The Four Open Hand Forms of Wing Chun
Let’s talk about the four types of open hand forms in Wing Chun.
There are four open hand forms in my school, they are: Sil Lim Tao, Chum Kiu, Mook Jong (Wooden Dummy) Form, and Biu Tze. I believe they all fit a certain role in Wing Chun.
- Sil Lim Tao (Foundation) – Learning the fundamental techniques
- Chum Kiu (Defense) – Learning to defend, counter, and make contact with opponent
- Wooden Dummy (Application) – Learning to apply our techniques and moving around an opponent
- Biu Tze (Attack) – Learning to use aggressive techniques to attack our opponents with our elbows and finger thrusts (to opponent’s eyes)
Doing Our Wing Chun Form with Intent
What do I mean by intent? I’m referring to the things that goes through my mind when I’m doing the Wing Chun forms.
At the beginning, I focused on the movement.
Now, I focus on the intent and thinking about the application as I go through the form.
Let’s use an example. We’re going to use Fook Sau because we’re going to give Fook Sau some love this episode.
When I do Fook Sau during Sil Lim Tao, I…
- …focus on keeping my elbows in, towards my center, because the Fook Sau occupies the same space that a straight punch needs to strike through.
- …keep my fingers relaxed but still together because I don’t want to end up flexing my arms and creating more tension.
- …let my wrist rest because if I’m in contact with my opponent, I can rely on sensitivity.
Now going through the entire form, my mind is thinking about something different for each movement because each movement has a different purpose. I should no longer zone out and go through the motion. I mean I can but I rather be in the moment and focus on each part of the form.
Chambering the Punch in Wing Chun Forms
My Sifu has explained it to be a part of our training to train our mind to be at two places at once. This is the fundamentals of remembering we have two hands that we can use at the same time.
When we’re going through the forms, we are doing two different things with our arms at the same time.
It may not seem that way but when you pay attention to it, you’ll realize it takes effort to keep one arm chambered while the other moves through the motions of the techniques.
By actively focusing on both the movement of the technique and keeping the other arm in place, we’re splitting our thoughts to focus on two things.
Tip: Keep elbows in and as close to my side when my arms are chambered.
Overtime, through repetition, practice, and training, it becomes a part of us and we can just do it without having to think about it.
Notes When Doing Open Hand Forms
- Don’t bob up and down when doing the forms. Stay the same height throughout the form
- Keep the pace of each movement in the form the same
I used to rush through every technique and form so I can move on to the next NEW thing. The problem was that by doing so, I didn’t pay attention to all the little details along the way which would have helped me understand the next technique or form better.
If I were to do it all again, I would tell my younger self to stop rushing, take your time, and pay attention to the details.
I’ve been doing the open hand forms for years and only now am I discovering that some of my movements and form are slightly off. This makes it a little difficult to correct because of muscle memory but by writing up these notes and reviewing them, they make a great reminder on what I need to focus on when I do the forms. Mastery is in the details.