it is like thinking that 6 different patterns combined in an ornate carpet are somehow 6 different carpets

Hi guys, I am at last getting around to updating the Information on the Forms page, they are quite outdated when you think of how we train now, hopefully, it will not take me too long, the IDEAs posted below are just a starting point, there is a tonne of things we can find and explore in the Forms.

The main goal for all of us is to make Wing Chun a personal expression of our knowledge.

Then any information can be valuable information.

When we surf the Internet we find many different opinions on what Wing Chun is, this is completely fine and we have no need to worry about it, the difference is only in the training approach which may or may not relate to the learning outcome.

At times like this we do well to remember that all roads lead to Rome.

For my guys, all rivers eventually reach the ocean.

And take their twigs with them.

Wing Chun is usually described as having 6 forms, I do not like this description, it is clumsy and suggests a separation that simply does not exist, it is like thinking that 6 different patterns combined in an ornate carpet are somehow 6 different carpets.

I prefer to regard Wing Chun as having only 1 Form, which is of course the Sil Lim Tao, presented in the way of 3 attitudes, the first Form [that usually retains the S.L.T.title], the Chum Kiu Form and the Biu Gee Form.

And 3 processes, Mok Jan Jong [dummy], Baat Cham Dao [knives] and Lok Dim Boon Kwan [pole] that allow us to combine and explore the 3 individual attributes.

Do our own research.

A more contemporary way to perceive this is to see the First Form, the Chum Kiu Form and the Biu Gee Form as 3 separate yet related theories that we test in the 3 processes of Dummy, Knives and Pole with the goal of discovering ‘our own’ Unified Theory of Wing Chun.

This is the code that grants us access to the Sil Lim Tao.


First Form Theory. A method of how to set up an upright neutral body, how to move the arms without disturbing this neutral body and finally how to positively charge this neutral body to become a powerful single unit.

Core learning objective. Unify/stabilise an [Upright] STATIC FRAME.

Related research process. The Mok Jang Jong.

Second Form Theory. A method for supporting the arms with the body on contact with incoming force, how to coordinate the movement of the arms with the movement of the body, an introduction to the hierarchy of movement and sequential acceleration in a linear orientation.

Core learning objective. Unify/stabilise a MOVING FRAME.

Related research process. The Lok Dim Boon Kwan.

Third Form Theory. A method of focusing attention to specific points of the body, develop an understanding how to enlist the powerful core muscles, an introduction to weight shifting within the bounds of the frame in a rotary orientation.

Core learning objective. Dynamically empower a unified/stabilised MOVING FRAME.

Related research process. The Baat Cham Dao.

While there are established Forms for the Dummy, Pole and Knives they should be seen as good places to begin testing the theories and not as essential patterns.

A unified theory of Wing Chun resides inside each and everyone of us, the big question is can we get it to come out?






Everything physical in Wing Chun already existed in the other styles.

If you research just about any Kung Fu, for each style you will find several books, diagrams and instructions dating back many generations.

But not Wing Chun.

Why is this?

This is speculation, based on good research but never the less still just me reading between the lines.

We know without a doubt, that Wing Chun was formulated [not created or invented] around mid-1850 in Foshan, by Doctor Leung Jan, a doctor, bonesetter and herbalist.

Dr Leung worked with the local opera troupe in a position I imagine much the same as modern-day sports teams have physios and physical therapists.

His knowledge of anatomy and his experience working with active Martial Artists would have deeply influenced his thinking.

Dr Leung was himself a Martial Artist of some merit but his earlier style was not recorded, smart money would bet on it being a Shaolin style, but there is also a decent argument for Xing Yi, Wing Chun shares many movements and ideas with Xing Yi.

Through his work with the troupe, he would have seen at first hand which of the movements/shapes caused the most injuries [ this would be due mostly to poor alignment] and which movements/shapes appeared to be structurally sound.

It does not take a huge leap of the imagination to think that he would have naturally amended the art he practised to fit his findings.

Foshan in 1860 would have been a very tricky place to live, and an even trickier place to be well off financially, this is just me imagining things but it would be no surprise if we found that he had been the victim of several attempted muggings and he may have found the classical Kung Fu not fit for purpose in those situations.

So he embarked on a journey to change what he knew.

He jumped in the river.

Everything physical in Wing Chun already existed in the other styles.

Dr Leung combined his knowledge and intelligence with the physical aspects of his previous training into what became Wing Chun.

