Siu Nim Tau is the first form in Wing Chun. Siu Nim Tau translates as, a little idea, a little dream, or with a little imagination. We generally apply these concepts to the form itself. With a little imagination, this or that move can be applied as an attack or defense. Unfortunately, we tend to leave our imaginations right there, applying our visualization processing only to the form itself.
Visualization and imagination are vitally important in everything you do in Wing Chun or any Martial Art. It is important to see the technique in its full form. It is important to visualize the entire combination through to its completion, along with all interim moves, possible failures, and variations. It is also important we see ourselves as completing the technique; that we visualize how it works and that we make it work.
When working a form, such as Siu Nim Tau, we need to be conscious of the moment and every movement within it, and ourselves within those moments. Are you balanced? Are you centered? Are your toes pointing in the correct direction? Is your weight on the correct portion of the feet? Is your buttocks tight, are your abs tight or relaxed at the correct moment, are you breathing from the diaphragm?
Each move itself has to be visualized. Not only externally, visually checking its correct physical execution, but also internally imagined before and during its execution.
The opponent needs to be imagined. In the case of forms, the opponent is not there, but you need to see him. You need to know where you are focusing your energy, and it is always on the opponent. You might visualize a passive focal point; the flame of a candle or a sheet of paper that you blow on or draw toward you based on the energy generated by the movement of the moment.
There is a lot to focus on. No one said training would be easy. It is legitimate to argue we cannot concentrate on all these things at once. The human brain is not a multi-tasking device, though it is an excellent juggler; rapidly shifting from point to point to point. Repeated, memorized patterns are set on auto-drive so focus can be given to less familiar or more complex issues and movements. However, we must practice taking full account. After the complex issue is dealt with, take an inventory of all of the other factors.
The day’s events, politics, those cool shoes you saw in the shop window, creep into your thoughts, destroying your focus. Be in the moment. You are working a form or a drill, or running a combination with your partner. See the entire sequence in your mind. Check your position, your balance, and your movement.
If you cannot see it in your head, you cannot do it. It takes a little imagination.