There is a wonderful book I often refer to when I am looking at deepening my understanding of the purely physical aspects of my own training,  “Biomechanics of Sport and Exercise” by Peter M. McGinnis, this is an extract from the summary at the end of one of the sections.


1. Develop a theoretical model of the most effective technique.

2. Observe the actual performance.

3. Evaluate the performance by comparing it to the most effective technique.

4. Instruct the performer by providing feedback about discrepancies between the actual performance and the most effective technique.

This approach is of course identical to teaching Wing Chun especially when using the Forms as references and practical examples of how to mechanically perform a movement.

Here is an extract from the summary of another section…


A basic principle of training is specificity, Biomechanics can improve the specificity of training by identifying specific aspects of technique that need to be perfected by identifying drills and exercises that mimic specific aspects of the technique.

Five steps are involved in a qualitative anatomical analysis:

1. Divide the activity into temporal phases.

2. Identify the joints involved and their motions.

3. Determine the type of muscular contraction (concentric, eccentric, or isometric) and the predominant active muscle group at each joint.

4. Identify instances when rapid joint angular accelerations (rapid speeding up or slowing down of joint motions) occur and where impacts occur.

5. Identify any extremes in joint ranges of motion.

Again we can see that Wing Chun training is pretty much in accord with this method, and this is why I personally have no problem ignoring the traditional line of thinking in Wing Chun and progressing everything from the perspective of Modern Sports Science.

It is clear to me that Wing Chun was always heading in this direction until it got negatively influenced by shonky marketing, dogma and pseudo mysticism.

A Sports Science approach would be first and foremost to understand the purpose or goal of the skill we are learning and the desired outcome once this skill has been learned?

For instance when we do Tarn Sau.

What are we learning?

What is the desired outcome?

I have made this point many times before if we do not know why we are doing something how can we ever know if we are doing it correctly?

Let us expand our thinking for a moment from why do we do Tarn Sau to why do we do any of the movements, even why do we do any of the Forms at all?

The desired outcome that we expect individually from doing the Forms could be really and quite remarkably different but the process should remain the same.

1. Develop a theoretical model of the most effective technique.

2. Observe the actual performance.

3. Evaluate the performance by comparing it to the most effective technique.


From the perspective of Sports Science all training is task specific so there is only ever Function.

There is no value in practicing something that has no useable objective, apart from anything else one of the fundamentals at the heart of  Wing Chun’s Fist Logic is PRACTICALITY.

It should be noted that the purpose of some movements is difficult to define, but even in these cases the expected outcome should be clear.

If for instance we look at developing a relaxed manner of moving by doing the S.L.T. Form once we can move in a relaxed manner what do we do now?

What is the purpose and objective of this relaxed manner of movement?

For the sake of this conversation let us stick with Tarn Sau but it could be any shape, any movement or sequence.

What is the outcome we would expect from using Tarn Sau?

Above all else here it is imperative that we are honest and approach this from a personal perspective and not from some default idea that an instructor suggests.

We learn nothing by living someone else story.

For me I would use Tarn Sau to intercept and redirect force from an attacker on either the inside or outside of an incoming arm.

To achieve this I would need to be in a certain place, in a certain shape at a certain time with enough foreknowledge of what is happening to even have the chance to use Tarn Sau to achieve my objective.

Can we develop this ability by practicing Tarn Sau everyday in the S.L.T. Form?

Can we develop this ability by practicing Tarn Sau against static resistance in training?

It becomes very clear very quickly that there is a great deal more to achieving my objective with Tarn Sau that just understanding Tarn Sau.

Many Wing Chun Schools place great importance upon the Forms, especially the First Form and then on Chi Sau which is really only another Form anyway, very little is aimed at genuine Functionality.

All training must be task specific to be useful.




Balance and Stability:

Keeping it simple Balance is maintaining equilibrium when motionless against nothing but the Force of Gravity.

Balance is motionless, if we are moving it is more accurate to talk about Stability.

Stability is maintaining or regaining Balance against outside forces, including forces created by ourselves, as in our own movement.

Balance is motionless and Stability is maintaining or regaining Balance, therefore Stability is about remaining or becoming still.

