Stage 1 Being

Wing Chun Style

Three basic hands: Spade, Pin, Sheath.
Forms: The Concept, The Bridge, and Darting Fingers.
Weapons: Double Knives, and the Six-and-a-half Point Pole.

Bagua Style

Based on swordplay. Single reverse palm is a single blade. Double reverse palm is a double blade. The feet arc out and in. There are 64 transformations.

Xingyi Style

Started with General Yue Fei. It uses the fist as a spear. Drill. Chop. Cross. Blast. Crush. Xingyi is brutal. Don’t underestimate it.

1936: The southern provinces of China move to secede from the nation. Master Gong Baosen arrives in Foshan to hold his retirement ceremony.

1938: The Japanese invade Foshan. Japanese troops occupy Ip Man’s home. He and his family fall into poverty and starvation.

1950: Ip Man and The Razor arrive separately in Hong Kong. Gong Er is already there, working as a doctor of Chinese medicine.

1951: The border between the British-run territory Hong Kong and mainland China is closed. Ip Man will never be able to return to Foshan again.



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Tony Leung as Ip Man

Tony Leung (Leung Chiu Wai) has made a smooth transition from Hong Kong genre movies to leading roles for several of the most notable directors in world cinema. He was awarded the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 for In the Mood for Love and has won many other awards for his performances, including Best Actor at the 2008 Asian Film Awards for Lust, Caution. His films include The Lunatics and People’s Hero for Derek Yee, Love Unto Waste for Stanley Kwan, A City of Sadness and Flowers of Shanghai for Hou Hsiao Hsien, Bullet in the Head and Hard-Boiled for John Woo, Cyclo for Tran Anh Hung, Hero for Zhang Yimou, Infernal Affairs and Infernal Affairs III for Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, and Lust, Caution for Ang Lee. His long association with Wong Kar Wai began with a brief guest appearance in Days of Being Wild and went on to include Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In the Mood for Love and 2046. The role of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man in THE GRANDMASTER has been his most physically challenging role to date.

Ip Man: Born at the end of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man was the son of a wealthy family in Foshan, Guangdong Province. Ip Man was obsessed with kungfu from the time he was a child, studying the elite form of Wing Chun with the legendary teacher, Chan Wah-shun. Never needing to work or think about money before the age of forty, he devoted himself to the study of Wing Chun. Foshan was the center of the southern Chinese martial arts world during the Republican era. Ip Man frequently engaged in tests of skill with Foshan’s martial artists, but unlike them, he didn’t open a school: it was his passion, not his livelihood. After the Japanese invade Foshan, they take over his family home and push him and his family into devastating poverty. At the end of the Civil War, owing to his wartime affiliation with the KMT, he fled China to Hong Kong and was never able to return. In Hong Kong, he begins to teach Wing Chun in order to make a living, and transforms this once-exclusive martial art into a popular form that now has adherents all over the world.

Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er

The multi-award winning Ziyi Zhang is a three-times BAFTA nominee and a regular presence on lists of the world’s most beautiful women. She initially trained as a dancer in her native Beijing. She came to international attention at nineteen for her role in Zhang Yimou’s 1999 The Long Road Home and achieved mega-stardom as the young girl in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her range is remarkably diverse, from action roles to the lead in the 2005 Memoirs of a Geisha. She first worked with Wong Kar Wai in 2046. Her delicate beauty belies exceptional physical strength, flexibility and stamina which, together with her dancer’s training (she studied dance before she studied acting) made her the perfect choice for the character of Gong Er, who is a master of the dance-like, flowing and circular Bagua style of kungfu.

Gong Er: Gong Er grows up in a prominent martial arts family in northeast China, the daughter of Master Gong Baosen, leader of the Northern martial arts world, and a strong proponent of the Bagua form of fighting. She grows up amongst fighters, and watching her beloved father’s battles. She has become a highly talented fighter herself. As his only surviving child, she would have been his successor had she been born a boy. Her father wants her to leave the martial world, marry and become a doctor. She is single-mindedly devoted to her family and its martial tradition. She has mastered the sinuous, lethal form of Bagua, including the Gong family’s famous ’64 Hands’ technique. She is as proud, strong and righteous as any classical hero in the martial arts tradition.

Chang Chen as The Razor

Chang Chen’s first role, at the age of fifteen, was in the late, acclaimed Taiwan director Edward Yang’s 1991 A Brighter Summer Day. Six years later Wong Kar Wai cast him in Happy Together. His first on-screen collaboration with Ziyi Zhang was in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where he played her lover, “Dark Cloud”. His list of credits extends to over twenty-films, and he has worked with some of Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China and Korea’s top directors. In THE GRANDMASTER, he plays a master of the explosive Baji style of kungfu, for which he won first place in a national Baji competition in China.

The Razor: He is a master of the explosive Baji form of kungfu and a hot-blooded loner with an air of mystery. He’s a patriotic idealist who has joined the Nationalist government’s secret police. His role is to hunt down and assassinate traitors. He has a fierce reputation and a strong moral code. After the Communists’ victory in 1949, he made his way to Hong Kong, deserted the Nationalist Party and organization and opened the White Rose Barber Shop.

Wang Qingxiang as Gong Baosen

Gong Baosen: Gong Er’s father. A highly-respected Grandmaster from the Northeast and the undisputed leader of the Northern martial arts world. He is the first person to combine the martial arts styles of Xingyi (which features many animal-based forms) and Bagua (which is based on the hexagrams of the esoteric, ancient text, the I Ching), into one school. Master Gong has never lost a fight in his life and is universally respected. However, he is less concerned with personal glory than the promotion of a new generation of kungfu masters so that the great traditions of the martial world may live on. He maintains the highest standards and has equally high expectations of the people around him. He strives to inspire patriotism and achieve national salvation through the martial arts.

Shang Tielong as Jiang

Jiang: As an executioner during the Qing Dynasty, he became an outcast in the Republican era. Master Gong, recognizing that he had a loyal and honest character as well as a fierce air, took him into his household and asked him to be Gong Er’s guardian; her “Lucky Star”, to protect her and watch over her. He is never seen without his pet monkey.

Zhao Benshan as Ding Lianshan

Ding Lianshan: A Manchurian kungfu master who studied alongside Master Gong when they were younger. The two share the same vision but work very differently. Gong is the public face of their movement while Ding works out of view. As the leader of an anti-Japanese resistance force, the Japanese have placed a warrant out for his arrest. He operates in the shadows and hints that he has been a secret player in historical events. In Foshan he is a hotel cook; no one would ever guess at his powers or his past.

Song Hye Kyo as Zhang Yongcheng

Song Hye Kyo is a multi-award-winning South Korean model and actress. She has starred in a number of popular television series including Autumn in My Heart and All In as well as in films such as 2011’s A Reason to Live, for which she won Best Actress in the Women in Film Korea Awards. China Entertainment Television named her one of Asia’s top ten entertainers.

Zhang Yongcheng: The high-born wife of Ip Man and the mother of his children, she is a woman of few words. She and Ip Man don’t need to speak to understand one another well. When the war comes to Foshan, they may lose much that is precious, but neither she nor Ip Man ever lose their dignity.