The Legend is Born – Ip Man is a 2010 Hong Kong semi-biographical martial arts film based on the early real life of Wing Chun martial arts master Yip Man (also spelled as Ip Man). The film's story is not related to the canon of Donnie Yen's Ip Man ; however both Sammo Hung and Fan Siu-wong are feature in the film, but introduced as alternate characters. The film was directed by Herman Yau and starred Dennis To as the lead character. One of the highlights of the film is a special appearance by Ip Chun , son of Ip Man, who plays Leung Bik in the film.
The film focuses on Ip Man 's early life and the story of how he learnt Wing Chun . In contrast, Ip Man and Ip Man 2 focus on the events in his life that took place during the Second Sino-Japanese War and after he moved to Hong Kong .
As a child, Ip Man learns Wing Chun from Chan Wah-shun together with Ip Tin-chi (Ip Man's adopted brother) and Lee Mei-wai. After Chan's death from illness, Ip continues to learn Wing Chun from his senior, Ng Chung-sok, before eventually leaving Foshan to study in Hong Kong . In Hong Kong, during a hockey match, Ip and his schoolmates are racially insulted by a Westerner. Ip Man defeated him and his popularity soared after the incident. While getting medicine to treat the Westerner, he meets master Leung Bik, who is actually the son of Leung Jan , Chan Wah-shun's teacher. Ip Man learns a different, improved style of Wing Chun from Leung and his prowess in martial arts improves tremendously. Meanwhile in Foshan, Ip Tin-chi rose to become a prominent businessman under another Wing Chun martial arts association.
Ip Man returns to Foshan years later and reunites with his peers. Ng Chung-sok sees that Ip had mastered a new style of Wing Chun from Leung Bik, which differs from Chan Wah-shun's orthodox style and have disagreements over how the art should be practised. Ip Man falls in love with Cheung Wing-shing, the daughter of the vice-mayor of Foshan. When Lee realised that Ip Man loves Cheung, she accepts Ip Tin-chi's love for her. On their wedding night, her godfather was murdered and Ip Man was arrested as a prime suspect after being witnessed struggling with him. Cheung later lied that Ip Man was with her the whole night to release him from jail. Lee discovered a letter to Ip Tin-chi, revealing his involvement of the murder of her godfather and attempted suicide. She was saved by Ip Tin-chi and both of them tried to leave Foshan but were stopped by the Japanese. Lee was captured and Ip Tin-chi was forced to kill Ng Chung-sok as Lee had revealed the letter to him.
At the martial arts association, Ng Chung-sok was defeated by Ip Tin-chi and the Japanese. Ip Man arrived in time to save Ng Chung-sok from being killed and then subsequently defeated the Japanese and Ip Tin-chi. Ip Tin-chi then revealed that he was actually a Japanese and was sent to China to infiltrate China and worked as an undercover agent. He then performed Seppuku to end his life. Ip Man rushed off to the pier to rescue Lee. He defeated the Japanese and rescued Lee. At the pier, it was discovered that Japanese have been smuggling Japanese children to China, possibly as future undercover agents, similar to Ip Tin-chi.
Ng Chung-sok was seen narrating the story of the night to new apprentices at the martial arts association. Ip Man's son, Ip Chun, was seen among the new apprentices. Ip Man arrived back at the association and was shown married to Cheung.