Also known as the Sil Lim Tao (Cantonese: Way of Little Thought lit: small thought way). First form of three/four main forms (sil lum tao
, chum kiu
, biu jee
, wooden dummy
) of Wing Chun
. Amongst earlier generation practitioners in Hong Kong this form was taught exclusively for one year to students before advancement to either combat training, chum kiu or chi sau
techniques. Emphasis is placed on technique and speed to generate power in attacks (as opposed to raw strength) and economy of movement.
The purpose of the form is two-fold: to train the student to protect the centreline (an imaginary line drawn vertically from forehead to navel and encompassing many pressure/soft points i.e. solar plexus
, crotch) by deflection (such that an effective defence is less dependant on the raw strength of the student); and to train a solid stable stance
as a foundation for projecting power in strikes (a common theme in wing chun is that more power is generated by the feet than the hands in a punch or a thrust). Divided into roughly three sections: offense, defense, and regaining the centre.
The stance is formed by placing both feet together then pivoting both feet outwards from the heels to roughly 45 degrees. A second 45 degree pivot outwards from the balls of the feet completes the stance. The back is kept straight, the hands guarding the centreline in a triangular structure, on hand a handspan aft from the other. Weight is placed equally on the centre of the feet. As a general rule the stance should be as low as reasonably possible.
I won't attempt to outline the form here, but I will make a few minor points that may be interesting. The shoulders should be relaxed and sunken. Attacks are made from with initially relaxed muscles (when tensed, movements are slower and more forceful). Power is generated by attaining a high final velocity of the fist prior to impact, then bracing the attack against the ground (by 'locking' the body in place) to a) ensure better transmission of momentum
to the target and b) adding a portion of body mass to the attack just prior to impact (to increase the effective mass of the fist in calculating force while keeping the velocity drop due to the addition of mass to the equation to a minimum). It's all physics, notably the basic force equation F=MA
. Punches are aimed at a point about a foot behind the surface of the target, a placebo
effect to ensure that the practitioner does not subconciously slow the fist in anticipation of impact.