Master Wong Shun Leung called him “The Machine” and said that “if Barry hit any man hard, he would not get up”.
Australian Barry Lee discovered Wing Chun in his early twenties just before Bruce Lee‘s Enter the Dragon dropped a bomb on the martial arts world. Barry Lee took the dramatic step of selling all his possessions and moving to Hong Kong, where he became one of the first Westerners to master Wing Chun, studying with Wong Shun Leung.
As described in the article “They Called Him ‘The Machine‘” by Neville Burns, he trained “twelve to fifteen hours a day, seven days a week” for 18 months.
He “wouldn’t rest, wouldn’t give up, wouldn’t stop” and “wore out one training partner after another.” This hardcore dedication resulted in a legendary set of fighting skills.
Barry Lee is one of the most enigmatic figures I’ve found studying Wing Chun and its practitioners. Ten years ago, you couldn’t find much on anyone, but in these days of millions of Youtube videos and chat forumns and webpages, there is more information than you can absorb.
Yet on Barry Lee, there is only one seconds long glimpse of video (which looks like it was filmed off a TV), a few articles, and one interview (which was actually a Wong Shun Leung interview!).