Fearless – The Spirit of Chin Woo

Have you ever watched a movie that inspired you to learn
more about the true story behind it?

Jet Li Fearless

Jet Li as the character Huo Yuanjia in the movie Fearless / Courtesy of reelz.com

I recently watched the 2006 movie Fearless starring Jet Li and was so intrigued  by the main character portrayed by Jet Li that I just had to know more.

The main character portrayed in the movie by Li was Huo Yuanjia.

Huo Yuan Jia, Martial Arts, Fearless

Chinese hero and martial artist, Huo Yuanjia

Huo Yuanjia was a world renowned  Chinese martial artist known for his bravery. He was born in 1868 in Jinghai County, China. Huo was also a co-founder of the Chin Woo Athletic Association, a martial arts school in Shanghai.

Huo is still considered a hero in China for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized matches at a time when Chinese sovereignty was being eroded by colonization and other foreign interventions. Due to his heroic status, the legends and myths surrounding events in his life are difficult to confirm fact from fiction.

For example, between 1909 and 1910, Huo travelled to Shanghai twice to accept an open challenge posed by an Irish boxer named Hercules O’Brien. The two of them had arguments over the rules of the bout but they eventually agreed that whoever knocked down his opponent first would be the winner.

O’Brien fought Huo and lost. Huo’s victory was a great inspiration to the Chinese people. However, to this day there is still some controversy over whether the fight ever took place or not.

Between 1909 and 1910, Huo co- founded the Chin Woo Physical Training Centre which later became the “Chin Woo Athletic Association” with his close friend Nong Jinsun.

The school is a center for learning the art of self-defense and improvement of health, body and mind.

The school follows a philosophy or code called the Spirit of Chin Woo encompassing three main virtues, wisdom, benevolence and courage as well as ten Chin Woo concepts outlining a path to a better life.

The 3 Chin Woo Virtues and 10 Chin Woo Concepts are these.


WISDOM: Man of Wisdom cannot be mislead

BENEVOLANCE: Man of Benevolence has no worry

COURAGE: Man of Courage has no fear


  1. Chin Woo concept of Man:

To achieve all around ability through moral, intellectual, and physical training

  1. Chin Woo concept of Character:

Respect for others and self-respect through justice and integrity

  1. Chin Woo concept of Caring:

Humanity and equality through honesty and frankness

  1. Chin Woo concept of Words and Deeds:

A person’s dealings are judged by his words and deeds

  1. Chin Woo concept of Trustworthiness:

To keep every pledge and promise

  1. Chin Woo concept of Punctuality:

To be punctual in appointment with no apology

  1. Chin Woo concept of Justice:

To uphold justice impartially

  1. Chin Woo concept of Service:

To render service with honor

  1. Chin Woo concept of Welfare:

To give and not to take

  1. Chin Woo concept of Fraternity:

To love others as you love yourself and your own family


While Huo Yuanjia may be a Chinese hero because of his martial arts deeds, his real legacy lies in his code of life that is encompassed in the Spirit of Chin Woo and the 10 Chin Woo concepts.

All of us live our lives following a “code’ or set of principles that we may not even be aware of.  However, YOU DO have a code you are living by whether you are aware or not.

The code you live by may be something you learned from your parents, a spiritual leader, a teacher, friends or family members. But have you ever examined your personal code? Does it really match up with who you are or what you want to be. Is your code helping you to become the person you were meant to be?

If it doesn’t, maybe you should think about it and evaluate if it is taking you on the path you truly want to follow.

Your code should be yours and not anyone else’s.  It may encompass the teaching and ideas of others, but it must be your own. And it’s okay if it evolves over time. Learning is a lifelong process and so it will be with your personal code.

So now is the time to think about your own personal code, what it currently is or what you want it to be. Then you need to reinvent or create and incorporate it into your life.

In the end your personal code can be a driving force and a compass that will help you find direction and fulfillment in your life when all else fails.  A life code worked for Huo Yuanjia  and it will work for you.

So, what’s YOUR code?

Leave a comment and let us know. 

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