It’s interesting how a new book can single-handedly open up a new section of the market. We always publish in the Asian niche, but the publication of Wing Chun Warrior has suddenly brought interest from a host of Chinese-language bookshops that we’ve not previously sold through.
The key to this was an appearance by author Ken Ing on RTHK Radio 3. After speaking about Wing Chun kung fu on the English-language service, he was invited to appear on the Chinese-language station the following week. And then the calls from Chinese bookshops in Mongkok and Causeway Bay started coming in, even though the book is currently available only in English.
It seems that interest in Yip Man and Bruce Lee is still as high as ever, despite the death of both men over 30 years ago. The Wing Chun they helped make famous — and which is practised by Yip’s student Duncan Leung, the subject of our book — received a boost late last year when the film Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen and Simon Yam, hit the screens.
A bit of controversy helped too. China action star Jacky Wu Jing created uproar among devotees by claiming he did not know who Yip Man was. Eight Wing Chun councils then held a press conference to point out that Wu had never represented China in any international competitions. The councils offered to send one male and one female disciple to engage in combat with Wu, with the losing party having to donate $500,000 to a charitable cause. This illustrates the depth of feeling still held for the man who brought this martial art to Hong Kong.
It’s likely that Yip will remain in the public eye this year too: another movie of his life is being made, this time by Wong Kar-wai — and Duncan Leung is helping train the cast in their kung fu moves.