this curriculum teaches us how to seek out the arms of the opponent and to “connect a bridge”. Once we connect to the opponent, we can immediately determine where the holes in his defense are
The first form of the Wing Tsun system is called Siu-Nim-Tau. Meaning Little-Idea, this form demonstrates basic but efficient concepts that provide a logical method. Regardless of the style, all Wing Tsun/Wing Chun/Ving Tsun methods will generally begin their teachings with the Siu-Nim-Tau
Because we now know where he is, we can take advantage of it and enact our own attacks, e.g. taking the fight to him vs. waiting for him to come to us
All Wing Tsun empty-hand forms are taught in three sections to make for easier learning. For the Siu-Nim-Tau, however, its three sections have a specific purpose and stress a unique function:
Some will train the Siu-Nim-Tau as internal while others will train it as external. At the AWCA, we train Wing Tsun solely from the mindset of fighting (what many denote as external). Elements of internal training will result, such as relaxation and smooth breathing, but we do not focus on the internal aspects as some others do
For example, the Siu-Nim-Tau teaches basic attacks and defenses as they relate to the punch/palm striking range. In Chum-Kiu, however, we have kicks, elbows, and even grappling and takedown range. Short of ground fighting, these are four complete ranges of fighting that are addressed in Chum-Kiu training
The interesting thing about Wing Tsun is that you will find many variations. The families, lineages, and styles have particular ways to train, as well as specific modes of that training in order to cultivate what they feel are the essential elements to their preferred methods. Some are more effective than others, but on the whole, you will usually find more similarities than differences


Section 1 of Chum-Kiu introduces a variety of concepts that deal with trapping, changing angles, using elbow attacks, and defending against multiple opponents
Section 1 begins by learning how to lower one’s center of gravity from the chest to the waist. Called Hoi-ma, or Opening the Stance, this basic but primary element is one of the reasons we can take an opponent head-on. Should too much force be encountered and we are overpowered by brute strength, the structure itself allows us to “borrow” that force and re-direct or deflect it
A variety of drills can be created exclusively from section 1. To illustrate a bit about what the Siu-Nim-Tau teaches us, let's explore a few drills that begins the foundation of Wing Tsun
There are three primary punches in Wing Tsun, with Yat-chi-chung-kuen, or Character "Sun" Thrusting punch (commonly called the Straightline punch), being the most prevalent. If you close your hand to make a vertical fist, and then look at the front of it in a mirror, it resembles the Chinese character for sun
Ching-sun-gerk, or Front Thrusting-kick, can be employed at various heights, but its primary height is usually the waist. When you can kick with full power and at a parallel height (when your leg is parallel to the floor), then all kicks lower than that will generally see a great deal more power being released
Lower-level kicks are usually the norm in Wing Tsun, mainly because it is more difficult for the opponent to see. And if it is harder to see, then it is harder to defend against. The problem, however, is that many practitioners do not train their full power at a parallel level, which in turn sees a great deal of power lost that they can achieve
Therefore, always train this kick in the forms to be full power and parallel to the floor
In addition to single opponents, Wing Tsun also includes kicking methods for dealing with multiple opponents. We do not get to pick and choose how many will attack us, so Wang-chang-gerk allows us to respond to opponents approaching from the side
Tan-dar, Fook-dar and Gaun-dar are some of the easier movements to integrate with Yat-chi-chung-kuen. These actions address defense against straight punches, hook punches, and low punches
In addition to kicks, brutal elbow attacks are a mainstay of Chum-Kiu. Pie-jarn, or Horizontal Hacking-elbow, is one of the most frequently used of all Wing Tsun elbow attacks
While attacks like this may seem brutal, remember that Wing Tsun is strictly for fighting vs. rules-based sports. It is not flashy, showy, and there are no rules. You have been attacked, you are fighting for your life, and all targets are an option
A variety of today’s exercise routines include boxing, kickboxing, and other similar actions. These programs will usually tell you that in addition to improving your fitness, you are also creating a valuable self-defense skill set, something that you could use in real life for protection if you had to
I am not going to say that you are not learning something about self-defense, because clearly you are. The body is replicating the actions of movements you would use for defending yourself, and these can be valuable elements if you find yourself in a self-defense situation
I have also read/heard stories of some who were able to protect themselves only with the skills they learned from their kickboxing-oriented fitness programs. Whether true or not, I can see the relevance and have no reason to doubt it
Fighting and exercising are two different things. Yes, you are improving your fitness, and yes, you are learning the mechanics of basic self-defense actions. Remember, though, that real self-defense and exercising are not the same thing. There is more to reliable self-defense than merely going through the motions, and that is a primary concept we learn in the Chum-Kiu
Please do not create a false sense of security by relying on your fitness program to teach you about real protection. I personally love fitness programs that include boxing and/or kickboxing because they generate more movement that relates better to overall conditioning. However, these fitness programs will not stop a 250-lb. enraged attacker bent on drilling you into the ground
But Wing Tsun will
Many have asked how Wing Tsun might respond to other martial arts, so below is an example of this. Note, however, that the key word here is might

