Ip Man Film Analysis

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In order to understand and accurately analyze how directors illustrate honor in Chinese martial arts film, it is imperative that we understand honor’s origin, meaning, and modern connotation. Historically, honor has been an incredibly intricate and important concept in Chinese martial arts and it has its roots in some of China’s most revered philosophers. Honor in martial arts has evolved from two primary philosophies; loyalty and universal love. Loyalty is the sense of devotion to a group i.e. family, temple, or even gang and its teachings in China can be traced as far back as 551 BC with Confucius. The notion of universal love is slightly more complicated and can be considered an extension of loyalty. It comes from a source whose opinions …show more content…
Characterization consists of many different elements, but the aspects Yip uses most in his films to illustrate loyalty and universal love are character interaction and persona. In one of Ip Man 1’s first scenes, the audience gets a taste of just how much universal love Ip Man has through his dealings with other characters. In the scene, a local martial arts master challenges Ip Man. Ip Man defeats the master easily but makes sure that he wins with as much humility as possible. The two agree to keep the battle a secret, but they do not know that the sparring match was being watched by a local teenager who then goes into town and brags to nearly everyone about Ip Man’s easy victory.4 Ip man is later confronted by the town and deals with the awkward situation delicately and intelligently. Two interesting character realizations can be found in this scene. The first is before the spar had even started. Before the fight, Ip Man asks his challenger to join him for dinner, later tea, and then finally offers him desert and a cigarette.4 This grace is quite rare among competitors and shows how much love Ip Man has for his enemy. Usually fighters hate their opponent, but Ip man hardly sees the fighter as an opponent at all. Ip Man certainly does not hate his competition and hardly sees him as a threat. The second realization is found when Ip Man is confronted by the town and asked if he had defeated his competitor easily. Ip Man could have easily bolstered his reputation and his ego by admitting his victory, but instead decides to avoid the question altogether and satisfy all parties involved. Here, Ip Man’s method is not only tactful, but it also shows that he cares for his opponent so much that he will go out of his way to avoid embarrassing him. Ip Man faces a similar problem when the martial arts master from the north challenges him to a fight. This time, Ip Man’s

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