The Sil Lim Tao Form – A “Little Idea” Form with Big Ideas!

Students who train in Wing Chun learn 3 different empty hand forms, namely the Sil Lim Tao (or Sil Nim Tao), Chum Kiu, and Biu Je (or Biu Ji).

These forms help to define the Wing Chun system and train you in the main principles and concepts you need to know to make Wing Chun most effective.

The first of forms is the Sil Lim Tao. As the name describes, with the Sil Lim Tao or “Little idea” form, what you get is a glimpse into the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System.

To many people the form looks simple. There is no movement or change in stances and it is not very exciting to look at.

But for those that are patient, those that wish to understand and not mimic, the Sil Lim Tao form has many “Big ideas”.

Sil Lim Tao – at it’s most superficial – shows the hand positions used in Wing Chun. But at its heart, there is a myriad of concepts that define and direct the Wing Chun practitioner to ‘Pure Wing Chun’.

If you watch YouTube, you can find many people performing the Sil Lim Tao form in all it’s variations. But if you are aware of the beating heart of the Wing Chun Form you will see many people not adhering to it while still giving lip service to the concepts.

Sil Lim Tao acts as a calibration tool: a way to measure if your mind’s understanding is connected to your body’s acceptance.

It’s amazing that when you ask someone who may have been training in other martial arts, if they know what and where their centerline is, the answer is always ‘Yes’.

But if you ask them to place their hands in centerline while performing the Sil Lim tao, in many cases the hands are either crossing or away from the centerline. This also applies to the concept of “facing”, “gates”, “rooting”, “structure unification” to name a few.

While the Sil Lim Tao form is considered by some as the ‘Beginner’s form’, this isn’t really the case.  While it is the first form students learn, this form is probably the most challenging Wing Chun form in the system.


Because it offers no mercy to the player of the form – any errors can be seen glaringly to others. Your actions cannot be hidden by body movement or rotation (as in Chum Kiu and Biu Ji). It is a form with a simple “Yes” or “No” answer.

To help send you on the right path here are two questions you need to ask when learning the Sil Lim Tao:

#1 “What is this form trying to teach me?”

#2 “Am I applying what the form is trying to teach me or am I just dancing?”

Sil Lim Tao

The Wing Chun system, offers a lot of intellectual information that has to be processed and distilled to the body.

But one of the great secrets of the Wing Chun Forms is that once you understand what the form is trying to teach you, the “little idea”, can be applied to any other martial art – to enhance it and strengthen it.

As both a Wing Chun Sifu (teacher) and lifelong student, I find that this “Little idea” form still has “Big payoffs” for myself and those that search it openly and honestly.

There is a Wing Chun Maxim that says, “If your heart is correct, your form will be correct. If your character is high, your spirit will be higher.” So develop a heart of learning, of self-examination, of humble correction, and you will learn the secrets hidden inside the Sil Lim Tao.

All the best in your training – Sifu Chuck

Want to work on the Sil Lim Tao form but no time to attend class? Check out Sifu Chuck’s Sil Lim Tao Form Video Training here!

Wing Chun Wooden Dummy Form Video is Now Available!

Wooden Dummy Form Video TrainingGreat news – for those of you who have been looking for a way to learn the Wing Chun Wooden Dummy form from home, my instructional downloadable video is now available from my Learn Wing Chun Online site here.

There’s so much information in here that I had to split it into a 2-video series. You get multiple angles and even detailed shots of the footwork to make it easy for you to learn at home.

You’ll also learn the common mistakes to avoid that many first time students make. I’ve also included the rarely seen “Empty Dummy” Form on these videos – so you don’t even need a wooden dummy to train the form.

Wing Chun Wooden Dummy Video Training

My main goal with these videos is to help you learn – which is why I spent several months and a lot of frustration trying to get this right. I really believe this video will help you learn the Wooden Dummy form like no other video training out there!

You can watch a free video sample of this video series here.

As with all of my downloadable videos, you can download it to your computer within minutes – and then it’s yours for life.

You don’t need internet access to watch it. You don’t need to join a membership site and stream it. You download it once and enjoy it forever! Please enjoy – and send me an email as I always love getting feedback from my online students!

