Wing Chun Concepts Level Three

The master approaches the diligently practicing student and provides a few small corrections, concluding with the ever-present reminder to “relax.” The student protests, saying, “But I am relaxed.” The teacher shakes his head and points out the bunched shoulders, the wrinkled brow and the stiffness in the movements. The student is exasperated and complains, “But I’m relaxing as hard as I can!”

This is the paradox of Wing Chun Kung Fu. Although we’ve established that Kung Fu means “skills gained through effort” or “hard work,” we are also being constantly told to “relax.” How can we possibly do both at the same time?

Part of the confusion lies in the imperfect translations between Chinese concepts and English words. For much of the Western world, “relax” denotes inactivity, such as sinking into a plush recliner with a cold beverage. In the Chinese concept, “relax” is active, where the conscious mind takes control over seemingly unconscious physical states. Just as we use “Listening Energy” to perceive what our attacker is doing, our goal is to listen to our own bodies, find the tension and stiffness and blocked energy, and release it.  

Relax Under Fire

The strikes shown in the third and final section of the Siu Lim Tau form again rely on Fa Jing, or “Relaxed Release of Energy.” As you progress through the drills in Level Three, you’re going to be challenged by the introductory levels of Chi Sau or “Sticking Hands.” The “Rolling Hands” motions of Poon Sau and Luk Sau in particular will require that the shoulders be completely free from tension and tightness. You will find, however, that simply telling yourself to relax will not be effective.

Instead, “Relax” should be a trigger word. Rather than simply trying to “relax” (whatever that means), whenever you hear or think of the trigger, take very specific actions. For muscles, let go of tension by creating tension. To relax the arms and shoulders, for instance, begin by contracting the muscles in a body-builder’s pose: tighten the fists, flex the biceps, and squeeze the trapezius muscles of the back to lift and compress the shoulders. Really try to crush with the fists, and feel the tension radiate down the arms. Hold at maximum tension for a few moments, and then unwind.

Release the fists and pay attention to the feeling in the muscles of the forearm. Let go of the effort in the biceps and let the arms hang freely at your side, noticing all of the sensations as the muscles become slack. Drop the shoulders as if they were heavy weights, and just let them rest on the solid mass of the torso.

Now go deeper. Peter Ralston, in his book Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power, describes the next phase like this:

Relax; let all your joints fall open and your tissues be supple and loose. Let everything go – down to the feet. Use the inherent binding force of your tissues, regardless of how relaxed they are, to connect your body. Use gravity as your primary force, and the earth as your prime principle and closest ally.

We have ligaments and fascia and other connective tissue holding our body together, so you have to learn to trust these structures. Completely release any tension in the joints and let gravity either compress them (knees, ankles, hips) or pull them open (wrists, elbows, shoulders). Don’t worry, nothing will fall off. Let any residual tension simply drain into the earth, like sand draining from an hour glass.

To relax the body completely, you must also relax the mind. Deep muscular relaxation cannot co-exist with fear or anxiety. If you are afraid or just stressed, the body is automatically tensed into a braced position. To get the muscles to go slack, the mind must be calm. Conversely, by creating a state of suppleness and freedom in the body, the natural outcome is a calm mind.

Wing Chun Kung Fu – as all martial arts – is a pressure cooker for fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt. What you are learning above all else is how to relax under fire, to keep the body relaxed and the mind calm even in frightful and stressful situations.

This body-state of looseness allows ultimate freedom of movement and the ability to change and transform quickly. It is also the only way to develop true, spontaneous responses to forceful assault. Each reflex action that we ingrain through these drills is then instantly expressed when we need it most.

Beyond mind and body, there is yet a third realm to consider. When you fully release tension from your muscles and connective tissue, when you quiet the nervous system and the breath, when you relax the organs and the muscles around your organs, then the Qi or Life Energy will flow.

Note that you are not required to “believe” in Qi or energy meridians or any of the other traditional Chinese concepts. You can use the word “Qi” to mean intention or focus of awareness and the effects are just the same.

Releasing the muscles, calming the mind and freeing the energy is the only way to truly unify the body into an integrated whole. And since gravity is a constant, all of our relaxed tissues, tranquil awareness and flowing energy will naturally sink downward. This is where grounding or rooting begins.

As you progress into Level Three and beyond, keep these seed ideas in mind. When you hear or read the word “relax,” remember the sensations as tension drains from the muscles, aligns with gravity and sinks towards the earth. Treat “relax” as a trigger to re-create those sensations. Breath. Quiet the mind. Listen to your body; listen to your partner’s movements. You will find that relaxing opens your sensitivity, awareness and skill with Keng Jing or “Listening” tremendously.  

NEXT: Siu Lim Tau: Third Section
The third and final section of Siu Lim Tau focuses on transformation.We will be exploring a more complex version of the “draw the bow” concept where each and every Wing Chun motion can be a “load up” for the next technique. This section also provides our formal introduction to Bong Sau and illustrates a different variation from what you’ve seen in Lap Sau. You will also get to see new perspectives on the Pak Sau and Tan Sau techniques that you have seen previously.

NEXT: Siu Lim Tau: Third Section

Wing Chun Concepts Level One

Whenever you begin the process of building something, your first step is to create a solid foundation. This is the goal of the Level One curriculum. Here you will be introduced to the first of three empty hand forms, known as Siu Lim Tau or “the Little Idea.” You will also learn the basic structures that form the “hands” of Wing Chun, explore core concepts and principles, and practice the initial set of trapping and reflex development drills.

