Super slow Siu Nim Tau (siu lam tau)

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by geezer, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    This WC forum has been really dead lately, but I suspect that there are still a few of us WC die-hards lurking about so I thought I'd throw out a few things that have been on my mind for general discussion.

    One thing that a student has asked me about is the traditional practice of doing Siu Nim Tau (as it is spelled in my WT/VT lineage) at a super-slow speed, especially the first third of the form involving the "saam pai fut" movements (the repeated centerline extensions and retractions of tan and fook sau).

    Now in our group, these movements are always done fairly slowly in comparison to the rest of the form, with each extensions taking between 3 and 5 seconds each, and the retractions equally as long. That is to say they are done at roughly the speed shown in the clip below taken from a closely related lineage.



    However, sometimes people practice these initial movements at an extremely slow pace, taking five minutes or more for each extension. And I've heard stories of Grandmaster Yip taking as long as 15 minutes extending the tan-sau. The justifications for this practice often include building focus, concentration, superior structure and, when combined with proper breathing, as a form of meditative chi-gung exercise.

    In the past, I have tried this, spending up to about two minutes on each extension, however, I've never made it a regular part of my own training, and certainly, have never made it a regular part of my classes. For one thing, our class time is just too limited. And for my own part, I'm way too undisciplined and ADD to train that way consistently! Besides that, over the years I have become increasingly skeptical about some of the more mystical claims made regarding chi in TCMA.

    So my question is, do any of you regularly train the very slow version of SNT, and what do feel are the practical benefits? ...Or on the other extreme, do some of you spend less time doing SNT at all, as you have progressed further in WC/WT/VT?
     
  2. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    For the most part in class we do the forms at about the speed shown. From time to time we will do it extremely slowly to emphasize the importance for doing so as homework. While I don't believe in the mysticism of chi I do believe and know that by doing the forms extremely slowly the practitioner learns to feel the tension in their body and how to release it. You feel the changes in your center of gravity and how breathing can make changes as well. This is further developed (when emphasized and done properly) in chi sao and within many of the two persons drills and utilized in sparring.
     
  3. ShortBridge

    ShortBridge Black Belt

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    I play and teach this form with a number of different speeds and energies, depending what I'm working on or what I want students to be working on. I usually don't do the final 3rd slowly, though. I'll try it. I am usually emphasizing either flow or whipping energy in those sections. If I do lead it slowly, it's usually to help someone learn the sequence.
     
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  4. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    Nope. Did the slow form many years ago. But it is mostly about training your horse (physical) and mental focus.
    With the extended horse exposure (in my cases, it was about 45 minutes) there can be and most likely will be some physical discomfort, even shaking in the legs, etc. Your mind and inner chatter will be drifting to focus on your lower half, while your limbs/arms continue on "auto pilot"...and it's this auto pilot aspect that one is after. The ability for the limbs to continue to function when the mind is elsewhere.
    Good topic Geezer.
     
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  5. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I like this clip for the following reasons:

    - body push/pull arms.
    - The body movement is more noticeable than the arm movement.
    - Power generation can be seen.
    - body unification.
    - ...

    People said that Taiji is just "waist movement". Any MA system has waist movement training is always superior.

     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
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  6. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    ??? What does this have to do with super slow SLT form?


     
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  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    In that "super slow SLT form", you can see "freeze the body and only move the arms" which is lacking "body unification". Where are "elbow coordinate with knee" and "shoulder coordinate with hip"?

    I try not to point out what's missing in OP's WC clip. I just point out what's existing in my WC clip. You can clearly see the "elbow coordinate with knee" and "shoulder coordinate with hip" there.

    Since in both clips, the feet are not moving, "hand coordinate with foot" is missing in both clips. This has to do with the original form design.

    What's the difference between a MA guy and a traffic cop? When a

    - MA guy moves, he moves his whole body as one unit.
    - traffic cop moves, he only moves his arms while his body is static.


     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  8. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    You always bring this up. And you always show the same video with this same guy. And we always say the same thing: what you are talking about IS in the forms. For example, the second form. In the second form you "coordinate elbow with knee" and "shoulder with hip" etc. You just seem to want to see these aspects in the first form of wing chun.
    First you build the foundation, let it cure...then add the walls, roof, blah blah blah...