– Sifu Chuck



My New Book – Psychological Self Defense – Is Now Out On Kindle!


psychological-self-defense-kindle-lookI’m happy to say that after much toil – and my wife pulling me away for a week, forcing me to finish it – my new Kindle book is now out on Amazon:

“Psychological Self Defense – How to Protect Yourself from Predators, Criminals and Sociopaths Before they Attack”

If you’ve ever wanted to learn self defense, but you just don’t have the time (or desire) – this book can help.

It will teach you how to protect yourself from predators and psychopaths before they attack.

Here’s a few things you’ll learn:

– How to be aware of your environment and spot trouble (so you can get out) before it starts

– How to read body language so you can uncover when someone has hidden hostile intentions towards you

– How to defend yourself against physical attackers and psychological predators.

– How to spot when someone is lying and conning you

– How to send the right non-verbal messages that completely turn predators off from targeting you as their next victim

– How to avoid confrontations and talk people down using verbal and visual skills.

– What to do if you can’t avoid a physical attack – to give yourself the best chance of surviving.

And much more!

I’m really proud of this book – a joint effort with my wife Kate – as I think it can be used to help a lot of people. Watching the recent tragic events in Boston, I realized just how important a book like this is.

Our world is growing more uncertain every day. And we need skills to combat the growing array of criminals, predators and sociopaths that are out there.

So I hope you enjoy it and that you find it useful. You can even read a free excerpt here (by clicking on the ‘Look Inside’ graphic on the book).


– Sifu Chuck


How To Find A Good Wing Chun Teacher

5 Key Questions To Ask When Looking for a Quality Instructor


Sifu-Chuck-with-Sifu-Chan-2Looking for a good Wing Chun teacher? How do you know if you’re actually learning effective Wing Chun from a quality instructor?

There are lots of guys out there teaching Wing Chun – and some of them aren’t even genuine Sifus – just a lot of smoke and mirrors marketing with third-rate wing chun.

When you go to learn Wing Chun, you don’t want to learn from just anyone claiming to be a “Wing Chun expert”.

You want to learn from someone who has the experience, skill and knowledge to teach you effective, REAL Wing Chun.

A lot of my online students unfortunately can’t train with me in person since they are not in the Toronto, Canada vicinity. So they ask me for tips on finding a good instructor in their area.

To this end, here are 5 questions to ask yourself when searching for a quality Wing Chun instructor:

#1 Do they disclose their Wing Chun training lineage?


It’s important that you can follow and verify their training lineage. This way you can easily contact their instructor to confirm that they are qualified to teach you.

It also means the chances are higher that this person has legitimate skills since they’re not trying to hide anything. And since different lines tend to have slight differences in their forms, drills, etc. you have a better chance of finding a style that you like.


#2 Do they have several years of experience teaching?


Look for someone who has a decent number of students with several years experience training. Anyone can teach out of their garage for a month and then close up shop.

But someone with several years experience is more likely to be more professional, trustworthy and have students that are willing to keep coming back because they like what they’re learning.


#3 What are his (or her) certifications?


Does this person have anything in the way of certification? For example, in addition to being a Sifu (which is an obvious certification you’ll want to look for), maybe they are certified (or train regularly) in another art.

If so, this will definitely spill over into their teaching to you – and you will benefit. For example, I use a lot of the knowledge I picked up in my bodyguard certification course to teach my guys about gun disarms and self defense.

As a certified personal trainer, it also helps me to make sure my guys aren’t doing a move the wrong way which could get them injured.


#4 Will they let you check out a class before signing up?


This is crucial. You should be able to ‘try before you buy’ to make sure the style of class is right for you. You should never be pressured to sign up for classes. If you are – run the other way.


#5 Can you ask questions?


To a good instructor, no question is ever a dumb question. As a student you will have many questions – and you should be able to ask them.

Now sometimes, for the sake the the class unity, you may be asked to leave your questions until after the class, which is fine. But you should never be made to feel stupid just for having questions. That’s the sign of an arrogant, poor quality instructor.