It is important to follow the progression exactly as presented. The Wing Chun grandmasters carefully designed this hierarchy of training material to build skill, structure, strength and sensitivity in a very specific and incremental way. Every skill that you develop now becomes the foundation for other skills as you progress. Skipping or rushing through a training set will only introduce a weakness that will become apparent later on.

Empty Your Cup

There is the famous story of the college professor who travelled to meet a great Zen master. The master invited him in and set out cups and a pot of tea. The professor first asked the master to instruct him in all of the ways of Zen, but then began to recount all of his past experiences, degrees, books he had read and other masters he had interviewed. As the Zen master listened politely to the professor, he began to pour the tea. As the professor’s tea cup filled, the master continued to pour until tea overflowed and poured out over the tabletop.

“Stop!” the professor cried. “The cup is full. It cannot hold any more!” The Zen master nodded in agreement. “How can I share with you, if you are already full?” the master replied. “If you truly wish to learn, you must first empty your cup.”

The point of this story is simple: don’t make assumptions based on any other martial art that you have trained in, any other books you have read or any movies that you’ve seen. Wing Chun Kung Fu can be very different from most of the other popular martial arts, so don’t try to view it through the lens of past experience.

Trust but Verify

This doesn’t, however, mean not to think critically. As part of your self-evaluation, you will need to be able to test each concept and technique to verify both that the principle behind the technique is valid, and that you are performing it correctly. A companion element is trust. The testing and verification should be done within the context of the drill. By changing the “rules” of the drill, it is possible to invalidate just about any technique. For now, stick to the drills as presented, trust that other variations will be covered in the future, and verify that you can reliably perform the technique when needed.

All of these ideas can be summed up simply:
Keep an open mind, just not so open that your brains fall out.


Attendance: Minimum of 40 Classes/Training Sessions


Physical Requirements

  • 10 Sets of 10-Count Knuckle Push-ups
  • 25 Sets of One Legged Battle Punches


  • The Wing Chun Formal Salute
  • “Yee” Jee Kim Yeung Ma
  • Jut Sun Ma


  • Pak Sau
  • Tan Sau
  • Jop Sau
  • Jut Sau
  • Huen Sau
  • Lop Sau
  • Bong Sau
  • Bil Sau
  • Gan Sau



  • Pak Da
  • Lop Da
  • Pak Sut
    • Right Side
    • Left Side
    • Right to Left
    • Left to right


  • One Three-Minute Gates Round
  • Minimum of 150 Punches
  • Demonstrate Bil Da, Gan Da and Jut Da

NEXT: The Wing Chun Salute
The Wing Chun salute is used to begin a training session and show respect for the Sifu and your training partners. In the next lesson we explore the meaning behind the salute and walk you through the motions step-by-step.

Wing Chun Concepts Level Two

Wing Chun Kung Fu is an interesting blend of what are called Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Hard Skills are high-precision actions that should be peformed accurately and reliably every time. When you practice the forms and the drills, you are focusing on movements that follow an ideal model of economy and efficiency. Doing them over and over, you are building repeatable precision.

Soft Skills cultivate intuition. Soft Skills develop the ability to quickly recognize patterns and opportunities, and to flow around any presented obstacles. The Keng Jing (“Listening Energy”) aspects of the two previous drills gave us a glimpse into Wing Chun’s approach to the three Rs: Reading, Recognizing, and Reacting.

As we begin our journey into Level Two, we are going to focus much more on the Hard Skills. We move away from the slow, meditative movements of the first section of Siu Lim Tau and learn crisp, sharp and quick motions that must be coordinated with both hands. We will explore a completely different set of techniques in the Lap Sau drills, and practice with the precision and reliability of a Swiss watch. If Soft Skills are the “three Rs,” the Hard Skills of Level Two can be thought of like ABC: Always Be Consistent.

Kung Fu Carpentry

In The Little Book of Talent, author Daniel Coyle explains that to develop reliable Hard Skills: “You need to connect the right wires in your brain. In this, it helps to be careful, slow, and keenly attuned to errors. To work like a careful carpenter.”

Being precise in the beginning is vital for building strong Kung Fu skills, because those first practice reps are building the pathways for future actions. The Chinese masters would equate this to the forming of a mountain road. The first time a heavy cart was pulled along a path, its wheels would cut ruts into the ground. As other carts followed, they tended to follow those same grooves until a permanent road became carved into the mountainside.

According to Dr. George Bartzokis (neurologist at UCLA), “Our brains are good at building connections. They’re not so good at unbuilding them.”

Like the careful carpenter, we have to pay close attention to any errors or bad habits, especially in the beginning, and fix them before they become engrained. As you work through the second section of Siu Lim Tau and the new drills, start slowly. Measure and evaluate each move. Break it down into simple moves, then repeat it and perfect it before you add more.

Taking the time to carefully learn the fundamentals is the key moment of investment. Build the right pathways now, and you will be much better at building both complex Hard Skills and effective Soft Skills later on.

