My Way of Wing Chun

The Learning Curve

Monthly Archives: July 2013

An Interview With Grandmaster Yip Man from 1972

If you are a beginner when it comes to fighting, that concept itself for you is likely no more than throwing a punch here or giving off a kick there. However, if you manage to have someone who cares to explain to you the essence of Wing Chun, it is highly likely that within 5 minutes, you’ll learn about the unique way in which a Wing Chun practitioner pushes enemies back. You will also learn about the standards used in Chi Sao (“sticking hands”), and the secret behind defeating enemies using the shortest path and the fastest of speed.

That is what Wing Chun is all about- using simple, practical moves to defeat enemies. Over a mere 23 years, the aging Master Yip Man has made Wing Chun hugely popular in Hong Kong, and has recruited many enthusiasts under his wing. Surely there’s ample reason behind the popularity of the sport and the diligence of many of his students.

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Siu Lim Tao Explained

Unimpressive as it may look, the essence of Wing Chun is actually embedded in Siu Lim Tao form. You cannot possibly execute the other forms without a firm foundation of Siu Lim Tao, which outlines all the principles of Wing Chun. If you don’t understand Siu Lim Tao, you will never understand Wing Chun. If you rush through it while learning, you will pick up bad habits. The bad habits remain with you all through your Wing Chun life.

Siu Lim Tao contains all the basic hand movements used in Wing Chun: Taan Sau (攤手), Wu Sau (護手), Fuk Sau (伏手) and Bong Sau (膀手). Practicing Siu Lim Tao achieves a number of  goals: it defines the centreline and teaches students where their hands should be relative to it, reinforces the correct elbow position, facilitates force generation in short range Wing Chun movements and teaches students how to execute Wing Chun movements correctly.

The meaning of Siu Lim Tao name can be translated as follows: Siu means little and in this case means minimal. Lim (sometimes pronounced as Nim) means thought (idea) and Tao means way. So together in this context, the whole name of Siu Lim Tao means a way to minimize your thought. The meaning is to try to empty your mind and concentrate on your practice. Therefore, Siu Lim Tao is both internal and energy training. It is also Gung Lik (功力) training. In Cantonese, Gung means work and Lik means strength. Together they mean to work on your strength or building your strength. Siu Lim Tao is the basic form of the Wing Chun Kuen system. Without practicing Siu Lim Tao, your Wing Chun skills will not be good.

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