So those are 5 questions to ask in order to find a good Sifu. Keep them in mind when looking around and you’re bound to find someone you feel comfortable with – someone who will teach you quality Wing Chun and push you to reach new highs with your training.

Good luck!

Sifu Chuck


Hidden Benefits Wing Chun Kung Fu

Seven Added Training Benefits You May Not Know About!

wing-chun-classes-sifu-chuckMost people choose Wing Chun because it’s one of the best ‘street-smart’, hand-to-hand combat martials arts.

It’s also easy to learn. It works  – regardless of your age or gender. And it will easily take down a stronger, faster opponent.

But there are many other ‘hidden’ benefits you get from training in Wing Chun that you may not realize. Here are just a few:


#1 Helps Refine Your Spatial Awareness

Your Wing Chun training helps you refine your spatial awareness (knowing where your body is in relation to things around it).

In a day and age where many of us sit at desks or cars, our sensitivity of knowing where we are in relation to other people and objects becomes dull. With training you become more visually aware of your distance from objects (both stationary and moving ones).

This helps you in everything from sports to driving to social interactions.


#2 Improve Your Body Mechanics and Reduce Minor Injuries

With consistent Wing Chun training, you learn how to use proper structures to do everyday activities. This, in turn, will help you reduce minor injuries because of poor body mechanics.


#3 A Healthy Outlet for Pent-Up Stress

Wing Chun forms especially can help teach you how to truly relax your body as you master more efficient body mechanics. This helps tremendously with stress relief – something most of us need in our go-go-go world.

Doing the forms can also provide a meditative benefit – a sort of ‘moving meditation’. Forms are a great way students can work through stresses and problems of the day in a healthy way.


#4 More Confidence and Better Focus

With forms training you also gain good body posture, which can help you appear more confident and in control to those around you.

Training over the long term also helps you develop increased focus in everyday life. This translates into helping you achieve your other life goals faster and more effectively.


#5 Improve Your Reflexes

Chi Sau (or sticky hands), provides the training of increased contact sensitivity and increased auto-reflexes. This will also help you in other martial arts or sports that you choose to take.

I often find that, when studying another martial art, I progress much more quickly through it because of my years of Wing Chun training.


#6 Better Relationships and Social Support

Another benefit that my students especially like about their training is the social interaction and friendships that come with taking classes.

In my classes for example, I emphasize to my students that they are family. Because we’re a family we help each other improve. We’re not there to break each other down but to build up. We’re also there as a social support in a world where many peoples social supports are breaking down.


#7 Increased Discipline

Self-discipline is a lost art today in a world where so many things are cheap and easy. The downside to this is that people aren’t given a lot of chances to develop self-discipline.

But the truth is that you need it if you want to go anywhere in life. Wing Chun helps you develop self-discipline in a truly enjoyable way. While you’re learning the art, you’ll also be developing the self-discipline of training, practice and conditioning.

You’ll notice before long that this self-discipline (and the confidence that comes from developing it) is leaking over into other areas of your life, helping you achieve more and go further than you ever dreamed.

So those are just a few of the added benefits of training in Wing Chun Kung Fu. If you’re interested in taking classes, make sure to look for a good instructor that provides a supportive positive environment to train in.

You should be able to ask questions and work to your own fitness level. Good luck in your training!

Wing Chun Forms – Tips For Training

wing-chun-forms-studentsIn the Wing Chun system there are three empty hand forms (Sil Lim Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Jee), a Wooden dummy form (Mook Yan Jong) and two weapons forms (Luk Dim Boon Kwan & Baat Cham Doa).

Wing Chun forms help you develop self-awareness, balance, relaxation and sensitivity. They train you in the fundamental movement and the correct force generation of the system.

All techniques are derived from the forms – they are the foundation for the Wing Chun fighting system.

Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of how important these forms are to your training. So with that in mind here are a few training tips to help you get the most when working your forms:


1) Become One

Connect your mind with every motion of your body. Think and feel every motion, your body should have a unity that can generate ‘effortless power’, but look graceful.


2) 10 to 1 Rule

For every time you do your form at ‘Normal’ or ‘Fast’ speed, do it 10 times slowly. Now I know some of you are thinking, ‘But traditionally my form isn’t done that way!’

