapter, which is estimated to start filming next year.

Last year, it was believed that Donnie withdrew from Ip Man 3  because producer Raymond Wong  intended to have his son, Edmond Wong, replace the original director, Wilson Yip. However, Pegasus Motion Pictures CEO John Chong said at a press conference in June that the film’s postponement was due to scheduling conflicts, not disparity between the cast and crew. He also dismissed hearsay that Donnie backed away because of disagreements over his salary.

According to Chong, Ip Man 3 was initially planned to be shot from June to September 2013. But, Donnie was occupied in other movie projects. Director Wilson Yip furthermore had additional work obligations throughout that time and therefore advised that Edmond Wong change from screenwriter to director. Edmond was occupied getting ready for his wedding, so filming was deferred until the year after.

The producers anticipate that Ip Man 3 can be filmed sometime next year and mentioned that the movie will definitely be released in 3D.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wing Chun Day 2014 Announced

Wing Chun Day
Celebrate International Wing Chun
Day on March 15th, 2014
Wing Chun schools around the world will celebrate the 2014 International Wing Chun Day on Saturday, March 15th.

The day is set aside annually to celebrate the art of Wing Chun and promote it across the world. Practitioners celebrate Wing Chun Day by holding events that promote the art.

Previous events held by local schools around the world have included public demonstrations and gatherings. Some practitioners use it as a day to come together in unity across lineages and promote the art as a whole, while others use it to recruit new members for their school.

To stay up to date about events held around the world for Wing Chun Day, go to

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Grandmaster (Grandmasters) to Release in USA August 23rd

For a while, The Weinstein Company has been sitting idly by as we all anxiously await the announcement of their planned release pattern for Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster. Well, they’ve not only given us a date to mark on our calendars, but they’ve changed the film’s title (albeit slightly).

The film will arrive in theaters under the title of Grandmasters, and will hit theaters on August 23.

With Annapurna Pictures behind the production, the film is one of this year’s most anticipated pictures of the year, and follows the story of Ip Man, one of the most iconic martial arts legends of all time.

Personally, this is one of my most anticipated films of the year. I think the cast here, led by Tony Leung, is superb, and while reviews have been admittedly mixed-to-warm so far, the film is still very much one of this year’s more talked about films. The name change doesn’t mean anything to me, but the release date is a prime example of just what type of film TWC thinks that they have here. Color this writer intrigued.


Josh is a critic, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, a husband, a soon to be father, a cinephile and a man looking to make his stamp on the world, one word at a time.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Weinstein Company Picks Up 'The Grandmaster' for US Release

I don't find it very surprising to hear that The Weinstein Company has secured rights to release Wong Kar Wai's martial arts epic The Grandmaster, starring Tony Leung. It's a film we've been covering for a few years and was already released in Asia earlier this year. We expected this to premiere in Cannes, which is Harvey's home territory, but it's actually premiering at the Berlin Film Festival this week and they seem to be rather pleased with it. The film will have a perfect home at The Weinstein Company, who usually picks up kick ass genre films like this (see Dragon/Wu Xia), I just hope they'll give it a strong release. More below!

Details on the acquisition from comes Deadline. The Weinstein Company has acquired all rights in the U.S. and English-speaking Canadian territories from Annapurna on Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster. Wong comments on the news: "I am pleased to continue our long-time and multi picture collaboration with TWC on The Grandmaster. With Harvey's expertise and his passion for this genre, I am confident that he and his team will reach new heights with The Grandmaster by cultivating hard-core action fans as well as exciting and pleasing those long time fans of my films." Harvey says: "Wong Kar Wai is such an extraordinary filmmaker, and The Grandmaster is no exception as he takes the audience on an exciting and emotional ride. Annapurna has come to be one of the great cutting-edge new companies in our industry... we are absolutely thrilled to be working with them again as they have shown invaluable support to our campaigns."

The film tells the story of martial arts grand master Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), the man who trained Bruce Lee. The story focuses on two kung fu masters, IP Man, and Gong Er, and as their worlds collide on the night of the Japanese invasion in 1936. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony Leung Chiu Wa also includes Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen, Xiao Shengyang and Song Hye Kyo as well as hundreds of Asia's top martial artists. We've featured a few international trailers for this, but will be waiting to see the U.S. marketing The Weinstein Co puts together.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Duncan Leung Training Tony Leung for THE GRANDMASTER

Tony Leung plays Yip Man in new Wing Chun movie THE GRANDMASTER. He has been training Wing Chun for 5-6 years on and off since the producer of the movie, Wong Kar Wai, came up with the idea for the movie. Here is a clip of original Yip Man student Duncan Leung training Tony Leung. Duncan also plays the stunt double for Tony in the film.


"The Grandmaster" to open at Berlin Film Festival

Festival favorite Wong Kar Wai is back with his long-awaited Kung Fu epic "The Grandmaster".

The fruit of eight years' labor, it was selected as the opening film for this year's Berlin Film Festival, where Wong is president of the jury.

Cannes Best Actor Tony Leung plays Ip Man, the legendary instructor of Kung Fu superstar Bruce Lee.

Wong hatched the idea back in 2000, before he made his name with 'In The Mood for Love'.

Only after knocking on the doors of more than 100 Kung Fu masters across China did the director think he was ready.

In the film Wong wants to convey the common spirit shared by the "grandmasters" and aficionados alike.

"In the world of martial arts, there are many people who are not 'masters', but they have a deep affection for martial arts. They always hope to leave something behind for their clan and martial arts during their lifetime. I think this spirit is the spirit that "The Grandmaster" wants to convey - lingering thoughts that are never forgotten, echoes that will always come," he says.

Set at the birth of modern China in the early 1900s, it features a showdown between China's top four fighters for the vacant "grandmaster" title. They include "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Memoirs of a Geisha"s Zhang Ziyi. To sharpen her martial arts chops she got Jet Li's teacher to lend a hand.

"She is a combination of almost all the unique features and merits of women of that era. In terms of movements, we trained for such a long time because the director hoped when we went inside the world of the characters, we already carried their spirit in our bodies," she says.

"The Grandmaster" overcame several delays before its world premiere in Beijing at the start of January. Berlin is its first foreign outing.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Wong Shun Leung Funding Appeal

John Little, author, film-maker & Bruce Lee historian, is on a mission to create a documentary on  Wong Shun Leung. Since this will be an independent production John is seeking donations from from the Wing Chun community at large.

