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Siu Nim Tao 1st Section

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

A note on Cantonese

I use the ‘Jyut Ping’ (粵拼) Cantonese writing system as I have found it to be the most accurate. For an excellent way to learn Cantonese pronunciation, see Fluent Forever. For a dictionary see CantoDict or use the Hanping Cantonese App for Android.

小念頭/siu2 nim6 tau4 (siu nim tao)/little think head [idea]

Siu Nim Tao focuses on the following:

  1. Operating at an ideal Practical Wing Chun range (outstretched arms at 180° with your palms on your opponent’s shoulders) to leverage our Ci Sau training

  2. Fighting against a single opponent (unlike Cam Kiu)

  3. Fighting where we are not at a disadvantage (unlike Biu Zi)

  4. Staying standing (unlike other martial art styles)

  5. Hitting your opponent whilst protecting yourself (attack and defence simultaneously/trapping 2 hands with 1)

  6. Acting at a similar time to your opponent (unlike Cam Kiu and Biu Zi)

Arms should be at 135° (mid point between straight and 90°) unless otherwise stated. For each defensive move try to imagine your opponent punching. For each attacking move try to imagine hitting your opponent.

下交叉手/Haa5 Gaau1 Caa1 Sau2 (ha gau cha sao)/Lower Cross Hands


  1. Bum goes back slightly as you Haa GCS (tilting at the hip joints) to cover the lower half of your rectangle

  2. Elbows on the braces line

  3. Rotate forearms (1st circle) from palm up to palm to the side position

  4. Forearms point diagonally down if viewed from the side

  5. ‘Blade’ (ulna) of forearm facing the floor

  6. Arms touch at the 3rd centreline

  7. Left arm over right

  8. Covers strikes below your 2nd centreline and hence the lower half of your ‘rectangle’


  1. 1 hand same side, outside or diagonal, outside to a low strike below your 2nd centreline (e.g. CK Uppercut)

  2. Used when your arms are up and back, and need to get down and forward quickly

  3. Two arms together for defence against a knee

  4. Saan Sau Drill Ideas:

  5. Low punch/Same side 1 hand low GCS/High Punch/Inside or outside, diagonal 1 hand high GCS

  6. Low Punch/Diagonal 1 hand low GCS/High Punch/Same side, inside 1 hand high GCS

上交叉手/SOENG5 GAAU1 CAA1 SAU2 (seung gau chau sao)/UPPER CROSS HANDS


  1. Elbows on the ‘braces’ line

  2. Come up and forward after low GCS

  3. Fingertips in line with the chin

  4. Forearms pointing diagonally up if looking from the side

  5. Forearms diagonal if viewed frontally

  6. Arms touch at the 3rd centreline, and at the height of the upper arm 3rd centreline

  7. Left arm over right

  8. Covers strikes above your 2nd centreline and hence the upper half of your ‘rectangle’


  1. Double outside (‘same side’ arm on top) and double inside (‘diagonal’ arm on top)

  2. Rotate your forearms (1st circle) when making contact on their arm (top arm of GCS makes contact first)

  3. Can also use 1 arm only where the back hand is a ‘Hau6 Sau2’ (後手 – 90° Taan) at the level of your elbow (AKA Zong1 Sau2 if turned)

  4. Apply the up action in the form by defending with GCS directly from your arms by your sides (inside or outside, single hand or double hand)

  5. To use in Ci Sau against their Fuk, roll over with your right arm first and put your other arm on top

  6. Saan Sau Ideas:

  7. Punch/Outside double GCS/Punch/Any move from the 4 Slots

  8. Punch/Outside double GCS/Punch/Outside double GCS (your bottom hand Hyuns under their arm to form the top hand of your 2nd GCS)

  9. [Never catch a punch in between your hands as they can easily trap 2 of your arms with 1 of theirs]

埋踭出拳/maai4 zaang1 Ceot1 Kyun4 (mai jarn chut kuen)/ ‘elbow in’ punch


  1. Elbow on the 1st centreline

  2. Forearm points diagonally up if viewed from the side

  3. Fist at the level of your nose

  4. Fist rotated 45° if viewed frontally

  5. Elbow as close to the 2nd centreline as possible – will be slightly higher than Gaau Caa Sau as fist needs to be in line with your nose


  1. Hit with the bottom 3 knuckles

  2. Wrist angle is neutral (not a straight line from forearm to the back of your hand)

  3. Fingers folded into the palm with the thumb placed over the middle joint

  4. Can be combined with Hau Paak Sau to form Paak Daa (or many other moves e.g. Tiu)

  5. Paak Daa can be applied 3 ways:

  6. Double Outside

  7. Double Inside

  8. 1 in (Punch), 1 out (Paak)

前圈手/cin4 Hyun1 Sau2 (chin huen sao)/forward Circular Hand


  1. Fist opens first, then fingers draw a circle towards your own nose

  2. Ends in an inverted punch position (i.e. fist 45° the other way)

  3. Stays forward – unlike Hau Hyun Sau (3rd section) which goes backwards


  1. Diagonal, inside or same side, outside

  2. Often goes directly into a low palm

  3. Used against low strikes around the level your upper arm 3rd centreline

  4. Hau Hyun Sau deals with higher strikes

  5. Can be used to get from inside to outside, or outside to inside without drawing back the arm

  6. Later in this section you can do: Punch/Paak into Taan into Hyun into Wu, in order to train going from a straight forearm to a diagonal one

