Timeline

This chronological timeline highlights some of the significant events in the life of Sifu Wong Shun Leung, as compiled by author Eric Lilleør for his new book, Gong Sau Wong: A Tribute – Direct Students On Sifu Wong Shun Leung.

Wong Shun Leung was born in Hong Kong on 8 June 1935, the second son of Yeung Suk Lan and Wong Kay Tin, a famous Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. He had an older brother (who passed away early on), a younger brother, who learned Ving Tsun from Wong, and six younger sisters.

1953-1959

Wong Shun Leung engages in regular full contact challenge fights (aka Beimo) on the rooftops of Hong Kong. A year before becoming Ip Man’s student, he’s already testing his boxing skills.

The following six years, his reputation and Ving Tsun’s fame grow as he continues to win. Because of his fighting prowess, he is “crowned” Gong Sau Wong, or “King of Talking Hands”.

1954

February 6, Wong Shun Leung formally becomes a student of Grandmaster Ip Man.

1956

Wong Shun Leung starts to coach the 16-year-old Bruce Lee in Ving Tsun.

1957

Wong Shun Leung travels to Taiwan to take part in the China-Korea Boxing Competition.

The Early 1960s

After an opponent’s eyeball gets partially dislodged from its socket during a Beimo match, Wong Shun Leung stops taking part in such fights.

1969

Wong Shun Leung opens his first official Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun school in the Yau Ma Tei district of Kowloon.

The Early 1970s

To promote his interpretation of Ving Tsun, Wong Shun Leung establishes the Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Martial Arts Association.

Wong Shun Leung is the chairman of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association for several terms during the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s he rejoins the Board.

1971

Wong Shun Leung moves his school to Reclamation Street.

1973

Wong Shun Leung visits Bruce Lee on the set of Enter the Dragon. Lee is keen to have Wong appear with him in Game of Death. To convince him to take the role, Lee invites him to the set to “show him the ropes”. Sadly, Wong Shun Leung turns down the part because he is hesitant to, “die in his first film role”.

1973

Shortly after Bruce Lee’s death, Wong Shun Leung appears in the documentary, Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend.

1975

Wong Shun Leung moves his school to Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

1976

Wong Shun Leung appears in the film, Bruce’s Deadly Fingers. He plays himself, an instructor at Ip Man’s school, where he first met a teenager named Bruce Lee. The cast also includes Bolo Yeung (Enter the Dragon), Lieh Lo (Five Fingers of Death), and Nora Miao (The Way of the Dragon, Fist of Fury).

Wong Shun Leung moves his school to Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei.

1981

The instructional VHS, Wing Chun: The Science of In-Fighting, featuring Wong Shun Leung is released in the United States.

The Early 1980s

Foreign students travel to Hong Kong to seek instruction from Wong Shun Leung.

1986

On the invitation of his overseas students, Wong Shun Leung travels to Europe and Australia to promote Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Kuen Hok.

1988

Wong Shun Leung shuts down his school on Nathan Road due to rental problems. Lessons continue at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association in Kowloon’s Prince Edward district. He teaches there until his untimely passing.

1993

Wong Shun Leung appears in the documentary Death by Misadventure: The Mysterious Life of Bruce Lee.

1996

On August 12, Wong Shun Leung makes his first trip to Beijing to promote Ving Tsun. Many respected Chinese martial artists attend the seminar, which is a tremendous success.

Wong Shun Leung returns to Beijing in October, on the invitation of the Chinese National Sports Control Centre and Martial Soul magazine, with the sponsorship of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. Called 1996 All China Ving Tsun Gung Fu Short Course, this is the first-ever presentation of Wong’s system. For this event, Wong Shun Leung brought a dozen of his Hong Kong and European-based students with him.

1997

On January 12, Wong Shun Leung collapses from a stroke at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. On the afternoon of January 28, he passes away at the Kwong Wah Hospital.

The Legacy Lives On

After Sifu Wong Shun Leung’s untimely death, his students have continued to promote and preserve his legacy and art.

2001

With the help of a friend in Melbourne, David Peterson self-publishes 1,000 copies of his first book, Look Beyond the Pointing Finger: The Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung. This edition is only around 112 pages.

2009

Cranes Production publish the Expanded, 212-page Second Edition of Look Beyond the Pointing Finger: The Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung.

2012

The first-ever international Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun Kuen Hok Worldwide Fellowship Gathering takes place at David Peterson’s school in Malaysia.

John Wong Hong Chung (Wong Shun Leung’s eldest son), Mark Wong and Jerry Yeung announce the founding of the Wong Shun Leung Students Association at the gathering in Malaysia.

Cranes Production publish the Hardcover Edition of Look Beyond the Pointing Finger: The Combat Philosophy of Wong Shun Leung.

2014

The second international Wong Shun Leung Students Association Gathering takes place in Hong Kong.

2016

David Peterson’s second book, WSL Ving Tsun Kuen Hok: An Overview in the Form of Essays, is published by Eric Lilleør’s Mui Fa Publishing—the publisher of Wing Chun Illustrated magazine.

After almost four years in the making, David Peterson releases his feature-length documentary, Wong Shun Leung: The King of Talking Hands (directed by the author, filmmaker and Bruce Lee historian, John Little) along with its companion film, The Art of Wong Shun Leung: A Ving Tsun Journey.

2017

The first Wong Shun Leung Ving Tsun North America event takes place in Los Angeles.

2018

Cliff Au Yeung publishes his book, Wong Shun Leung Through My Eyes.

2021

Gong Sau Wong: A Tribute – Direct Students on Sifu Wong Shun Leung is published.

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Gong Sau Wong: A Tribute