You can support the project at

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tony Leung says no soured ties with Wong Kar-Wai


For a director and actor who have worked together for about two decades, there did not seem to be much chemistry between Wong Kar-wai and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai at a news conference promoting their new movie "The Grandmaster" on Wednesday. Wong kept his arms folded most of the time and Leung did not look his way when Wong answered questions from the media.

However, Leung, who suffered two broken arms while preparing for the role, dismissed rumors of tensions and unhappiness with his director over having some of his scenes cut. "I don't harbor any unhappiness or ill feelings toward Wong because I respect and understand his decision," Leung said in response to a question. "The decision is entirely up to him to decide how his story should be told."

"The Grandmaster," which reportedly took 17 years to complete, is Leung's seventh collaboration with Wong and recounts the life story of Chinese martial arts legend Ip Man, famous for having trained Bruce Lee.

"I wanted to see a different Tony for this movie and I believe that `The Grandmaster' has proven to be a new challenge for him both physically and emotionally with the amount of time taken to film it," Wong said in support of Leung. "It is a new way of showcasing the character of Ip Man so it was physically challenging for Tony to undergo training for so many years just to prepare for the role."

While the two seemed to be on civil terms toward the end of the news conference while posing together for photos, they still maintained a certain amount of distance. Leung and Wong's collaboration in the 2000 movie "In the Mood for Love" won Leung international recognition and the Cannes Film Festival's Best Actor award. Their relationship is said to have soured when Leung learned that scenes from "The Grandmaster" had been cut to favor his co-star, Zhang Ziyi, who plays the daughter of his rival.

As the co-stars were reported to have filmed their scenes separately, Leung remained oblivious to Zhang's screen time. Leung also said that his work in the movie served as second fiddle to Zhang's role.

Wong, however, defended his decision to reduce Leung's film time by saying that Ip Man was a man of few words and thus he felt it necessary to remove as many dialogue scenes as possible. The move prompted Leung's wife, Hong Kong celebrity Carina Lau, to take to her microblog to criticize her husband's role in the movie as being a "silent, colorless ghost."

The movie has faced its fair share of obstacles, including Leung developing chronic bronchitis as a result of shooting at least 30 action scenes in the rain.

Leung is also believed to have spent three years mastering the martial art of Wing Chun required for the role, and broke his arms twice in the process.

But the film's misfortunes turned into box office success by grossing $26 million in its opening week in mainland China.

It also scored more than double the box office sales of competitor Jackie Chan's action-comedy "CZ12" and went on to gross $1.04 million in its opening weekend in Hong Kong.

Three previous films about the life of Ip Man, which were not released in North America and most of Europe, made over $36 million.

"The Grandmaster" is to open next month's Berlin Film Festival, where Wong is to serve as jury president.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wong Kar-wai epic 'Grandmaster' kicks up storm at Hong Kong premiere

By Vivienne Chow, SCMP

Tony Leung, Wong Kar-wai and Zhang Ziyi at the Hong Kong premiere of the martial arts epic at iSquare, Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's long-awaited martial arts epic, The Grandmaster, finally hit the big screen in the city last night after nearly a decade in the making.

The film's leading lady, Zhang Ziyi, said she hoped to see an extended version released in future in order to do justice to the crew's hard work.

At the premiere in Tsim Sha Tsui, Wong was joined by leading man Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who plays Ip Man, grandmaster of the wing chun school of martial arts and teacher of kung fu legend Bruce Lee.

Also present were mainland star Zhang and Taiwanese actor Chang Chen, both cast as top exponents of martial arts.

Wong has called the HK$300 million epic a tale about the martial arts world during the era of the first Republic of China.

Zhang, speaking exclusively to the South China Morning Post prior to the premiere, said the filming had taken three years to complete and at least half of her performances had ended up on the floor of the editing room.

"Each frame was carefully selected by the director, but we still have an abundant amount [of footage] that didn't make it to the final cut," the svelte 33-year-old actress said.

She said mainland director Zhang Yimou, who has watched the film, hoped another version would be released that included the extra footage.

"A lot of fighting scenes didn't make it to the film. It's a pity. We had injured ourselves a lot, you know … I feel really sad." The filming had led to a relapse of her old injuries, she said.

It was earlier reported that Leung broke his arm twice and rested in bed for five days after shooting a fight scene in the rain for 30 nights. Chang, however, has become a master in real life, winning a martial arts competition last year.

Asked if the 130-minute film should be split into two to make a longer version, Zhang gave her thumbs up. "It will definitely be a great film. Everyone please give [Wong] some encouragement," she said.

Even before its release, the film has received a lot of attention over the years as Wong commands a huge global following for his unique auteur film language. He was best director at the Cannes Film Festival for the 1997 gay drama, Happy Together.

The Grandmaster had been slated to open on both sides of the border last month, but post-production ended only just before Sunday, when the film held its world premiere in Beijing. It was released across the mainland yesterday, followed by Hong Kong cinemas tomorrow.


Jumbled plot serves up visual extravaganza

It is said every Chinese filmmaker has a kung-fu dream. Zhang Yimou minted Hero and House of Flying Daggers; Chen Kaige made Promise; Feng Xiaogang offered his Banquet. And now comes the turn for Wong Kar-wai, favorite of the European film festival circuit, whose art-house sensibility infuses every frame of his latest grand and grandiose epic.

The Grandmaster is two hours of sumptuously photographed scenes in search of narrative coherence. Take any five-minute sequence from the movie, and it is an indisputable masterpiece. But strangely, the parts are larger than the whole. The plot structure has such big holes in it that the complete martial arts academy can march through. Wong might have shot so much material he could assemble another fragmented movie out of it.

The title character is Ip Man, who popularized Wing Chun-style boxing in Hong Kong. His tenuous claim to fame partly rests with one picture he took with his youthful student Bruce Lee. That detail is lovingly recreated in Wong's movie, bringing a smile to every audience member familiar with the folklore of Hong Kong cinema or martial arts. That child actor has a jaw eerily similar to that of the kung-fu superstar.

The Grandmaster is almost a biopic of Ip Man, chronicling his wild days in his hometown Foshan. The town is now a suburb of Guangzhou, where Ip Man spends much of his time in an over-crowded and over-decorated brothel, up to his last days in Hong Kong.

Like the half-dozen Ip Man movies before this one, Wong's version touches on his suffering during the Japanese occupation, but there is no resistance fist-style or otherwise. Ip Man as portrayed by Tony Leung is polite, reserved and resilient. He does not go around picking fights, but he is not afraid to strut his stuff when challenged.

