From the first few Wing Tsun lessons, you learn to move both hands at the same time, doing different tasks. We know that if you try to defend first, then attack, it is much too late. Your opponent’s next attack is already on the way! It is completely unrealistic to consider the defend-then-attack scenario. We see this all the time in real fights. Quite often the combatants attack at the same time. Often, both miss in landing their first attacks.
The first form, called the Little Idea Form, teaches one hand at a time, standing in one place. The second section of the form teaches two hands at a time doing the same technique. The third section of the form uses more complex movements using one hand at a time. The whole set of movements, all three sections are performed standing in one place.
The second form adds in mobile footwork and two hands doing two different tasks. It contains elements of multiple attacker skills training. It also contains three different kicking methods.
Many people who enter training in a martial art in today’s America take it as a lark. They want to brag to their friends that they “take kung-fu” or they “take karate.” In ancient times the real purpose was to defend oneself as a soldier or to survive in violent times. Very seldom was there a situation where a student walked into a school of martial arts to start their training. More often, a family member or a friend of a friend recommended an instructor. Instruction might have taken place behind closed doors. An instructor kept an eye on their new student for at least several months to see if they had what it takes and that their student would not bring dishonor to their martial arts family.
“When will my life situation, i.e., schedule, money, living conditions be “perfect” enough to study WingTsun™?” The answer: NEVER. Life is never perfect. And if we wait until things are perfect, we will look back in regret at things never achieved. Procrastination is something we’ve all been guilty of but have you ever regretted pursuing something worthwhile? Of course not.
The above words, “commitment and sacrifice” are spoken in the context of competitive sports a lot in contemporary America. However, in the greed-driven world of professional sports, the words can sound hollow. “Sacrifice indeed. That player makes a million or more dollars per year,” you say. True. That player sacrificed but he received a huge monetary reward. What the player received in personal satisfaction, probably only the player knows for sure.
People tend to view the learning of a task like looking at a pyramid, at the bottom is the many, the unskilled, the novices. And somewhere high at the top of the mountain is the master. In my opinion this is a rather bleak view of life. Possibly it is this view of achievement that makes many give up on tasks that however difficult, were not impossible.
As a student of Wing Tsun kung-fu, you must start at the beginning. It is important to your understanding of Wing Tsun that Wing Tsun is not just a grab bag of techniques or ‘tricks.’
You can gather the ideas present in Wing Tsun by attending class, training hard in the principals and by reading the books by Great Grandmaster Leung Ting. This all takes time but the more you train and study the ideas, the faster this will come.
There are analogies for life within the art of Wing Tsun kung-fu. One such analogy is the idea of forward energy.
Martial arts analogies exist in other arts but Wing Tsun seems to have many, perhaps because of its concepts. To prevail in an encounter with an opponent, it can be necessary to maintain forward energy and forward direction. To stand still can be deadly to you. Forward energy and forward movement forces an attacker to spend time and attention to deal with you. In addition, it is far more difficult to stop, block or deflect an oncoming counterattack than one that stands still. A moving target is difficult. One that is coming right at you is worse.
The Siu Nim Tau form, Wing Tsun’s most basic set of movements, may be the perfect antidote to anxiety we hear about in modern people. The name of this form, Siu Nim Tau, means literally Little Idea Form. It is meant to convey the purpose of this set of movements. It is intended to be done slowly in a quiet environment with self-reflection and focus. It gives a student of Wing Tsun time to slow down everything, thinking, breathing, even one’s heart-beat with more natural breathing in the abdomen instead of high in the chest. If a focus is placed on abdominal breathing, it tends to reduce attention on shoulder tension.
We start you, the new student, at the beginning of the Wing Tsun journey learning self-discipline, exercising the body from the inside out, and self-confidence. The beginning movement set is the first form called Siu Nim Tau. It is important that a new student learn the essence of this form first. Siu Nim Tau is translated as “Little Idea Form.” The contains the essential basics that form the rest of the system.
The things you learn later, all have a representative movement within Siu Nim Tau.
Repetition may be the single most important factor in achieving martial arts skills. The human being needs repeated movements to work out the details and build the technique into what some call “muscle memory.” It should be obvious that practice makes perfect. In this day and age of smart phones and apps, many people have never had to learn a physical skill before!
In addition, many people may not know how to go about it. Practice can be broken down into segments. If a technique will require 1,000 repetitions to get correct, it can be broken down in to four sessions of 250 repetitions done on different occasions. It is not helpful, however, to wait a long time between sessions. Two weeks between sessions negates the effect.
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