Train To Switch It Off!


Remember to switch it Off!


The main purpose for training Siu Lim Tau is the development of energy, or to be more precise, two types of energy, elbow energy in the first section, explosive energy throughout the rest of the Form.


We are all aware of the need to build energy, and during your studying of the Siu Lim Tau, so much time (literally) and effort goes into understanding this, but how much do we know about the rest of the Form and the other energy?


In the second section we are training for ‘The correct use of energy’, this is ‘Explosive energy’ and in Hong Kong, is also often referred to as ‘Inch power’.


I have written before that the secret to developing power, is not how fast you can switch it on, but how fast you can switch it off, and this understanding is what we are searching when we refer to trying to relax within our training.

Not being floppy or anything like that, but more a case of creating an understanding and therefore and instant connection and familiarity with the off switch.


Just think of this…

‘You cannot switch a light on, if it is already on’


This is the issue we are faced with:

Anyone can be relaxed,

Anyone can be tense,

Anyone can be relaxed, then tense,

But not everyone can be relaxed, then tense, then relaxed again.

And all within a split second.


When you can, you have explosive power.




Too many people focus on the switching on, but not in the switching off,


‘So how do we train this?’


A simple way to get us started is to hit a wall bag with Full power and then feel how much tension is lingering afterwards.


This is a common problem and will quickly give you a ceiling level to your limits, and probably a low ceiling at that!


Let’s go through the numbers, shall we?


If you hit the bag at 100% and you then linger at 30%, this means you only have 70% available for your next attack or defence, after your next punch you may now be lingering at 40%, reducing your reserve power down to 60% and so on.


In no time at all, and with available power now down to a minimum, you will then start to use muscle, making you energy slow, weak, telegraphed and overcommitted, everything we are trying to see in others but never do ourselves!


The solution to this, don’t hit the bag so hard, YET.


‘NEVER sacrifice technique for speed or power’


I am not saying that technique will beat speed and power, it will not, what I am saying is that you need all three.

Get the technique right, then reintroduce the speed and power, then my friend, you are ready.


So, back to the bag.

If you have established that after striking with full power, you are lingering at 30% (remember this is made up number and you will have to discover your own percentages), now only hit the bag at 70%, with your only focus is in trying to hit with power but immediately go back to zero.


When you can do this, increase the power slightly so you are hitting at 75% (again, made up numbers, you will find your own) but you will see that you are now lingering at 5%, practise this until you are hitting 75% then back to zero, and repeat.

80% – 5%, 80% – 5%, 80% – zero

85% – 5%, 85% – 5%, 85% – zero

90% – 5%, 90% – 5%, 90% – zero


Back to the Siu Lim Tau, and the classifications of the three sections:


1/ Elbow energy and centreline principles


2/ Explosive energy and all defensive moves


3/ Correct use of energy (2/) with block and counter attacks


This follows the basic principles of any Martial Art,


1/ learn the shapes

2/ learn to defend using these shapes

3/ learn to defend and counter-attack

Ideally using 2 and 3 with the correct power




Try training second and third sections of Siu Lim Tau, not with the thought of switching the power ON, but how fast you can switch it OFF, and not just to off, but to zero.


If you can do this,

This will change everything.



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