We also learn that the master is reticent around his home. He rarely shows any emotion to his wife. When Zhang Ziyi's character, a martial-arts opponent who once challenged him and won, reveals her affection for him during their last meeting, he does not respond in any way either.

The biggest surprise is not his lack of verbal expression, but his lack of involvement in the main dramatic arc. Ip Man has two elaborate fight sequences, one with traitorous Ma San and the other with Gong Er, Zhang's character. There are a few smaller ones, but they are all exhibition games, so to speak, friendly contests that are the action equivalent of Woody Allen-style chatter.

The real grandmaster, in terms of dramatic conflict, turns out to be Gong Er, daughter of the old-generation master. She takes the initiative to safeguard her father's honor by standing up to Ip Man, and then, to revenge her father by throwing down the gauntlet for Ma San. That fight sequence, staged next to a moving train, is the most testosterone-firing scene in a movie that is largely brooding and pensive.

As portrayed by Zhang Ziyi, the character shows a steely resolve reminiscent of her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her encounter on the train with Chang Chen hints at a subplot of romantic entanglement, and her last scene at the opium bed is full of pathos.

With a dancer's training, Zhang is capable of graceful fluidity in her martial-arts movements that is not only a source of aesthetic pleasure, but also an extension of her body language and hence her dramatic expressiveness.

Like 2046, her previous collaboration with Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, with one pouty look, manages to take the spotlight amid narrative indecisiveness and atmospheric grandstanding. It is a remarkable mixture of continuing the spirit of her best-known roles, especially those in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and 2046, and discovering a newfound maturity.

One cannot talk about a martial-arts movie without dwelling a little on its fight choreography. Obviously, Wong Kar-wai is very serious about the authenticity of every move of every fighting style. Many of the scenes are turned into textbook dissection, with jargon flying. Also, the action shots tend to be disjointed and choppy, leaving one dizzy but not excited. The repeated staging in backlit rainfall is great to look at, but has been done to death before. (Think The Matrix Revolutions.)

But I'm nitpicking. If you disregard the storyline, the movie has lavish photography and abundant music not every educational program can afford. And you may fall in love with Chinese kung fu, at least Wing Chun and other styles of boxing, by watching this action-spiced meditation on alliances broken and dreams dashed.

The Grandmaster opened in China on Jan 8. It will be the opening film for the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival, where director Wong will serve as president of the jury.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

THE GRANDMASTER Brings Class to the Ip Man Legend

A Review by James Marsh, Asian Editor of Twitch

Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong Cinema's most prestigious auteur, finally delivers his long-gestating biopic of Wing Chun pioneer Ip Man, and it proves an action-packed visual feast. Light on narrative, but oozing Wong's trademark elegance, the film weaves the director's familiar themes of love, loss and the corrosive nature of time around some of the most gorgeous martial arts sequences ever filmed.

The Grandmaster has been a project so long in the works that for some it may qualify as the most-anticipated film of the new Millennium. It was way back in 2002 that Wong Kar Wai and leading man Tony Leung Chiu Wai called a press conference to declare their intentions. It was more than 18 months ago that the first teaser trailer for the film was released, featuring - as it transpires - footage from the film's opening scene: a rain-soaked street fight between a trilby-sporting Leung and a dozen faceless assailants. As recently as last month, the film's release date was pushed back (again) from 18 December to early January and Wong was still putting the final touches to the film mere hours before its world premiere in Beijing on 6 January.

The story begins in Foshan province, where at the age of 40, Ip Man (Tony Leung) is happily married to a beautiful, doting wife (Korean actress Song Hye-kyo), lives off a healthy inheritance, and has continued the family legacy of advocating Wing Chun, a simplified yet remarkably effective form of kung-fu. At the Golden Pavilion, a local brothel patronised by many of the region's finest martial artists, North-eastern Grandmaster Gong (Wang Qingxiang) challenges the best Southerner to a fight, before he returns North. After seeing off his rivals from the other local martial arts schools, Ip Man comes forward, only to demonstrate that intelligence and restraint can prove as powerful weapons as kung fu. Ip insists that Northern and Southern martial arts can co-exist peacefully, and Gong leaves humbled, yet satisfied.

Master Gong's daughter, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) is less satisfied, however, and returns to challenge Ip Man herself. During their fight, they share the briefest moment of attraction, awakening a forbidden yearning within them both. Gong Er returns home, only to discover that her father's best student, Ma Shan (Zhang Jin), refuses to accept his master's defeat, and kills him. Gong's dying wish is that the two reconcile and marry, as the last remaining practitioners of Gong's revered 64 Hands technique. However, Gong Er vows to have her revenge.

While it may sound like The Grandmaster features a lot of plot for a Wong Kar Wai film, this really isn't the case. The film spans many years, including the Japanese occupation and Sino-Japanese War, but in a refreshing break from recent Chinese cinematic trends, the conflict goes largely ignored. As with all Wong's films, the characters are the primary focus, and how they struggle to interact through the veneer of society, honour, and their own self-imposed need to starve themselves of happiness.

There is clearly a much longer film here. Reports abound that until very recently, Wong had a four-hour cut of the film, while the version that goes on general release in Hong Kong and China this week clocks in at about 130 minutes. Perhaps the biggest victim of this drastic re-editing is Chang Chen. Given third billing, as well as his own character poster, his character probably only manages about ten minutes of screen time and only appears in three scenes. Zhao Benshan's worldly-wise father figure gets even less screen time to the extent his role in the film proves almost entirely pointless.

Chang's character, known only as "The Razor", is first seen on a train, fleeing from the Chinese army. Bleeding, and brandishing a cutthroat razor blade, Gong Er sees him and instinctively shields him from the search party. This moment teases at a possible romance between the two youngsters, not to mention reunites Zhang and Chang onscreen for the first time since Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We anticipate their next encounter, and how it could complicate Gong Er's relationship with Ip Man, but even after both characters make the move to Hong Kong, The Razor never meets any of the principals again.

Many of the recurring themes that Wong allows to permeate his work resurface in The Grandmaster. Characters have fleeting encounters that are never built upon, but which continue to haunt them for years afterwards. Time proves once again to be everyone's greatest enemy, not only causing people to grow old, but also to forget the things they held most dear - and in this film particularly, the idea that age makes them weak, and less able to defend themselves plagues them relentlessly. Because, of course, for all its melancholy musing and forlorn contemplation, this is a film about martial artists and The Grandmaster is one hell of a beautiful kung fu movie.

