1930s Foshan was in the mood of enthusiasm for martial arts, many mentors called at the mansion of the renowned Wing Chun master, Ip Man, to challenge for a sparring match behind closed doors, thus Ip won easily.
Ip Man’s prosperity does not last long. In 1937, the Sino-Japan war broke out, within a year Foshan has fallen. The Japanese army seized Ip’s estate, left Ip and his family to seek refuge in a derelict house. When food runs out, Ip also forsake his dignity to work as a coal miner to keep his family alive.
One day, a troop of Japanese soldiers led by General Miura arrives at the coalmine. Miura is crazy about martial arts and uses rice as a reward to tempt the Chinese to contest themselves. Ip refuses to be baited, but his fellow mentors have eagerly take up the challenge and hencebeaten up by Miura and his soldiers severely and finally lost their lives. Ip is furious that they had to risk their life for food provisions. He hastily enters the arena to challenge the Japanese enemies. Even though he is on his own hands, he beats them down one by one until none is left standing. Miura is elated and full of admiration for Ip. But Ip is very upset especially when Miura rewards him with the bag of bloodstained rice.
General Miura can’t forget Ip’s masterly skills and places Ip on the wanted list. He storms into the mill with his army and looking for Ip. It leds Ip decides to forsake his own life in exchange for his followers’ freedom, challenge the General to a duel. The approaching army is stopped in its tracks by a towering figure, but the General wants to take the fight to the streets of Foshan and let the Chinese to witness Ip’s defeat. In the ring, Ip and General Miura have a life-and-death match.