As with any exercise or sport developing body positioning and coordination are critical in becoming skillful, efficient, and powerful. in Wing Tsun Kung Fu, students begin developing these through practicing the Siu Nim Tau. The Siu Nim Tau, literally translated as the little- idea- form, begins to build the reference points used in Wing Tsun Training. The Siu Nim Tau has several unique characteristics.
The Siu Nim Tau is practiced in a stationary position using the Character 2 stance. Read my article on the stance to get some idea of how to get the most out it. The hand movements in Wing Tsun are taught in three sections in which the arms are moved around the front, sides and back of the body.
The upper body remains relaxed throughout the movements. The practitioner should not be straining or tightening the muscles in the upper body, or trying to exert hard force. Instead, the focus is on increasing the flexibility of the arms, back and shoulders. This is especially true in the first section, which can be practiced as a moving-meditation. It is helpful to slow down your breathing during the tau-sau and fok-sau portion of the first section.
Even with the first hand movements the student is given the reference of the centerline, utilizing the vertical mid-line, and rotating arms. Three “ideas” that have far-reaching applications in close quarters situations.
On the second and third sections, a student learns how to defend attacks from the sides and back. During these sections, the hands should move in brisk deliberate movements, to help develop the soft-flexible power that is utilized in Wing Tsun.
The Wing Tsun student spends the first several student grades deepening his or her understanding of the Siu Nim Tau form. Each movement has practical application that is incorporated into partnered drills that demonstrate the practicality of Wing Tsun Kung Fu.