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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 1998 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 157
Location: Evansville, IN, USA
For your amusement (okay, for my amusement)
(okay, seriously, because somebody mentioned
this to me and I hadn't heard of it before
and he isn't sure it is true or just one
of those modern martial arts myths ... kind
of like does J.D. have chi or not)...

Was Bruce Lee ever promoted to any black belt
degree prior to his death? In particular,
in Wing Chun by Sifu Yip Man?

Osu!
Jason


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 1998 12:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Jason,

Color belts/gradings are a product of modern Japanese budo. It started with Kano and was subsequently adopted by Funakoshi.

Some "modern" schools of wing chun may be sporting "belts" (Too bad...). I am pretty sure such a practice did not take place when Lee study under Yip Man. You cannot overestimate the animosity towards Japanese and things Japanese by the Chinese of Yip Man's generation (Manchuria, WWII).

david


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 1998 4:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 20, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 203
Location: Florida
Jason:

Nope, nada, zilch. Traditional Wing Chun or another transliteration - Ving Tsun, Kung Fu, as developed by the venerable grandmaster Yip Man, offered no belt or sash rank as I have learned it. The more traditional family versions of Wing Chun to this day do not. You train to train, period.

At the time of his departure for the states at a very early age, Bruce Lee was not yet one of grandmaster Yip Man's senior students, but certainly a very talented one as the story goes.

Essentially, you are accepted as a student into that WC family. As you progress, you grow into martial maturity and can become a senior student, "big" brother or sihing(something akin to sempai)Ultimately, upon retirement of the Sifu(father), his death, your relocation, expansion of the kwoon, or special circumstances, etc., you may progress to Sifu. That's it so far as promotion goes. Until you progress to sihing or sifu, you small fry!

Of course, the honor of being accepted into a WC/kung fu family was and still is a very big deal in and of itself. (It's a little like karate before Kano - the guys with the dirtiest, worn gi's and obi's were the advanced students.)

As I understand it, Bruce Lee sort of had to leave Hong Kong for mysterious reasons , but that's another story ...


JohnC


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 1998 11:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 2075
Location: Boston, MA
Jason,

The only possibility of a "belt" for Lee that I can think of was that he may have been granted an "honorary" one by Ed Parker of American Kenpo fame. Parker was the one who introduced Lee to the (martial arts) public by allowing Lee to demonstrate at his Long Beach International tournament.

John C,

I think Lee left Hong Kong because his parents sent him away to live with relatives in the US. He was supposedly a hot headed youth getting into a lot of fights with various gang members. This practice still happens in the Chinatowns. Some kid gets involved with a gang and his parents send him of out of town or out of the country to live with relatives. It only works if the kid agrees to it. If not, the kid ends up being a gang member, in jail and/or dead.

david


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