NEXT: Siu Lim Tau: Second Section
The second section of the Siu Lim Tau form is quick and concise, but contains a rich selection of new techniques and deep new concepts. In particular, it teaches how to coordinate movements of both hands and the same time, and introduces the concept of Fa Jing or “Releasing Energy.”

NEXT: Siu Lim Tau: Second Section

Wing Chun Drills and Basic Techniques

wing chung curriculum
wing chung drills and basic techniques practice with a partner

Wing Chun Drills

Wing Chun Drills and Exercises for Solo Practice

Many Wing Chun masters “Sifu” recommend practicing Wing Chun drills solo for self-defense before starting training with a partner. But, it can be unclear which training drills to practice alone and which drills to practice with a partner. In this guide, we listed the most effective Wing Chun drills to work on alone and the drills to work with a partner. Also, we described the details of how to perform those solo training drills to benefit the most from them.

Wing Chun Ring Drills

Wing Chun ring drills help learn the positions of the arms in a limited space at home. Using these training drills, students learn to keep their elbows on the center line. That develops extra power to the martial arts attack and defense. These drills help keep shoulders relaxed and develop muscle memory. This is the key point of every Wing Chung movement. The drills help improve arm coordination and Wing Chun hand forms. That helps develop the power by maximizing waist rotation. The rings are lightweight and can be easily taken anywhere. They fit into a medium-sized bag or in a backpack.

How to use Wing Chun rings

What should the Wing Chun ring be made of?

It’s really up to your individual preference but the Wing Chun ring can be made of tan or other types of wood, metal, or plastic.

What size should a ring be?

A ring can be anywhere from half the size of your forearm to the full size of your forearm or somewhere in between. For our students, we recommend a ring between 8 to 9 inches.

How to perform Whing Chun ring drills alone.

You should hold your elbows together. Some students may not be able to touch their elbows and it is totally fine. You may take your funny bone and put your elbows together. Then you will have your hand up and your other hand down but not close to your body. It’s going to be away from your body as your elbows are together.

Then from that position, come around to the other side. As you do this, you should do your best to maintain those elbows together and keep them on your center line. Keep the elbows together as you go forward and around as well.

If you can not touch your elbows then you can take something (e.g. a foam roller) and hold it in between and then come across. The benefit of training with Wing Chun rings is that it teaches to maintain elbows and shoulders stability while performing attacks and defenses. It is important to keep elbows and shoulders stable.

Please refer to the video below to get a better understanding of these exercises.

Wing Chun Beginner Drills

This is one of the basic exercises of Wing Chun training that will develop your awareness of body positioning and weight distribution. You can practice at home comfortably and effectively. Start with your hands and feet together. Then you need to come out with your feet and bring your hands back with your fists up. While you are in this position you will need to drop your knees down and move them up slowly. This is important legwork that will make your legs stronger when you do this exercise. Try to do it every morning.

The below videos will help get a better understanding of this drill.

In this exercise, you will learn how to turn and twist your body. Put your feet together and then spread them out. Then twist your body while keeping your weight on one leg. The weight distribution should be about 70 to 30 percent. This move teaches you how to walk from this position. It’s important to have the weight on one leg. Try to practice this footwork exercise every morning.

In this exercise, you will learn how to do steps according to Wing Chun’s martial art style. Stand in the position and lift your hands up. You will be tracking your body forward keeping the weight of your body on the rear leg. When you make a few steps turn your body and walk in the opposite direction paying attention to your weight distribution.

Wing Chun Blocking Drills Tan Sao

Tan Sao (Sometimes spelled as Tan Sau) is one of the basic, foundational Wing Chun techniques for self-defense and you will learn the proper way of doing it. Also, you will get an idea of the wrong way of doing it to avoid mistakes. Tan Sao (Tan Sau) is very important because it’s used to defend the hook punch or the sucker punch, which is one of the most common attacks in North America. Please be careful, If you do it wrong, the punch will slip through.

With the Wing Chun Tan Sao (Tan Sau), the proper way would be the Wing Chun stance. It’s very important that you focus on the elbows and keep them in the center line. An amateur Wing Chun practitioner focuses on the hand, but you should always focus on the elbow. Hands should not be loose but just relaxed. They should always protect your centerline. You should start your movement from the center line and be aware of your body positioning.

When practicing Tan Sao (Tan Sau), another thing you want to look for is your fingers. You do not want to have lazy fingers. Imagine you are holding a plate, your thumb needs to be in. If your thumb is out and you miss, you can break your thumb. But if it’s tucked in, you are going to be okay. The arms angle is also very crucial, it should be 45 degrees. You have to adhere to all these details and go slowly. Using this drill practice movement mechanics and keep your shoulders relaxed but firm like bamboo.

Wing Chun Chi Sao Drills

Wing Chun Chi Sao exercises are conducted with the ball and with the ring. They help develop internal power while keeping hands loose and relaxed. Wing Chun Chi Sao solo training drills are going to maximize your hand sensitivity. Eventually, they will let you feel your hands tense, like little swords.

That skill of internal power is going to help you perform the other Wing Chun training drills flawlessly. This is an easy way to start learning what it feels like doing this exercise with a partner.

Usually, the best results are achieved when you perform this drill during four rounds of two or three minutes each. It is completely ok if you feel a burn in your hand muscles at the end of each round as you will train your muscle memory while doing this exercise.

Please refer to the video below to get an idea of how to perform the Chi Sao exercise correctly.

