PROFILES

Profile of Yip Man

Yip Man was born in the year 1898 in the town of Fatshan in Namhoi County , Kwangtung Province , in Southern China to a wealthy merchant family. The Yip family permitted Wing Chun master Chan Wah Shun to live and teach a small group of disciples in the family temple, since Chan’s local reputation as a fighter discouraged thieves and highwaymen from attacking the family businesses.

Yip Man would watch Chan Wah Shun drill his disciples in the ways of Wing Chun. Soon the boy’s visits became more regular until, Yip Man was about nine years old he approached Chan and asked to be accepted as a student. Chan Wah Shun was about 60 years old at the time and didn’t want to accept another disciple this late in life.

To discourage him, Chan told Yip that he would admit him as a student as soon as he could pay the tuition price of three taels of silver. But Yip Man returned the next day with 300 pieces of silver, which was his entire life savings. So once Chan and Yip Man’s parents saw that this boy had such a strong desire to learn Wing Chun, his parents agreed to let him study. And Chan Wah Shun accepted him at which point, Yip Man became the last of Chan’s 16 disciples.

Yip Man studied with Chan Wah Shun for four years, until the old master’s death. Yip subsequently spent another two and a half years training with his senior, Ng Chung So. When Yip was 16 years old, his parents sent him to Hong Kong to attend St. Stephen’s College. There, he quickly fell in with a clique of classmates who liked to offer and accept kung fu challenges. He welcomed the opportunity to put his Wing Chun training to the real test.

That evening Yip Man found the man living on a fishing boat anchored near the typhoon breakers in Hong Kong Bay . Yip first performed the entire Siu Lim Tao form of Wing Chun. After that the old man agreed to a match. Yip promptly attacked the old man and quickly found himself in Hong Kong Bay . After repeated attempts and repeated soakings, Yip Man wanted to learn from the old man. Yip Man soon found out that the old man was Leung Bik. Leung Bik explained the difference in his Wing Chun compared to Chan Wah Shun’s and proceeded to take Yip Man as a student. Yip Man studied with Leung Bik for two and a half years.

Yip Man returned to Fatshan and told his seniors about the old man that he had met. When his seniors scoffed at him, Yip Man challenged them and defeated them with his newfound knowledge. Yip Man stayed in Fatshan where he was involved with the police and raised a family. In 1948 Yip Man fled to Hong Kong during the People’s Movement.

In Hong Kong , a homeless and penniless Yip Man was given refuge at a restaurant. Yip Man watched the instructor(Leung Sheung) there conduct a kung fu class. Leung Sheung at the time was a practitioner of Bak Mei and Dragon kung Fu. After watching the class for a time, Yip Man demonstrated his skill to Leung Sheung and Leung Sheung promptly became Yip Man’s first student in Hong Kong . After this Yip Man started teaching Wing Chun to the Restaurant Worker’s Association. Yip Man eventually moved his place of instruction.

Yip Man trained excellent fighters, chief among them are Wong Shun Leung, Grandmaster William Cheung, and Bruce Lee. After 20+ years of teaching in Hong Kong, Yip Man passed away in 1972.

Profile of Grandmaster William Cheung;  (Cheung Cheuk Hing)

He has been called the masters’ master; he was considered by Bruce Lee to be the “ultimate fighter”: William Cheuk Hing Cheung was the sole inheritor of the Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu system, and was the person responsible for introducing Bruce Lee to Wing Chun Kung Fu.

In 1951, at the age of ten, Cheung started his training in Wing Chun Kung Fu under the late Grandmaster Yip Man. From 1954 to 1958 Cheung was a live-in student of Grandmaster Yip Man. It was during this time that he inherited the complete system of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu.

Between 1957 and 1958 Cheung won the Kung Fu elimination contests in Hong Kong , defeating opponents with many more years’ experience. In early 1954 Cheung introduced Bruce Lee to Grandmaster Yip Man, and became his personal trainer.

Throughout the four and a half years the two men developed a very close friendship, and Cheung passed on to Bruce Lee most of his techniques and helped developed his overall confidence and experience in fights. In later years he was to use these techniques in competitions, and also in his movies.

