Battle Creek Traditional Wing Chun Club

Empty Hand Forms

Forms are prearranged sets of movements used to develop the fundamentals of a martial art. Each movement within a form is used within the specific martial art for defensive or offensive purposes. Each movement is combined with another movement to form techniques. Techniques are then combined with other techniques and applied to offensive or defensive maneuvers. Through this method students are taught the principles and the fighting philosophy of the martial arts.

Wing Chun has six forms. Three empty-hand forms, two weapons forms, and one form performed on the wooden dummy. The three empty hand forms are Siu Lim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Biu Jee. (Cantonese dialect of Chinese will be used to describe many terms). The two weapon forms are the Baat Jaam Do form or more commonly known as the butterfly sword form and the Luhk Dim Boon Kwan or 6 1/2 Point Dragon Pole form. There is an advanced version of the Siu Lim Tao form that hasn't been included in the count.

Siu Lim Tao

Siu Lim Tao translates literally into Siu (small), Lim (idea/thought), Tao (head). Loosely translated as "Small/little Idea in the head." The name indicates that all the details and/or particulars should be focused on and maintained. This form is practiced in a stationary horse stance using only arm movements. Proper practice of Siu Lim Tao enables the student to develop proper abdominal breathing, independent arm movement, focus, stance/stability, and proper energy.

Advanced Siu Lim Tao

Advanced Siu Lim Tao teaches footwork and some self defense applications.

Chum Kiu

Chum Kiu - Chum (search), Kiu (bridge). Translated means, "search for the bridge", or "bridging the gap". A bridge is created when one of your arms makes contact with the arm of an opponent. During Chum Kiu new hand positions, kicks and movement are introduced.

In Chum Kiu, techniques are more apparent as well as the footwork required. This form stresses the importance of mobility and the coordination of movements to achieve maximum effect

Biu Jee

Biu Jee is translated as "darting fingers" or "flying fingers." This is the third and final empty hand form in Wing Chun. This form as the name suggests emphasizes on finger jabs. Biu Jee also incorporates elbows, chun sao, various types of biu jee, gan sao, and kwan sao. This form enables the practitioner to have a better understanding of the various hand techniques in various applications. This form conditions the practitioner to use the various strikes and techniques at real speed.

Wing Chun Eight Slash Butterfly Swords

Wing Chun eight slash butterfly swords are also called Wing Chun Baat Jaam Do. The name Baat Jaam Do was derived from the initial intention of the originator who designed the striking technique mainly aiming for the wrist, elbow, knee and ankle. The purpose was to main the opponent rather than to kill since the wing chun Baat Jaam Do was originated from the Shaolin temple and used by the monks and nuns of the temple in their travels. They frequently carried sums of money donated by their worshippers. Often they would be met by bandits who intended to rob them. The monks were prepared for this, and they were equipped with butterfly swords hidden in the side of their boots. When they were confronted by the bandits, they would pull out the swords to defend themselves. Since their religion did not allow them to slaughter anyone, their initial target was to maim their opponents on the wrists, knees and ankles. In the Ching Dynasty (A.D. 1644-1911), China was ruled by the Manchu invaders. It was a time when 90 percent of the Chinese, the Hons, were ruled by the ten percent minority, the Manchus.

When all weapons were outlawed by the Manchu Government, the Manchus gained full control of China. They enforced many unjust laws on the Hons. For instance, all the female Hon infants were made to bind their feet so that when they grew up they would be restricted in their movement and they would have to be dependent upon their parents or their husband. They restricted the work opportunity of the Hons. The Hons were unable to hold office in the government higher than a certain level. They placed heavy tax burdens on the country so that they could have complete economic control of the Hon people. Kung Fu training was also banned for the Hon people.

However, the Manchu Government adopted the Hon culture. They respected the Shaolin Temple as a Buddhist sanctuary. The Hons began training a revolutionary army in the art of kung fu, using the Shaolin temple as the secret training place. In the traditional Shaolin system it would take 15 to 20 years to train a kung fu master. The need to develop a new and more effective style of kung fu became critical when some of the existing kung fu masters surrendered to work for the Manchu Government. Five of the Shaolin grandmasters planned to develop a new form, one which would have a shorter training time and would be more effective than all the other systems developed before. The five teachers met to discuss the merits of each of their particular systems of kung fu and chose the most efficient training method from each system. They developed the principle and the training program of wing chun that would take only five years to master. They called this system Wing Chun, its name meaning "hope for the future." However, before this new system could be put into practice, the Shaolin temple was raided and burned by the Manchus. Ng Mui, a nun, was the only survivor of the original group of five. She passed her knowledge onto a young orphan girl whom she named Wing Chun.

Along with the development of the wing chun system, the butterfly sword (Baat Jaam Do), was chosen as the only weapon in the wing chun system because the length of the Baat Jaam Do made it easy to conceal. It could be used as a extension of the arms, and they were the most deadly and effective weapons of all. This was because the Baat Jaam Do system emphasized the training of coordinating the two swords, the training of the eyes, wrist and footwork. The principle was based on the fact that every defense was accompanied by a counter attack, and every attack was accompanied by a trapping, parrying or immobilizing move of the other sword. Plus, it was designed to use the ingenuity of the wing chun footwork to its fullest extent, making it the champion of all weapons.