That may be true, but if you really want to get the mechanics down, and KNOW where your body is during every motion, do it slow. By slowing down the form, it is like doing it 10,000 times.


3) Feel the Power

Focus on where your body should be generating power from during any given movement. There are several ways to do this, but one of the ways it to put a ‘Mind of Pressure’ in each move.

You do this by pretending that there is some pressure that is giving you some resistance trying to prevent you from doing the action. You’ll notice that you progress leaps and bounds if you do this.


4) Body Bump

Get a partner to push or ‘bump’ you after every move. This will help you know if you are balanced and rooted properly.

Now don’t have your partner give you so much force that you can’t stay rooted. Just have him give you a slight bump to test your stance.

Practice these 4 things when doing your forms and you will speed up both your learning and your practical skills!

Is Someone Lying To You?

3 Ways To Spot A Liar


spot-a-liarIs someone lying to you? How do you know? Do you know how to spot a liar?

I’m currently writing a book on the psychology of self defense with my wife – who has a psychology background and a lot of knowledge when it comes to people and body language. One of the topics we’re covering is how to spot a liar.

Being able to tell when someone is lying to you is a very handy skill set to have. I’m not talking here about the every day white lies that people tell like “Sure that haircut looks good on you, honey.” or “I think your mother is wonderful, dear.”

I’m talking about someone who is lying to you in order to con you, swindle your or take something from you that you’re not willing to give. When someone is lying to you in this way, it is an act of covert aggression towards you. And just like you have to be able to defend yourself physically, you should also be able to defend youself psychologically.

So while this is a huge topic in itself, I thought I’d list 3 of the most common signs that people give off when they’re lying to you:


#1 The Mouth Cover

When someone’s lying, they may cover their mouth a lot. This goes back to the impulse that children have to immediately cover their mouths after they tell a whopper.


#2 The Momentary Pause

If someone is lying, you may notice that they take momentary pause before answering a question.

For example, if you ask someone “Did you take the money out of my purse?”, a truthful person will be able to answer you right away – ‘Yes’ or ‘No”. That kind of answer should not take a few seconds to think about – unless you’re trying to come up with a lie that sounds plausible.

Note that this only applies to questions that most people should know the answer to immediately – not for questions that they should rightfully have to think about first like “What were you doing last Saturday?” or “What did you have for dinner last Tuesday night?”

In those cases there should be a pause before the person answers (since they are taking time to access their memories). If they answer too quickly in that situation, it can actually mean they’re lying.


#3 They Repeat Your Question Back To You 

A police officer once told me that the number one way he knows a suspect is lying is when they repeat his question back to him.

“Do you have drugs in your car?”

“Are you asking me if I have drugs in my car officer?”

“Did you hit that woman?”

“So you’re asking me if I hit her?”

Like the pause in #1 above, this is another way the person is playing for time in order to come up with a lie that sounds plausible.

So those are three common ways to spot a liar. There are many more, which I’ll be posting in the future – so stay tuned!

P.S. If you want to get first access to the book when it comes out – at a discount – sign up for my Sifu Chuck Newsletter here!


What Path Are YOU On?


pathOne my favorite books is by Pastor Andy Stanley called ‘The Principle of the Path”. In it, he puts forth a principle that seems simple – but is actually revolutionary. It’s this:

Direction – not intention – determines destination.

Think about that. Your direction – the path you are currently on right now – will ultimately determine your destination in life. So if you kept doing the things you are currently doing right now every day, where do you these things will lead you in 5 years?

If you keep going in the direction you’re going right now – where will you ultimately end up? Is it somewhere you’ll be happy with?

This is a revolutionary idea because most of us are told today that it’s our intention that really matters.

  • As long as we intend to spend more time training.
  • As long as we intend to start saving someday.
  • As long as we intend to start our diet on Monday.

As long as we intend to do good things – we’ll ultimately get there someday. But that’s not the truth. The truth is this:

It’s what we are currently doing (our direction) every day that ultimately determines where we end up.