Action choreographer Yuen Woo Ping repeatedly dazzles us with his intensity and imagination, staging a number of standout fight sequences throughout the film that are captured exquisitely by Philippe Le Sourd's ravishing cinematography. Screen legends like Bruce Leung Siu Lung and Cung Le push Tony Leung to the limits of his newfound prowess, while Zhang Ziyi and Zhang Jin are also thoroughly convincing fighters on screen. But the staging of the action in The Grandmaster is a far cry from the kung fu in Wong's last martial arts venture, 1994's Ashes of Time. That film instilled a magical quality into its action, coupled with that blurry slo-mo camerawork Chris Doyle favoured at the time. In The Grandmaster, we see everything, and the fights themselves are shot almost as elegant courtships, dictated by ritual, ceremony and mutual respect, or when Zhang's character is involved, a breathless sensuality that only heightens the tension between opponents. Frankie Chan's gorgeous score is another highlight, complemented by an array of songs and classical pieces ranging from 1950s Canto-pop ballads to Ennio Morricone's theme from Once Upon A Time in America - a film that is evoked on numerous occasions throughout.

While admittedly Wong Kar Wai hasn't set himself a very difficult target, it seems extremely likely that The Grandmaster will prove to be the most financially successful film of his career. The anticipation alone should ensure enough tickets are pre-sold to take him most of the way, but the fact that the film is actually really good to boot should help see it do healthy box office both here and overseas. That said, audiences primed by the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip collaborations who approach this film looking for another dose of nationalistic breast-beating and old-school chop socky action stand a good chance of leaving disappointed.

The Grandmaster remains first and foremost a Wong Kar Wai film, employing a very slow, deliberate pace throughout and dedicates long periods of time to watching its characters ponder the great mysteries of life, or more often, wallow in their own regrets and missed opportunities. But this is interspersed by some truly fantastic action, which should delight kung fu fans and arthouse cinephiles alike. In The Grandmaster, Wong Kar Wai has crafted the best-looking martial arts film since Zhang Yimou's Hero, and the most successful marriage of kung fu and classic romance since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and is more than deserving of that film's measure of international success.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Grandmasters - Trailer

© Wing Chun News -

Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster To Open Berlin Film Festival

The international premiere of The Grandmaster by Chinese director and president of this year’s jury, WONG Kar Wai, will open the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.

The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.

“It is a special honour for us to open the 2013 Berlinale with the presentation of the newest film by this year’s jury president, WONG Kar Wai. With The Grandmaster, Kar Wai has added a new and exciting facet to his body of works, and created an artful, visually powerful genre film,” says festival director Dieter Kosslick.

Nearly three years of film production and almost a decade of preparation went into the making of The Grandmaster for its director WONG Kar Wai, who began exploring the idea for the film in 1996.

“I am truly very honoured by Dieter and his invitation for my new film The Grandmaster to participate in the 63rd Berlinale and to open the festival. This is a dream project for me that I had been developing for many years. I am very happy to be able to present it in Berlin. I was already greatly looking forward to my returning to Berlin to serve as the President of the International Jury, so seeing The Grandmaster presented there will make it all the more special for me,” says WONG Kar Wai.

With his signature style-defining mood, atmosphere and reality, director WONG Kar Wai delves into the eternal question in martial arts of whether the victor is more than merely the “last man standing”, and brings the genre to new heights.

The Grandmaster is a Block 2 Pictures and Sil-Metropole Organisation presentation of a Jet Tone Films and Sil-Metropole Organisation production. It is written and directed by WONG Kar Wai.

The Grandmaster will be presented as the opening film in the official selection, but screening out of competition.

The world premiere of The Grandmaster will be celebrated on January 8, 2013 in China, and the film will open at cinemas in numerous countries including Germany in spring 2013. The film’s distributor in Germany will be Wild Bunch.

Monday, February 28, 2011

International Wing Chun Day 2011

International Wing Chun day is a day set aside each year to raise awareness of the benefits of Wing Chun.

In cities all over the world Wing Chun schools plann events to promote the art of Wing Chun in all its forms. These forms include its many spellings, lineages, modifications and evolutions including Wing Tsun, WingTsun, Ving Tsun, Jeet Kune Do, JKD, Weng Chun, Yong Chun, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Hung Fa Yi, Shaolin Wing Chun, Wing Tzun, Wing Tjun, Vinh Xuan, TsunJo Wing Chun, Wing Chun Do, Xiong Jiang Wing Chun and many more.

Visit the International Wing Chun Day Facebook Page.


Local event ideas include:
* free demonstrations
* exhibitions
* open houses
* free introductory classes
* Ip Man movie showings
* chi sao-a-thons for charity
* speeches to community organizations
* local TV and radio appearances
* hold a Wing Chun seminar/workshop
* have a local Wing Chun meetup
* hold a Wing Chun webinar
* other charity fund raising events
* host an awards presentation
* hold a luncheon or dinner event
* hold an auction
* hold a raffle

Be sure to tell local newspapers about the day and the events that you have planned!


Founded in 2010 by Sifu Adam Williss, International Wing Chun Day is held annually on the 3rd Saturday in March. For more information, visit Wing Chun (also romanized as Ving Tsun or "Wing Tsun" is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilizing both striking and grappling while specializing in close-range combat.

The main objective of Wing Chun is to be a realistic system of self-defense. Wing Chun does not focus on fighting “techniques”, instead relying on fighting and energy principles to be followed at all times. The central idea is that, under pressure, it is impossible to visually recognize the precise direction and speed of an attack and make a conscious decision on an effective way in which to react, all within the very brief amount of time you have before your opponent's attack lands. Rather, one must (counter) attack immediately in a very direct and protected manner and rely on reflexes to determine how to react if the opponent's attack continues to pose a problem. Chi sao, or “sticking hands” trains students to respond reflexively to the speed, force, and direction of an attack, based on tactile information - which the human brain processes much faster than visual information.

Wing Chun is considered by many experts to be one of the most effective self defense systems in the world. It has been taught and integrated into the training programs of hundreds of military & law enforcement agencies around the world such as the US Navy Seals, the FBI, CIA, the French RAID, German SEK units.

But there's more - Wing Chun goes beyond fighting. It encompasses the full mind, body & spirit of martial arts. Wing Chun can easily influence every aspect of your life. The concepts and philosophies found through Wing Chun training bring about a new way of looking at life's challenges. They help you to deal with situations in whole new way - things you don't usually find in other activities.

