The Cultural Translation of Wing Chun: Addition, Deletion, Adoption and Distortion Ip Man’s photo is displayed prominently on the walls of martial arts schools across North America. If he were to look out through the eyes of these icons, what would he see? Would he recognize the Wing Chun being performed in his name? I suspect that he would be very surprised with some aspects of the scene below. He would recognize the colored belts, but would probably find them out of place. The highly structured format of our classes would also seem alien to him. He could not help but wonder why his picture so often hangs next to that of Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto. Yet I doubt that he would be confused by the purposes of the changes that he saw. After all, Ip Man guided his branch of Wing Chun through an important period of “cultural translation” as it went from being one kind of martial art in Republican Foshan, and became something notably different in the Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Those with previous training in the system were surprised to see how differently Ip Man’s post-1950 classes were structured. A curriculum had been added, traditional concepts were deleted, the local culture of youth fighting was “adopted” (or at least tolerated) and the practice of chi sao had been elevated and made a central aspect of daily training. Translation and change was the price of making Wing Chun legible to a new generation of Hong Kong students. While Ip Man might at first be mystified by some of the details, he would understand the basic processes at work in our own era. He knew that it would take work and flexibility to maintain Wing Chun as a modern fighting system. Mostly, I suspect, he would just be happy to have another generation of students to practice his chi sao on.