Some confusion arises because frequently Stability is referred to as either Static Balance or Dynamic Balance, especially if we include coordination, in this context :

Static Balance refers to the ability to maintain the body’s centre of mass within its base of support, as in standing still.

Dynamic Balance refers to the ability to move the centre of mass outside the body’s base of support, while maintaining postural control as in moving.

Balance and Coordination.

 Dynamic Balance is the ability to stay upright or maintain control of body movement, and Coordination is the ability to move two or more body parts under this control, smoothly and efficiently.

As always the best approach is to do your own research and form your own opinion.

Three important principals of Balance / Stability.

  1. A broader base of support {wider feet} increases stability.
  2. Keeping the line of gravity central inside the support base increases stability.
  3. A lower centre of gravity increases stability.

From a Wing Chun perspective, the lower stances / positions of the Chum Kiu and Baat Cham do are more Stable than the higher stance / position of the First Form {S.L.T}.

Getting back to the previous statement that “Balance is motionless and Stability is maintaining or regaining Balance”, it is more useful to think that Stability is about remaining or becoming still, we can see that the movements activated through the various Wing Chun Forms are not so much about moving to or from an opponent but rather moving from one position of equilibrium to another, moving to a new position of Stability, they are about stopping.

This is an important factor in power production and in keeping with the Conservation of Momentum Theory.

If we use the Chum Kiu Form as our testing ground the cycle of movements should go from being still {Static Balance} through the sequence or movement of choice, for instance the lateral shifting with Dai Sau and Bong sau {Dynamic Balance} culminating in stillness at the completion of the sequence or movement {back to Static Balance}.

The movement of the arms adds extra complexity to maintaining Balance by introducing new vectors but the main take away for the arms is in developing coordination of the upper and lower body, the action should fill the same time period, both stopping and starting,  as the movement of the legs and waist. 

If one moves they all move if one stops they all stop.

The Wing Chun Forms are subtle and use minimal movement deliberately, because of this it can be difficult to observe the movements in detail, it is often easier and more effective to have stand alone exercises to study this, once we are familiar with the connections between Balance, Stability, Coordination and Movement the understanding can be transposed onto the various Forms.














What we train is not what we will do if we find ourselves in a violent situation, this is not the problem it may at first appear, it is the same with every Martial Arts Style, what we will do is try to get out of that situation and hopefully our training will influence the decisions we make.

The position we train in, the orientation to our partner / opponent is unlikely to be where we will find ourselves, the Bad Guy will make that choice, and you can put money on it that if they can they will make sure that it will be as good a spot for them as possible and a bad place for us.

Our first response must include repositioning, preferably as we intercept the attack, this is something we need to accept, understand and be comfortable with.

We will all have our own preferred place to be where we feel comfortable that we can do our best work, a very large part of our training should focus on securing that place, that position.


An overview.


Adopting a better position.



None of our forms can teach us anything except how to move in a particular pattern, all Forms are solo training, it is only once we get a partner to provide resistance or force that we can begin to explore how to use this pattern to reflect the Fist Logic that is Wing Chun.

Because none of our Forms can ever teach us anything practical they can never be seen as right or wrong.

Here are some IDEAS to begin your own exploration of Chum Kiu.

These Vid’s are quite old, the information is sound although the presentation leaves plenty to improve, I will update them in the not too distant future.

Using the Body to support the Arms.

An Intro to Pivoting.

More on Pivoting.

An Intro to Shifting.

More on Shifting.

Easy Partner Training.

Active Chum Kiu.



Biu Gee is by far the most complex of the first three Forms, the Jewel in the Crown, as these are stand alone videos from my old Blog there is some repetition of information.

Transitioning from Chum Kiu.

Meeting the Biu Gee

Biu Gee Rotation.

Overview of the Power Shift.

Overview of Power Production

Biu Gee Shoulders

Opening the Upper Torso.

Understanding our Biu Gee Shoulders.

Adding forces in Biu Gee.








Chi Sau is Chum Kiu, we seek our partners bridge and then try to roll it away, the seeking of the bridge in Chi Sau is an “Internal aspect”, we seek to place our awareness in our partners bridge, we are not “Externally” pressing our partners bridge, we are not trying to find it.

