Physical prowess of the Phoenix and representation of the phoenix eye
There is a strike called the Phoenix Eye Punch in the Wing Tsun system that belongs in the Biu-Jee form, which is known as the ‘masters form’ and therefore reflects strength. This technique is one of the most brutal strikes in the Wing Tsun system, and because of the level, you have to obtain and the dedication required to get thee it also reflects high knowledge.
The Phoenix eye punch was brought into the Wing Tsun system later with another 4 strikes (together known as Ng Lui Kuen (the five Thunderous punches). The Phoenix eye technique is also seen in many other Kung Fu Styles and there is also a Kung Fu style called ‘Phoenix Eye Kung Fu’ which is where the technique originated from).
In the cycle of the Wing Tsun system Biu-Jee the earth element and is also one of the most difficult and most misunderstood topics. It is the first stage of a master within the system (link to five elements theory on grading page on earth element). Thus every stage in Wing Tsun system has an element and a philosophy attached to it;
The Earth Element is a mountain to represent the highest knowledge of techniques, and the beginning of self-mastery.
‘There are techniques such as the peaks of the mountains, just because you cannot see them is does not mean they are not there’ Yip Man
The Chinese mythology and philosophy behind the Phoenix
In Chinese Mythology the Phoenix is not the same as the Greek mythology description, which is the phoenix raising from the ashes, but in fact the virtues and moral view of the Phoenix.
The Chinese Phoenix has a very high moral standard; it is known to hate lies and does not tolerate corruption or the abuse of power. It is also known to appear only to leaders who have a strong moral compass, and if a ruler or leader was to become darkened or corrupt the Phoenix does not stay.
The colours of the Chinese Phoenix are black, white, red, green, and yellow.
The Chinese phoenix has very positive connotations. It is a symbol of high virtue and grace. The classic of Mountain and Seas records each part of Chinese Phoenix’ (Feng Huang) body and each symbolizes a word.
Legends praise the Feng Huang for its ability to judge character and to bestow blessings on the honourable and kind. Some legends say that the Feng Huang will only land where something precious can be found.
The FengHang 鳳凰, also written 鳳皇, mostly translated as "phoenix", was a fabulous beast in ancient Chinese mythology. The phoenix was an auspicious bird that appeared alone or in flocks in times when peace and prosperity are the result of a benevolent government.
The head represents Virtue, morals, wisdom, and knowledge -
The Chinese character is (DE) 德
The wing represents Justice, honesty, righteousness, consideration for others, reciprocity, altruism;
the Chinese character is 義 (YI)
The back represents Propriety, Courtesy, good manners, etiquette;
The Chinese character is 禮 (LI)
The chest represents Benevolence, kind-heartedness, and humanity -
The Chinese character is 仁 (REN)
The abdomen represents Trustworthiness, integrity (ability to keep ones word)
the Chinese character is 信 (XIN)
The Feng Huang is one of the key players in Chinese cosmology. According to the myth the Feng Huang (Phoenix) along with the dragon, Qilin, and the tortoise used their powers to form the five elements (fire, water, earth, wood and metal). Interestingly this is what the structure of the entire Wing Tsun system is based on (Link to grading structure)
Some legends describe the Feng Huang’s body as corresponding with the celestial bodies with its head as the sky, its eyes as the sun, its back as the moon, its feet as the earth and its tail as the planets.
The Feng Huang is composed of five fundamental colours of Chinese Philosophy –
Yellow, white, red, black and green – and corresponds with the five Confucius virtues of:
仁 (ren) meaning benevolence
義 (yi) meaning Justice / Righteousness
禮 (li) meaning Propriety / Courtesy
智 (zhi) meaning wisdom
信 (xin) meaning Trust
Ying Yang - balance
The Feng Huang has very positive conations. It is a symbol of high virtue and grace. It also symbolises the union of Yin and Yan. In some traditions, it appeared to mark the beginning of a new era. In China and Japan, it represented ‘fire’, the sun, justice obedience and fidelity’ The Chinese name of the Phoenix Feng Huang, incorporates both male and female notions, Feng is a male bird and Huang is a female bird. This logic the bird is actually a symbol of the union between femininity and masculinity, or Ying Yang.