We should not overlook that Dr Jan had no intention to invent a new style.

It was Dr Jan’s approach and thinking that formed the core of today’s Wing Chun.

From the outset, there were no original movement, postures or techniques, just a new way of thinking about existing movement, postures or techniques.

Depending on our frame of reference Wing Chun has either no actual movement, postures or techniques, or it encompasses all movement, postures and techniques.

I prefer the latter option, and as such we are not only free to employ this thinking to any new development of movement, postures or techniques but are expected to make this connection, advance this progression.

To stay in the past was the very thing Dr Jan moved away from.

Our first task is to decide which house we choose to live in.

Remain in the past, in effect in the thinking and ability of the late 19th century, or to go boldly where no man has been before and try to resolve Wing Chun’s Fist Logic with up to date thinking allied to the ever-changing landscape of Human movement.

How well we understand something is determined by how well we can act upon it, how well we can act upon that knowledge.




“Reality is what we take to be true,” 

pioneering physicist David Bohm

To be able to deeply understand Kung Fu we have no option other than suspending reality in an attempt to see deeper into what it is we are doing.

I am not trying to go all NEO and the MATRIX here but there is an element of that.

Our training needs to dip its toe into different realities, the outcome we are seeking is to change our perception of what it is we are doing, in fact what it is we are.

This is not as whacky as it sounds, neuro scientists and physicists have held the opinion that the universe is a hologram for decades, we have no need to go that deep but this is the way.

“Reality is what we take to be true,” pioneering physicist David Bohm asserted in 1977. “What we take to be true is what we believe… What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

I was working on this with James on Monday evening the following video may look a bit sus but this was very advanced training, and training that transfers very well to increased physiality.


If nothing else this next few months should be interesting and amusing.





The idea that Shaolin monks would seek enlightenment and then go off to war is a Wuxia invention, a Hong Kong Movie Industry Myth.

Now that we have begun exploring along the lines of the Subtle Body we mustn’t wander off {mentally} and think that it is something that it is not, namely MINDFULNESS.

There is nothing wrong with mindfulness or using Kung Fu shapes to practice mindfulness.

Although it should be obvious that when you are using Kung Fu shapes to practice mindfulness you are practising mindfulness and not Kung Fu.

Working with the IDEA of the Subtle Body is very much a part of physical training for physical Kung Fu, albeit psychophysical/psychoneural/psychomotor, perhaps just plain PSYCHO!

Mindfulness practice has no place in fighting and cannot aid with the physical aspects of training, what we in the west refer to as mindfulness came about due to a Medical Professor named Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created an 8-week course for terminally ill cancer patients to relieve pain, anxiety and stress, he called it Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Mindfulness is a powerful tool when used as intended

The 9 Attitudes of Mindfulness according to Jon Kabat-Zinn

  • Non-judging.
  • Acceptance.
  • Patience.
  • Beginner’s mind.
  • Trust.
  • Non-Striving.
  • Letting Go.
  • Gratitude.

I think it is quite clear that none of the above attitudes are of use in physical training and even less use in a violent situation.

Mindfulness should be an aspect of our holistic training and I will cover that in a later post.

The idea that Shaolin monks would seek enlightenment and then go off to war is a Wuxia invention, a Hong Kong Movie Industry Myth.

Do not fall for it!

The work we are heading towards is influenced by some of the giants of neuroscience the late Prof. Karl H. Pribram, the late Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais and the very alive Dr. V.S. Ramachandran.

Look them up and get a head start on training.

Stay tuned, stay in touch, there is much more to come and as I get a better handle on explaining things it may even begin to make sense.








It is not possible to meditate in the grips of the ‘Fight or Flight response.


Greater minds than mine have pondered this experience.

A ‘subtle body’ of sorts has been part of humanities perception from the dawn of civilisation, we come across it in such diverse instances as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tibetan book of the Dead, Buddhist meditation, Taoist alchemy, Tantric Yoga, the Jewish Kabballah, the esoteric writings of Gurdjieff to the magic of Alister Crowly and the ‘Order of the golden Dawn’.

Nobody knows what it is but all of us have experienced it or something akin to it at some time or another and many of us have a sneaking feeling that it could be real.

Try this.

Sit in your favourite chair, close your eyes, relax.

Imagine that there is a knock at the door, still using your imagination get up and answer the door.