Think about this for a moment.

If Chi Sau is to prepare us for combat, and if Wing Chun is a “Counter-attacking” martial art we have no need to try to find our opponents arm / strike because it is in the process of finding us, we just wait and meet it.

 It can be very difficult to maintain this Internal idea while playing Chi Sau, our Ego wants to get involved and tries to control or manipulate our opponent, we can even engage in a type of sparring through Chi Sau, which if you think about it, and you are honest, is a total contradiction of all Wing Chun theory.

What is the learning objective of Chi Sau?

If Chi Sau is Chum Kiu and Chum Kiu is how we address the moment of contact then Chi Sau is equally about how we address the moment of contact. 

In application we would be talking split seconds of active contact and not minutes of rolling.

Make contact – roll away, break contact – punch.

Wing Chun uses chain punching when attacking, or at least relentless striking, so we would make contact and break contact in the blink of an eye.

In training when practising basic Lok Sau, the rolling arms, only one person, partner “A” can be actively involved in a Wing Chun learning objective, the other partner “B” deliberately and purposefully suspends all Wing Chun theories and engages in pushing and applying direct force to “A’s” bridges. In this way “A” can work on how to maintain his shape, his “Body Being”, rolling away “B’s” force and taking the weight into his own body.

“B” is not trying to hit “A” just apply steady pressing {however it is beneficial if the shapes are like strikes}, in this way “A” can experiment using Chum Kiu pivoting and shifting under pressure, observing what happens when you pivot with a Chum Sau, shift sideways with a Tarn Sau or shift back with Jut Sau.

Without presence of mind, constant awareness of the objective, and good supervision this can degenerate rapidly into  Arm Wrestling.

Chi Sau is not concerned about moving our opponents arms, this happens as a by-product caused by our own movement, Chi Sau is about developing trust in the fact that we cannot be prevented from moving our own arms any time and anywhere we think fit irrespective of the amount of force presented to them.

This is how we gain confidence in our defensive structures and ideas, this is how we learn.

Another learning objective in Chi Sau is the development of sensitivity.

Sensitivity to what?

I have heard it said that we are gaining the sensitivity to feel what our opponent is intending to do so that we can pre-empt them, even if this was possible it would only be of use when playing Chi Sau when we are rolling for minutes, it would be redundant in the split second of make contact – roll away, break contact – punch which is the reality of what Wing Chun does in combat. 

I do wish to be sensitive to my partner, but only in so much that I can be aware of where his weight is coming from so that I can understand what shape I need to be for it to enter my frame and settle in my centre so that I can destroy his stability with my movement, once I have this knowledge tied down and stored away it will become the shape I choose to make contact, mostly I want to be sensitive to myself, to what is happening to my “Body Being” while engaged.

Information is drip fed to us through our Forms, jigsaw pieces dropping at different times for no real reason, my Sifu once told me “this is just where that particular piece of information is stored”, for instance there is an aspect of the Mok Jan Jong that is essential for Chi Sau if we wish to be able to transfer it into a fighting skill, and that is as soon as any resistance is placed on our arm we move away from it, we change our shape, change the relation ship, this is Chi Sau in application.  Make contact – roll away, break contact – punch.  It may be contained in the fourth Form but most of us are introduced to it when we start Dan Chi Sau as running palms.

Chi Sau allows us to see the full gamut of the Wing Chun defensive idea, we are learning how to defend ourselves equally on both sides of our body and from multiple directions.

Chi Sau rolling is a practice tool that has us deliberately defending with both arms at once, Wing Chun does not do this, in fact we advise against it, so it is not a suggestion for a plan of engagement, it is the exploration of ideas, and like so many of the things we do with both arms a way to maximise our training time.

As popular as it is Chi Sau sparring is a practice to be avoided, if you wish to have a go at each other get it on properly with a partner throwing genuine, random shots at you so that you can identify how everything we do is based in Chi Sau but not Chi Sau.

Chi Sau sparring is defending with two arms and then forcing a strike through your partners bridge, what part of “when the arms are FREE strike through” does this reflect?