© Wing Chun News

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ip Man 2 hits America

The martial arts spectacular that's been breaking box office records across Asia (beating the likes of IRON MAN 2) comes to the big screen in America in its full uncut and undubbed glory. International megastar Donnie Yen plays Grandmaster Ip Man, the sifu of Bruce Lee. Ip Man is a newcomer to Hong Kong who simply wants to teach Wing Chun,but a curropt local, played by Sammo Hung, andther ruling Brits have other ideas. Less a sequel than a companion piece to IP MAN, you don't need to have seen the first to appreciate the sheer ass-kicking on display here.


© Wing Chun News -

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Wing Chun Movie "THE GRANDMASTERS"

The producers of Wong Kar-Wai's martial-arts film The Grandmasters (Yi Dai Zong Shi) have released two posters of the film featuring lead actors Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, reports.

Leung plays Yip Man in Wong's take on this master of the martial art of Wing Chun, who is better known as Bruce Lee's mentor. Yip Man's story has been popularized in recent years in several other biopics, the most famous being Wilson Yip's Ip Man series starring Donnie Yen.

Unlike Yen who himself is a trained martial artist, Leung had to learn Wing Chun from scratch, according to But what moviegoers will see in The Grandmasters is a Leung who imparts the essence of Wing Chun, said Yuen Woo-Ping, the film's action choreographer who was the stunt advisor of the Kill Bill series.

Another poster shows Zhang Ziyi in a kung fu position, although her character is still under wraps.

Both Zhang and Leung have sustained injuries during the filming with Zhang's injury forcing her withdrawal from the film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Information about the release date of The Grandmasters was not included on the posters.

Here is a note from

Movielicious has sales artwork for Wong Kar-wai's biopic of Yip Man, now titled The Grandmasters.
The posters appeared at the American Film Market (AFM) in Los Angeles.

Wong Kar-wai's first kung fu film The Grandmasters (Yut Doi Jung Si) is still in production. The film company has kept cast costumes and content confidential. The first two film posters were unveiled at Los Angeles' American Film Market on November 1. The costumes of Tony Leung Chiu-wai who played Wing Chun master Yip Man in the film and lead actress Zhang Ziyi appeared for the first time and immediately became the focus of the foreign media.

In it Tony Leung wears a white straw hat and long black coat in the night rain. The foreign media were very interested in his look and even described it as the birth of a Chinese Dark Knight. In another promo image, Zhang Ziyi is in the midst of using the eight diagram palm technique - her eyes were full of self confidence. Foreign media pointed out that in a white straw hat, Yip Man was completely different from the image of Yip Man that has appeared in films before. Everyone was the most surprised that without any kung fu background Tony Leung actually had unspeakable kung fu power.

Wong Kar Wai fans could not wait to put the poster online and received a lot of responses. Some online even compared Tony Leung's Yip Man look and Zhang Ziyi's heroine feel with classic American comic book super heroes, saying that the U.S. had Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Catwoman, Yip Man in the poster definitely was China's super hero. Some even suggested making Yip Man's English name into "Yeah Man" in order to be a part of this group of super heroes.

Since the film started production, everyone has been the most curious about Tony Leung abilities. After a year of training, his figure could be seen on the poster for the first time. Even foreign media described him as looking radiant. The film's action director Yuen Woo-ping even described Tony's current condition as "the peak". He said that he never worried about his agility because Tony had a high ability to comprehend and absorb quickly. Although he and Donnie Yen played the same character but they each had their own style. He even pointed out that Tony's shape looked better than Donnie Yen. The most unexpected was Tony's powerful kicks. He absolutely had a talent for action films.

Tony Leung in the past year suffered a lot too. Responsible for instructing, Wing Chun Grand Master Yip Man's disciple Duncan Leung Siu Hung admired Tony's spirit to overcome hardship. He pointed out that Tony's progress was slower than the average student, half a year more than expected. During the period he stopped training for awhile due to his arm injury. However he recovered and returned to form very quickly. Unlike Donnie Yen who had a kung fu background, Tony Leung had an advantage that Donnie Yen did not have. He was able to start from zero like a blank piece of paper. Tony gradually and clearly absorbed the spirit of Wing Chun kung fu completely. Every one of his moves now is very naturally convincing, whether punching or with a staff he was able to perform the Wing Chun school feel. He also pointed out that director Wong Kar-wai at first asked Tony to truly spend time to train and made him understand that slow and steady wins the race.

© Wing Chun News -

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Interview with IP MAN 2 Villain Darren Shahlavi

Taken at Fantastic Film Fest 2010 in Austin, TX
By Bill Graham

Sometimes you get a chance to simply sit down and talk with an actor; no timetable, no handler, and every question is fair game. Darren Shahlavi was kind enough to sit down with me for that style of interview, and over the course of our 20 minute conversation we covered a huge number of topics. Shahlavi has started to hone his craft and play increasingly larger roles in films and TV, and his hard work is starting to really show. Shahlavi stars in Ip Man 2 (read my review here) as the main bad guy, Twister, who is a Western boxer visiting Hong Kong. After screening the film just moments before, I was able to interview him and you can see the results after the jump.

Darren and I covered a lot of ground, but among the topics were his fighting background, how he got his first big break and then landed his role in Ip Man 2, if he would ever fight in MMA, who influenced his as a kid, what it was like to worth with his heroes, and future projects. So, without further ado, here is the entire and incredibly candid interview.

So this is your first time in Austin?

DARREN SHAHLAVI: Yeah, first time in Austin.

What do you think so far?

SHAHLAVI: I love it. I’d heard of the Alamo Drafthouse about 10 years ago. I used to rent movies at a DVD shop called Black Dog Video in Vancouver from Kiele Janice who’s helping out with this festival. I’d heard that she moved out here. I mean all these different news sites and stuff that’s going on here, you think, “Wow.” This is kind of outside Los Angeles and it’s really a hub for film fans. Now filmmakers with Robert Rodriguez and all these others that are making movies here. I thought, “Wow, I’d love to be down there one day… with a good film.” It feels really good to be here with a movie I’m proud of and I can help push something people really appreciate and I hope people really like it.

I enjoyed it a lot. Ip Man kind of hit me in the face. I watched it before coming here. But I had only heard about it here and there because it never saw a US theatrical release. Just DVD.

SHAHLAVI: Yea, Ip Man was just released on DVD a couple of months ago. So Ip Man 2 is going to be in theaters January 28th. So it’s pretty cool that Well Go USA is giving it a good release. We’re pretty happy about that.

You mentioned during the Q&A that you have a lot of reverence for these older Hong Kong action films and that you used to watch them on video when you were young. Now, because of your position in the movie business, have you gotten a chance to see some of your old favorites on the big screen?