Who got up and opened the door?

It was the ‘Subtle Body’.

We cannot and indeed should not separate Kung Fu from the people that formulated it, the Shaolin Monks, it was their lived experience that created Kung Fu.

The constant danger of attack from bandits was a central part of their lived experience.

Training hard every day was a central part of their lived experience.

Practising Dhyāna/Chan/Zen was a central part of their lived experience.

Unfortunately, we cannot trust any of the histories that are put forward about the Shaolin monks, the monastery was on many occasions razed to the ground and all authentic written histories lost.

What we can safely accept is that they did train hard every day and they did practice Dhyāna/Chan/Zen every day.

If we apply modern sports science/sports medicine thinking to these two facts alone we find that hard training creates an abundance of Cortisol in the body.
Cortisol hangs around for a long time, more than 24 hours and the monks trained every day.
Cortisol is a stress hormone similar to adrenalin and is a precursor to the ‘fight or Flight’ response.
If all the monks did was to train hard they would be permanently in a ‘Flight or fight’ mindset.

Dhyāna/Chan/Zen is a practice that is known to decrease Cortisol.

Despite Kung Fu movie depiction, Shaolin Monks were spiritual people living in violent times, their main goal was meditation fighting was an ugly but necessary evil {usually, but not always, performed by a secular section of the order}.

It is not possible to meditate in the grips of the ‘Fight or Flight response.

The practice of Dhyāna/Chan/Zen, or what today is often referred to as ‘Mindfulness” was not an aid to the monks Kung Fu, on the contrary, it was an antidote to the monks Kung Fu.

The more secular monks no doubt found that their Dhyāna/Chan/Zen practice had mental benefits to their physical practice so some cross-pollination becomes inevitable.

It is also inevitable that some of the monks would have lost limbs in clashes, so the lost limb syndrome, although it would not be seen as such at that time, could well account for the manifestation of the subtle body to the less spiritual monks.

Food for thought.

Your mileage may vary.





Engaging in this kind of mental exercise allows us to step away from what we have think is reality.

When we are confronted by abstract IDEAs that we struggle to adequately explain we use the mental tool of an analogy using the description of something we understand at some level to stand in for another completely different thing.

Such as seeing our body as a grove of bamboo that bends and sways with the wind instead of resisting it to imagine how to handle incoming force.

Or in the way the Shaolin Monks crafted their movements after different animals, this is also a kind of analogy.

Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake, and Dragon are all essentially the same Kung Fu, the same preparation, the same conditioning, the same body-work it is only their inspiration of how to use their Kung Fu that differs.

Tiger style relies on brute force and upper body strength, Leopard style is defined by fast attacks targeting soft tissues, pressure points, and vital areas, Crane style is more of an evasive style, Snake style relies on speed and intimidation and finally Dragon style, which combines traits of the other four animals. 

The chosen movement style of any monk is a reflection of the physical analogy they most relate to and of course, that choice is fueled by their imagination, fueled by how well they can visualise and internalise the analogy.

It is not that big a stretch to say that all Kung Fu is the same body-work and that only the individual analogies separate them, we all begin with the same blank canvas.

In the more word-centric western thinking, we do well to replace the IDEA of analogy with the IDEA of strategy.

In this way, there is only one martial Style with many ways to use it, which means we can learn from a multitude of sources.

Setting up the body, understanding how to maintain the set-up when moving and changing shapes are the core of the training, how and where we use that training is dictated by our chosen strategy/analogy.

Things get a bit wacky when we look into this way of training, there is a need to suspend our chosen reality and view everything as a movie, later on we can decide what the movie was about.

Movie #1.
A twig on a river, the twig moves but the river stays in the same place.
Our arms are the twig, our body is the river.

Movie #2.
A Fire Hose, no matter how much water is gushing out of the hose nozzle, the hose is always full.
Our hands are the nozzle, our body is the hose.

Movie #3.
Our Body is a Spider Web, it is not possible to only move one part of the web, it all moves together no matter what we part we move.

Engaging in this kind of mental exercise allows us to step away from what we have think is reality, step away from the rules that govern it, and get closer to seeing things as they are.

Before we get all Carlos Castaneda stay connected to the FACT that at the centre of all Shaolin training was Dhyāna/Chan/Zen – a state of being, an IDEA, they were always trying to be in the moment and to understand who they were, they were never trying to be animals.

