Sunday, January 23, 2011

What is Chum Kiu?

Chum Kiu is the 2nd set of organized movements in the Ving Tsun System. Both characters mean "bridging the gap" or "searching for a bridge". This form is an extension of Siu Nim Toa and makes up the next twenty percent of the system.

What does Chum Kiu and "bridging the gap" or "searching for the bridge" really mean in kung fu terms?

Well in Chinese combative practice the arms and legs are often called bridges, and in some instances, so is the entire body. For example, "Wah Kiu" means Chinese Bridges (or Chinese Immigrants) and that term is emblematic of Chinese planting bridge pillars in foreign soil and acting as a NEW bridge to-and-from China.

In kung fu practice CK primarily develops balance in motion. It introduces unity of hands and footwork from one point to another - unlike Siu Nim Toa - which is simply a stationary meditative practice. Chum Kiu covers 180-degrees of one's facing area from side-to-side in one swift shifting-motion. This form also introduces and builds a hau mah (or rear horse) stance. Thus prepping the VT practitioner for kicking.

This form sets the stage for using legs in a:
  • balance-in-motion first;
  • combined with hands second;
  • kick-when-necessary last;  
CK is deeply dynamic and it uses all of the body's muscles, joints, and tendons into each shifting movement. Energy is released from the body's stored relaxation developed from SNT play (see the "What is Siu Nim Toa" blog).

Finally Chum Kiu, explores and studies unity of hands and equal hands via the centerline and at times without the centerline. This form instills the theory of equal hands by training the body to value efficiency in different angles of position. Training the whole body to recover quickly from hybrid and off-center positions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What is Siu Nim Toa?

Siu Nim Toa means the "little beginning idea" and it is the first set of organized movements within the Ving Tsun System. This form is quite important and it alone represents seventy percent of the system's ideology and vocabulary. It is a stationary and meditative practice where relaxed potential is stored. It should be played with mindfulness towards simplicity. And in kung fu terms, simplicity is simply to simplify.

SNT should only be practiced when one feels like playing it. Ideally it should be played with quality and care to detail. Nobody should just play it with a going through the motions attitude. It is crucial to develop the discipline to practice SNT as perfectly as possible. Learning how to enjoy Siu Nim Toa throughout one's life is key. Everybody enjoys being great at something, so practice accordingly. Play it with greatness and make it a habit to be a great player each and every time. Only perfect practice makes perfect.

Ultimately this form introduces the student to Ving Tsun's primary hands and vocabulary. Ving Tsun's primary hands are tahn, bong, and fook. Each hand brings its very own expression to the centerline. Tahn Sao is a receiving hand; Bong Sao is a deflecting (wing) hand; and Fook Sao is the superior and dominant hand. All three hands have their very own distinctive nature too. Tahn Sao is receptive while Fook Sao is giving, and Bong Sao is deflecting. Regardless of their different natures, each hand learns to occupy and maintain the centerline from one end point to another. These three specific hands make "look sao" or rolling hands possible in Chi Sao.

Chi Sao or "sticking hands" is the heart of Ving Tsun practice and development. It is the study of how our hands protect our boundaries (starting at the wrists) yet find a way to invade another's boundaries without compromising our very own structural integrity. All of the essential Ving Tsun theories such as centerline-facing, equal hands, simultaneous attack & defense, and the shortest distance between points are fully-integrated within the play of Chi Sao.

Chi Sao is very unqiue to the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System. It develops an internal energy called "noy gung". Noy Gung is born out of sticking hands practice where the same hands used for offense is also used for defense and vice versa. Chi Sao sticks to the centerline theory and to the shortest distance between points principle.

More later on "Sticking Hands" in my next blog about "Chi Sao: sticking to principle(s), theories, and attributes".........