C'est la Chine · UK | Pupil of Ip Man's oldest son: Inheriting the culture behind Wing Chun moves
In recent years, the movie series "Ip Man", starring Hong Kong Kung Fu star Donnie Yen, has aroused a Kung Fu mania in China and abroad. Leo Au-Yueng, the interviewee of this latest episode of C'est la Chine, has studied under Yip Chun, the eldest son of Yip Man, for more than 10 years.
Originally from Hong Kong, Leo was also the Wing Chun technique consultant for the movie "Yip Man 1", where he collaborated with movie and TV superstars such as Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen.
Leo came to England with his parents when he was 15, and since then he has been learning Wing Chun and Chinese Kung Fu from Yip Chun, the eldest son of Yip Man, for more than 10 years. When he talks about why he first learned Chinese Kung Fu, he laughs, "My parents wanted me to learn something to protect myself from bullying at school."
Nowadays, Leo has shifted from a Kung Fu pupil to "Sifu Leo" at a Wing Chun martial arts school in the center of London. Most of Leo's students are foreigners and overseas Chinese who are interested in Kung Fu, but have little understanding of Chinese culture. For this reason, Leo not only has to teach the moves accurately, but also tell his students the meaning behind them.
Leo says that some of the concepts of Chinese kung fu also come from traditional religions, which emphasize "yin and yang" and "balance."
"We don't fight force with force. We learn how to transform the energy and get rid of the pressure inside our body. So practicing Kung Fu is not just about learning the moves, but learning to integrate the concepts into the moves."
Leo also mentions that Chinese Kung Fu teaches one to be more in tune with nature and to find the true meaning of life. When you truly understand this concept, you can learn how to better control your body, mind and emotions and apply it to everything in life.
"It was Kung Fu that saved me," says Anastasiya Sosis from Ukraine. After the death of her mother and the war in her home country, Anastasiya was in a state of depression and anxiety. But after six months of learning, she has become less weak, more relaxed, more confident, and more able to face and deal with life's conflicts.
Talking about his own experience of teaching, Leo is pleased to say that his greatest reward is to see his students become more confident, understand themselves better, and learn about the culture behind Chinese martial arts. He is happy to see that "Wushu can help people live better lives and have a more positive impact on society."