Chiu Wan was born in Foshan, Guangdong Province, China, the same city as Yip Man. Chiu Wan learned Wing Chun starting at the age of eight under Chiu Jow (his uncle) and also Chan Yu Min, son of Chan Wah Tsun. Chiu Jow learned from Chan Wa Tsun who was 5th generation and also his son, Chan Yu Min, too.
Yip Man’s SiFu was Chan Wa Tsun but he also learned from Leung Bik, son of Leung Jan. He also started at a young age but did not learn from Chen Yu Min, the son. Chen Wa Tsun was a very good fighter and being the teacher of both Yip Man and Chiu Jow they were known for their great fighting skills.
The lineage is that Yip Man was 6th generation and Chiu Wan was 7th generation.
In those years in Foshan both men were officials in the Police Department. Yip Man came to Hong Kong in the early 1940s and learned more about Wing Chun from Leung Bik, who was the son of Leung Jan and classmate of Yip Man’s SiFu,Chan Wah Shun.
Apparently, Yip Man learned to understand the theory of the Wing Chun that was underlying the fighting skills that he had mastered earlier. When he was reunited with Chiu Wan in Hong Kong Yip Man’s Wing Chun was very different from what Chiu Wan had known. Yip Man introduced to Chiu Wan what he learned from Leung Bik.
In the early years Yip Man’s students were members of the Restaurant Worker’s Association among them being Leung Sheung, his first disciple, Chiu Wan, his third disciple as well as Yip Bo Ching, Wong Shun Leung, Lok Yiu and Chu Shong Tin.
Chiu Wan studied with Yip Man all the way until Yip Man’s passing. They were from the same home town and were very close friends. The only Wing Chun school that Yip Man ever officially authorized for any of his students was for Chiu Wan’s school. Yip Man even placed his signature on the sign over the school with the words, “The Traditional Wing Chun”. Yip Man and Chiu Wan would socialize together in the evenings and at dinner for many years. The first generation students of Yip Man were not on the same social level as Chiu Wan was with Yip Man and as such there was not much contact with those other students.
Sadly Chiu Wan passed away at age 52