Every avid martial artist knows about the legendary showdown between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man the Kung Fu Master. There are many versions of this battle. I grew up believing that Bruce Lee stood up to many of the traditional Chinese Masters who criticized him for teaching white people Chinese martial arts. I remember reading about it when I was in 8th grade, which was the first time I picked up a book about Bruce Lee. I admired the story and his willingness to stand up against traditional rules that were no longer relevant. I was a traditional Okinawan Karate student at the time, but I wanted to also box. I was told it was forbidden to study other styles of martial arts; when you train in an art it becomes a life long dedication. In my case, restraint was only temporary, as I went on to study and dedicate myself to many different martial arts over a total of 37 years.
A new film called, Birth of a Dragon is being released in theaters today. Birth of a Dragon is a modern presentation on the classic Bruce Lee movies. It will also touch on the birth of Bruce Lee as a modern martial arts Master; highlighting the impact of the epic 1964 showdown between BruceLee and Wong Jack Man . The film stars martial arts Master and Hong Kong actor Philip Ng.
Ng immigrated to the United States (Chicago) from his native Hong Kong at the age of 7. He then began his martial arts training under the supervision of his father, Sifu (teacher) Sam Ng (a 5th generation practitioner of the Choy Lay Fut system). Ng furthered his martial arts education when he traveled back to Hong Kong and became a student of Sifu Wong Shun Leung, training in Wing Chun. He returned to the U.S, to earn his Master’s degree at my alma mater, The University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign. The University of Illinois offered Ng an amazing campus life for martial artist. There he was given exposure to a wide range of different martial arts. During this time, Ng was able to train and spar with other martial stylists expanding his skills sets, learning Jujitsu, Eskrima, and Western boxing. He even started the Wing Chun Association at the U of I.
Ng is not a new to film work. He is an accomplished fight choreographer in addition to film actor. His film credits include Wild City, Zombie Fight Club, Sifu vs. Vampire, The Man from Macau, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai, Young and Dangerous: Reloaded and Naked Soldier.
If you are a martial arts fan, you can see Birth of a Dragon in Chicago-land theaters like Kerasotes Showplace ICON, AMC 600 North Michigan and Regal City North Stadium. George Nolfi directed this independent film who is also known for being a writer of, “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Groundswell Productions, which has 13 films under their belt, produced it. Groundswell Productions was the creators of the Emmy-nominated, Confirmation direct this film for HBO films that starred Kerry Washington.
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