Wing Chun Doctrine


Since times of antiquity every notion of Chinese Philosophy and the Chinese culture has been always perceived with a much greater picture than the individual meaning of the matter. It always has tendency to comply with universal laws, their interrelationships and inter - dependence. Wing Chun is just one notion of a living style that is a part of the Chinese culture and the Universe that undergoes the same fundamental principles and relation to other subjects in the Universe.  With no difference , whether, Martial Arts, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Astrology, Language, etc., or any other idea, there is a notion that applies and correspond to one way, the way of the Universe.



Truly to understand and grasp Wing Chun it is necessary and compulsory to have a good understanding of the fundamental principles of Chinese philosophy. Therefore, Wing Chun is no different from any other Chinese Martial Arts that have been developed over the centuries within the Chinese philosophy doctrine.

One of the most fundamental and at the same time most complex aspects is surely Yin and Yang school of thoughts (₁). Yin Yang principles are very important aspect in Martial Arts and the most supreme perfection for every martial artist. This supreme perfection originates from its supreme perfection, TAO.  Tao is the ultimate supreme of the universe studied by many Taoists formally starting with Lao Tze in the 5th century BC who according to the legend has written five thousand words on Taoism before departing to the great void. It is believed that Lao Tze was the author of “Tao Te Ching".



                                                     Lao Tzu


Tao Te Ching is the first complete work on Taoism and Taoists philosophy written in the old Chinese enigmatic style that we have evidence of, but not the first record. First records on Taoism and Yin Yang philosophy date back to ancient kings and specifically Huang Di or known as the Yellow Emperor. The oldest book of Traditional Chinese Medicine “Nei Jing Su Wen” () devoted a whole chapter to Yin Yang paradigm that apply in Traditional Chinese Medicine.




                                     Huang Di - Yellow Emperor


From the above paragraph we can conclude that Yin Yang School is a part of Taoism philosophy and would not be possible to separate it. Tam C. Gibbs says in his translation of “My Words are Easy to Understand” ():


Tao gives birth to unity; unity gives birth to duality,

Duality gives birth to trinity, and trinity gives birth to all things.

All things are wrapped by Yin and containing Yang and their pulsing chi’s marry.



One representing the Universe, two representing the Yin Yang principle and the last ten thousand things in ancient Chinese philosophy represented unlimited number.  For that reason it would not be possible to separate one from two or vice versa because if there is no one it would not be two or if there is no two there would not be one. From this analogy it can be noticed that Yin - Yang interrelation is present within all things and penetrates everything in the Universe and Nature.


Long time ago, Chinese philosophy realised that the whole Universe is in a constant motion and undergoes constant changes, and one of the reasons why Yin Yang principles are there is that defines those changes. One of the most basic principles in Chinese Medicine and also very common saying in Martial Arts teachings is “Everything that moves is alive and everything that stops dies” , meaning that as long as the Chi moves through the body there is life and in opposite as soon as the Chi stops flowing there is death. This is a fundamental principle of Chinese Medicine and one of the actions of Chi in order to maintain the body in orderly functional tact. In Martial arts, the same law would apply in the same manners, basic source of life internal energy or CHI flows constantly in our body and has many relations to the physical body and spirit or soul that keeps us alive. Because of that relation in Wing Chun we have to constantly move and follow the body rhythm and CHI to achieve ONESS with the techniques, punches, footwork, and relation to the opponent in order to keeps us alive or able to interact with the opponent. Although this may sound very difficult with a hard work and practice it is achievable. Very important principle that should not be neglected is the BALANCE. Balance is one of the most difficult tasks to attain not only in Martial Arts but also in the daily life. There are many reasons why the Yin Yang symbol is design as two equal halves with each containing one another. This is a clear representation of the perfect balance, though not the only one interpretation Pic 1.





                                                       Picture 1



One of the common misinterpretations of Wing Chun techniques or the footwork performance is the idea of physical meaning of the movements and focus. It is mostly consider that a technique is a physical movement with a focus on offence or defence rather than a picture beyond that.

For example: Tan Sao with a step aside is one motion that contains range of movements of the hand, body, waist and legs, performed in synchronised sequences resulting in Tan Sao technique. Although this may sound fairly easy there is much more than it seems. Besides physical movements, it is also very important to be aware whether Tan Sao is offensive or defensive technique, since the defensive Tan Sao would be Yin and offensive Tan Sao would be Yang. In addition to this, energy flow would have to follow the same principle; otherwise there will be interference in the flow giving rise to obstruction and eventually to a definitive stop. Therefore, it would be essential to discern the idea that a technique is a “Body expression through the motion in relation to the opponent and the situation”.



Since the Yin Yang principles penetrate everything, in a similar way we could interpret every phenomena in the Universe and therefore in Wing Chun. If one wanted to try to interpret all scenarios of Yin Yang interplays it would be impossible, simply because unlimited and endless circle and exchange of Yin and Yang.






. "A History of Chinese Philosophy", Volume 1 – Fung Yu Lan, 1983 New Jersey

. "The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine" – Maoshing Ni, Boston and London 1995

 . LAO – TZU: "My words are easy to understand" – Lecture on Tao Te Ching,  Man – jan Cheng, Berkeley, California, 1981