Though Wah the Money Changer was not educated, he made rapid progress in learning Wing Tsun Kung-fu from his master Leung Jan, simply by his perseverence and determination. He was a man of the market and thus was in close contact with people of the lower class, who were fond of fighting. This gave him more opportunities to improve his skills in the art of fighting. Before long his fame spread and reached the ears of the officials of the Manchu Government.
It was the time when the Manchus had been ruling the Chinese for over two hundred years and were being gradually assimilated into the Chinese culture. The barrier between the Manchu race and the Han race was breaking down, as shown in diminishing national feeling against the Manchus and more and more people of the Han race were taking up official positions in the Ching Government. On the other hand, the Ching Government of the Manchu reace, after ruling the Chinese for over two centuries and having enjoyed much of the Chinese way of life, was becoming corrupt race. As a result, invasion from foreign countries increased year after year. Concessions of land, war indemnities in silver to foreign powers, all led to the weakening of the country. One way to restore the strength of the country was to re-inforce its military. That was, to streghten the “Soldiers of the Eight Banners”, as the Manchu forces were called. It was for this reason that Wah the Money Changer was invited to take up the post of Chief Instructor to the Soldiers of the Eight Banners, a post much admired and respected.
However, Wah the Money Changer, being the successor of Leung Jan, did not regard it as an honour to be the Chief Instructor of the Manchu soldiers. He, like his master, regarded teaching kung-fu as an amateur pastime, not as his profession.
He did not have a fixed site for his gymnasium. He rented one for this purpose. During his thirty-six years of teaching kung-fu, he had althogether adopted sixteen students, among whom one was his own son, Chan Yu Min. His son Chan Yu Min was a wayward child, and, being spoiled by his parents, indulged in fighting with local juvenile deliquents, much to the displeasure of his father. For this reason, his father hesitated to teach him the most advanced skills of the Wing Tsun System, but instead, his father taught them to his daughter-in-law. As a result, Chan Yu Min’s wife was much better skilled than he and he had later to learn from his wife what he did not learn from his father. However, he was particularly skilled in one technique, that was, the Six-and-a-half Point Long Pole Techniques. His competence in this was confirmed by this gaining the title of “King of the Pole of Seven Provinces” which was conferred on him after his performances in “Martial Arts Tournaments of Seven Provinces”, in which he was also bestowed with a memorial pole, thick as his arm, engraved with his title “King of the Pole of Seven Provinces”. He put this pole at the gate of his own gymnasium at its inauguration some years later to attract students.
Among the students of Wah the Money Changer, the most remarkable was Ng Chung So, his second disciple, who had learnt from him all his skills, and who later became his helpful assistant until his death.
In his later years, when he was over seventy years old, Wah rented the ancestral temple of the Yip’s clansmen from a wealthy merchant as a site for teaching Wing Tsun Kung-fu. It was here that he adopted his sixteenth, and the last disciple, who was at that time, thirteen years of age, and destined to be the heir-successor of the Wing Tsun System, and to spread the techniques of Wing Tsun from a small town to all parts of the world. However, he himself was not aware of this, and during the final stages of his life, reminded his second disciple Ng Chung So to take good care of that little boy, his youngest kung-fu brother.
After the death of Wah the Money Changer, there came a period of decline of the development of Wing Tsun, a period coincident to the time of upheavals in China, during which none of his students, who were too intent on minding their own business, had the least intention of promoting the Wing Tsun System, of of passing its techniques to the next generation.
This duty seemed to rest on the shoulders of his last adopted disciple, surnamed Yip, whom he adopted at the Yip clasmen’s ancestral temple. It was not until Yip reached the age of fifty six years that Wing Tsun began its renaissance. He fostered the development of the Wing Tsun System, and brought it into a golden age.
Eventually he became the unchallenged Grand Master of Wing Tsun. His name, greater than any of his forerunners, was known to all people of the martial arts circle. His fame was hard earned, by his diligence, and with the help of his disciples. He was Yip Man, The Grand Master of Wing Tsun.