Note: The movies in this series are either rated R or PG-13. All listed learning ideas are suitable for teenagers.
Art & Design
Watch: Bruce Lee and his impact on Hollywood arguably did more for America’s cultural acceptance of Chinese immigrants than the influence of anyone else. Many say that Jackie Chan’s movie success in the west is largely because of his introducing Chinese kung fu to Hollywood. Learn more about it in one of the documentaries about him.
Watch: After a life of beating formidable foes, Ip Man’s own smoking habit is what ends his life. To understand a bit about why the World Health Organization says “the tobacco epidemic is on the of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced,” watch this TED-Ed video about how cigarettes affect the body.
Life & Home Skills
Read: To understand a more accurate telling of Ip Man’s story, read Ip Man – Portrait of a Kung Fu Master. Synopsis: “From stories shared by his son, this book paints a portrait of the famous Wing Chun Grand Master, Ip Man, providing a set of fifteen principles as a guide to mastery… You will be richly rewarded if you seek to discern the principles and the man who strove to embody them.”
Read: To find out more for yourself about the martial artist that taught Bruce Lee, read Wing Chun Kung Fu: Traditional Chinese Kung Fu for Self-Defense and Health. Synopsis: “Straightforward and efficient, Wing Chun Kung Fu is one of the most popular forms of Kung Fu because it emphasizes technique over strength. By using the skills of Wing Chun Kung Fu, a smaller and weaker person can easily overcome a larger strong opponent. With its focus on technique rather than force, it is suitable for both men and women, young and old, and for those of all levels of physical fitness. Grandmaster Ip Chun is regarded as the world’s leading authority on Wing Chun.”
Watch: Some of the main scenes in Ip Man 4 were set in San Francisco Chinatown, which is touted as the largest Chinatown outside of China and the longest heritage in the US. Here is a 12-minute video what it looked like in 1912.
Read: Ip Man 1 is set in Foshan, China during the Japanese invasion of the late 1930s and portrays the brutality of the invading soldiers of the time. The book referenced most often about the horrors of this occupation – though in a different city of China – is The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II. Synopsis: “In December 1937, in the capital of China, one of the most brutal massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred… The Rape of Nanking tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers who performed it; of the Chinese civilians who endured it; and finally of a group of Europeans and Americans who refused to abandon the city and were able to create a safety zone that saved almost 300,000 Chinese. It was Iris Chang who discovered the diaries of the German leader of this rescue effort, John Rabe, whom she calls the ‘Oskar Schindler of China.’ A loyal supporter of Adolf Hitler, but far from the terror planned in his Nazi-controlled homeland, he worked tirelessly to save the innocent from slaughter.”
Research: The celebration of Mid-Autumn festival in Ip Man 4 gives glimpses into the traditions of the holiday. To learn more about one of China’s most-celebrated holidays, browse articles or videos about it. It’s celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month for reasons similar to Thanksgiving.
How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.