Dragon Pole

As far back as 3000 B.C., the staff and the long pole were used in hunting as well as in battle. The staff is a stick between five and six feet in length, both ends of the same diameter. The long pole can be as long as 13 feet, with one end tapered. These weapons were easy to construct and were very popular in ancient days.

With the discovery of bronze and iron, the staff and long pole were modified into weapons such as spears, Kwan Dao (big choppers), and various versions of the long stick with metal casting at the end.

The use of the staff and long pole was also popular among the Shaolin monks during the early Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). During that time the monks were involved in helping the first emperor, Sung, establish his kingdom. The staff and long pole were used extensively by the monks, who, because of their religion, did not like sharp edged weapons that would inflict undue injury to their enemies. Even after the Sung Dynasty, the Shaolin monks continued to favour the use of the staff and long pole. In the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1911), the monks used these weapons to defend themselves from the Manchu Government's siege on the Shaolin Temple.

Wooden Dummy

Legend has it that in the days of the Shaolin Temple, there was a tunnel filled with 108 wooden dummies, and the monks who completed their training were required to pass through this tunnel as one of their final exams. Each one of these dummies performed a certain technique, which the "graduate" monks had to neutralize on their way out of the temple.

When the Shaolin Temple was destroyed, Ng Mui, the Buddhist nun credited with founding Wing Chun Kung Fu, escaped. In deference to her training at the Shaolin Temple, she incorporated a training set using a single Wooden Dummy. This dummy set contains 108 combat techniques, each one supposedly to represent the 108 dummies that were in the Shaolin Temple.

Whether or not these legends are true, it is true that the Wooden Dummy set in traditional Wing Chun is an excellent way to develop the skills and co-ordination needed to become a proficient fighter.

The Wooden Dummy is used to develop timing, arm and leg co-ordination, proper use and application of force, distance, judgement, footwork and to teach practitioners how to flow smoothly from technique to technique. It is also used to toughen the limbs, although this is not the primary function of the dummy.

Wing Chun Kung Fu is a system that does not rely on strength and brute force; rather it stresses development of skill and co-ordination to have the practitioner deflect and redirect an opponent's attack, while simultaneously countering with his/her own attack. Deflection and redirection is achieved with correct positioning, requiring good footwork as well as co-ordination of the arms and legs, so that they work together to redirect an oncoming attack yet leave the practitioner in a position to counter at the same time.

All fighting techniques in Wing Chun come from the techniques in the Wooden Dummy. Dummy training allows the Wing Chun practitioner a way to correctly train the body in performing techniques. The amount of power one uses at certain times of a technique, as well as the timing of delivering such techniques can be drilled repeatedly on the dummy. Speed is improved because one can drill a series of movements over and over, creating the muscle memories needed to perform techniques automatically. Accuracy is refined because the practitioner learns how to correctly position his/her body in relation to the dummy (i.e. opponent) so that both arms can be used simultaneously. Footwork and mobility are enhanced, as the practitioner is forced to move from one side of the dummy to the other, moving in and out as well as laterally. Although working with a "static" partner, the Wing Chun practitioner learns how to combine footwork patterns smoothly with arm movements that deflect and attack, developing skills that are mandatory for successful free sparring. There are 108 Wing Chun wooden dummy techniques, which are grouped into 13 sections. Yip Man thought that some sections were too dangerous to be taught publicly. Therefore, he deleted some sections. There were more sections.

Regardless of the style one practises, one always hears that to be a successful fighter there are certain qualities and attributes that one must acquire. Speed, power, timing and accuracy are always cited as requisites to reach your peak in martial arts. The Wooden Dummy of the Wing Chun system provides the practitioner a valuable tool to achieve those goals.

Chi Sao - Sticking Hands

Chi sao training develops timing and contact reflexes. Many chi sao techniques do not apply to actual combat, but, through these techniques, the practitioner will develop the fundamental skill of contact reflexes which is the key to victory in combat. The other benefits of chi sao are, close distance coordination, focusing with the eyes, mobility, balance, timing, accuracy, control of the opponent's balance, and Chi power.

We all know that force has only one direction, but the force developed in chi sao can be interpreted as a force with several dirctions, like a guided missle following its target. This force can only be acquired from proper wing chun chi sao exercises.

In combat, a temporary contact is made with the arms after a block or attack. At this contact point an opponent's next move can be detected as a transmitted vibration.
There are three possible situations:

There are five chi sao drills:

There are different levels of training in these five stages. At first the movements are predetermined. Later, you progress to random movements. Next will be predetermined movements/techniques while blindfolded. Finally, the techniques will be done spontaneously while blindfolded.

Chi Sao will teach you how to use both sides of your brain. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body and the left side controls the right side. You will learn how to use both arms interdependently. A pianist can play one rhythm/melody with the left hand and another with the right hand. Try rubbing your head with one hand and patting you stomach with the other and vice versa. Now try doing it faster and faster as in a real fight. Get the idea?