Moy Yat

By Aaron Vyvial | August 10, 2015

Moy Yat

Moy Yat (梅逸) (June 28, 1938 - January 23, 2001) was a Chinese seal maker, Chinese artist and martial artist, student of Yip Man since 1957. He moved to New York City in 1973 and began teaching Ving Tsun in Brooklyn. His students are teaching in their own schools around the world.

“Since the death of Yip Man in 1972, there have been many who have tried to fill the void left by his absence. Where once there was only one Ving Tsun family, now there are many systems, each looking a little different from the rest, with most claiming to be “authentic” Ving Tsun (Wingtsun, Wing Chun, Weng Chun). This is not to say that all modern day Ving Tsun is bad or wrong. True Ving Tsun is what is simple, efficient, and agrees with the principles on which that system is based. Anything else is wasteful, unnecessary, and simply not Ving Tsun. Whether a system is true Ving Tsun or not should be based on these concepts. It is easy to teach someone techniques, but to use them properly requires an understanding of the principles in Ving Tsun, because it is based on principles, not techniques. The techniques are simply tools used to apply the principles. The methods are the means by which to teach those principles.”

Those who teach authentic Ving Tsun and who understand the importance of its methods are probably few in number. One such person was Yip Man himself. Another was one of Yip Man’s closest disciples – grandmaster Moy Yat. Moy Yat was introduced to Yip man and Ving Tsun in 1957. In those days it was very hard to break into that usually small circle. Moy Yat turned out to be an exception to this rule as he and Yip Man became very close early on in his discipleship. Later on, during the last years of Yip Man’s life, the two were seldom seen apart. Moy Yat learned much of his kung fu indirectly, which is how Yip Man taught the deeper aspects of the system. This has come to be known as “kung-fu life.” Because Yip Man lived the kung-fu life, everything he did was an example of Ving Tsun principles. By living the art instead of just practicing it in a classroom, the principles become a natural part of the practitioner and can be applied without effort, thus making everything he does simple and efficient.

Until his death in 2001, Moy Yat followed the examples that Yip Man set to teach his own disciples and students. By using the Ving Tsun principles in his everyday life, Moy Yat taught them indirectly (kung-fu life.) Those students who spent more than just classroom time with him benefited most because they live their Ving Tsun. This is how authentic Ving Tsun, as Yip Man taught it, is learned. Moy Yat lived his life this way, spending his days living and teaching Ving Tsun through kung-fu life, never drawing unnecessary attention to himself despite the extensive martial arts contributions and accomplishments of the Moy Yat family.Because the extensive Moy Yat family follows his example, they go largely unnoticed by the general martial arts public. They simply teach and learn and live Ving Tsun kung fu, never looking for public approval. Much like the gentle giant, they have no need to prove to anyone what they already know. Do not be fooled, however. The Moy Yat Ving Tsun family is very large indeed, numbering in the tens of thousands throughout the world. More importantly, however, is the quality of the Ving Tsun in each of them. Size of the family alone is insufficient.”

After Moy Yat’s death in 2001, William Cheung, Grandmaster of his own “Traditional Wing Chun” organization said: “The death of Moy Yat is a great loss not only to the martial art of Ving Tsun, but also to the world. He was a very learned man, a good painter, poet, artist and a gentleman. This is a great loss to Chinese culture.” In recognition of the 2008 Olympic Games, and the Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008, both held in the Peoples Republic of China, the Chinese Government issued a series of commemorative postage stamps and a collectors album, Chinese Wushu Treasure Stamps Album, in a Limited edition of 7200 copies. The album features the greatest Wu Shu (martial art) practitioners of all time, including Moy Yat.

Ever since I was young, like you, I didn’t close my eyes while I was traveling. I paid attention to everything, tried to study it, to know it, to get as much as I could out of it. I learned it completely. Everything is clear, “what” it is for and “why,” and the “nature” of everything… that took me a long time, years and years, to get all of the knowledge together… That is part of a Sifu’s job.” –GrandMaster Moy Yat

06/28/1938 Born in Toi Shan / Canton, China

1953 Moved to Hong Kong 1957 Started Ving Tsun training under Yip Man at Lee Chang Oak Chuen 1962 Became youngest Sifu recognized by Grand Master Yip Man at age 24 1963 Spent a year as a seaman, traveling around the world 1964 Married Helen Moy 1967 Founding committee member as well as graphic designer for the Ving Tsun Athletic Association in Hong Kong 1969 Published “Wing Chun Kung Fu - Chinese Self-Defense Methods” by Rolf Clausnitzer and Greco Wong(first student of Moy Yat). First English book published on Ving Tsun Kung Fu. 121972 Yip Man’s funeral

09/1973 Moved to United States to join brother Moy Yit Dean 1974 Started first US school in NYC, NY. Published “108 Muk Yan Jong” by Moy Yat. This was the first book on Ving Tsun Kung Fu published in the United States by the Moy Yat family. 1975 Published “Kung Fu for young people - the Ving Tsun System”. 1982 Published “Ving Tsun Kuen Kuit” by Moy Yat 1987 Produced the first of 30 instructional video tapes between 1987 and 2000. 1989 Published “A Legend of Kung Fu Masters” by Moy Yat 1990 Published “Ving Tsun Trilogy” by Moy Yat 1996 Published “Voice of the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System” by Moy Yat and Benny Meng 1997 60th Birthday Party and formation of “Moy Yat Ving Tsun International Kung Fu”. Retirement from formal teaching. 1998 Opening of the Ving Tsun Museum Published “Dummy - A tool for Kung Fu” by Moy Yat 2000 Published Luk Dim Poon Kwan by Moy Yat 01/23/2001 Died in New York City, NY, US