When ever you first learn a form, its simply a stage of memorization, sifu does this, I copy it, and eventually with practice you memorize it just like you remember your name and address... but only in the later stages do you really get to benefit and truly understand the importance of the form and how it helps you in your development.  So, what I'd like to do is share some of my experiences regarding the chum Kiu form with you.
As you know the 1st section in all the forms, holds the most important of all development and specifically, i'm talking about in chum kiu, the lan sau section with the 3 turns. It took me years to not only develop this concept, but actually, get it at a proficient level.  Believe me, its a frustrating development but necessary in every ways, in order to reach higher levels of wing chun.  SLT focus on you controlling your center, but CK's emphasis is no making you do it in motion.  Often times, I would disregard the entire form, and only practice this section of it over and over again.... and when I felt good about it, Sifu would check it out, and then depression, prozac, and crying game shower scene back in the corner, and back to the drawing board.  But, time and time again, that center in spinning motion, at full speed and controlling it is difficult to master.  You then come to understand how difficult is it to not only hold you center in stillness, but then the next level in motion is really a step up.    I can honestly tell you that there were times, during the day, where chum kiu would be in my head, and then in the middle of the room, all of a sudden, next thing you know i'm doing about 50 turns over and over again, just to see if i can hold that center in motion.
Now as you know the intro of CK, is all the first experience to motion as well, as your intro to kicks.  And, if your a windy city wing chun student, other then phil T. who actually enjoyed the kick training process,  I've come to know that you never pre-mention that your gonna have a kick class in advance, otherwise no one is going to show up.... As much kicking experience i had in the past with my tae kwon do, kicking in wing chun, was night and day.  And, still kicks continue to be the pain in the ass.... literally for students when it comes to doing side kick of course ;) .  Its hard to sorta motivate the student for kicks.  In one hand, wing chun is filled with many kicks and can use it at such a complex level that you'd think he was a tae kwon do guy.  On the other hand though, the reality is that kicks being thrown in a real fight is about .01%.  And, from historical knowledge with all the fights sifu has gotten to and won, he never once threw a kick .  But, as often stated, to know the complete art you have to know it all, and you never know when you have to go into your tool box even if you rarely use that particular tool.  In Ck you are exposed to 3 kicks, and these 3 kicks .. you have basically front kick, side kick, and jut gur.. with the variations of regular and circle front and circle side.   As you all know, I've said it before, you just have to get over the hump of balance. The basic drill is jing dok lop ma, if you can hold this position in stillness at wasit level, then you got it.  People ask me to do the kick, it maybe a year since the last time I've done it, but since I have the balance, I simply lift my leg and there you go.   I wish I could find an easier way around this development, but the reality is, you have to just do it.  I honestly believe if you did this  leg exercise for a mere 5 minutes each day both sides, regardless of age, shape and size, you can get this within a month.
The next important lesson that you finally start to pick up on CK is that the body does everything and the hands, really are just for attacking... In other words, if you use your hands to block instead of the body, you'll be doing 2 motions instead of one.  If you simply just allow the hands to cover the center and let the body change the positioning and line of the hands, you can not only generate more force effortless with this but also cover areas of openess so much quicker.  Now what does this look like.. .from, the ultimate demonstration, watch from 26seconds - 44 seconds, and sifu demonstrates chum kiu process so brilliantlly
Notice, that his hands simply maintain a triangle, at all times, never chasing to block, but simply aimed at the individual's centerline, and then he lets the body simply rotate from one side to another to block everything that is thrown at him... Its done to perfection, and when you can start blocking with your body, you'll begin to look like this when you start chi saoing with other individuals.
The tip in training, is simple in all that we do..... People are so concerned with looking good, that they fail to understand that you need to go through the ugly process before you can get to the next stage.  In training, its okay to make mistakes, its okay to be frustrated, its okay to look goofy, coz in the end your training to make yourself feel better.  Often times, people asked me how did i improve so fast, and I tell them one simple thing, i never stop letting sifu be sifu and demanded criticism.   Its funny when i see people work with him, and they want to be so perfect and try to attempt to hide mistakes... you want him to correct you, you demand perfection without expecting it.. and when you come to understand that you'll become a better person in all that you do.  Well, that's a brief look into chum kiu, with some simple thoughts and experience.
Written by Sifu Ed Cruz
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