Siu Lim Tao – 小念頭

Siu Lim Tao (Siu Nim Tao)- Little Idea

by West Coast Wing Chun

Siu Lim Tao 小念頭 is most often translated as “little idea”.  If we look at the Chinese characters we can understand a more in depth meaning.

小 is understood as meaning “little”.
念 is understood as meaning “think, study”.
頭 is often translated as “head”, but may also mean “first or start”.
The Siu Lim Tao Form  is the first open hand form of Wing Chun. There are 108 movements in the form, presented in three parts. The form is conceptual, presenting the concepts of energy, motion and position in a fixed context.

The Stance

The Siu Lim Tao form is comprised entirely of the Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma Stance (Character Two  二  Frontal Adduction Stance).  Stepping and turning is not introduced until the second form of Wing Chun, the Chum Kiu form.   Attention must be given to correct foot, leg and hip positioning so the stance optimizes its stability, mobility and ability to lever power from the earth. Additional focus must be given to earth points on the bottom of the feet, as well as the hui yum point on the underside of the pelvis to facilitate proper chi flow.

Siu Lim Tao is a single-handed movement; even in the second part you are using both hands symmetrically, so it is still single-handed. ~Ip Chun

The First Section

The first section of the Siu lim Tao form introduces us to two of the seeds or family motions of the Wing Chun Kuen, the tan sau and fook sau. Proper breathing, stance integrity, and relaxation are heavily emphasized to facilitate the development of internal power. However, direct focus and intent must be placed on the underside of the elbow to build jahn dai lik (force/tension beneath the elbow). Careful attention must be given to practicing the motions slowly to facilitate muscle memory.

The motions are as follows:
Seung Guan Sau
Seung Tan Sau
Lop Sau
Sam Pai Fut or Praying Thrice to the Buddha (Slow) Section:
Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wu Sa
Fook Sau, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wu Sau (Repeat 3x)
Pak Sau, Jek Cheung

The Second Section

The second section of the Siu Lim Tao Form, often referred to as the Long Bridge section, teaches us to use the energy that is built in section one, in a combined soft and hard capacity. Here, we start to develop the first aspects of Fa Ging or whipping power. The arm is like a whip; it remains soft and relaxed until the moment of impact when we add last minute energy to the motion, and then become relaxed immediately after. The strike becomes like the crack of the whip only through the use of the soft/hard combination of energies.

The motions are:
Left Side Gum Sau, Right Side Gum Sau,
Rear Gum Sau, Frontal Gum Sau
Lan Sau, Fak Sau, Lan Sau
Jum Sau, Tan Sau, Jut Sau
Bui Sau, Gum Sau, Tai Sau
Ji Si Sau, Lop Sau

The Third Section


In the last third, you are applying the techniques. ~Ip Chun

The third section of the Siu Lim Tao form shows us correct flow and positioning of motions. For example, after practicing the Bong Sau, the third seed of the Wing Chun Kuen, the student drops his elbow into Tan Sau. This sequence reveals the vulnerability of the Wing Arm position. Careful consideration must be given to hand positions while understanding that when an opponent is present hands may need to be adjusted based on the height of the opponent. The movement must be slow and deliberate.

The motions are:
Pak Sau, Tsang Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Left Side)
Pak Sau, Tsang Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Right Side)
Tan Sau, Guan Sau, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wang Wa Cheung, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Left Side)
Tan Sau, Guan Sau, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Wang Wa Cheung, Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Right Side)
Bong Sau, Tan Sau, Tok Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Left Side)
Bong Sau, Tan Sau, Tok Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau (Right Side)
Left Tut Sau, Right Tut Sau, Left Tut Sau
3 Lin Wan Kuen,
Tan Sau, Huen Sau, Lop Sau


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