Siu Nim Tao

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Siu Nim Tao
Traditional Chinese 小念頭
Simplified Chinese 小念头
Literal meaning little thought/idea

Siu Nim Tao is the first open-hand form, or taolu, of Wing Chun kung fu. The name is a loose translation of the Cantonese pronunciation of the Chinese characters "小念頭" (Putonghua: xiăo niàn tóu/Jyutping: siu2 nim6 tau4). Several other translations are used by different organisations. The second form is called Chum Kiu.

Technical aspects[edit]

All the basic hand movements used in Wing Chun are contained in Siu Nim Tao. There is minimal leg movement in the form; the feet only move to set up the stance in the initial movements.

Siu Nim Tao practice:

  • defines the centreline and teaches students where their hands should be relative to it
  • teaches students how to execute Wing Chun strikes correctly
  • reinforces the correct elbow position
  • instills correct breathing patterns
  • facilitates force generation in short range Wing Chun strikes

Great emphasis is put on relaxation while performing Siu Nim Tao. This facilitates efficiency of movement and hand speed. Some teachers, notably Chu Shong Tin, place enormous emphasis on relaxation during Siu Nim Tao practice.[citation needed]

Chu Shong Tin places heavy emphasis on using the "Little Idea" when moving. This means that you use your subconscious mind to move without the aid of your muscles.

Other aspects[edit]

Siu Nim Tao can be used as a form of moving and breathing meditation. In addition, it increases student concentration and focus. The form is also used extensively to develop forward energy in Wing Chun practitioners.

Demonstrations of the form[edit]

Although many of the movements are similar, Siu Nim Tao varies significantly between schools and branches.

Siu Nim Tao or Little Idea Variations Demonstrated



  • Siu Nim Tao - Sequence details Siu Nim Tau in photographs, shown courtesy of Marcelo Navarro, School Moy Yat Ving Tsun Kuen Europe.