So if I’m choosing to eat a dozen donuts every day, it doesn’t matter if I have all the plans in the world to work out and look like a fitness model. I’ll still end up looking like a guy who eats a dozen donuts every day – and nothing more.

If this seems a bit depressing to you, don’t worry. The great thing about life is that you can always start over. You can always change the path that you’re on. And the principle of the path is a powerful one that always gets you results.

So for example, let me ask you some questions:

If you decided to train in your martial art for an hour or two every day without fail – how far do you think you’d be in a year? Two? Five? Would you be a black belt? Would you have your own school?

If you decided to invest 10% of your paycheque every month, where would you be in a year? Five years? Ten years? Would you be able to retire early? Start your own business and work for yourself? Buy a dream car or take a dream vacation?

If you decided to read one book per week (or month) about your chosen profession, how far in your career would you be in a year? Two years? Five? Head of the company? CEO? In demand as a speaker or sales trainer?

If you decided to eat healthy 95% of the time, where do you think you’d be in a month? A year? Thin, fit and healthy? Full of energy?

It really makes you think doesn’t it? Hopefully it gets you excited about where you actually could go in life.

By practicing this simple principle – the principle of the path every day, you’ll reach your goals faster, you’ll go further and you’ll be amazed to see how much you can really do in this life!


Your Best Defense When It Comes To Personal Protection


“Self Defense is primarly about not being there when the other guy wants to fight.” Lawrence A. Kane adn Kris Wilder, The Little Black Book of Violence

dangerWhen it comes to personal protection, the best defense is not having to defend yourself at all – avoiding the situation. Every experienced martial artist will tell you that the best fight is the one you never get into in the first place.

And the number one way to do this is by using the skill of awareness. Although this seems obvious, the sad truth is that most of us are not aware.

All you have to do is go out on the street and observe people around you. How many of them are really aware of what’s going on around them?

Most of them are too busy texting, talking on their phones or surfing the net on their laptop to notice their surroundings.They wouldn’t even notice if they were walking into oncoming traffic.

But being aware of your surroundings can save you from a whole heap of trouble.

It can help you observe changes in energy and atmosphere. It can help you spot things that are out of the norm – and therefore possible red flags. It can help you notice people who are targeting you from afar – or people who seem just a little too interested in you.

How do you increase you level of awareness?

First of all, I find it helpful to take some time and observe other people and their level of awareness. Go to a mall or another heavily traffic area on a Saturday and just watch. How many people seem really aware of their surroundings to you?

Probably very few.

This can help motivate you to practice raising your level of awareness. It can also help to raise your level of awareness when it comes to observing people. You’ll start to be able to tell what’s normal – and what’s not. You’ll be able to see when someone is agitated, hyper or boiling angry. You’ll be able to spot when someone is eerily cool in a situation where they shouldn’t be (like at a concert or after just finding out they lost their job).

The second thing you can do is to practice awareness by using your senses – not just your sight, but your hearing and even your smell as well. For example, close your eyes right now and ask yourself what you hear. Is it normal for the situation you’re in?

What do you smell – anything out of the ordinary?

Being aware means using all of your senses to assess the environment around you. It also means keeping these senses free from distraction (avoiding texting or talking on the phone in certain situations).

Try these things and you’ll start to refine your awareness skills. Then you’ll be able to see trouble ahead – so you can avoid it in the first place!


Share Your Experience:

Has being aware of your surroundings ever helped you avoid danger? Tell me about it!



Filming the Wooden Dummy Instructional Video

I’ve finally freed up my schedule to film the wooden dummy instructional video. A lot of guys have been asking about it – and I appreciate their patience.

It’s not as simple as the other videos since there are multiple angles (not just two) that you have to show in the video to help people learn.

Since this is an instructional video in the same vein as my other videos, you can’t just show the form and assume people will learn from it. You have to show it from multiple angles with different color wrist bands AND different colored dummy arms. You also have to show the detailed footwork as well.

Thankfully I have some of the best students out there that are willing to help me design a dummy to do this! I’ve included some pics below and will keep you updated! If you’d like advance notice of when the video is ready for download sign up for my Sifu Chuck newsletter here!