Engaging in out of our head thinking can be more than beneficial in so many ways…


…At the end of the day, 2 + 2 must always equal 4.

It is good to keep an open mind, but not so open that our brain falls out.

The universe is founded in symmetry, unification through symmetry, the fundamental theme of Mother Nature, all of the forces of the universe combine to form simpler structures, unifying them through a simple symmetry.

What is simpler than being ourselves?

Unification through symmetry is the theme of the universe.

The governing paradigm of the whole universe is symmetry.




Forms are organising patterns that have little if any genuine purpose apart from dexterity and proprioception.

This post is mainly for Richard, most of you do not him but he is one of us.

It never hurts to go over stuff we think we know.

All Forms are a way to organise our body along certain lines to fit certain agendas.

Forms are organising patterns that have little if any genuine purpose apart from dexterity and proprioception.

Added to this we are training our body to be in a specific and exact shape.

This is very important and frequently overlooked or at the very least misunderstood.

Creating an exact shape is a transferable skill, once we can accurately make one exact shape we can accurately make any exact shape.

Chum Kiu introduces us to contact and as such introduces us to force/power and how to deal with it, use it.

Force/power comes from Gravity, sinking or dropping. It comes from Momentum, moving in a straight line and it comes from Torque, rotation.

Instead of just taking all this as a given try to identify these IDEAS in the various FORMS.

Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.  George S. Patton




This is how Wing Chun is usually taught, the way I was taught, the old way, perhaps the wrong way.

I have a small number of private students that train with me to achieve specific goals, not just the blanket IDEA of “I want to learn Wing Chun”.

This suits me fine as I position myself to fill the role of a coach a lot more than I position myself as a Sifu or whatever honorific we may use.

My job is to help the student get the most they can from the information I give them, to help them think, and hopefully to help them think in a different direction when thinking of Self-Defence in general and Wing Chun in particular.

I do this by understanding what the student wants but seeing it from the vantage point of what the student can do at this point and then try to carve a specific path for each student to achieve their aims in an acceptable timeframe.

I do not just turn my brain off and teach/mime the Sil Lim Tao.

This is how Wing Chun is usually taught, the way I was taught, the old way, perhaps the wrong way.

I still use Forms as a teaching aid, but that is all, they can help us traverse blockages and illuminate homework but they are not important, at least not to the extent that they were impressed upon me, and most certainly not in the numerical order they were presented to me.

6 should be 1.

The core of Wing Chun is an IDEA, that is what everyone that is anyone tells us.

I agree with this completely, as a result, this is how I approach the work, trying to teach the IDEA, only using Forms if words are falling short, which occasionally they do.

What is the Siu Nim Tao Form?

The Sil Lim Tao Form, {the whole Form that includes C.K. & B.G}. Is a way of organising all the relevant body movements that we would use to express our style in a way that is easy to store to and retrieve from memory.

It is not a sacred dance.

It is a hard drive.

The Sil Lim Tao Form is a vehicle that if we are simply honest with ourselves allows us to make a series of self-discoveries about how the human body works and how we can use it.

Or become aware of how we were misusing it previously.

Self-discoveries are personal, we may, indeed will all make different discoveries, they will still be Wing Chun despite their differences.

It should come as no surprise that I have an opinion of what the first section of the Sil Lim Tao Form {the bit that retains the name S.L.T} is all about and what it brings to the system on a fundamental level.

What is the IDEA behind the {first section of the} Siu Nim Tao Form?

The first section of the S.L.T. is about establishing and understanding the IDEA of NEUTRALITY.

Before we embark on any physical exploration I start by introducing this IDEA as something to get our head around and fill it out with sections of the cosmetic/physical movements that make up the Form.

What is the IDEA of the Chum Kiu Form?

The Chum Kiu introduces ideological and philosophical ideas that define the style like nothing else, it introduces the IDEA of ACTIVITY, as a Martial Art the activity this refers to is fighting.

How to – when to.

For whatever reasons these ideas were never seriously broached in my Sifu’s school, the Form was presented as just another rung on a long ladder.

Chum Kiu is not part of a progression, Wing Chun is a system, a whole, there are no parts.

Any grading system or standardised progression is nothing more than a financial/business-minded decision, not an effort to advance Wing Chun as genuine Martial Art, thankfully the immense value of Chum Kiu is self-evident.

What is the IDEA of the Biu Gee Form?