Drills and Exercises To Strengthen Your Core At Home For Wing Chun.

Leg Stability Exercise

Wing Chun requires a good amount of stability in the legs in order to make hands fast and effective. Stand with your back close to the wall and put your heels close to the wall. Bend your knees as low as you possibly can while keeping your back straight, keeping heels on the ground. You will be developing your posture and strengthening your legs at the same time. Put your head against the wall and hold for one minute. Hold this stance for up to 5 minutes.

The Plank Exercise

You will also need to strengthen your lats (latissimus dorsi muscles. They help hold your shoulders down while you are doing the exercises. The plank exercise is recommended to strengthen the lats. You can start on your knees if the plank is too hard at the beginning. Start with a minute and then work your way up.

Lat Pull Exercise

It can be done with a band. Get into your stance, keep your shoulders down and pull your elbows back as much as possible, hold your posture for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Goblet Squat

Go squat down as slowly as you can. Keep your lower back straight. As you come up, push through your heels, and tuck your pelvis up. Repeat 10-25 times.

One-Leg Goblet Squat

Extend one leg and slowly squat down on your other leg. Don’t rest on the other leg when it touches the ground. Switch your legs. Repeat 15-20 times. You can add more weight if you want more resistance.

In addition to strengthening our bodies, we also need to stretch. Repeat the exercises in the video below daily to improve arm flexibility. They are an integral part of self-defense training.

Wing Chun Dummy Drills

There are 108 forms of this exercise In traditional Wing Chun. Though keep in mind that the wooden dummy is not a punching bag. The wooden dummy drill’s goal is to help condition forearms. It is a very helpful tool to prepare for practice with a partner. It is critical to focus on maintaining good form in these drills.

Pak Sao Drill

One of the most popular beginner techniques for self-defense is Pak Sao. You will need to maintain a good stance throughout the exercise focusing on your center line. You should perform this exercise paying close attention to the form of the drill, focusing on the wooden dummy. The key is to develop the forward pressure when you block and when you attack.

Lap Sao Drill

With Lap Sao you pull one arm and then punch with the other. once you master this drill individually, you can practice Pak Sao and Lap Sao together with a partner. The key is to focus on your form, direct your energy forward, and go slow in the beginning.
While doing the above solo training drills on the Wooden dummy, It is very important to keep the gap between you and the dummy closed. Imagine that you are performing these drills with a real person.
This video will give you a clear understanding of how to correctly perform these exercises.

Other Wing Chun Dummy Techniques And Drills

The video below will show you nine moves that you can start with and also how you can apply them in a real fight. All the moves in this video are a combination of blocks to deflect opponents’ attacks and punches.
In Wing Chun, most of the blocks are done with the forearm. The punches are done with the open palm or the fist. When practicing the techniques you can punch high, in the chin, or low, in the center of the body. Most of the kicks are done low to deflect the opponent’s kicks. You can also grab your opponents behind the neck and pull on their arms to get them out of balance and clear way for your next move or attack.
You can combine the movements, blocks, and attacks.

While practicing the techniques you should always pay attention to your stance and your core.
By following the video’s instructions, you will be able to do the exercises correctly and achieve the desired results.

Wing Chun Drills and Exercises in Pairs With a Partner

  • Cheh Kuen/Lien Wan Kuen – Fundamental Punching Drill
    • The focus of this Wing Chun offensive technique is to punch rapidly and overwhelm an opponent with multiple attacks. It is known as the chain punch technique.
  • Pak Sau – Slap Block Drill
    • An opponent’s attack is deflected by this type of palm block. It is known as a slapping block.
  • Pak Da – Slap Block and Punch Drill
    • The purpose of the drill is to teach you to move directly. This is a great way to train yourself on what to do when your punch or arm is obstructed. This concept allows you to clear a path to strike the face (or body) of your attacker while managing the interference that another person may attempt in defense.
  • Lap Sau – Grasp and Punch Drill
    • The Grabbing Hand (or Pulling Hand) technique. The technique of grabbing an opponent’s arm allows a Wing Chun student to deflect a potential attack or to pull him offline and/or disrupt his balance.
  • Dan Chi Sau – Single Sticking Hands
    • This technique teaches that it is often better to rely on one’s intuition or feelings in a fight, rather than trying to see what the opponent is doing. This is because the opponent’s moves can often be deceptive, and it is often difficult to tell what is really happening in a fight.
  • Poon Sau – Four Position Rolling Hands
    • With both arms working at the same time, the three seeds are now incorporated, but still independently of each other. Forward energy creates closer range techniques.
  • Luk Sau – Rolling Hands with Forward Energy
    • Teaches basic techniques and helps students develop reactions to fast movement and partial awareness in terms of the gates.
  • Jow Sau Jip Sau – Running and Catching Hands
  • Tsui Ma – Pushing Horse Drill
  • Chi Sau – Double Sticking Hands
  • Doc Sau – Discussion Hands (Cooperative Sticking Hands Drills)
  • Gor Sau – Fighting Hands (High Energy Sticking Hands)
  • Cheung Kiu Chi Sau – Long Bridge Sticking Hands
  • Biu Jee Chi Sau – Short Bridge Sticking Hands
  • Luk Gerk – Rolling Legs Drill
  • Chi Gerk – Sticking Legs
  • Gwoh Sau – Sparring from Bridge Contact
  • Maai Saan Jong – Off-Hand Sparring, Full Fight Simulation

Wing Chun utilizes very specialized training equipment to enhance and optimize a student’s skill. In some cases, the equipment allows students to express significantly more force than they could with a partner, physically conditioning the student’s body and providing the experience of hitting with power. In other cases, equipment fine-tunes and focuses techniques for the precise application of movement.

