Tan Sau in Chi Sao

Today we talk about learning my Tan Sau’s weakness in Chi Sao.

This past weekend, I learned about my Tan Sau’s weakness from my Wing Chun meet up at Central Park. When I roll from Bong Sau to Tan Sau, I tend to relax my Tan Sau which makes me vulnerable for attacks.

I have never thought about this and no one has brought it to my attention before. My friend Marc was the one who noticed and gave me feedback, after our Chi Sao session, to address it. Marc suggested when I roll, I should maintain the same forward intent I have with my Bong Sau in my Tan Sau.

We’re gonna keep talking about Tan Sau this week, so if you guys have any questions about Tan Sau, please leave them in the comments and I will discuss them in the next episode!

The Four Types of Open Hand Forms

Today we 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.

1) Sil Lim Tao (Foundation) – Learning the fundamental techniques

2) Chum Kiu (Defense) – Learning to defend, counter, and make contact with opponent

3) Wooden Dummy (Application) – Learning to apply our techniques and moving around an opponent

4) Biu Tze (Attack) – Learning to use aggressive techniques to attack our opponents with our elbows and finger thrusts (to opponent’s eyes)

These are just my perspectives of the form. What do you think? What’s your take on each form? Let me know in the comments!

Elbow Strike Your Opponent

Today we talk about using elbow strikes effectively in Wing Chun!

An elbow strike can devastate your opponent but it does have a few weaknesses:

– You need to be extremely close ranged to land an elbow
– Your centerline is no longer facing your opponent

That being said, I never lead an attack with my elbows. I think the best way to use an elbow strike is when you follow it up from another strike. For example, I use Lop Sau to pull my opponent towards me, while disrupting their centerline, then I drive my elbow into them as I am pulling. I show two examples in this episode, let me know if they make sense.

Question for you: How do you train your elbow strikes? Do you need to learn Biu Tze first? Let me know in the comments!

Sil Lim Tao Wing Chun Dummy Part 2

This week we go over section 2 of Sil Lim Tao on the Wing Chun Dummy. P.S. If you want to skip over the section 1 recap, go to the 2:50 mark.

You can watch Part 1 here.

Section 2 is much more complex than section 1. It requires the form to be broken down into 9 smaller sections. This also makes it easier to apply the movements to the dummy. If you require more details for each section, let me know!

Also, this Thursday I have a big announcement so please stay tuned for that. Hint: It may or may not be related to the Portable Wing Chun Dummy 😉

Shan Wu Kung Fu School – Learn Wing Chun in New York City

If you’re looking for a Wing Chun school in New York, come visit the school I train in! You can sit in, and watch, for the entire class. Sifu Thierry Remion will be available to answer any of your questions during class.

You can visit the official school website here: http://www.shanwuwingchun.com


The Clemente Soto Velez Center

107 Suffolk St.
Studio 203
New York, NY 10002


Wednesdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Saturdays 10:00am – 12:00pm

Wing Chun Training – Sil Lim Tao

Sil Lim Tao or “Little Idea” is the first form of the Wing Chun system. The form covers the fundamentals of Wing Chun.

Many people may rush through forms to get to the next without understanding how important it is before moving on. I have to admit that I was one of those students and it wasn’t until I was learning Biu Tze did I realize how my training could have been more effective if I paid attention to my body when I was doing my previous forms.

Here’s a short video explaining my reasoning behind doing Sil Lim Tao slowly.

Basically, if you are new to Wing Chun, your body has not adapted yet so it’s harder to perform Wing Chun techniques. By doing the form slowly, you work out parts of your body that you have never worked out before because you hit the smaller muscles that aren’t normally triggered when exercising or doing things in your everyday life. These muscles are activated when you start your Wing Chun training. Similar to working out at the gym or at home, you don’t see results if you speed through the workout. Instead, you should take your time to put effort into maintaining good form to obtain better results.

So the next time you’re doing your form, pay attention to your body. If you feel tension in parts of your body as you’re doing your form, you’re exercising new muscles that will help you to improve your technique and form in Wing Chun!

And if you don’t know Sil Lim Tao and are looking to learn the form, I would recommend checking out Sifu Chuck’s training videos. You can read my review here.

Notes: Chi Sao Sessions with Another Lineage

I met Benny at a family barbecue. We started talking right away once I heard him mention Wing Chun. We talked about our experiences with the martial art, who our Sifus are, and our lineages. I discovered that his Sifu learned directly from Wong Shun Leung and I told him my Sifu learned directly from Ip Chun, so we’re both from the Yip Man lineage.

We eventually Chi Sao. It’s always interesting to Chi Sao with different people because everyone has their own style, even if we learn from the same teacher. I’ve also had Chi Sao sessions with other people outside of class before and it was always a mixed experience because it would either end in a draw (meaning our defenses/offenses negated each others strikes) or I get smacked up! So this was a new perspective for me to Chi Sao someone where I had more experience.

I was very casual with Benny because he was new to Wing Chun and just started learning Chi Sao. One thing I noticed right away was that he was not protecting his centerline, which was the same for me when I started but when I mentioned that to him, he said he would Pak the attacks aimed at his centerline. So I tested his defense by attacking his centerline but he wasn’t able to react fast enough.

