Wang Kiu started to work as a Civil Engineer in Hong Kong around 1949. This was a position with the British government. It seldomly happened that a Chinese was qualified enough to be employed by the British. At that time, most Chinese did not have an education, and many could not even write, nor read.
As Wang Kiu had studied at the Wah Yah college ( HYPERLINK “http://web.wahyan.edu.hk” http://web.wahyan.edu.hk), he had a great advantage over his fellow Chinese. As one of the few, he was fluent (both verbal and written) in Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, as well as in English, a prerequisite for working for the British government, he was hired by them in 1949.
For this reason Wang Kiu earned quite a high wage, he even had people working for him. For instance, the well known Wing Chun practitioners Wong Shun Leung and Ip Bo Ching used to work for Wang Kiu: Wong Shun Leung as his foreman and Ip Bo Ching as his driver.
A nephew of Wong Shun Leung, called Wong Man, was telling stories about an old Kung Fu Master from China whom was teaching Wing Chun. Wong Man knew that Wang Kiu was interested in anything which had to do with Wing Chun. Wong Man said that the old master practiced Chi Sao as well, such as was done by Southern Praying Mantis practitioners. Subsequently, Wang Kiu went to visit this master, whose name was Ip Man.
His first engagement with Ip Man occurred in a temple in Hong Kong which Ip Man rented from the government. Wang Kiu saw that Ip Man was practicing with three students, later he learned that this observed practice had been the Wing Chun Chi Sao.
After the session Wang Kiu visited a teahouse together with Ip Man. In this teahouse Wang Kiu and Ip Man had a conversation about the style, and about the fees for the school. Ip Man was very interested in Wang Kiu because of his knowledge of Tang Lang (a Kung Fu style) and, at a later stage, they often discussed about the similarities and differences between the two styles.
After this initial meeting Wang Kiu went to the temple for his first lesson from Ip Man and this is where Ip Man accepted Wang Kiu as his student. As Wang Kiu found out that Wing Chun was so much better than any martial art he knew, especially theoretically, he did not want to learn anything else anymore but for Ip Man’s Wing Chun. Ultimately this resulted in Wang Kiu becoming a private student of Ip Man.
Ip Man accepted Wang Kiu as a private student because he had helped Ip Man to get 2 more students, of whom the father had their own building company. Because of his job as a Civil Engineer Wang Kiu had many contacts with building companies. This all resulted in the private lessons being taught in one of the factory halls. This is also the reason why Wang Kiu had little engagement with other (well known) students of that time. At a later stage Wang Kiu and Ip Man trained at various other locations, which leads him to getting acquainted, and training with well known students of Ip Man such as: Lok Yiu, Leung Sheung, Wong Shun Leung, Ip Bo Ching and Chu Shong Tin.
In 1954, Bruce Lee (who was later to become the famous movie star) made his presence with Ip Man. At first, Ip Man had asked Wang Kiu to look after Bruce Lee and to teach him in Wing Chun which Wang Kiu did. At a later stage Wang Kiu could not combine this training of Bruce Lee with his busy job, which resulted in Wong Shun Leung taking over the lessons and was mostly responsible for teaching Bruce Lee.
By the end of the fifties, Wang Kiu’s younger brother Wong Si Wing also became a student of Ip Man and opened his own school.
Wang Kiu has been a private student of Ip Man for years, and as one of the few, he had been taught the complete system by Ip Man.