  7. Also think of Hyun as a wrist flexibility exercise when you are warming up for a training session

後踭/Hau6 Zaang1 (hau jarn)/Backwards elbow


  1. Elbow draws back until the forearm is horizontal and the fist is by the side of your body

  2. The elbow does a slight curve as it needs to come up again in order to get as far back as it can


  1. If your arm(s) is forward and your opponent is very close behind you

  2. Can be used directly after a punch to deal with 1 opponent in front (punch), and 1 behind (elbow)

攤手/Taan1 sau2 (tan sao)/Dispersing Hand


  1. Palm faces down to prepare (like Tiu Sau)

  2. Taan then goes down first to cover the lower half of your rectangle (below your 2nd centreline) in order to:

  3. come underneath the elbow of their incoming punch

  4. be able to directly Taan from arms down by your sides – not just from up by your sides

  5. At the end of the move your elbow and hand is in line with your 1st centreline

  6. Hand is turned slightly outwards so that your elbow comes into the middle

  7. Wrist is neutral and therefore hand is in line with your forearm

  8. Fingers together (but not straight), thumb sits naturally out


  1. Diagonal, outside and same side, inside (in combination with a Hau Paak Sau)

  2. Used to get the forearm pointing to your opponent’s face in preparation for a strike (e.g. Taan Daa)

  3. Taan Daa is Taan getting to 90° elbow angle, then the forearm rotates into 135° Zing Zoeng (see below)

  4. Taan Sau is used as one of your inside arms in Ci Sau rolling (Luk Sau Pun Sau)

  5. Saan Sau Ideas:

  6. Punch/Outside Paak into diagonal, outside Taan/Punch/same side, outside Fuk/Punch/diagonal, outside Wu

護手/wu6 sau2 (wu sao)/protecting Hand


  1. When you Hyun after Taan, elbow starts to go out after wrist gets to a Fuk position

  2. Forearm and elbow position of Wu is same as Gaau Caa Sau

  3. Fingertips in line with your chin

  4. Hand in line with your 1st centreline in the form (3rd centreline with 1st centreline in practice – like Gaau Caa Sau)

  5. Fingers point vertically up, thumb out naturally

  6. Wrist anatomically ‘extended’ (i.e. bent back to an angle of approx. 135°)

  7. Backwards Wu goes all the way back until hand touches your chest


  1. Diagonal, outside and same side, outside

  2. Diagonal, outside:

  3. fingers point forward and then go up as your forearm makes contact with their punch

  4. use your 3rd centreline to make contact

  5. their punch should slide as it deflects

  6. Same side, outside:

  7. hand does a Hyun first in order to get your forearm outside and above their arm

  8. Wu then does a downwards motion as it makes contact with your 3rd centreline

伏手/fuk1 sau2 (fuk sao)/covering Hand


  1. Your elbow angle opens from 45° in Backwards Wu, to 90° for the start of Fuk Sau (used to evade a diagonal, outside Laap)

  2. Elbow in line with the ‘braces’ line

  3. Wrist is anatomically ‘flexed’ (i.e. bent forward to an angle of approx. 90°)

  4. Fingers point horizontally to the side (can also be diagonally like a 45° punch)


  1. Diagonal, outside and same side, outside

  2. Diagonal, outside Fuk used in combination with outside Hau Paak Sau

  3. Same side, outside Fuk is used alone

  4. Like Taan, Fuk forearm is pointing to your opponent’s face ready to become a strike (if their arm fails to defend e.g. with a Bong)

  5. Fuk can go directly into a low palm (e.g. Dai Waang Zoeng) if their forearm is no longer pointing towards you or is too low

  6. If their forearm is higher and pointing towards you, do a Hau Hyun Sau (3rd section) first before going into a low palm

後拍手/hau6 paak3 sau2 (hau pak sao)/behind patting Hand


  1. Hau Paak directly after 3rd Forward Wu Sau

  2. Palm faces away from face

  3. Back of the hand is close to but not touching the face


  1. Same side, outside and diagonal inside

  2. Can grab using index finger and thumb – however quickly let go after pulling their arm

  3. Can also be done using only the palm

  4. Combine with a palm or punch to make Paak Daa

  5. Paak Daa can be applied 3 ways:

  6. Double Outside

  7. Double Inside

  8. 1 in (Punch), 1 out (Paak)

正掌/zing3 zoeng2 (jing jeung)/straight palm


  1. Elbow in line with the ‘braces’ line (like Fuk Sau)

  2. Fingers point upwards and are together

  3. Thumb sits out naturally like Wu Sau


  1. Same side, inside and diagonal, outside (elbow is more in here)

  2. Combine with Hau Paak Sau (makes Paak Daa)

  3. Contact point is the heel of the palm

  4. Palm hits the harder parts (bony) of the face as heel of the palm is soft

  5. [Punch hits the softer parts (fleshy) as knuckles are hard]

  6. Paak into pull to centre into Palm (3 moves from the form) can be applied to 3 punches – can start with either inside or outside Paak and still complete the combination

  7. Zing Zoeng can be combined with any other palm (5 total) to make 抱排/Pou5 Paai4/Embrace Row [Double Palm]

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