SHAHLAVI: Yea, you know that’s the great thing about these kinds of festivals. We watched Snake in Eagle’s Shadow yesterday, and Yuen Woo-Ping made that movie about 35 years ago. I spoke with his producer, who’s a friend of mine yesterday, and he was saying he thought Yuen Woo-Ping was 33 years old when he directed that movie. And I watched it when I was a kid. So to see it at the Paramount theater with this whole cast of characters from Fantastic Fest screaming and cheering, it’s quite something. When you watch it as a kid alone, and you appreciate it and you love it. To watch it as an adult knowing how hard it is to make these pictures and seeing it with an audience is really quite something. It was quite a thrill.


Speaking of Yuen Woo-Ping, he gave you your first big break?

SHAHLAVI: Well, he gave me my first lead role in a movie. I’d done a couple of supporting roles and stunt jobs in films. But Yuen Woo-Ping hired me as the main bad guy in a film called Tai Chi Master Part Two. Jet Li was in the first movie, and Yuen Woo-Ping directed the sequel and because Jet was doing Lethal Weapon 4, he couldn’t do part two. So they hired Wu Jing and me as the bad guys. I didn’t even really know I was going to be the mean bad guy, I just knew I was going to fight. I understood a bit of Cantonese and I could understand that Yuen Woo-Ping was asking the producer about me, you know, “Am I good? Can I fight, can I move?” and I said, “Listen, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do. I’m a big fan of yours, I’m a good martial artist, I work hard, and anything you want me to do I’m going to do it for you. I’ll do the best I can. Please just give me a chance.” And he gave me a chance. And he also, 14 years later, recommended me for Ip Man 2. I was up for a role in Fearless with Jet Li that I didn’t get. It was a small role, and he said it was too small of a role. I was up for a role in True Legend that he directed, and I didn’t get it. They wanted a big wrestler. I was really upset because I felt, “Well, he’s the first guy that gave me my first break and I would love to do another movie for him but he just won’t hire me.” But he recommended me for Ip Man 2. I saw him yesterday and we’re going to talk about doing something else together very shortly. But as a fan, growing up watching his movies, to be given a break by one of my heroes and then to be recommended by him to work for Sammo Hung, Wilson Yip, and Donnie Yen was really quite thrilling.

What is your fighting style and background?

SHAHLAVI: Well, I started off with Judo, then Karate, then kick boxing. I started with Judo but I wanted to kick like Bruce Lee, then I wanted to fight like Jackie Chan, and I wanted to move like Sammo Hung. I wanted to have the fast, lightning kicks like Donnie Yen and be able to do the splits like [Jean-Claude] Van Damme and be able to knock people over like Steven Seagal. And these guys became my…teachers in a sense. I watched their movies and I learned from them. I studied their movies. So I’ve gone from doing movies with Donnie and Sammo, straight to doing movies with Steven Seagal. I would love to do the next Universal Soldier with Van Damme. There are talks about different things happening but I watched these guys’ movies so my experience in martial arts is what Bruce Lee said. “Absorb what is useful and discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” That’s what I try to do. I want to kick like Hwang Jang Lee, and I want to move like Jackie, lightning fast like Bruce and the kicks like Van Damme. You learn from all these guys. They’re all predecessors of mine and I try to not only learn from them but hopefully get a chance to work with them at some point. That’s the hope.


You have a lot of reverence for Bruce. You even mentioned that you mirrored his fighting style by fighting unorthodox with your dominant hand forward. Why didn’t you follow in his footsteps in terms of fighting technique?

SHAHLAVI: Well, Bruce is from Wing Chun and then he started Jeet Kune Do. I started as a south paw because I watched Bruce Lee in his movies and he was a south paw. I didn’t know that that was not the right way to fight. I didn’t know that we’re all orthodox as a right handed person. As a right handed person, I always had my right foot forward just like Bruce Lee. It made sense to me because my right is my fastest and my most powerful. So why am I going to put my left foot forward and lead with my slower left and double up and cross with my big right. I found that being southpaw was natural for me because I watched Bruce Lee and I watched Rocky. Stallone in Rocky, he’s a southpaw. So I watched Bruce Lee and Rocky. I copied my heroes on the screen. That is where I get everything from. They were my masters, my sifus, my senseis, as much as Dave Morris, Horace Harvey, the guys that were my real martial arts trainers; Ronnie Green, a six-time world champion Thai boxer. I studied Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, and Jackie Chan.

You’re a pretty big guy. I know Yuen Woo-Ping harps on being flexible, but the bigger you get it seems the more difficult it is to stay flexible. How do you balance that aspect?

SHAHLAVI: Well it’s hard to stay flexible if you don’t stretch. Tom Platz, who is a body builder that is well known for having the biggest legs ever, could bend down and touch his toes and do the full splits and so can Lee Haney. These body builders, if they stretch right they can be the biggest guys you’ve ever seen but they can stretch and they can do all the stretches everyone else can do. I think if you train the right way, as long as you stretch, you’ll still be flexible. I don’t think that it takes away in any way from your training if you stretch the right way. I think there are people that don’t appreciate the value of stretching and all those different exercises. I think it’s very important. Yuen Woo-Ping absolutely wants someone that can perform all of the different movements and so does Sammo because you have to be able to help them do what they do best which is show you at your best ability. They want someone that can fight, that can move, and kick high. It helps them show what they can do.


You mentioned that when you got the role for Ip Man 2, you were originally just going to fight Donnie, then Sammo, and then…

SHAHLAVI: Well, I didn’t get a script. All I knew was that I would be fighting with Donnie in Ip Man 2. I was on my way to the gym with my portable DVD player with a copy of Ip Man. I got a phone call from Mike Leeder, who’s a friend of mine and a journalist, producer, and casting director. He was casting the movie and says, “We’re looking for the main bad guy for Ip Man 2,” and I said, “Oh, shit. I’m literally about to watch part one.” So he tells me to watch it and let him know what I thought about being interested in playing the bad guy. I called him back two hours later and I said, “Fuck yes! Please get me on this movie.” Donnie and Sammo as the action director; I didn’t know I’d be fighting Sammo at the time. I just knew I’d be fighting Donnie, and then I learned I’d be fighting Sammo, and then I learned I’d be in an extensive scene with both. So, for me it was like payback for all the times I had been crying, pushing, and working so hard in my career and nothing was happening. Finally I get a chance to work with these guys but also learn from them as well.