Biu Gee is often represented, quite disingenuously, as an advanced/secret information Form, this is the money path.

There is no Bigger, Better, Stronger in Wing Chun, but there is faster.

Biu Gee introduces variations on moves already introduced but delivered ballistically. Biu Gee introduces the IDEA of DYNAMISM.

Do their FORM movements spell out that IDEA?


For me, the answer is YES.
And it is spelt out clearly.

But as with all spelling, understanding is determined by how well we read.








Any held shape becomes an end of range calisthenic exercise.

Connecting to the K.Starr. Video I posted on our Whatsapp channel.

For visitors here is a link…

I cannot stress how important the information Kelly Starret passes on is to a Wing Chun Player.

If you cannot relate K.Starr’s input to our Wing Chun training it is a failing of understanding on your part and not a disassociation from K.Starr.

Any held shape becomes an end of range calisthenic exercise, the Chinese were well aware of this and a very large part of ANY FORM in ANY STYLE is acting as a conditioning tool for a specific action, one specific to that style.

Things are easier to examine, connect and interpret when we relate them to the movements of the ‘Magnificent 7‘ which are Squat, Hinge, Twist, Lunge, Push, Pull and Carry.

From this perspective every Stance becomes a variation of a Squat, if we are applying this thinking to Chum Kiu then we are in the territory of the ‘Pistol Squat’.

Approaching the Heun Mah, the turned stance, as a variant ‘Pistol Squat’ we see how the approach K.Starr. {Kelly Starret} was taking can be used to great benefit when dealing with our Huen Mah.

Points of interest that we already do…

Unloaded Single Leg Pistol exercises, upstream conective tissue reacts very differently in Huen Mah and in the kick even though they are almost the same shape and come from the same IDEA.

K.Starr talks about black holes in our functionality, they exist, we all know they do, the real work is not to seek out and find these ‘Functional Black Holes’ but rather to join the search and see what else we find.

As always… there is no RIGHT answer.

To keep inline with what we are doing physically in training at the moment…

… and hopefully to encourage some people to return to training and some other people to up your game and train with me more often…

… you all know who you are…

… here is a shortish presentation on how to fit your thinking into your striking.



The things we can learn from STANCES and FORMS are so deeply important that they are beyond value.

This post was only put up a few weeks ago but I would like us all to revisit it as I am planning on taking a deep dive into ‘FUNDAMENTALS’ in the very near future. It would be a good idea to revisit as well.

Anyone with fighting experience, especially ‘Street fighting’ experience, will tell you that there are ‘NO STANCES’ in a fight.

A stance is a perfect Idea, an ideal shape and position that we benefit from being as close to as we can be.

The reason for this is explained by the ‘THEORY OF THE CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM’.

In practice, we only ever move into a stance or out of a stance, yet all the action happens in the space between these points.

STANCES and FORMS share the same confusion, we spend a great deal of time and energy training them but in the end, we will never use them.

This is a paradox of cosmic proportions.

This is why it is so difficult to get beginning students to engage in a meaningful way, even students with zero fighting experience know instinctively that STANCES and FORMS have no practical value.

The first confusion we come across is that although we train them statically they are in fact transitional shapes that we move into or out of.

The things we can learn from STANCES and FORMS are so deeply important that they are beyond value.

How we resolve this importance from a purely personal perspective will determine the quality of most if not all of our Martial Actions.

Stances should be looked as being still points in a progressive movement, and not specific shapes and locations.

If it was available back in 1860 Doctor Leung Jan would have simply used ‘Time Lapse Photography’ and completely ignored the path of STANCES and FORMS.

Despite Stances being static they are an exploration of Human Movement, allowing us to look in detail at how our body is set up at different points in a possible progression.

Most importantly starting points and finishing points, but they can also function as a fault-finding method if we are not hitting the end stance position correctly when we move through a certain sequence.

When we look at Stances in relation to Forms we see a suggestion of how we would/could connect a start point Stance to an endpoint Stance.


Adding otherworldly importance or abilities to STANCES and FORMS has definite entertainment value if someone is a ‘Hobbyist’, but being involved in any kind of thinking that is not ‘RIGHT HERE-RIGHT NOW’ can only be detrimental to an aspiring Martial Artist.

We can only become the Martial Artist that we hope to be in 2,3 or 5 years by understanding and being the Martial Artist that we are today.

And we can only become that person by understanding the training we are doing today.