The core strategic concepts of Wing Chun have been carefully and intricately crafted in poems known as the Wing Chun Kuen Kuit or fighting songs. Created during the Red Boat Opera period, these martial songs encompass timeless principles which can be seen in all styles of Wing Chun, regardless of lineage. For the intelligent student these songs provide the guidelines to form their own understanding of Wing Chun and its applications in daily life.

Some of the many Kuen Kuit concepts we practice and teach at IWCA include:

  • Others walk the bow, I walk the string.

A straight line is the shortest distance between two points – i.e. you and your adversary. Follow the straight line while attacking.Following the shortest path saves valuable seconds and may make all the difference between hitting and getting hit.

  • When you should hit – hit, when you shouldn’t hit – don’t.

Do not take longer than necessary. Know when to attack; understand timing.

  • Accept what comes in, follow what retreats. On loss of hand contact, hit.

Dissipate, dissolve and redirect the incoming force. Fighting strength with equal or greater strength is inefficient and involves more energy than required.

  • The hand that hits also blocks.

Wing Chun trains a person to become an ambidextrous fighter. An attack by one hand is simultaneously accompanied by the other hand ‘covering’ or protecting defensive openings and/or redirecting the attacker’s force. An even higher level of skill allows the use of a single hand to both attack and defend simultaneously.

  • Know the difference between Yin and Yang, real and feigned. Take advantage of any available opportunity.

The ‘punch’ is Yang or hard force while the ‘palm’ is Yin or soft, yielding force. Wing Chun is one of the few martial arts designed for both men and women and suits all age groups. What the strong person can achieve with a punch, weaker practitioners can achieve with a palm strike.

  • Extreme softness enables one to be hard. Being extremely natural enables one to be agile.

One needs to be relaxed in order to move dynamically and to react to the actions of an opponent. When you are tense, your own muscle tension acts as a ‘parking brake’ – and you must disengage it before you can move quickly to adapt to any attack.

  • Take the incoming straight thrust with a curve.

When an attacker wants to use strength to overpower a fighter, the response is not to try to overcome strength with strength but to nullify this force by moving your attacker’s force away from you or to move yourself away from it.

  • The skill is to borrow force and strike forcefully.

Take advantage of the force your opponent gives you. If an opponent pulls you toward him, use that energy as part of your own attack. Or if an opponent pushes the left side of your body, you can act as a revolving door and use that force in an attack with your right arm.

  • Go along with your opponent’s failing posture in order to take advantage of it.

In addition to borrowing power from your attacker, add your own force in an attack when your hand is free.


These are just some of the many profound Wing Chun fighting principles and strategic concepts we practice daily at IWCA to help each other become better Wing Chun fighters.

Interested in learning more?

For a brief overview of the history and evolution of wing chun, go here or read through our FAQ page.

Alternatively, you are more than welcome to come watch a class or sign up for a lesson.

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