The next thing I noticed after several minutes of Chi Sao was that he never switched arms when rolling. His “resting” arm was also not resting at all so he was rolling with both arms while I had one arm rolling and one arm resting.

After half an hour of Chi Sao we stopped our session, asked each other questions, and discussed the differences between our styles. Benny asked me about shifting and I told him I shift using the middle of our foot whereas he does it on his heels. Some differences that I noticed between Wong Shun Leung and Ip Chun, from our Chi Sao session, was that Ip Chun style is more focused on the centerline and being ambidextrous when striking or defending.

Even though we had different Wing Chun training, he was able to pick up a few things from our Chi Sao session. More importantly, we both had fun being able to Chi Sao and discuss Wing Chun!

Do you have experience with other Wing Chun practitioners outside of your Wing Chun school? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Snake vs Crane

Chi Gerk – An Introduction to Sticky Legs

I recently started learning Chi Gerk and it’s a completely different than anything I’ve done in Wing Chun. This is because the core component of Chi Gerk is utilizing our legs and kicks. This can be hard for some people to grasp since most of Wing Chun training focuses on the upper body with only a minimum amount focused on our lower body. But the good thing about Chi Gerk is that it has two fundamental combinations whereas in Chi Sao, there are a lot more.

Here’s a basic guide to getting started with Chi Gerk.

You can start with these basic warm ups that can train your balance on one leg.

Step 1: Start with the left foot by picking it up so that your knees are ninety degrees. All the weight should be on the back leg (in this case, the right one).

Step 2: Rotate the left foot clockwise. The rotation should come from the knee not the ankle. Do ten and then go counter clockwise.

Step 3: Go back to the lifted leg position. Kick forward and backwards loosely. Do this ten times.

Step 4: Go back to the lifted leg position again. This time, swing the left foot from left to right. Do this ten times.

Step 5: In this last step, go back to the lifted leg position and hold. Count to ten.

Step 6: Take a quick ten-second break and repeat Steps 1-5 with the opposite leg.

After your warm up, get a partner and practice rolling your legs, going back and forth, and swinging them side-to-side.

This is done by getting in Chi Sao position but with out rolling the arms. Then, lift one of your legs up and bring it against your partner’s opposite leg so the outside of your leg is sticking to the outside of your partner’s. Now just roll your legs by kicking back and forth loosely. You might be off balanced so be sure to keep the weight on your back leg and make sure your shoulders are squared with your partner’s so that your centerlines are facing each other.

If you’re still falling out of position, hold each other’s hands for balance. And when you get the hang of it, try it with rolling hands. (Note: I still can’t do this.)

Going back to the two Chi Gerk combinations. There are two because there are only two ways to go about striking in Chi Gerk. The strikes are either coming from the outside or attacking from the inside and they all require shifting on one leg. This is where it gets tricky because shifting on one leg requires the momentum of your rolling leg. This has been tough for me as my legwork and balance needs a lot of work.

When I get better at Chi Gerk, I’ll definitely share more training techniques for sticky leg. But for now…

Do you have any training tips for Chi Gerk? Share them in the comments below!

Double Your Efficiency in Wing Chun

After practicing Wing Chun for over 2 years, I think I’m finally beginning to understand Wing Chun. You may already realize it yourself and I guess I have too but never thought of it as a key to effective Wing Chun training until the other day in class…

The way my class is structured is that we begin with warm ups and then we do our open handed forms, which include Sil Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Biu Tze. Afterwards, we divide the class into two lines where seniors are paired with juniors. I always jump on the junior line because I get the chance to work with the senior students and learn from them.

Once we’re partnered up, we do training drills. After that, we start Chi Sao. We change partners every few minutes. Since I’m in the junior line, I rotate from senior to senior.

One thing I constantly look forward to in class is having Chi Sao sessions with Joe. Joe is one of the instructors at my Wing Chun school and he kicks my ass. He doesn’t hold back and tells me exactly what I’m not doing properly. I always learn an important lesson from Joe and here’s one that really stuck with me…

Your defense is in your elbows. I don’t mean elbowing a person when they try to strike. I mean the position of your elbow when you use Bong Sau or Tan Sau. If your elbow is raised too high, it means your shoulders are raised and you expose your lower body where your ribs are. If they’re too low, you risk exposing your upper body and head.

It’s hard to maintain good elbow etiquette when your body starts getting tired. You know the feeling, don’t you? When you’re doing Chi Sao with someone and your shoulders begin tensing up and your arms are dropping. That’s fatigue kicking in.

There are a lot of reasons for fatigue. For me, there are days I exercise the day before class and my muscles are still recovering so my arms get tired quicker.

How should we deal with fatigue and be more efficient?

My solution for fatigue is to acknowledge it. We get tired, it happens and knowing that, we shouldn’t spend energy throwing useless strikes and doing unnecessary movements.

Don’t expend all your energy. Know when to strike by waiting for the opening. Flow and stick to your opponent, ride it out so your opponent opens their centerline to you. The best thing to do is wait for your opponent to get tired and slip up, then go in for the counterstrike.

In the game of stamina, who ever runs out first loses.

What are other ways you came up with to be more efficient in Wing Chun? Leave your tips in the comments below!