Why Does Siu Lim Tau Look Different?
The first thing we need to realize is that there is a huge difference between teaching a form, drilling a form, and performing/playing a form.
When I teach a form, I will keep it the same every time, as this is your blueprint, your default setting, which needs to be ingrained 100%.
Let’s look at Siu Lim Tau, in it’s most simple terms, what is it for?
What is it teaching us?
How to develop, discover and build, elbow energy.
Siu Lim Tau means ‘Little idea’ and it is called this because you should only be thinking of one thing
But how can you do this if you do not fully remember the pattern?
So No.1 on the list is to learn the pattern, and as you progress, this becomes more ingrained, first going through precision but then being allowed to become ‘your way’.
So for this reason, when teaching the pattern, it should be the same blueprint, therefore allowing everyone the same chance to later develop their own way.
What I mean by your own way is simply the mentality in which you chose to play the form that particular day, whether this is with focus on the elbow, the wrist, the forward thinking, the breathing, and so on…
Now one of the biggest things that I love about my Sifu (Ip Chun), which sometimes causes others to doubt him, is the fact that he does not care for showing off.
I have met many masters in Hong Kong who seem really nice, having fun playing Chi Sau for instance, but then as soon as a camera comes out, they change and become all serious.
If Grandmaster Ip Chun was asked to perform Siu Lim Tau in front of a live television audience, where millions were watching, he would do it, but care nothing for ‘Looking good’ for the public, he would simply play the form how HE wishes to play it at that time.
This is why sometimes he has a great stance and sometimes he does not.
Why sometimes he may retract from the Wu Sau by driving from the elbow and sometimes it appears from the wrist.
When you truly know what you are doing, and you understand how something works, then you will start to make it work for you.
So when you are being taught by your teacher
“Do as they say, not as they do”