Lee Shing

When Grandmaster Lee Shing passed away in 1991 he was European and U.K President of the Yip Man Martial Arts Association and founder of the International Lee Shing Wing Chun Martial Arts Association. He was also a member of the Hong Kong Kowloon Chinese Medical Association and was a qualified Chinese doctor.
These positions are testimony to a lifetime's dedication to Wing Chun and his impact on the development of Wing Chun in Europe has been very significant and yet it is a largely untold story.
Outside of the Chinese martial arts community and the top circles of other martial arts styles, few know of his great achievements. In most books on Wing Chun, Grandmaster Lee Shing receives barely a mention yet, as shall be seen, his contribution was very important. This is a tribute to the great ability and skill of the Late Grandmaster Lee Shing as a Wing Chun practitioner and teacher. It provides a brief outline of his career and his students and is designed to honour his memory.

Grandmaster Lee Shing was born in 1923 in Hoxan in Southern China. He first studied Gulao (Pien San) Wing Chun at an early age in mainland China under his first teacher Fong Yee Ming, who himself had learnt from Wong Wah Sam who had learnt from Leung Jan.

Gulao (Pien San) Wing Chun
Pien San (Side Body) Wing Chun originates from the village where Dr. Leung Jan retired after leaving Fatshan. Gulao was his home (a small village in Hessian province). Traditionally in Chinese culture the leading Kung Fu master of the village would teach the village youngsters in order that they would be able to protect their village from bandits and raiders who were prevalent at this time and would prey on the weaker villages. Like all styles of Kung Fu this teaching had two purposes, one was to provide a practical fighting system that would allow the youngsters to defend themselves and their loved ones. The second was to promote health in mind and body to allow the youngsters to live long lives. In addition with the ability to deal out deadly techniques, there must be some responsibility so the Master must teach the youngsters to be mature, responsible people.
Leung Jan therefore taught a method of Wing Chun that was different from the stylized approach he had previously taught in Fatshan. It was quick and easy to pick up being made up of separate techniques (San Sao).
Lee Shing was a keen disciple and was inspired to research the different styles of Wing Chun, He therefore, in his research, went on to study under Fung Sang who was one of the central points of Pien San Wing Chun, having studied under his father Fung Lim and his uncle Koo Siu-Lung (both students of Wong Wah Sam). He then went on to learn from the famous Kung Fu Master Ng Jung So.
After the Second World War, Lee Shing moved to Hong Kong where he met and became friends and eventually the business partner of two Wing Chun experts, Lok Yiu and Jiu Wan. They were two of the four leading practitioners of Wing Chun in Hong Kong who became known in Wing Chun circles as the four 'Kings of Wing Chun'. The other two were Leung Sheung and Tsui Shan Tin. It was not long before an exchange of ideas and comparison of styles took place between Lee Shing, Lok Yiu and Jiu Wan.
While working in their offices, an older gentleman entered wearing the traditional Chinese dress. Lee Shing noticed that the others greeted the man very respectfully, so much so that he was curious to know who he was. Later they all sat to play Mah Jog (a traditional Chinese gambling game). It was then that the stranger was revealed to be none other than Grandmaster Yip Man, the teacher of the 'four kings' of Wing Chun; In-fact Lok Yiu, a former master of another kung fu style, was Grandmaster Yip Man's first student in Hong Kong. Lee Shing was formally introduced by Jiu Wan to Grandmaster Yip Man. At the time Grandmaster Yip Man was teaching Wing Chun in Hong Kong's Restaurant Workers' Union. Lee Shing was fortunate enough to be accepted by Grandmaster Yip Man as a student and received instruction privately from him on a one-to-one basis. He was known only to Grandmaster Yip Man's senior students and later to Grandmaster Yip Man's eldest son Yip Chun.
Over the years, Grandmaster Yip Man taught Lee Shing the complete Wing Chun system. He had mastered the three hand forms, the wooden dummy form, the six-and-a-half point pole form and most importantly of all Grandmaster Yip Man had taught Lee Shing the complete butterfly knife form and its applications. This last form was of particular importance as it represented the highest point of learning in Wing Chun. At the time Grandmaster Yip Man had taught only three people the complete knife form. He was allowed to open up a school on Hong Kong Island in the early 50s - with the opening ceremony being conducted by Grandmaster Yip Man himself.

This article is dedicated to honour the memory of Grandmaster Lee Shing, the Wing Chun Family especially of the Lee Shing lineage. He lives on through the spirit and practise of all of his students and their teachings. It is hoped that his great skill and learning will be better understood. He taught not simply how to be skilful in the art of Wing Chun but how to develop the respect and discipline that is essential for all those who practice martial arts. His place in the history of Wing Chun is secure.
Though he was always one to shun the spotlight, the late Grandmaster Lee Shing should be given full credit for bringing the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun to United Kingdom. Thanks to him, a whole new generation of kung fu instructors have spread the art far and wide. Those who trained under the grandmaster are many and varied. They include Hau Bin Sum, Chan Man Kune, Joseph Cheng, Eddie Yeoh, Sam Kwok, Simon Lau, Nigel Fan, Austin Goh, Joseph Man, Kenny Chan and, of course, Joseph Lee.


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Lee Shing Lineage



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