    To be clear: I'm not disagreeing with you dude. I for one support the qualities you are discussing in the video you posted. I think they are an important part of wing chun.
     
  9. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Yeah ...whatever. I like the clip I provided because... Well actually it's not all that great IMO, but it is very similar to what we do and, most of all, I thought that girl was really cute!
    :)

    Now, honestly I thought the bouncy guy in your clip didn't show good, efficient body unity either. His body movements seemed exaggerated and not particularly well synchronized with his hand movements.

    In the Wing Chun I train, or at least as I have been training it, siu nim tau does have body unity, but:

    1. You only start to put this in later, well after Chum Kiu is taught, ...probably mor at the Biu Tze level.
    2. The movements are very small and efficient, and never large and bouncy.
    3. And if the movements are small as you begin to do them, they get smaller as you get better, so someone watching might not see them. Still, you feel them inside. And someone who is knowledgeable and watching closely will see (and feel) the difference.
    4. And finally, this subtle body unity wasn't really taught to me. I kinda had to discover it for myself. And now that I'm aware of it, I see in the movements of others. Especially those who are better than I am.
     
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  10. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    This is the issue that I try to address.

    The body unification concept wasn't taught to me by my primary art long fist system teacher either.

    - You figured it out by yourself.
    - I learned it from cross training the XingYi 6 harmony concept.

    How many people may never figure this out by themselves or have cross training opportunity?

    What can we do so the next generation can learn this in a easy way?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  11. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    I think you need to figure out how to use the quote feature. I did not say what you are apparently quoting. I think that was @geezer
     
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  12. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Yes! I think you make a very good point!
     
  13. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    In my WC upbringing, body unification was taught and pain-painstakingly drilled from day 1. I'm sorry you did not get this from your instructor. But just because this may be so, does not mean it was the fault of the art. It was or could have been the fault of your instructor.
     
  14. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    When I train a form slow, I try to examine whether my hand and foot both start to move at the same time, and also both stop at the same time. For example, if I just do a simple drill left palm outside in block. I'll start to move my left hand the same time when I start to step my left foot to my left. When my left hand stop, I want to make sure that my left foot also stop at the same time. Since SNT doesn't include footwork, it's not a form that is suitable for slow training.
     
  15. wckf92

    wckf92 Master Black Belt

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    :banghead:
    So in other words...the OP asks these two questions:
    "...do any of you regularly train the very slow version of SNT, and what do feel are the practical benefits?..."
    To which, your answer would be no and none to both.
    Got it.

    I guess, if you know the first form of WC...you could try the super slow version and then comment back here what your thoughts are about it.
    Food for thought dude....
     
  16. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    To train your WC form slow, you will get much more benefit to train the 2nd WC form, or 3rd WC form than the 1st WC form. In both 2nd and 3rd form, you can examine your hand and foot coordination that you can't do that in the 1st form.

    In other words, SNT is not suitable for slow training. You won't get all the benefit out of your SNT slow training.

    2.36 - 2.40.



    0.28 - 0.30.

     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  17. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I have to say, slow Siu Nim Tau is one of the best Qigong forms I have ever done. It is great, if done correctly, for internal training and upper and lower unity. How up and lower unity you may ask, since the lower does not move. Getting power from the root, to the hands, that is the upper and lower unity I am talking about
     
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  18. DanT

    DanT 2nd Black Belt

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    Any 10 min+ SLT serves to develop "Yi" or mental intent. It has its place, but not during the class, where other things can be trained. For the most part, I try to keep my classes 90% partner drills (techniques, chi sao, sparring), and 10% forms, calisthenics, stretching, air techniques.
     
  19. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I like to train solo drills. I don't like to train forms.

    I prefer to repeat:

    - Left Tang Shou, right spear fingers.
    - Right Tang Shou, left spear fingers,

    100 times non-stop. I feel I can get more out of my training this way. I can even do this when I walk on the beach.
     
  20. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    This is how I solo train in Escrima when I can't rustle up a partner. I've put together about half a dozen short forms. Each form is comprised of about six linked solo drills repeated to both sides.

    I do a form, pick out the piece that needs the most work, and then just train that segment many times over and over. Then afterwards I'll try it again in the context of the form and see if it hasn't gotten a lot better!
     

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