A master's gift to the world is his life. By seeing his life or at least by seeing the essence of his life as remembered in the stories of those who knew him, a Master's life becomes a map to self excellence and mastery.
At the age of twelve the young Ip Man liked watching classes being held in the Ip family clan hall. He eventually asked Chan Wah Shun if he could study and not wanting to refuse Chan asked for 500 Tai Yeung (silver dollars). When Ip Man eventually handed over the money Chan immediately thought that he had stolen it. It turned out that Ip Man's parents had given Ip man the money and so Ip Man became a student of Chan Wah Shun.
Ip Man moved to Hong Kong to attend high school at St Stephen's college and it was here that he eventually met Leung Bik, the youngest son of the great Grandmaster Leung Jan.
Leung Bik wasn't doing very well financially in Hong Kong so the young Ip Man invited him to live with him. This Leung Bik did and in return he taught Ip Man the entire Wing Chun system, right up until his death in 1912.
Ip Man eventually returned to Foshan.
Though Ip Man learned from both Chan Wah Shun and Leung Bik and though claiming Leung Bik's lineage would have been more impressive, Ip Man never called Leung Bik his Sifu.
He was not interested in climbing the opportunistic political ladder by taking advantage of the gift that Leung Bik had given him.
For Ip Man it was the search for Wing Chun that mattered, not his status in another's eyes.