Donnie, on screen, has a great smile constantly. Is that 24/7?

SHAHLAVI: You know, Donnie smiles a lot. Donnie’s a really nice guy. But number one, he’s a big star now. He really is a movie star now. Five years ago he wasn’t. He was the successor to Jackie and Jet, but now I believe he is the number one martial arts movie star in the world. Forget anybody else. Donnie Yen is the biggest martial arts movie star in the world. He’s someone we should all look up to and he knows where he is, and he’s happy where he is because he’s worked so hard and deserves to be where he is. So when I was with him in the ring, doing those fight scenes, and he’d be sitting down, smoking his cigars. This is his role. Ip Man is his movie. He made it his own. He rightly so has the career that he deserves now.

Any attempt to learn the language of the directors you work with?

SHAHLAVI: [Speaks a few phrases in Cantonese].

So you know a little bit?

SHAHLAVI: I can be directed in Cantonese. If you spoke Cantonese you could direct me… for movements. Tek means kick, Faan ying means reaction. So I can be directed in Cantonese. But, for some reason when I’m doing these movies, most of the crew speak Mandarin. [Laughs].


How difficult was it to pick up?

SHAHLAVI: It was pretty easy. I mean, when someone is telling you to turn, you learn basics. We I started studying karate with my sensei Dave Morris in England; he would have us do pushups counting in Japanese. So ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku… so we learned the basics of the Japanese language because of our martial arts training. So I took that example that Dave Morris set and applied it to my martial arts learning in Hong Kong. So whenever I was directed, I would learn and I would listen and be able to be directed in Cantonese.

No real aspirations to fight in MMA?

SHAHLAVI: Oh hell no. No. I’d get the shit kicked out of me. There’s no denial. If they put a UFC guy in front of me and said, “If it goes to the ground, you have to stand up again and fight,” then I’d fight them. If I knew it was just kicks and punches, yes. But you get me on the ground, you win. I mean, listen. I can kick well and kick fast. If I hit you it’s going to hurt. But those guys, what they do is much different from the martial arts we learned when we were kids. I mean they are all around martial artists. They’re taking Bruce Lee’s example and applying it. And I can’t. I have broken wrists right now; I’ve got a broken ankle. I can’t fight like that. I learned because I loved the movies. And there is more of the UFC style coming into films, which is great. So I’m learning it. I did the motion capture for EA’s new MMA game. I was one of the four guys that did all the motion capture. I did all the kicks and reactions. But ground work? Blah. These guys are going to beat me hands down, obviously. I don’t know if I can take punches and kicks like they do, and I don’t even know if I want to find out if I can. I’m perfectly happy making money in the movie business.


So who do you draw inspiration from and what do you push for in your acting career?

SHAHLAVI: Well I push to be in good films and good TV shows. I don’t really pick and choose. I pick and choose what I will read for, and I’ve kind of gotten to the point now where I’m being offered stuff. So after this movie I did the Steven Seagal movie, and of course I accepted it right away because Lauro Chartrand is the director and he’s a guy that I know, even though it’s his first film as a director, I know he’s going to do a great job and he did. I’m so happy and proud of him. So I knew that that movie would be great because of our director and it’s Steven Seagal. He wants to make a good movie and push beyond what he’s done in the past. Aladdin Curse of the Jinn, it was a good script and the producers were great. We’re shooting it in 35 millimeter instead of RED cameras. They’re spending a lot of money to make sure the movie looks good. I want to do martial arts films. I might be doing one with Mark Dacascos in November. It’s not a signed deal but that’s what I want to do. I want to work with Van Damme.

What does it mean to you to see Sammo, at his age, still active and directing fights, and also stepping in front of the camera? Do you see that somewhere in your future?

SHAHLAVI: Honestly I think I would be a good fight director. I’ve directed some fight stuff before, but only my fights. I don’t know how I could be a fight director for someone else’s fights. That’s the tough job that you have to remember. Sammo is so incredible at choreographing these fight scenes for himself, but for other people too. I’ve tried choreographing fights for other people, and you’re limited by their limitations. It’s difficult. I did a film in Germany a couple of years ago. No, two movies in Germany where I was the fight choreographer. And I was literally given extras that I had to teach how to take reactions. As soon as I threw a kick they were scared of being anywhere close to me. They were telegraphing all of their movements and I thought, “This is not easy.” If you’re going to be a fight director you need good stunt people around you… and Sammo has a team. Jackie has a team. I’m surprised Van Damme doesn’t have a team; and Steven. But they are known for their specific movements and techniques that they can do on pretty much any stunt guys who would do the reactions. What Sammo, Donnie, Jackie, and Jet do, really is a big dance. It’s a… dance of death; because if you move the wrong way, you’re going to get hit pretty hard. So, you learn. I learned from them. I’d love to try to continue the tradition that my masters that I worked for in the past have done. You know, Donnie’s doing it. Donnie is a great actor, action director, action star, choreographer, film director; he’s doing everything. If I get the chance I want to try to do that. You’ve got to be creative in this business. But I need people to believe in me first. I’ve got to make my name as an actor and that will give me a chance to do that.

Yea, it’ll open windows.

SHAHLAVI: I hope so.

Who do you look forward to working with? You’ve mentioned Van Damme.

SHAHLAVI: You know what? Van Damme, I met him 15 years ago when he did a movie called The Quest in Hong Kong. He had me come in and read for a role. I was living in Hong Kong and I read for the one of the Turkish boat captain. And Van Damme wanted me for that role but I was too young. The producer, Moshe Diamant, wanted me to play an Italian fighter, but there was no Italian fighter in the script. So I wasn’t hired. But I was so young anyways; I was around 19 years old. Then I met him around four years ago and he was doing a movie that he was going to direct. He wanted to hire me as a Mexican fighter… he’d seen me in I- Spy fighting Eddie Murphy. But it didn’t happen; I guess the movie had fallen through even though they had started building the sets. But I don’t know. Maybe you’ll see me in the next Universal Soldier.


SHAHLAVI: Jackie as well. I’m up for a role in Jackie’s movie, but they keep changing the scripts. “We want you as the main bad guy. No, now we want 50 black guys as the bad guys. Now we want a girl as the bad person.” They don’t know where they are and the script is changing. But I would say top of my list right now, Van Damme, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. Oh, and Tony Jaa. I think I’d be good in a Tony Jaa movie.


Have you had a chance to see any other films here? Are you a fan of horror or the different genres?

