Certainly I am aware the movie IP Man is a semi biographical tale of Yip Man introducing Wing Chun into the boxing arena not Tai Chi Chuan. I loved the fight scenes and the technical display of each style including Karate. For those that enjoy not only the fighting, but also the exhibition of each style this film has excellent technical aspects of the fighting which was fantastic.
The version that I had the opportunity to see was totally in the Chinese language and without subtitles. I was able to follow along and knew exactly what was happening based in the action of the people and the body language. In the openings scenes the protagonist was having dinner with a famous Sifu in the area. I noticed how very British the scene was and it almost struck me as strange upon first thought. Luckily, I was able to reel myself back and remember the historical aspects of the time period. I was then able to remember the British had a strong hold on China for some time and I’m sure much of the culture was absorbed. But, I digress.
Shortly after dinner Sifu Ip Man invites the Sifu he was having dinner with to introduce the teacher to Wing Chun. As they began to box, the first thing I noticed that Ip Man did not attack. In fact he never attacked first in any of the fight scenes. This however, was not unusual. It was the absolute control over his thoughts that struck me most of all. It was the calm response to the attackers that was striking.
Wing Chun is not Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Chuan is not Wing Chun. They are both Kung Fu. Kung Fu is set around a certain set of principles that runs concurrently along all styles hard and soft. Sifu Ip Man displays not only the beautiful boxing style of Wing Chun, but the mind that must be maintained during the extension of ones art. Tai Chi Chuan is as much mental as physical. In fact Tai Chi Chuan teaches heavily that the body follows the mind. Ip Man maintained a completely calm and settled disposition in combat. His mind was that big mountain standing still. His body followed, it was moving, but it was still. His mind was not everywhere, and his body acted in accordance.