The Wing Chun Concepts course will primarily utilize the Wing Chun Battle Post or Da Jong, which combines the most important features of both the Wooden Dummy and the wall bag. The Concepts course includes detailed lessons on how to construct your own Battle Post easily and inexpensively. Other equipment is optional but will be illustrated in the course for completeness.

Wing Chun Training Steps

The Wing Chun Concepts curriculum consists of three primary elements, Structural Development Forms, or simply Forms, Reflex Development Drills, or Drills, and Tactical Development Drills, or Tactics. There are also two supplementary elements, Weapon Training and Equipment Training.

All of the Wing Chun techniques are first learned from the Forms and Drills. These sequences provide a safe and effective way to practice and polish the skills. It is important to note that the intent, focus, content, and sequence of movements for both Forms and Drills can change from lineage to lineage, or even from school to school. The most common curriculum framework includes three empty hand forms, one wooden dummy form, and two weapons forms. The Drill progression generally moves from basic blocks, strikes, and trapping to various forms of sticking-hands and sticking-legs (chi sau and chi gerk) training drills, and finally to pre-arranged and then free-form sparring.

Wing Chun Tactics

Tactics are a modern evolution of traditional (gwoh sau and maai saan jong) combat sparring. Tactical drills pair the Wing Chun technique with Real World self-defense situations to create a laboratory for problem-solving. Tactics are used to incrementally prepare students for sparring and to test the legitimacy of the Wing Chun technique. Tactics may be trained against one or more attackers, with or without weapons present, and you may be defending from a standing position, pinned against a wall, seated, or flat on the ground. Tactical training drills often use modern training equipment such as focus mitts, Muay Thai pads, and kicking shields.

Wing Chun Syllabus

Below is an overview of the entire Wing Chun Concepts curriculum. It follows a strictly linear progression where every completed step in the syllabus builds a foundation for the next. This allows the body to learn, adapt and integrate the techniques until they can be expressed reflexively without conscious thought. The progression also takes into account the changes and transformations in both body and mind. Command and Mastery of each step create an ever-growing comprehension of the principles and concepts.

Wing Chun Concepts does not use belts or formal, military-style ranking. Instead, it uses simple levels of study, much like the progression through college: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. Since no one wears kimonos anymore, there is no practical need for belts or sashes. Instead, we use T-shirts, marked and color-coded to note the current level of training. There are eight levels in all, including two preparation levels, three core levels, and three optional levels of sharpening, polishing, and refining.

Wing Chun Levels

Wing Chung LEVEL ONE: Initiate

This is the introductory level with a focus on orientation. This is like the time spent in high school figuring out your major and the university you want to attend. You learn the requirements for studying Wing Chun Kung Fu, the specific focus of the Zen-based martial arts of Shaolin, and the unique character and objective of the science of Wing Chun’s self-defense system. The lessons in this course definitively answer the question, “Is Wing Chun right for me?” Upon completion, if you decide to continue the training, you become an Initiate of the Wing Chun Way.

Wing Chung LEVEL TWO: Origin

This is the foundation level with a focus on building strong basics. This is like summer school prior to the first year of college where you remediate or fine-tune your academics. If you are new to martial arts training, you will want to spend some time at this level to acclimate to the mental and physical demands of training. Building a strong foundation of skill, fitness, and mental endurance at this level assures success in future levels and helps prevent injury. Experienced martial artists should briefly review this level, paying special attention to anything that might be new or significantly different from their previous training. You will learn how to hit without breaking your hand. You will learn about movement and about stillness. You will learn about power, focus, and intent

Wing Chun LEVEL THREE: Forge

If Wing Chun were a legendary sword, this would be the level where the metal was forged, shaped, and tempered. It is also the level where you are given the Keys to the entire system. You will learn the first of three empty-hand forms, learn the shapes and the uses of twenty different Wing Chun “Hands,” and master all of the foundation-level drills of Wing Chun. You will strengthen your structure and connection with the Earth, develop intrinsic strength in your posture, learn to physically connect with an attacker, cultivate energy through breath, and learn to relax and quiet both body and mind on demand.

LEVEL FOUR: Integration

In the equivalent of your sophomore year in Wing Chun, you will learn full-body integration, moving instinctively and intuitively as one continuous whole. You will learn the second empty-hand form, learn to flow through all of the Wing Chun “Hands,” and master all of the intermediate-level drills. You will begin to refine your technique on the Wooden Dummy or Battle Post. You will learn to move, dynamically retarget, and effectively hit and defend all “Gates” or vectors of attack. You will master the sets of eight strikes, kicks, elbows, and fingers.


As a junior at the university of Wing Chun, you will be challenged to deepen your understanding of Wing Chun. You will learn the third and final empty-hand form, complete the Wooden Dummy form, and master all of the advanced drills. This is the level of “conscious competence,” where your focus is on sharpening your skills, reflexes, and instincts.

