My Way of Wing Chun

The Learning Curve

Category Archives: Foundation & Basics

Summary of Siu Lim Tao Movement Sequence

Summary of Siu Lim Tao movement sequence. The table summarizes Siu Lim Tao movement sequence for all three sections (for both hands). Each movement spelled in Simplified Chinese with Cantonese pronunciation and English translation. Please keep in mind that the movement sequence might be different from lineage to lineage.

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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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What It Really Takes to Become Good In Wing Chun?

Lets not worry for the moment what “good” actually means…

The short answer is – practice. Yep that’s right. Good old practice and many many repetitions. I think, many people these days obsessed a little bit too much in their search for the most experienced and the most credible Sifu. Sifu that can prove the purity of his lineage, tracing back directly to Yip Man.

IMHO, no Sifu, not even Yip Man him self can help you if you do not practice. This applies to everyone without exclusions. There is no magic wand, shortcuts or secret behind door techniques – just practice, practice and again practice. Yip Man himself can be teaching you but, if you do not practice diligently, then the time spent will not yield any results.

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Footwork

Many people today practice Wing Chun, Chi Sau (sticking hands). However, they only stand in the same position and they do not move their feet. In this way it is very easy to lose a lot of energy, because when your opponent is very strong and they are attacking you, you cannot move to avoid their power.

The most common way we do to avoid an opponent’s power is to change your technique such as changing from the Bong Sau to Tan Sau or the other way round. Of course, there are other techniques you can use by yourselves but because you do not move your stance, you have to use more strength. Therefore we see many people, who do Chi Sau just like they are fighting. With this kind of skill, only the stronger and bigger guy will win easily. Even if you beat up your opponent, you can also suffer injury, so this is not the best way for Chi Sau.

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Notes on Hard/Soft Hawkins Cheung Wing Chun

I am a student of Hawkins Cheung, and as this is a forum on my sifu’s site. I have some thoughts on his teachings that may be of interest to some of you. I have been with Sifu for 14 years, and he has been a great influence on me. I enjoy sharing dialogue with others that are on a true path. Here are some thoughts on the “hard way” and the “soft way” in Sifu Hawkins Cheung’s system:To consider the whole of Wing Chun, beyond the various techniques, we must look at the two sides of the W.C. character; the “hard” and the “soft”. The yin-yang, the black-white, sun-moon, etc. . . characters of the system.

From the waist up, most W.C. practitioners are relatively the same. The elbows are in more with one system than another, or leg positioning changes slightly, but basically the tan sao is the tan sao, the lop is the lop, and the bong is the bong. However, how we apply them is important to understand. Why? Because if we are not trying to understand how to apply our art more and more, we are just spinning our wheels.

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The Art of Sticking Hands

Chi Sau is the most important part of Wing Chun training. The purpose of Chi Sau is to develop your instinct and sensitivity to your opponent, so when he moves you can react straight away. However Chi Sau is not the same thing as fighting though it will help you to develop your fighting skill. Chi Sau is also not the same thing as sparring. How are they different and how does Chi Sau develop fighting skill?

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The Centre Line Part 2: Misconceptions

Last time we looked at the Centreline and found that there were in fact three Centrelines to consider, the Jik Sin (Centre Line), Ji Ng Sin (Meridian Line) and the Centre of Gravity. Now we will look at how Centreline theory is commonly misunderstood.

Someone once made a passing comment about Wing Chun. It went something like, “Wing Chun only blocks attacks that come in along the centreline”. This statement implies that unless your opponent attacks you along the centreline then you will not bother defending yourself against this attack. So for example, if your opponent were to attack you with a hooking, circular punch, then you would not bother to block them. This is of course nonsense. Who will allow someone to hit them just because they attack you in a different way?

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The Centre Line Part 1: A Definition?

One of the most important principles in Wing Chun is Centre Line Theory. In essence, this is a simple principle and once understood will help your practice no end. However, to understand Centre Line Theory we must take into account three “different” Centres.

The Centre Line, as can be seen in Fig 1, is the Centre Line which divides the body into two running vertically from the top of the head down through the body. It is this line that Wing Chun emphasises when attack- ing and defending. This line is called Jik Sin. When standing directly opposite your opponent, then your Jik Sins will also face each other. In this case, it is simple to work your line of attack. Fig 2.

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The Best Times by Grandmaster Ip Chun

During this trip to England, somebody in one of my seminars asked me when the best time in my life was. I said, “Now, this moment is the best time”. If he asks me the same question next year, I will answer the same.

By this I mean that every year I am happier and happier. I started giving seminars abroad in 1981 so I have been doing them for about seventeen years. Now I am seventy four. I am still happy and healthy and am still able to travel all over the world giving seminars about Wing Chun. I don’t think about retirement if I am still able to teach.

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Yee Gee Kim Yeun Ma

The basic stance of Wing Chun Kuen is called the “Yee Gee Kim Yeun Ma”. To many it looks very simple and at the same time very strange in appearance. Some other styles of Kung Fu say they have similar stances, but these are very superficial comparisons. Whatever the case, this is a very important stance for all Wing Chun practitioners.

The first thing you learn when you begin Wing Chun is the basic stance ‘Yee Gee Kim Yuen Ma’.  This stance is formed by:

  1. Stand straight (but relaxed) with your feet together and your hands hanging at your sides
  2. Slightly bend your knees and raise your hands up to the sides of your chest forming ‘loose* fists. Keep your head upright and look straight ahead.
  3. Keeping your back straight and head upright, open your toes outwards. This is done by swiveling on your heels. Then turn your heels out, by swiveling on the balls of your feet, until they arc slightly wider then your toes. It is important not to just twist the feet. Although the feet move, you should allow your legs to turn from the hips.

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