SHAHLAVI: I want to see The Dead. A friend of a friend directed it. And yesterday, when I got picked up at the airport, the director of Red, White, and Blue was getting a ride with me. So I was thinking about seeing that. But I’ve got to leave tomorrow because I am going to start filming this TV show.

Human Target?

SHAHLAVI: Yea, and I was wanting to stay until Wednesday, but I’ve got to get back and I’ve got two meeting setup in LA that I have to attend. Then go straight to Vancouver to do wardrobe and start shooting that TV show. But next year I’ll come down and hopefully I’ll have a film here. We’ll see.

So what does it mean to you to have your name up on the posters and lights for Ip Man 2?

SHAHLAVI: Well, it’s a realization of a dream. Ip Man and his influence on Bruce Lee, and Bruce Lee’s influence on my own life, and Donnie Yen’s influence in my life.

It’s a big circle.

SHAHLAVI: It’s a big circle. It’s a joy to me because all the hardships, the girlfriends I’ve broke up with, the wife that I lost by pursuing my career. All the shit I’ve been through, it’s all fucking worth it to me. My family’s great and everybody’s happy and healthy and my career is good. But personally, I had to sacrifice a lot in my own personal life. And I regret that. My sister… I didn’t see her grow up because I was living elsewhere. She was in England and I was in LA or Vancouver. I didn’t see her grow up. I wasn’t a part of her life. I fucking regret that. But, in a sense, when you get a bit of pay back in your career, you go, OK, now, as soon as I finish this TV show Human Target, I can afford to go back to England for my sister’s birthday. I can spend more time with my family because the hard work is starting to pay off a little bit. So that makes you feel good. But as far as answering your question, seeing my name next to Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen? Dude, in China, they put my face on the poster with Donnie and Sammo. In Malaysia, it was Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, and Darren Shahlavi. For me it’s like, “are you fucking kidding me?” That’s… ridiculous.

Are you going to frame it and put it up on your wall?

SHAHLAVI: Oh hell yeah.

As you can see, Darren was incredibly honest and has a lot to say about where he has come from and where he wants to go. Personally, it’s refreshing to see such an honest guy working in the business and I can’t wait for audiences to see his fight with Sammo and Donnie on the big screen. We will keep you up to date on any big announcements in the future for Darren’s films, but look make sure to look for Ip Man 2 in theaters on January 28th, and go out and watch Ip Man on DVD and Blu-ray available now.


See the original article at

© Wing Chun News

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wing Chun Store

The new online Wing Chun Store named "Dragon Store" recently launched selling wooden dummies, sand bags / wall bags, wing chun gear, shoes, mouthpieces, cups (groin guards), wing chun shirts, hand grips, kung fu books, Wing Chun movies, dit da jow, kung fu shirts and other Wing Chun Kung Fu related products.

Here is one of the unique products found in the online store...

Ip Man T-Shirt

Ip Man T-Shirt

© Wing Chun News -

Friday, February 26, 2010

International Wing Chun Day

International Wing Chun Day is a day set aside to honor Wing Chun in all its forms including Wing Tsun, WingTsun, Ving Tsun, Jeet Kune Do, JKD, Weng Chun, Yong Chun, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Hung Fa Yi, Shaolin Wing Chun, Vinh Xuan and many more.

Wing Chun schools can use this day as a way to promote the art and their classes. Celebrations include Wing Chun exhibitions and free classes offered by Wing Chun schools across the world.

Let the world know your support for International Wing Chun Day on Facebook and click "attending".

Visit the official page of the International Wing Chun Day.

Note: 2010 is the first year of this annual day which will be held the 3rd Saturday of March each year.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wang Kiu Passed Away Today

Wang KiuWang Kiu, early student of Ip Man, passed away quietly today at the age of 85.

Wang Kiu is best known as being one of the "core" students of Ip Man. He was the co-establisher of the famous challenge matches (Biemo_ that built Ip Man's school and was the writer of the articles that publicized these matches.

Chu Shong Tin referred to Wang Kiu as “The Pilar” of the Wing Chun Kung Fu. Wang Kiu is credited with introducing the art to the Netherlands.

"The Wing Chun world has lost a treasure today," said Herbert Maier, grandstudent of Wang Kiu.

© Wing Chun News -

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sammo Hung vs. Donnie Yen in 'Ip Man' sequel

New details have emerged about the highly anticipated follow-up to Wilson Yip's hit Wing Chun movie IP MAN. Donnie Yen will be returning in the title role as expected and he will be fighting action director Sammo Hung but as negotiations with Bruce Lee's family are still underway, a young Bruce will not be depicted in this film, although he is expected to appear in a third and final film as Ip's student.

As a result of these negotiations the original plan to shoot both sequels side-by-side has been scrapped. Production on IP MAN 2 will commence in August and IP MAN 3 will be shot separately at a later date.

The big news is that Sammo will be stepping out from behind the camera this time to spar with Donnie on screen, the first time since their epic fight in KILL ZONE (aka SPL) in 2005. The set up is that Ip Man (Yen) is attempting to establish himself as a kung fu instructor in Hong Kong in 1949 but Wing Chun is viewed there as being only for girls or presumably girly men. Enter Sammo Hung as a master of Hung Gar, which is seen as a more manly fighting style. The two develop a rivalry that results in sparring. Obviously, Ip will be out to prove that Wing Chun is just as manly, something he already established for audiences in the first film.

Returning in the sequel will be Fan Siu-wong as a former gang leader and Ip Man's adversary who settles down and becomes Ip's friend. Gordon Lam is also returning. He will continue to play a police officer but this time having found work in Hong Kong.

IP MAN 2 is only one of several projects for Donnie Yen who is now finding himself in the enviable position of being viewed as one of China's hottest actors and not just action stars. With his films PAINTED SKIN and IP MAN both performing strong at the box office and the latter resulting in a Best Actor nomination at the Hong Kong Film awards, Yen's stock has risen considerably this year. His 10 million yuan salary for IP MAN went up 50 percent for the sequel and he's now being offered roles outside of the action genre.

"I was even approached to be in a romance this year," said Yen. "However, I had to decline due to schedule conflicts. This year, I wish to challenge different roles, to go beyond the limits of my histrionics, so the characters I accept have to give the audience a different feel."

Yen is shooting four movies this year; Teddy Chan's DARK OCTOBER, Daniel Lee's IMPERIAL GUARD, IP MAN 2, and one of two unnamed films that the actor hasn't decided on yet. Despite this busy schedule, Yen asserts that his focus remains on IP MAN 2.


© Wing Chun News -

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