LEVEL SIX: Fighter

The senior or graduate level of Wing Chun is devoted to Tactics and sparring. This is where all of your knowledge and skill — and your physical, mental and spiritual endurance — will be put to the test. This is the level of “stress inoculation,” where you will stare back into the face of raw human violence. You will learn to problem-solve — using Wing Chun concepts, principles, and tactics — the worst-case scenarios of attack and assault.


This completely optional post-graduate level introduces both classical weapons (the long pole and butterfly swords) and modern weapons (sticks, knives, guns) into the mix. This is the realm of crisis and chaos in the Real World. This is the level of “unconscious competence,” where you hone your skills, reflexes, and instincts to respond without conscious thought. You literally become “weaponized,” able to use your entire body and any available tool to attack and defend.

LEVEL EIGHT: Sifu (Master, Teacher)

For those to whom Wing Chun has become an inseparable part of their Kung Fu Life, this level provides the skills to become an instructor and take the knowledge of Wing Chun to the next generation. In a sense, this is not the conclusion of training, but rather a new beginning. You quite literally return to the beginning and progress through the system again, but this time with the perspective of learning to articulate and pass on the training to others

Forms are solo exercises that develop focus, balance, proprioception, and kinesthetic awareness. The forms introduce the hand positions, techniques, and defining movements of each progressive level of Wing Chun and provide a way to practice without a partner.

Students begin their Forms training by learning the gross mechanical movements, simply learning the “choreography” of the sequence. Once they have the pattern, they begin to carefully refine the structural precision of each movement. They gain a clear awareness of the chains of movement, their shifting balance, and the functional importance of each technique. As they progress, students will develop a sense of flow, control both tension and relaxation, and understand force generation.

Wing Chun Techniques and Forms

Siu Lim Tau – 小念頭: The Little Idea

The first and most important form of Wing Chun is Siu Lim Tau, or “The Little Idea.” This is the foundation upon which all of the other forms and techniques are developed. In just this one form, the student is introduced to Centerline Theory, Wing Chun punching, the Yee Jee Kim Yung Ma training stance, the principles of Elbow Power, and a variety of hand techniques, including the three poison hands of Wing Chun: Tan, Bong, and Fook.

Chum Kiu – 尋橋: Seeking the Bridge

The second form in Wing Chun is Chum Kiu, or “Seeking the Bridge.” It is typically considered the most difficult of the three forms to learn but is also the most popular. Chum Kiu focuses on controlled, coordinated movement of the entire body and generating power through rapid twisting motions. In Siu Lim Tau, the hands merely have to occupy the centerline. In Chum Kiu, you have to turn and move your centerline while maintaining your balance. Chum Kiu also introduces the first elbow and kicking techniques.

Biu Jee – 鏢指; Standard Compass

The third form in Wing Chun is Biu Jee, or “Standard Compass.” This form is comprised of extreme short-range and extreme long-range techniques, low kicks and sweeps, and “emergency techniques” to recover and respond when the structure has been seriously compromised. Biu Jee was designed to train the hands to return to centerline and the body to recover to balance, even from extreme angles and awkward positions — just as the compass needle always returns to North after any movement.

Drills are often called San Sik (separate forms) or San Sau (separate hands) in traditional Wing Chun schools. Drills range from the repetitive practice of basic motions to simple bridging and countering techniques to free-flow sparring.

Most Drills are loosely grouped into three broad categories: (1) developing basic structure and mechanics through punching, blocking, shifting and stepping; (2) building timing skills through fundamental arm cycles and interceptions; and (3) cultivating sensitivity and kinesthetic “listening” skills.

By design, the Drills in the Wing Chun Concepts course are weighted heavily towards Solo Command and Mastery — drills that you can practice alone using simple and inexpensive equipment. Some are unique to this course, some are adapted from traditional partner drills, and some are adapted from other martial arts, sports performance training, and modern tactical or combative training.

For students who have access to in-person training at a Wing Chun school or who have a dedicated training partner, we also explore all of the most essential partner drills from traditional Wing Chun.

Da Jong – 打樁; Battle Post

The traditional Battle Post was simply a padded wooden stake in the ground that a fighter would practice hitting. This is not unique to Kung Fu. A variation called the makiwara is widely used in Japanese martial arts, and a pell was essential to warriors across the expanse of the Roman Empire and throughout medieval Europe. The Wing Chun Concepts Battle Post is a modern interpretation, using modular components for striking practice, learning the Wooden Dummy form, and training with impact and edged weapons.

Mook Yan Jong – 木人樁; Wooden Dummy

The most famous and most easily recognized piece of Kung Fu training equipment in the world is the Mook Yan Jong or Wooden Dummy. Made from a man-sized wooden log with three arms and a single leg, the Wooden Dummy acts as a “mold” for the student’s techniques. Practicing with the wooden dummy refines the student’s understanding of angles, positions, and footwork, and helps to develop full body power. It is here on the Mook Yan Jong that the open-hand techniques are pieced together and understood as a flowing, integrated whole.

Mook Wan; Wooden Ring

The Mook Wan, or Wooden Ring, is a less-famous piece of Wing Chun training equipment used by some traditional lineages. The ten-inch to fourteen-inch ring is most often made of bamboo or rattan and is used for training the student to seamlessly flow from one technique to another while maintaining a very precise structure.

