Hi folks,

In this article, I wish to share with you some ways to train your Siu Nim Tao (SNT).  SNT or “Little Idea” is the first and perhaps the most important form in Wing Chun. Its name implies that a small idea, a small practice or a beginning can grow into something big and the longer you practice SNT, the more it will reveal its secrets to the practitioner.

In this post, I will discuss three concepts or methods to practice your SNT.  They will help you to develop different aspects of your SNT training.

“Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”

It is a term used in the military to teach recruits to unload, load and aim a rifle as efficient as possible. It means you are faster if your actions are focused and in a deliberate manner and pace. They have no visible start and stop, and they flow as if it was one movement.

For example, the left centerline punch in the first section, when the hand pulls back and almost reaches the left side, the right hand will start its movement.  Maintain this pace through out SNT . Over time,  this training will improve the coordination and flow of your actions.

Breath and movement

In this SNT practice, we link the SNT movements and our breathing. General guidelines to synchronize the hand movements and your breath:

  • The hand moves away from your body – we breathe out.
  • Towards your body – breathe in.
  • The hand rises – breathe out. The hand sinks – breathe in.
  • Lin Wan Kuen in 3rd section: first punch linked – breathe out. Subsequent five punches are all executed in one (1) breath.

Synchronize your breathing and movements, they start and stop at the same time.

Breathe smoothly at 2/3 of your capacity.

Feel and Test

The purpose of this SNT method is to mentally connect to your body, your movements, and test our posture. To achieve this we need to practice our SNT at a slower pace than usual. How slow? Well, just enough to feel all parts of your body as you move. Stop for 2-3 seconds after each move to connect to and feel your posture.

When you move or hold a posture, ask yourself:

  • Do I hold any tension in my body?
  • When I hold my posture, do I feel my energy sinking through my feet into the ground? Is my body aligned correctly?
  • Did I use the correct technique and body frame? For instance, elbows down, square hips and shoulders, etc.
  • Is my mind drifting away?

For this training it would be great if you have a training partner who can give you feedback because sometimes we think our hips are square, our elbows are down, but they are not. Your partner can also test your body structure. For instance, he can lightly push your chest, your bong sao or tan sao. It is essential that you maintain and absorb the incoming pressure without pushing back and using local muscles.

I hope you like this post: 3 Ways To Boost Your Siu Nim Tao.

Happy training and feel free to comment or ask questions.


Steven Wang

Head Instructor

Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun Singapore.


Resources and references

Robert Chu: The Root of Wing Chun Kuen Power: Four Methods to Test Your Structure

Alan Orr:  Structure or No Structure