Leung Ting WingTsun® training starts out with the Siu Nim Tau form. This form is an important way to start your training. The first third of its 108 points are performed slowly. This allows a few things to take place. First, a beginning student or a practitioner can slow down from a hectic day. One can also contemplate the movements and correct any positions, flight path, and tension. The form contains a second and third section which build on the first section. The applications of all these movements are taught concurrently with the form over the next few student grades.
The Siu Nim Tau is called a “form” like other martial arts. The difference is that it is not done for demonstration. It does not look spectacular nor does it look powerful or particularly violent. It is done for the benefit of the student or practitioner. Joint exercise in the form of wrist circles, elbow positions that circle the body and stretch upper body muscles, and the training of posture and leg strength are part of the benefits of just this form.
Wing Tsun is not just practiced for self-defense alone. It connects one’s mind with the body. The Siu Nim Tau form allows this connection in the early training. Certain healthy breathing exercises can be combined with the practice. At the same time as a student is working on the Siu Nim Tau, the learning of simple applications for common attacks begins. It is important to approach self-defense and fighting applications with the right mind set. A calm mind set is important. There are no superfluous techniques or mysterious movements that one would never use. Wing Tsun is a system that has seen continuous improvement over the last 250-300 years.
The theme that occupies a student of Wing Tsun is that there are no recipes for an attack. Every possible defense against every attack is not possible to teach. One must learn tools that can be flexibly applied per the attacker’s strength, direction of attack, degree of aggression and other factors. These factors are part of the training. Using an attacker’s own force against them as well as his mistakes are part of Wing Tsun’s “DNA.” The biggest thing that makes all of this possible is chi sau (chee sow) otherwise known as “sticky hands.” That is a topic for another blog.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg