Welcome to my second post, where we will discuss the Mother Form – Siu Nim Tau
At Havant Wing Chun we see Siu Nim Tau as teaching us the following key points:
- Hands/Body position
- Know your border
- Stepping lines
- Daan Chi Sau actions
- Simple Hands Skills
- Correct hand shapes.
- Relax to improve.
- Create good habits
- Don’t get distracting by external movements.
We also follow the Sifu Cliff Au Yeung way of splitting the form up into four sections. This time I will look at section one.
SECTION 1 – STANCE AND CENTERLINE SETTING
In our classes at Havant Wing Chun we believe it is important to experiment with your basic stance – Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma – until you find a happy medium between having a small/short stance which may make it harder for you to move your waist and feet together and one that may also force you to be top heavy when in motion. A wider stance is generally better for mobility, but if it is too wide you could lose the ability to be light on your feet. We generally say that the distance from between your feet should align roughly with the width of your shoulders. Of course if you are a taller person it makes sense to have a wider stance. In general you are aiming to lower your centre of gravity so that the mid-point of your body is at right angles with the floor, much like the mast of a boat.
Now it is obvious (I hope) that we cannot fight in the Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma stance, we are only concerned with the correct distance between the feet and the idea of fighting with the upper body face on. It is best to spend many hours in the basic stance until it feels very comfortable. Only when it is comfortable will you be able to start the correct way of moving and footwork. This idea front facing fighting is not unique to Wing Chun, in fact one of my favourite MMA fighters advocates it. I will let El Guapo himself explain why he uses this concept:
Because when standing (or sitting) in the Yee Jee Kim Yeung Ma you have no supporting rear leg, this compels you to receive forces by sitting the waist or shifting the body. If you trained your Siu Nim Tau with the rear leg present there would be no way of knowing if you need your waist or not. The waist should sit using an action like a ball which is rolling slightly to the front. Try to feel the curve of the spine become straight and let the shoulder relax naturally down. The knees should act like a spring but don’t pull the knees together as this may cause injury in the long term.
Here is a video from Sifu Cliff Au Yeung from our 2015 Workshop, explaining a little more about Stance, Centreline and Balance:
Centreline and Border Setting
The action of crossing your hands low in front of you left over right with the wrists on the centre line and the elbows over the hip is an idea to demonstrate how to know your fighting border. This border extends down from the shoulder line to your hip line, this is also where our elbows will be situated in ideal conditions. So we are trying to create a good fighting habit of “get your elbows to the border position as soon as possible” once there you will feel the exchange of force much easier. After continuous training this feeling becomes a natural habit, allowing you to direct the incoming force to your centre almost immediately. Then later in your training you can create this exchange of force even if your elbows are out of your border.
Next, the wrists should draw an imaginary vertical line horizontal to the body making sure not to allow the forearms or hands to come closer to the body.
The punching fist should now be driven from behind the elbow onto your centre and out. If you try to get your elbow on to centre the incoming force could become locked. Also keep in mind that beginners should do this in two movements but senior students should only do in one smooth action. This punching action describes the following three lines which we refer to as The Force Triangle.
- The centre.
- The vertical hip line/eye line.
- The shoulder line.
Once the stance and centreline are set the hands should be held back and under the chest.
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Next time….. Siu Nim Tau Section 2