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The Wing Chun Forms

Within the Wing Chun system there are essentially 6 Forms: 3 'empty hand' Forms, 2 'weapons' Forms and the 'Wooden Dummy' Form. There is also the unique training method of Chi Sau (sticking hands)        


Class lessons may cover the following four elements, though not all in one session and are dependent on an individuals needs and abilities.

The structure of one to one lessons is by arrangement.

  • The Forms                                            

  • Applications                                        

  • Fighting applications                                  

  • Chi Sau


Forms are solo exercises which develop focus, balance, proprioception and kinesthetic awareness. They introduce the hand positions, techniques and defining movements of each progressive level of Wing Chun and provide a way to practice without a partner.

Students begin their Forms training by learning the basic mechanical movements, simply learning the "choreography" of the sequence. Once the patterns are ingrained, students can begin to carefully refine the structural precision of each movement, gaining a clear awareness of the chains of movement, their shifting balance intuitively and the functional importance of each technique.

As they progress, students will develop a sense of flow and understand force generation through relaxation both mentally and physically.

Underpinning all things is the development of Yi Sik or 'Intent - Process or Method'. 

The emphasis within holistically taught Wing Chun is the development of 'Nim Tao', the concept of 'Mind Force' which sounds very dramatic.

Nim Tao comes from the first Wing Chun form name Siu Nim Tao (Little Idea). The Cantonese term ‘Nim’ means ‘Mind’ and ‘Tao’ means ‘Study’. When they are combined they mean ‘Idea’.

Holistic Wing Chun places an importance on uncovering the existence of 'Idea Power'.

The term Nim Tao encapsulates other words like intent, thinking and conceptualizing. However, a key to understanding what is meant by the term is to think of 'Idea' as a verb – an active process in the mind. In time the flow of 'Idea' should remain uninterrupted and be kept continuous.

The Wing Chun Forms also differ from many other 'Forms' in martial arts, in that there are no direct translations or applications in these movements but an embedded development of the core principles and mental focus of the system.


The 3 empty hand forms are:

Siu Nim Tao (Little Idea) – The first and most important form in Wing Chun is Siu Nim Tau, or "The Little Idea." This is the foundation upon which all of the other forms and techniques are developed. Its significance cannot be overstressed. It introduces an essential path and thinking which begins to develop the structure and positions of the system through the mental focus or development of Nim Tao which is deeply embedded.

Chum Kiu (Searching for the Bridge) – The second form, adding to that which is learnt in Siu Nim Tao and teaching the practitioner how to 'bridge' contact through moving the body, utilising the centre of mass to produce powerful yet effortless forces.

Biu Gee (Darting Fingers/Thrusting Fingers) – The third and most advanced empty hand form. It requires a high level of understanding from Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu in order to appreciate, understand and apply correctly. Sometimes referred to as 'Gow Gup Sao' (emergency hands), this form is comprised of extreme short-range and long-range techniques applied at speed in an 'emergency' to recover centre line and respond when structure has been compromised. 

Muk Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy) – The Wooden Dummy is perhaps the most recognisable feature of Wing Chun Kung Fu. It is a 24 hour training partner and an invaluable tool that enables one to practise and apply the structures and principles learned in the above three empty hand forms. Traditionally made from a man-sized wooden log with three arms and a single leg, the Wooden Dummy acts as a "mould" for the student's techniques. Practicing with the wooden dummy refines a student's understanding of angles, positions and footwork, and helps to develop full body power. It is here on the Mook Yan Jong that the open hand techniques are pieced together and understood as a flowing, integrated whole.


Two weapons forms:

Baat Cham Dao: Eight Chopping or Cutting Knives (Butterfly Knives) – The Knives are the original weapons of Wing Chun though not exclusive in design. Said to have originated from the Shaolin temple, they were designed as a self defence weapon for the monastic monks. Butterfly knives were designed with a single edge that was sharpened only on the front 1/3 of the blade.

This design allowed the practitioner to deliver non-fatal strikes with surgical precision, to maim rather than kill the opponent. This also allowed the weapon to be used to parry and deflect other edged weapons and prevent the blades’ sharpened edges from getting caught together. Effectively extensions of the arms, they require control and power, further enhancing the principles of Wing Chun and all that is learned through the empty hand forms.

Luk Dim Boo Kwun: Six and a Half Point Pole (Long Pole) – Not traditionally part of the Wing Chun system, the Pole Form was only added a few generations ago. There are various exercises associated with the pole, the form itself containing a basic six and one half point strikes. In essence it is a long range weapon and used primarily to further develop internal strength and precision.

Application drilling:


Application training is the repetition of drills and sequences intended to build understanding of the position, structure and energy usage of techniques. Working in a safe capacity, both solo and partner work is essential in embedding and exploring learning in order for students to gain confidence and develop ability. Drills are often called San Sik (separate forms) or San Sau (separate hands) in traditional Wing Chun schools. Drills range from the repetitive practice of basic motions to simple bridging and countering techniques to free-flow sparring. Most Drills are loosely grouped into three broad categories: (1) developing basic structure and mechanics through punching, blocking, shifting and stepping; (2) building timing skill through fundamental arm cycles and interceptions; and (3) cultivating sensitivity and kinesthetic "listening" skills.

Fighting application:

There is no sparring as such in Wing Chun. Performing without elements of stress and reality or working within a set of rules simply isn't what happens in self defence. Here in open training, street defence is explored in attack and defence method training, where any form of attack is defended using Wing Chun. Fighting application teaches you to apply the techniques that have been positionally refined in the forms and structurally developed through drilling. Safety is paramount in order to learn but pressure testing is key. It is also essential in developing mental strength and clarity under pressure.

Chi Sau

Chi Sau (sticking hands) is a unique and essential part of training within Wing Chun. A close -quarter, contact exercise, it teaches position, energy, reflex and technique in a free flowing activity designed to enhance fighting ability. Although it is not fighting itself, Chi Sau should be seen as mutual learning experience where practitioners can play an ongoing game, physically, mentally and enjoyably, exploring all that has been developed through the forms and application drilling. Chi Sau is always different, as each individual is different and brings their own level of ability and experience to the exercise. It is a way of developing a Wing Chun practitioners skill whilst 'keeping their claws in' to use an analogy.

Those who practice Wing Chun fully through time, learning the complete system, can not only defend themselves adeptly and enjoy good mental and physical health but at Cymru Wing Chun Kuen, it is the aim for students to posses the attributes of purpose, mental calm, focus, confidence, adaptability, resilience, humility, happiness and positivity in all aspects.

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