How to Do the First 3 Sets of Siu Nim Tau Form in Wing Chun

Learn how to do the first three sets of the Siu Nim Tau form from Sifu Alex Richter in this Howcast Wing Chun video.

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Okay, so now I'm going to discuss and we're going to demonstrate the Siu Nim Tau Form. We're first going to do the first part of the form, which is first three sets of the Siu Nim Tau Form and I'm going to have my assistant here, demonstrate it and I'm going to explain a little bit, how it works. Again, forms are about fundamentals and forms are about body mechanics. Forms don't teach you anything about timing and power and dealing with an opponent, who's resisting, but they are very, very important for laying the ground work for body mechanics. So, we start the Siu Nim Tau Form off, like every other form, every other basic drill in Wing Chun. We start at the frontal stance. So, you're going to go ahead and set the stance like this. The first set of the form, we're going to do Tan-Sao, alright? So, your partner is going to cross, the left hand is on top, from there you're going to chop straight down, in a very relaxed manner and then you're going to do the internal rotation, or the Kwan-Sao and you come right back to the position you started. Okay, the second set of the form, we're going to start with the left punch. So, you bring your fist to the center. Now, you want to keep your elbow low and your shoulder low here, because this is where the power comes from. We say in Wing Chun, fist comes from the heart, the force comes from the elbow. So, when you launch the punch, it's very important that you're not using your shoulder to push but rather, you are launching from the elbow here, in a straight line, landing with the bottom three knuckles. After that, you're going to open the hand and you're going to do the Huen-Sao. When you do the Huen-Sao, you want to bring this all the way back and all the way down. When you get to the bottom position, you close the fists and you're going to bring it up and in and then you retract in a straight line as if you're doing an elbow strike, behind you. And then, you repeat the process on the right side. Put the fist in the center, launch from the elbow, open the hands, do a full circle, all the way down, trying to keep your elbow in place and circle it in, and then you withdraw in a straight line. And that's the second set of the form. Now the third set, we start with the Tan-Sao. The third set, we normally do a little bit slower because we're focusing on what we call, elbow force here, alright? But, we're going to speed it up a little bit, for the video today. You're going to bring your Tan So, right to the center here, this is the mid Tan So. After that, you're going to circle into Huen-Sao and Wu-Sao and then the arm is going to retract, from the elbow and the shoulder, as opposed to, from the wrist. When it gets close enough to the body, you're going to drop the hand and you're going to start the Fuk-Sao. Now, in the form, we do the Fuk-Sao, a total of three times. Then he's going to circle and then back. And this is again, to work on the elbow force, that's very important for our Chi-So practice and our overall body mechanics and structure, in Wing Chun. The entire time he's going through this process, he's going to keep his head back, posture straight, knees in together. So, it's not solely focusing on the hands, the knee pressure has to be engaged the whole time. Then we go to the side palm, then you go back and then you're going to launch the direct straight palm and then open and circle. And that's one side and then we're going to go ahead and repeat on the right side. So, we start with the Tan-Sao, drawing out slowly. Normally, you would do it a little bit slower than this, then you're going to circle, Wu-Sao and back. And again, very important while you're practicing this, is to keep the body mechanics in mind, upright structure, head back and shoulders in a stable position, and drop. And while you practice the Siu Nim Tau Form, you want to keep your breathing nice and even, you don't want to expel your breath, when you're punching or holding your breath at any moment. You actually want to keep your breathing, in a nice even rhythm because when you're fighting explosively, you need to keep your breath in check, you don't want to hold your breath or expel, just when you're punching. And there you go, that's the first three sets or the first part of the Siu Nim Tau Form.

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  • Sifu Alex Richter

    Sifu Alex Richter is the chief instructor and president of City Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Within a few short years, Sifu Alex has built City Wing Tsun from a small class in a Manhattan dance studio to a two-floor Wing Tsun training center. He has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, on the Discovery Channel, in Kungfu/Taichi magazine and on PBS.