In 1959, after completing his training under Grandmaster Yip Man, Cheung left Hong Kong to pursue an academic career at the Australian National University in Canberra. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Economics.

After moving to Melbourne to teach Wing Chun professionally in 1973, Cheung began operating a very successful Martial Arts School. In 1976 he was elected the President of the Australian Kung Fu Federation.

Cheung was appointed as Chief Instructor to the U.S. Seventh Fleet based in Yukosuka, Japan, during 1978 to 1980. Throughout this time, he was in charge of the intensive mental and physical development program of close quarter hand to hand combat for the marines.

Many of Cheung’s students have achieved international recognition for their martial arts prowess. In 1982 his students, Joe Moahengi and Rick Spain, won the heavyweight and middleweight divisions respectively in the World Invitation Kung Fu Championships held in Hong Kong . Furthermore, Cheung himself, in 1983, was inducted into the “Black Belt Hall of Fame” as Kung Fu Artist of the Year and again in 1989, into the “Inside Kung Fu Hall of Fame” as Martial Arts Instructor of the Year.

From 1979 Grandmaster Cheung and many of his juniors conducted special programs for special law enforcing officers and special operation groups in the Armed Services in U.S.A. and other countries, teaching unarmed combat, restraining and disarming assailants and a fire arm retention program. It was at the Harvard University, Boston, in 1984 that Grandmaster Cheung set the world speed punching record of 8.3 punches per second.

Grandmaster William Cheung has been honored by the China Guangzhou Medical University and Hospital Research Institute as a Research Professor for his Cheung’s Meridian Therapy (CMT) program. This appointment is for the two year period from January 2000 until January 2002. As the result of these, Grandmaster Cheung’s seminars, workshops and treatments are now much sought after all over the world.

To promulgate his ideas and stimulate and enliven the art, Cheung has authored a variety of books for the general public including “Wing Chun Biu Jee”, “Wing Chun Butterfly Swords”, “Wing Chun Dragon Pole”, “Advanced Wing Chun”, “How to Develop Chi Power”, “Wing Chun Kung Fu” (in French), “A Comparison of Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do” Volumes I and II. He has also produced a number of videos, including the well-known “The Wing Chun Way”, “Tao of Wing Chun” and “PRO-TEKT: A Personal Protection Program”.

Profile of Sifu Angelo Foti

Sifu (Provisional Master) Angelo Foti started his martial arts studies in 1990.  In 1996 he started training in Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu.  A direct student of Grandmaster William Cheung, Sifu Foti is now teaching the people of West Allis, Milwaukee and the surrounding areas the principles, strategies, training methods and techniques of the art of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu as taught to him by Grandmaster Cheung.

Sifu Angelo Foti received an Achievement Award for his loyalty, dedication and contribution to the art of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu from Grandmaster Cheung in 2005.  Achieving the rank of Sifu (teacher in Chinese) and now Provisional Master under Grandmaster Cheung who helped teach Bruce Lee under the guidance of their teacher Yip Man. 

Sifu Angelo Foti assisted in the seminars Grandmaster Cheung conducted at the First and Second Annual Blackbelt Festival of Martial Arts in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California as well as the 2005 Summer Camp in Falls Creek, Victoria Australia and other seminars thoughout the United States.  Sifu Foti was asked by Grandmaster Cheung to become the head instructor of the Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in Melbourne, Australia (World Headquarters).

To further his knowledge in the art, Angelo has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Australia receiving personal one on one training by Grandmaster William Cheung.  When Grandmaster Cheung is not available Sifu Foti travels to New Jersey to train with Master Keith Mazza (one of only three Masters in the art of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu).

Sifu Angelo Foti runs a successful school in West Allis, Wisconsin teaching men, women and children the art of Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu.  Sifu Foti offers a wide range of classes to improve your martial arts skills, knowledge, fitness and confidence levels.  Additionally, Sifu Angelo Foti teaches a Wing Chun Kung Fu course at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) for college credit. 

Private lessons are available and he is also available to teach corporate and security professionals as well as law enforcement. 


 

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Sifu Angelo Foti

  • Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy of Wisconsin
  • 9108 W. National Avenue
  • West Allis, Wisconsin 53227
  • Phone: toll free 1-855-8KUNGFU (1-855-858-6438)