In the study of Wing Chun, the first form you are exposed to is Siu Lim Tau / Siu Nim Tao. One of the primary concerns of the form is position.

Position defines structure. This idea holds true in all martial arts. The quality and effectiveness of a boxer’s jab is based on the position they achieve. The effectiveness of a grappler’s guard depends on the quality of their position.

We often focus on movement. We follow our instructor, zeroing in on movement from one point to another. However, the real thrust of the first form, and perhaps the majority of forms, is the position. The location and flex of the arms, legs, shoulders, hips, and back, define the overall structure. The structure, the position, is the critical aspect.

TAO - Training Assistance OnlineHow we get from point A to point B is important. However, the first goal is to understand and duplicate the named positions – the “Hands” – Tan Sau, Fook Sau, etc., right down to the smallest detail – the shape of the feet, the legs, the back, and so on. Again, this is true no matter what art or style you are working with.

Once we understand position A and position B, we can then slice up the transition into interim points, and from that understand the movement – how the energy flows from A to B. How your hand moves from the fisted ready position to the extended Tan Sau is a handful of interim positions.

This is oversimplified a bit. However, it is a good place for beginners to start in any art. For example, if you are new to grappling, focus on the details of the first position you are shown. Then focus on the details of the second position shown. Then, when working the movement from position A to position B, break the movement up into a handful of isolated positions. Do not become overly concerned with the movement itself as much as the ability to obtain the positions.

Over time, the ability to shift your weight, apply energy and force will develop. That energy and weight is meaningless if you cannot get to the proper position.


About Sifu

I teach Wing Chun, both traditional and practical, at KDA Karate Academy. I have a Bachelor of Media Arts degree from USC. I have been an Audio Producer / Engineer, a Law Office Manager. In addition to being a Martial Arts Instructor, I am an author. My new book, "Astro Boy, Sensei, and Me" is available now, as is my Sci-Fi joy ride, "On a Sphere's Edge".

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