The Ving Tsun System:
For generations the Ving Tsun System has been passed down in its original form. The simplicity and clarity of purpose in this system can be credited for the power and effectiveness of the techniques which continue to impress martial artists the world over. A student’s training can be divided into three main areas. The first area of training is Forms. The entire Ving Tsun System contains only the following simple forms:
Siu Nim Tao- The first Ving Tsun Form, “Siu Nim Tao” can be translated as “Little Beginning Idea” or “Idea of the Beginning”. It has three sections, contains all the fundamental Ving Tsun Techniques, and is the foundation of a student’s training.
Chum Kiu- The second Ving Tsun Form, “Chum Kiu”, can be translated as “Seeking the Bridge” or “The Short Bridge”. It has three sections and is used to train a student to balance the body and move the centerline.
Biu Gee- The third Ving Tsun Form, “Biu Gee”, means “Thrusting Fingers” and emphasizes the advanced and emergency techniques of the Ving Tsun System. A student should not train Biu Gee until he/she has achieved a high level of refinement with the basic techniques of Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu.
Muk Yan Jong- The Wooden Dummy, a tool for refining Ving Tsun Techniques. “Muk Yan Jong” also refers to the form practiced on the Wooden Dummy.
Luk Dim Poon Kwan- Refers to the 6 ½-Point Pole, or the Long Pole, and the form practiced with that weapon.
Bot Chom Doa- Refers to the Eight-Way Chopping Knives and the form practiced with those weapons. The Bot Chom Doa form is the most advanced of the Ving Tsun Forms.
A Ving Tsun student will practice these forms throughout his or her training. Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, and Biu Gee are the three empty hand forms that generally are opened to students within the first two years of training. Siu Nim Tao will be started upon the first day of training, and it is said that all of the system’s principles can be distilled down into Siu Nim Tao. After Biu Gee, the next step in training is the Muk Yan Jong, or the wooden man. The final two forms are not open to a student until far into his or her training.
As well as learning forms, students will also learn exercises that train specific concepts of the Ving Tsun System. We refer to these exercises as 2-Person Drills. The drills emphasize constant contact and sensitivity to your opponent and cultivate the practical use of the techniques found in the forms. The basic sequence of 2-Person Drills is:
Pak Sao- The first and most basic 2-Person Drill. “Pak Sao” means “Slap hand”. In this drill, one student practices the straight centerline punch, and the other student practices the ‘Pak’ or slapping block.
Pak Dar- Translated as “Slap-Strike”, Pak Dar practices simultaneously blocking and punching.
Lop Sao- The second of the Ving Tsun 2-Person Drills, “Lop Sao” means “Grab Hand”. This drill practices the ‘Lop’ or grab, along with a punch and a forearm block.
Don Chi Sao- The third of the Ving Tsun 2-Person Drills, “Don Chi Sao” means “One Sticking Hand”. This drill trains a student to be sensitive to an opponent and to maintain contact with or stick to an opponent while practicing defending against a technique and responding with a counter-attack.
Luk Sao- The fourth of the Ving Tsun 2-Person Drills, Luk Sao gives a student the basic foundation and framework to develop Chi Sao. Luk Sao also helps the student to achieve a higher level of understanding of basic Ving Tsun Principles.
Jib Sao-Jaw Sao- Translated as “Catch Hands-Run Hands”.
Toi Ma- “Toi Ma” is translated as “Push Horse”. This is the stage in a student’s training where the student starts to study being moved and hit. After a period of being pushed, a student learns to push the horse of other students in a stage of training referred to as “Toi Ma of Sidai”.
Chi Gerk- Translated as “Sticking Legs”. This is a 2-Person Drill that helps a student apply the Ving Tsun principles found in the hand drills to the legs, in a focused, specific exercise.
Chi Sao- Translated as “Sticking Hands”, Chi Sao is the most advanced 2-Person Drill that a student will learn in the first stage of Ving Tsun training. It emphasizes constant contact or “sticking”, and synthesizes the various elements of technique explored in the earlier forms and drills.
The forms and drills make up the bulk of a student’s training. Each stage of training is accompanied by a number of conditioning exercises that build up a student’s body while also helping to practice and refine their techniques, but the core of the system is in the Forms, the basic 2-Person Drills, and the practice of Chi Sao.
Sifu- A Kung Fu Master or teacher.
Sigung- The Sifu of your Sifu; the Kung Fu teacher of your Kung Fu teacher; a ‘Grandteacher’.
Sitaigung- The Sifu of your Sigung; a Great-Grandteacher.
Todai- A Kung Fu student.
Sihing- A senior student, or older Kung Fu Brother
Sidai- A junior student, or younger Kung Fu Brother
Forms- Sets of movements used for the development and refinement of Kung Fu technique. Forms are also used to preserve and transmit the Ving Tsun System.
2-Person Drills- These are exercises that develop and refine the techniques taught through the Ving Tsun Forms. The 2-Person Drills emphasize constant contact and sensitivity to your opponent, and cultivate the practical use of the techniques.
Conditioning- This term refers to the set of exercises used to simultaneously build up a student’s body while cultivating proper Ving Tsun technique. The exercises are meant to supplement and enhance the course of study found in the forms and 2-Person Drills.
Kuen Kuit- “Ving Tsun Kuen Kuit” refers to a collection of proverbs concerning the history and methodology of the Ving Tsun system. The terms were passed down orally through generations of Kung Fu masters and were set in stone by Grandmaster Moy Yat who, in addition to being a leading expert on Ving Tsun Kung Fu, was a master of the art of seal making.
"Hand comes, detain. Hand goes, follow."