Sau Bao; Wall Bag

Many Wing Chun schools make extensive use of the Sau Bao, or Wall Bag, to teach how to deliver force with a strike. The bags are usually canvas and filled with dried beans, but other constructions and filler materials are also common today. The training is incremental, teaching first how to hit without injuring the hand, then advancing to ways to fajing or release force into the bag. The methodical training process is simultaneously conditioning the hands for the work of Kung Fu.

Gerk Jong; Kicking Dummy

The Gerk Jong, or Kicking Dummy, is one of the least-known pieces of Wing Chun training equipment. It is most often constructed of wooden posts sunk into the ground, although some schools have built posts on a frame for indoor training. The training consists of kicking, checking, and moving around the posts at various angles and in specific patterns.

Once the student has mastered the ability to generate and utilize Jing or force in the open hand forms, they can progress to the Wing Chun weapons training. The three empty-hand forms train to deliver force to the end of the fingertips. With weapons training, the student is taught to extend that force through the weapon as an extension of the body. The weapon forms are also considered as an advanced form of conditioning training for the hands, wrists, and forearms.

Baat Jaam Do – 八斬刀; Eight Slashing Knives

The Baat Jaam Do knife form utilizes a pair of large “Butterfly Knives.” The knives are shorter that the common Chinese short sword (Dao), but larger than the Willow Leaf knife used by the drummer in Chinese lion dancing. Historically the knives were also referred to as Dit Ming Do, or “Life-Taking Knives.” There are two stories about where Baat Jaam Do get its name: one from the knife form having eight sections, another from there being eight slashing cuts in the first section of the form.

Luk Dim Boon Kwan – 六點半棍; Six and A Half Point Pole

The Luk Dim Boon Kwan is a tapered wooden pole ranging anywhere from eight to thirteen feet in length. The pole trains seven key principles: Tai (uprooting), Lan (expansion), Dim (shock), Kit (deflect), Got (cut down), Wan (circle), and Lau (flowing). These same principles are used throughout the unarmed forms of Wing Chun as well. The name six-and-a-half point pole comes from these seven principles, with the last principle – Flowing – counting as half a point.

Xiandai Wuqi – 现代武器; Modern Weapons: Stick, Knife, Gun

While not strictly traditional, the Wing Chun Concepts course explores how to apply all of the concepts and principles of Wing Chun to the most common weapons used in the modern world: impact weapons like sticks and batons, edged weapons like fixed blades or folding knives, and revolvers or semi-automatic handguns. This training uses a simple matrix of weapon/counter-weapon tactics (ie, hand vs stick, stick vs stick, stick vs knife, etc), all while seeking Wing Chun efficiency and economy of motion.

The Wing Chun Concepts curriculum covers a lot of material but is focused on a single outcome: forging a warrior’s skill, a warrior’s body, and a warrior’s spirit. We will conclude this section with a short parable from Kung Fu lore:

A young disciple was training with his sifu in the master’s beautiful garden when the student posed a question. “Master, you have taught me the ways of Zen, the discipline of body and mind, and speak always of peace and non-violence. Yet from you I have learned the deadly techniques of combat and the tactics of war. How do you reconcile the two?”

The master nodded and gestured around him to the moss-covered rocks, flowers, and lush garden path. “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”

This simple concept was recorded as early as the Shiji or the “Records of the Grand Historian,” dating from the second century BC in ancient China. It is perhaps most widely known from the Latin phrase, si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

The monks of Shaolin, and all those who follow the true way of Kung Fu, do not want to fight but are ready to fight. The ultimate purpose of the warrior — his very reason for fighting — is to achieve peace. The goal of Wing Chun and this course is transformation: peace within you, and peace in the world. The discipline, the training, is the Warrior’s Way: to seek peace but to know if the wolf comes to your door, you are prepared.

NEXT: The Wing Chun Training Methodology
The next chapter explores the unique framework of the Wing Chun Concepts training methodology. The process as outlined in this guide is designed to cultivate maximum skill in Wing Chun Kung Fu in the minimum amount of time and with the least possible impact on the rest of your daily schedule.

Poon Sau Four Position Rolling Hands Drill

There are two schools of thought about how to learn to swim. The first is very direct: throw the student into deep water. They either figure out how to swim, or they drown. The second approach involves a sequential learning of basic skills. The second approach takes longer, but has a much higher survivability rate. The first skill you learn in swimming is how to float. Before you can do any paddling or kicking or other cool stuff, you have to condition your body to relax in the water and learn to use your natural buoyancy.

Poon Sau is learning to float.

There are no “seed ideas” or grand concepts in this lesson. Here you’re going to learn about the anatomy of the shoulder, learn how to move the shoulder joint freely without strain, and learn the four hand configurations used in Chi Sau. As with learning to float, the most important skill is learning relax, and pay attention to some subtle, natural motions that most of us ignore.

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Siu Lim Tau: Third Section

The third and final section of Siu Lim Tau focuses on transformation. In the previous section we were introduced to the idea of loading up or “drawing the bow” with one movement before releasing the energy with the next motion. This section explores a more complex version of that idea where each and every Wing Chun motion can be a “load up” for the next technique.

This section also provides our formal introduction to Bong Sau and illustrates a different variation from what you’ve seen in Lap Sau. You will also get to see new perspectives on the Pak Sau and Tan Sau techniques that you have seen previously.

