Sil Nim Tau (1st Form) 

Siu Nim Tau is one of the three form-sets of the Wing Chun martial art. It is the foundational form-set to begin with. Its emphasis is on maintaining a motionless state of the body, only with the two arms actively shaping into different form structures; yet the power so attained is enormously destructive in offence and strongly sustaining in defence. A closer look reveals that every form taps maximally on the principles of mechanics – endowing Siu Nim Tau with the essence of being the most important basic form-set.

Practising Siu Nim Tau entails undivided attention; casual or perfunctory attitude is detrimental. When the techniques embodied in every form have been precisely acquired, the usage of every structure fully explored and familiarised (which is further concerted with the skills delivered by the other two form-sets, Chum Kiu and Biu Jee), one can then generate as much power as one’s body potentially possesses – power will not be consumed in vain but is always at one’s disposal.

Above all, practising Siu Nim Tau can foster a kind of intangible power. When in operation, such power can hardly be detected in appearance nor exhibited as the contraction of muscles. Instead, no fatigue will be felt even when encountering an impacting force. In fact, massive power is actually being sent out. Such intangible power is termed Nim Lik.

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Chum Kui (2nd Form)

Chum Kiu is the second fundamental form-set of the Wing Chun martial art. It denotes the exploration of diverse skills in treating the opponent’s hand-bridges when in contact. It trains the learner to acquire the ways of mobilising the body weight as a propelling force which is further orchestrated with the form structures of Siu Lim Tau to result in all sorts of dynamics in Wing Chun.

Making Wing Chun dynamic is easier said than done. It entails extraordinary persistence in practice, disallowing aggressive attitudes and the idea of offence. There are no speedy moves in the entire Chum Kiu Form-set, so that the form structure established through Siu Lim Tau can be accorded with the propelling power of the body weight and the waist- linked stance. Such accordance, once attained, opens access to the wonderful and amazing techniques of force application that, yet, still tightly obeys the principles of mechanics. When skillfully applied, both Propelling Power and Steering Power can be thoroughly manifested – one can appreciate the wisdom and might of the creator of this martial art.

The conception of force application in Chum Kiu is analysed below based on my personal experience:

  • Mechanics of Chum Kiu;

  • Offence and Defence in Chum Kiu; and

  • Force Application Techniques in Combat.

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Bil Gui (3rd Form)

Biu Jee is the third form-set in the Wing Chun martial art. Traditionally Biu Jee has been regarded as prohibited to outsiders. Grandmaster Ip Man had also mentioned that it would not be taught to others not of his lineage. This might be due to some old thinking that heritage is proprietary, or due to the fact that those who have not built a solid foundation in Wing Chun are not ready to receive Biu Jee training. I believe the latter explanation to be more reasonable.

In fact, the conception of Biu Jee is completely different to that of Siu Lim Tau and Chum Kiu. Its name already hints at the idea of offence: the power from the entire body can be mobilised up to the palm and fingers, enabling massive destruction – it is a very practical set of techniques in combat.

Under the influence of the tradition “prohibited to outsiders” and the fantasy of Biu Jee’s high offence techniques, learners are prone to mistakenly equate learning Biu Jee to being gurus in Wing Chun. They yearn for accelerated access to its training, or start on their own by imitation, diminishing into mere copy-cats. Undoubtedly Biu Jee is practically geared to combat. However, operating Biu Jee is completely based on the achievements in Siu Lim Tau and Chum Kiu training. For ideal and serious Wing Chun training, Biu Jee should not be taught without considering a learner’s readiness – this is, rather, the correct attitude to heightening the learner’s final attainment.

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Chark Yiu (4th Form, Created by Ip Ching)

Ip Ching created 4th form to recognize all the different Wing Chun Associations across the world. It's a blend of all 3 open handed forms, Dummy and the knife 

Mook Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy)

The Wooden Dummy is an auxiliary appliance facilitating the training of Wing Chun. The entire form-set of the Wooden Dummy comprises of diverse combinations of the forms of Siu Lim Tau, Chum Kiu and Biu Jee. The Wooden Dummy serves as a target object onto which different applications of forms are practised.

For this reason, the Wooden Dummy form-set is not self-contained. Rather, it is an aggregate of various forms derived from the forms of the foundational form-sets, slightly modified to become practical moves for use in imagined combat situations. This signifies the transition from empty-handed practice to application for combat.

There are 10 sections in the Wooden Dummy form-set. Each section groups, by and large, 10 moves of similar purposes. In addition, there are eight moves of kicking. All this sums up to 108 moves of the form-set.

According to the oral narrations by Grandmaster Ip, the second section (could be regarded as the secondary 10 moves) was originally placed at the ninth section. Grandmaster Ip opined that the moves in this section were the same as those in the first section and thus rearranged the order to make it the second. Whether the original sections were distanced deliberately due to some undiscovered secrets is unsure, something that I have not delved into.

The count of 10 moves in each section of the Wooden Dummy form-set is not a precise measure. For some sections, there are as many as 15 moves. No wonder there are alleged versions of different counting, respectively suggesting 116 and 132 total moves in the form-set.

Meanwhile, Grandmaster Ip often treated the Wooden Dummy as the practice partner for experimenting new moves he had conceived. I had been influenced by his attitude and practised with the Dummy in the same way. However, the newly conceived moves had not been merged into the Wooden Dummy form-set, so that its original composition could be preserved.

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Lok Dim Boon Kwan (Pole Form)

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Baat Cham Do (Knife Form)

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