SIL LUM TAO
TAKE ANOTHER STEP IN SIL LUM TAO by Beau Bouzaid
Sil Lum Tao (little idea, small thoughts, beautiful beginnings or whatever) this is where it all starts.
Having been to a few workshops and hosted a number over the years, I am only to aware that a week or two afterwards the mind goes blank and has trouble remembering much of the subject matter. So I hope the following brief prompts of some important points covered during the recent workshops in Christchurch and Dunedin prove helpful.
During the workshop we explored the importance of learning to direct your force/powers along an imaginary line to a focus point not any further than the face of your punching fist once it’s extended; in other words don’t over commit yourself.
Stance / Posture:
(Well if you don’t have one go to the back of the class!). Master Kevin has an ace up his sleeve for this; remember you should be able to feel the whole outline of your foot when it is placed on the ground. Measuring out your stance bend your knees so that you can only see the front of your toes to your knee caps. Once you have measured out your stance completely, don’t drop your bottom not only is it incorrect but this will put pressure on your lower vertebrae/spine. Rather be vertically opposed but push forward like you are up against a glass wall but don’t over commit with your body mass. This will really help you at a later stage when starting other forms of exercises.
Correct Angles / Structures:
Identify for yourself any weakness in your angles/structures; are they to far forward or to close to your body; they may even be too high or too low. With each angle get someone to apply a little pressure gradually each time you perform a movement (build up slowly).
As you perform the SLT try to continually push your shoulders down. (Subtlety!) You will have to police this one yourself - when at home get in front of a mirror. Mirrors don’t tell lies. (Unless you're blind!)
When you are going though the movements in the SLT always feel that there is someone in front of you applying a greater force. You should always strive to keep on your own forward force continuously while doing the SLT/elbow projection -but remember to remain relaxed!
Movement should never be a one/two type movement but have continuous flow; and not to freeze up, or be rigid (don’t lock up your joints). On the completion of each movement remember you have to move on to the next movement.
Acute Pivot Point:
Remember when you are going though movements/angles in SLT you must always use the small circular movements, going around the opposing force. For example imagine a pivot point that you must go around rather than going against it. (Going against it could cause bruising, you must look after number one - yourself!) Remember, I showed you how to use your fingers as a pointer for the direction you may want to go in.
We explored what happens when you just do a minor rotation of your wrist (or let’s say a reverse fook sau, fingers facing yourself); the bicep will bulge or harden up. You don't want this (muscular tension) to happen as it will stop the masses/forces from projecting forward from your body and also stop your extensor muscle from working. In other words you’re shortening your muscle when you are trying to extend them. So when you are doing the Fook Sau movement in the SLT make sure your Fook Sau is relaxed and not locking.
In closing a special thanks to my Master, Kevin (and friend) for starting me on such a great journey and also a very special thanks to the King of SLT Grand Master Chu Shong Tin for all his challenging refinements and also of my fond memories in Hong Kong 1989.
Until next time. Master Beau.
(The points raised in this article are supplementary to the drills & instruction given hands on by Master Beau during his 2011 workshops (NZ), and are not meant to be a complete essay on Sil Lum Tao. The points may be best understood in the context of those workshops by the workshop participants and others familiar with Wing Chun. All comment or questions related to this article should be addressed to Master Beau. - Ed.)