This section is performed at a normal pace, with no special emphasis on going either fast or slow. It is vital that you remain relaxed, as you will continue to utilize “whipping power” in the transformation from one hand form to the next. For easy recall, this section is sub-divided into five key sequences, each of which emphasizes one of the key forms of Wing Chun’s “Three Poison Hands.”

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Jow Sau Jip Sau: Running and Catching Hands

In both Poon Sau and Luk Sau you have been maintaining constant contact with your partner’s arms. The four drills in this section prepares you for true Chi Sau by introducing concepts relating to breaking contact and re-establishing contact. While still maintaining a perfect Luk Sau cycle, you’re going to learn how to use Jow Sau or Running Hands to break away, and Jip Sau or Catching Hands to re-connect with your partner after he runs.

This section also introduces the concepts of attack and defense in Chi Sau. At the Dan Chi Sau (Single Sticking Hands) level we introduced the concept of the Close Range Clash. An assault has taken place and the initial attack has been blocked or obstructed. Rather than the two fighters being stuck in a static position the way it is shown in traditional forms and katas, this moment is dynamic. The two fighters are crashing into each other, with the hands in constant motion seeking an opening to attack. What happens in the space of the next heartbeat will likely determine the outcome of the fight.

Chi Sau is a unique training format that prepares you for the dynamic, high-pressure and high-speed situation of the Close Range Clash. As those forearms smash together, you will be listening for position, tension, structure and movement. Something that your attacker does will indicate what move you need to make. If you listen, your attacker will tell you how to defeat him.

In these four drills, we are going to isolate two indicators that will be your trigger to break contact and run the hands. Every Jow Sau run is a transition from the clash to an attack. At the same time, we will be learning to recognize the attack and respond by transitioning from one defensive motion to another, intercepting or catching the attack with Jip Sau. The four drills will make this simple idea progressively more subtle and more complex.

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Luk Sau Rolling Hands Drill

I recently had the unforgettable experience of teaching my teenage daughter how to drive. In the very beginning, I just let her sit in the driver’s seat and learn where everything is: the gas pedal, the brake, the ignition, lights, etc. We adjusted seats and mirrors and got her fully comfortable with the position of driving before we ever cranked the car.

Finally, on a straight, empty street, she got her first taste of driving. She had all the power of my truck’s engine completely under her control, and learned how to gently pull forward and easily brake to a stop. (After a few whiplash-inducing early attempts, of course.) This first on-the-road lesson was simple: get a feel for accelleration, how to control the vehicle while moving, and how to stop.

The process of learning Chi Sau is very similar. Poon Sau is orientation, getting you comfortable with how Chi Sau works without energy. This level – Luk Sau – cranks the car and puts it in gear by adding energy to the motions. You’re going to accelerate with Choung Jing (Forward Energy) and get a feel for the road with Keng Jing (Listening Energy). Then we’re going to add something new: Lin Jip Jing or Connecting Energy, which attaches you like a shadow to anything your partner does.

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The Complete Siu Lim Tau Form

Now that you have learned all three sections of the Siu Lim Tau form, it is time to begin a formal daily practice. In the complete video sequence below, you can see that the entire form can take less than four minutes to perform. Simply set aside five minutes each day and practice Siu Lim Tau. Or, as Moy Yat would say, “More will do no harm.”

As you move on into the world of Chi Sau, do not neglect your Siu Lim Tau training. Frequently review the Key Points and Concepts from the three sections of the form, keeping them ever in mind as you practice.

In the essay below, Grandmaster Moy Yat outlines the Qualities of Siu Lim Tau, and some additional thoughts on improving your forms training.

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Dan Chi Sau Single Sticking Hands Drill

Wing Chun is a very simple solution to the problem of violent assault. You learn all about this solution with your very first lesson: hit the centerline, and continue to hit the centerline. Of course we refer to these concepts by exotic-sounding names – Chung Choi (centerline punch) and Lien Wan Kuen (continuous attack) – but the whole of Wing Chun strategy is just that simple.

In a perfect world, you could stop your Kung Fu training after that first lesson. Unfortunately, the bad guy may be no stranger to violence, and may block or deflect your perfect Chung Choi. Everything else that you learn in Wing Chun is about how to fix that problem. Every other technique is designed to either keep you from getting hurt, or to clear that obstruction so you can get back to the business of hitting the centerline.

If your strike gets blocked, you are most likely in a range we call the Close Range Clash. Both you and your attacker are in the Red Zone where you can get hit, but your hands, arms and elbows are clashing, obstructing the line of attack. You need to clear your line, while protecting yourself from strikes. This is the vital moment that Chi Sau training prepares you for.

Chi Sau is a unique part Wing Chun training that isolates that Close Range Clash and gives you the opportunity to practice key strategies and tactics. It gives you a specific format where you and your partner are in close physical contact and are both looking for openings to attack while simultaneously defending. Within this framework you learn to deal with the pressure, select appropriate tactics and apply devastating techniques.

Your first step into this world is an exercise called Dan Chi Sau, or “Single Sticking Hands.” Each partner has a very specific script of motions they will perform, and you practice with just one hand at a time. This will provide you with the foundation for all future Chi Sau drills.  

Student Content

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