The Siu Lim Tao is the first form of the Wing Chun system, this first form is the most important of all the forms as everything you learn after that, at some point, relates to what you were taught in the Siu Lim Tau, here is an analogy, think of Siu Lim Tau as being taught to lay bricks, you can have a go at laying bricks and cementing them yourself, and you may succeed, but did you do a good sound job when laying them, are they straight, is your wall of bricks flat or wonky, you see there is a right way and a wrong way to lay bricks, if we taught you to lay the bricks correctly then you will build a good straight strong wall and then maybe move onto bigger buildings. This is why the Siu Lim Tau is so important, yes it is the beginner level but it is also the master level at the same time so feel good about learning it.. it is a really exciting journey
Grandmaster Ip Man described that in Siu Lim Tao or ‘little idea’, the ideas of daily matters, such as money, work, hate, love, etc…. ‘decrease to as little as possible, or even none’, so that the practitioner may ‘concentrate only upon practicing’ Siu Lim Tao.
Siu Lim Tao is divided into three sections, with a total of one hundred and eight movements. Each small section has its own goal in application, and various uses when applied. The first section is for training the strength of the wrist and elbow. The strength is in the formation of the hand positions of Tan Sau, Fook Sau, and Wu Sau.
Once the basic hand positions have been learned at this stage energy should be applied and this section should be performed very slowly.
While section one of the form teaches us to build up then energy, the second section teaches us to release that energy, this energy can be used half soft, half hard. This is easily demonstrated when throwing a punch, your arm travels at great speed but the muscles are relaxed, this is the soft part. But just before you make contact with your opponent, your muscles in your arm tense up for a split second, this is the hard part. This later develops into full delivery of the kinetic energy of your arm and body into the target, without compromising balance.
The third section is for training correct position of the hand movements into your muscle memory. Movements include Pak Sau, Tan Sau, Gaun Sau, Huen Sau and Bong Sau. The practitioner must concentrate on executing each movement’s position correctly.