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In a real fight, anything can and usually does happen. I have a love of all martial arts and this is not to degrade these other methods. On the contrary, it is merely a look at possible Wing Tsun responses to the more commonly-used actions of a few different fighting methods
Gaun-dar, or Splitting Block-arm with Simultaneous Attack, is like an axe splitting wood, hence the name. Wing Tsun does not have blocks; instead, our blocks are actually attacks to the limb they are meeting. In this way, we counter-attack while defending
After learning the first section of Siu-Nim-Tau and exploring the variety of concepts, we can take these movements and blend them together to create our own drills/scenarios as necessary. This teaches us not to be stagnant or always training the same drills over and over without change
To begin this process, we work what is called the Lead-arm Defense Drill. This drill is just one of many variations that frees us up by changing from side-to-side while simultaneously working the arms. We also learn more control of the lower body and how to pivot ourselves in order to borrow the force of the attacker
An excellent real-world drill that you can work with your training partner right now is called the Pak-sau drill. This drill teaches coordination, learning to make contact, feeling what that pressure is about, and how to better protect your centerline. It also puts into motion the concept of working both hands at the same time so that you can enact simultaneous attack and defense
The Pak-sau drill is so important to Wing Tsun that our entire Lat-sau fighting curriculum begins with it. From driving in, down, around, adding kicks, elbows, knees, and any other action you can think, Pak-sau easily and quickly transitions to effective and efficient counter-attacks
The Chum-Kiu revolves around seeking out the opponent, and once found, we sink or leak through his/her defenses in order to attack. The most relevant areas of this training includes concepts for angling and turning in order to make the most of the space we have, which in turn allows us to address multiple opponents
Wing Tsun is concept-based vs. application-based, meaning that the movements themselves can only take you so far. They are excellent movements, for certain; however, they are still only mechanical actions. What really makes Wing Tsun so effective is how and why the movements are applied
The Chum-Kiu is also where Wing Tsun’s three primary kicking methods – Ching-sun-gerk, Wang-chang-gerk and Che-chang-gerk – are introduced. With these three kicks, we now learn to respond to leg attacks with our own legs vs. using the arms. An interesting facet, however, is that even with the kicks, we also learn that in many cases, responding to the opponent’s kick is sometimes not even necessary
For example, think about how many martial arts are in existence. Now, think about how many ways the human body can move. With the hundreds of systems and styles in the world, a person can still only do so many things
A common yet effective tactic is that when the opponent kicks, we explode forward into them in order to decrease the range. Not only can this jam the kick, but it can also decrease the power that the kick can produce by shortening the length it has to travel. And with a decreased distance, it cannot produce the same amount of power
In combination, the centerline and straightline principles increase your reactions so much that our responses can become extremely fast. However, there is no mystery there. It is nothing more than simple body mechanics
The vertical midline separates the left and right halves of the body so that we can analyze what limbs would be appropriate for various attacks. This is assisted by working the Six Gates principle, in which the body is broken down into six separate areas. For example, gates 1 and 2 are for the right and left sides of the head, gates 3 and 4 cover the right and left sides of the trunk, and gates 5 and 6 cover the right and left sides of the lower body. With these areas being analyzed, we can quickly see what limbs would be more efficient to address any kind of attack we might encounter
The “bridge” between the Siu-Nim-Tau and Biu-Tze is the Chum-Kiu. It is here that we take our basic concepts learned during our Siu-Nim-Tau training and really make them mobile, efficient, fluid, and responsive. Not only do we learn kicking and elbow attacks/ defenses, but we also learn how to engage multiple opponents
If you are ready to explore what Wing Tsun is about, there is no better starting point than Volume 1: Siu-Nim-Tau of the AWCA's eBook Training Series
If you have completed the Siu-Nim-Tau curriculum and you are looking for the next phase of training, then you're ready for Volume 2: Chum-Kiu of the AWCA’s eBook Training Series
This in-depth workbook takes you through the complete Siu-Nim-Tau curriculum from start to finish. This one-of-a-kind training platform was built with true distance learning in mind and has already helped thousands of practitioners all over the world actually learn Wing Tsun

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