I ask b/c while the Shaw Era was the golden age of kung fu movies, the period from 2000 onward is definitely the renaissance. As a comparison, I recently re-watched Crouching Tiger, and noted that the sword style is real wudang, and that the Yuen clan definitely understands swordplay.

Donnie Yen didn't train in Wing Chun growing up, rather Northern Shaolin & contemporary wushu under a celebrated tai chi master, and arguably has the best on-screen waist technique since Jackie Chan. This would have prepared him for applications like the "one inch punch", and prolonged flurries of strikes per northern mantis. His prior celebrated scenes involved his long weapons—staff and flexible weapon vs. Jet Li, and spear in Hero, such that there would have been little doubt about his ability to handle a long staff properly. He also co-starred in the 1994 Michelle Yeoh Wing Chun. (Comments on the choreography in this film also welcome for comparison, as it was directed by Yuen Wo-ping.) Yen even modeled himself on Bruce Lee early in his career and played Chen Zhen in a remake of Fist of Fury.

My sense is this prepared Yen to adapt to Wing Chung, and use it convincingly on-screen after only 9 months of training, but was the choreography in the films faithful?

  • How authentic is the Wing Chun in the Ip Man films?

Also, is it true Master Ip was criticized for making changes, and, if he did make changes, is that part of why he is celebrated as a true master who continued the work of adapting & advancing the style?

Extra points for commentary on the different styles of performed by Yen as Ip and Zhang Jin as Sum Nung in Ip Man 3.

  • 2
    I would say it's very unauthentic, but not based on if moviemakers studied and adapted Wing Chun faithfully, so I'm not making this an answer. It's because the fights are choreographed to tell a story, so there's a rhythm and unrealistic gimmicks (like dueling on a tabletop).
    – BatWannaBe
    Dec 17, 2020 at 12:23
  • @BatWannaBe My understanding is that Ip's son was involved in the production...
    – DukeZhou
    Dec 22, 2020 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


The Wing Chun training and also the fight choreography for the Ip Man films is attributed to Sammo Hung who enlisted Master Leo Au-Yeung to assist - see: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4348989/ - having discussed the films etc with Leo Au-Yeung, he informed me that the actors abilities and time* were a factor in what could be included. *Forgetting not that Hong Kong / Chinese martial arts films are made over a short period of time thusly, one can not expect to see what could have been included had both Sammo Hung and Master Leo Au-Yeung been the stars of the Ip Man films. Nevertheless, yes the films showcase - choreographed - Wing Chun techniques - BTW, I recommend that anybody who is interested in seeing 'authentic' Wing Chun (choreographed for a table-top), watch 'The Prodigal Son' - https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_prodigal_son_1983 - btw, it was co-written, directed, choreographed, and stars ... Sammo Hung : )

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