By Shaun Rawcliffe, in “Simply Wing Chun kung fu”
“Chum Kiu” are cantonese terms: “Chum” meaning “to seek” or “obtain” and “Kiu” meaning bridge; to connect or “reduce the distance between”.
Chum kiu, known as “seeking the bridge form” is Wing Chun’s second or intermediate form, and is the natural progression from learning Siu Nim Tao. Chum Kiu is, in reality, far more advanced and complex than Siu Nim Tao, primarily because it incorporates Siu Nim Tao and then comprehensively adds to it. All the basic hand techniques, energies and the use of those energies that are developed in Siu Nim Tao, are used within Chum Kiu, which teaches the practitioner how to gain complete control of the fighting environement. Chum Kiu training increases the power developed within Siu Nim Tao, so it is vital than sufficient level of understanding and proficiency has been developed in Siu Nim Tao, before Chum Kiu training commences.
The principal concept behind Chum Kiu is, as the name suggests, “to seek” or “to search for the bridge”. The “bridge” refers to the forearm, or any phisical contact point, either arms or legs, on the opponent. This contact enables the practitioner to utilize the sensitivity and energy developed through Chi Sau to control and dominate his opponent by reading his movements and intentions. Through contact it is possible to respond immediately with the appropriate defensive technique, to parry and trap or counter-attack.
In order to avoid being hit, as well as to increase the power of Wing Chun’s techniques, Chum Kiu practises and develops powerful stepping and turning footwork, whilst simultaneously offering forward hand techniques to safely intercept and receive a strike , or to create a point of contact. Though the primary aim of Chum Kiu is to seek out the opponent, it also incorpotates a multitude of other concepts: it utilizes all the basic concepts, hand techniques and structures practised within Siu Nim Tao, and adds functionality to them through the correct usage of stepping and turning footwork.
Kicking techniques are introduced and practised within Chum Kiu, both defensively to intercept an attaker’s kicks or to bridge the gap at a lower level; and offensively to attak an opponent’s legs and stance.
Chum Kiu also contains several tools and mouvements to recover the centreline; however, unlike Biu Tze that aggressively recovers the centreline when an opponent takes advantage of a mistake, Chum Kiu recovers the centreline as soon as the mistake is felt by the Wing Chun practitioner, and before the opponent has the opportunity to capitalize upon it.
Chum Kiu practice unifies and coordinates the upper and lower body. This harneses the power and energy available through correct turnung and stepping, and continues the development of structure and efficient body mechanics begun in Siu Nim Tao. The legs and footwork must be trained to function as part of the whole body, not as a separate structure from the upper body. In application, footwork involves stepping forwoards, backwards, to the side and at an angle, as well as turning on the spot. Stepping must be fast and powerful to close in on the attaker, driving towards him, jamming his attacks, and counter-attaking.
There are obvious differences between Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu, in addition to the use of kicks: first, Siu Nim Tao is the fundamental training method of Wing Chun; it is performed from a fixed, static stance using only one hand at a time. Each arm is trained independently; even within the second section when two hands are used together, they are actually performing exactly the same techniques and mouvments simultaneously.
Chum Kiu is much more complex and demanding, in that both hands are simultaneously practising different mouvments, working together in unison and coordinated with powerful stepping and turning footwork, to change direction and position. Through diligent Chum Kiu practice, the body becomes hightly coordinated, allowing multiple and simultaneous responses, with both arms and with kicks.