History of WingTsun

What is WingTsun?

History of WingTsun

We would like to point out that the following story is a legend and shortened in its form by us. We have most of the information from the book “The History of the Yip-Man WingTsun Style” (available from Wu Shu – Verlag Kernspecht). One can really argue about the truth of the legend, but the story is documented from Leung Jan.

The Forms in WingTsun

There are 6 forms in total in WingTsun. The forms in the Chinese arts are difficult to compare with the “katas” in Japanese martial arts. The difference is: in that the forms do not represent a fight against imaginary opponents but that one practices the individual positions and techniques here. Thus one speaks of so-called “internal forms” in WingTsun, while Katas are regarded as “external forms”. Although they don’t look very spectacular, they are essential for learning the WingTsun system properly. This gives you great importance within the WT. The 6 forms are described in detail below


Three fundamental philosophies are said to have shaped WingTsun. However, this imprint does not only refer to the technical system, but also to the attitude to learning and the family structure of WingTsun. The following list can only be seen as a very large outline.


Taoism is the teaching of yielding, flowing and being in harmony with nature. This philosophy goes back to Lao-Tse and his work Tao Te King, which is over 2000 years old. In the transfer to the WingTsun means Taoism means, among other things, the flowing of movements, the relentlessness of the opposing force and the avoidance of rigid, immovable positions. However, Taoism should never be confused with weakness or opportune action. Rather, it means the constant flexibility and adaptability as well as the ability to realign at any point and at any time and to restructure his attack.


Second, Buddhism plays a big role in WingTsun. It describes the way in which the student should learn the WT and with what diligence he has to follow the lesson. The Buddhists say: “The way is the goal” and therefore the training should not serve to achieve a previously set goal. Rather, the training itself is the goal. This is the only way to be with your mind in the here and now and not to waste your energy on the future. In the correct practice of the 1st form (Siu-Nim-Tao) the student should be shown a way to Buddhist thinking.


Finally, Confucianism also plays a major role in the WingTsun teaching system. Confucius describes the correct, morally decent dealings with one another and the mutual respect that should prevail in every situation. The family structure of the hierarchy in WingTsun (SiFu, Sihing, Todai etc.) goes back to Confucian thinking. However, it should also be made clear here again that it is in no way a matter of “blind” following or unjustified respect, but rather a mutual relationship of respect between student and teacher. The guiding principle is: “Teach your students how you want to be taught” and, conversely, “treat your teacher the way you want to be treated”.

“Man enters life softly and weakly,
he dies hard and strong,
All beings enter life soft and tender,
they die dry and skinny.
Therefore: the hard and strong is companion of death,
the soft and weak are companions of life.
Therefore: if an army is strong,
then it won’t win.
Is a tree strong
then he is on the case.
The strong and great remain below
the soft and weak remain on top. ”
(Tao Te King)