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Thread: What does "Siu Lim Tau" mean?

  1. #1
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    What does "Siu Lim Tau" mean?

    What does it actually mean,(not so much how the words translate literally, but figuratively as well) and why was that name chosen?
    I believe in some cases, the name of the set often tells alot, similarly to the kuen kuit.
    "My Gung-Fu may not be Your Gung-Fu.
    Gwok-Si, Gwok-Faht"

    "I will not be part of the generation
    that killed Kung-Fu."

    ....step.

  2. #2
    Hello TenTigers,

    In Hung Fa Yi Wing Chun Kuen 红花义詠春拳 we have two variations on that term.

    Siu Nim Tao - Little idea in the beginning
    Siu Lin Tao - Little drilling in the beginning

    I believe the Yip Man lines use "Siu Nim Tao" only. Many consider it to merely be a pronunciation difference, for my family that is not the case.

    Take Care,
    ~Eric

  3. #3
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    "Siu" translates into small, compact, without waste.

    "Nim" translates into immersing yourself in the study of a subject; "Lien" refers to training.

    "Tao" refers to your head.

    Putting it all together, you get the message to put in your head to study or train in using small, compact movements.

    FWIW, it was Yip Man who changed the name of the first form from Siu Lien Tao to Siu Nim Tao, and other branches of WCK have adopted that change. Apparently when Sum Nung learned that Yip had changed the names of WCK's first two forms, he is said to have commented along the lines of "that's not bad."

  4. #4

    Responding to Ten Tigers question-only briefly

    Quote Originally Posted by TenTigers View Post
    What does it actually mean,(not so much how the words translate literally, but figuratively as well) and why was that name chosen?
    I believe in some cases, the name of the set often tells alot, similarly to the kuen kuit.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. pronunciations can vary region to region-Fatshan Toishan etc and strictly literal translation
    can by pass "tacit knowledge" which can help understand a serious subject.And there can be various levels of understanding the meaning of sil lim tau

    2.At a basic level it's about embedding a starting fundamental idea of the art of wing chun in oneself- once embedded properly, the idea grows with proper practice, awareness, application and experience, and is no longer little... it becomes vast and open ended.Quieten the mind, internalize the understanding by doing things correctly. Aspects of kuen kuit point towards doing sil lim tau correctly.

    joy chaudhuri

  5. #5
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    It was told to me as "Use Your Imagination", by a man that spoke Canton. Use your head, use your imagination. Would do tan sao left, right, left, right, left, right. Over a hundred times, Then punch left, right, left, right. Over a hundred times. Bong sao left, right, mid level, high level, low level, over a hundred times. Anything you need to work on, put it into Sil Lim and do it multiple times. You do not have to have a set form. You can add and take away as you need to add and take away. Just use a little imagination.

  6. #6
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    Just like in any language there are varied levels of comprehension. Just because a person speaks a language it doesn't make them an academic in their own native tongue. Knowing this I asked to different University Professors of Chinese to explain to me what SNT meant.
    The one in Detroit spoke Cantonese and after having thought for a while gave me the example of an old newspaper cartoon character with a balloon over his head with a light bulb. Implying that said character had an idea. So he said it's like having multiple detailed concepts in your tauh (head). Ok, that still didn't quite do it for me.
    Then I moved to NJ. At the NJ school we have a Chinese Professor teaching Mandarin classes. After seeing the Chinese characters for Siu Nihm Tauh he thought for a while and said epiphany. It's like having small epiphanies in your head or contemplating small details
    Last edited by Phil Redmond; 03-27-2011 at 10:07 AM.
    Sifu Phillip Redmond
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    傳統詠春拳學院紐約市

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  7. #7
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    I learned it as "little idea." To me, this means basic Martial ideas. SLT can therefore be a basic progression of fighting ideas, expressed in shadow boxing form.
    "It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own." -Cicero

  8. #8
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    i have little idea what it means.

  9. #9
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    It means "A little presence in the moment as a foundation".

    It also means to get out of your own way.

    Make the "Little" me come into the grand nature, and put that first.

    It is a failure to not live up to Siu Nim Tao.
    Last edited by chusauli; 01-26-2010 at 11:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Here's a crazy different take:

    - siulim (shaolin in fujian dialect)

    - tao (thought or way)

    The Way of Shaolin?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelee View Post
    Here's a crazy different take:

    - siulim (shaolin in fujian dialect)

    - tao (thought or way)

    The Way of Shaolin?

    Sorry, that is totally wrong. The Chinese characters are not what you mention. Who is your teacher? If that is what he/she taught you, you are taught something totally incorrect.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Redmond View Post
    ... Then I moved to NJ. At the NJ school we have a Chinese Professor teaching Mandarin classes. After seeing the Chinese characters for Siu Nihm Tauh he thought for a while and said epiphany. It's like having small epiphanies in your head or contemplating small details
    I like this interpretation as it reflects the simplest explanation of what all three characters mean as one whole. But I would still explain to a new student that it basically translates as "Little Idea".

    Quote Originally Posted by Vajramusti View Post
    2.At a basic level it's about embedding a starting fundamental idea of the art of wing chun in oneself- once embedded properly, the idea grows with proper practice, awareness, application and experience, and is no longer little... it becomes vast and open ended.Quieten the mind, internalize the understanding by doing things correctly. Aspects of kuen kuit point towards doing sil lim tau correctly.
    Also an excellent way of describing the purpose of SLT and why it's mostly used at the beginning of a students training in Wing Chun.

    FWIW I was often told that without Siu Lim Tao there can be no Chum Kiu, no Chum Kiu no Biu Jii so I'd guess that this little idea has some very important knowledge locked within it. Somewhere!
    Ti Fei
    詠春國術

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Redmond View Post
    Just like in any language there are varied levels of comprehension. Jus because a person speaks a language it doesn't make them an academic in their own native tongue. Knowing this I asked to different University Professors of Chinese to explain to me what SNT meant.
    The one in Detroit spoke Cantonese and after having thought for a while gave me the example of an old newspaper cartoon character with a ballon over his head with a light bulb. Implying that said character had an idea. So he said it's like having multiple detailed concepts in your tauh (head). Ok, that still didn't quite do it for me.
    Then I moved to NJ. At the NJ school we have a Chinese Professor teaching Mandarin classes. After seeing the Chinese characters for Siu Nihm Tauh he thought for a while and said epiphany. It's like having small epiphanies in your head or contemplating small details

    Is this not the very same thing as using your imagination? Just put into different words?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Chiang Po View Post
    Anything you need to work on, put it into Sil Lim and do it multiple times. You do not have to have a set form. You can add and take away as you need to add and take away. Just use a little imagination.
    Very interesting too, as it sounds like we were taught by the same guy!

    Although I have to say, I was always under the impression that Ip Man himself 'took everything away' and stripped the set back to it's basics we commonly see today SO you can't take away any more but you can add as much or as little as you please.
    Ti Fei
    詠春國術

  15. #15
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    Sil Lim is simple. So simple that what you see is what you get. There is nothing hidden within it. No secrets. We can alter it or leave it be, depending upon our needs. I have altered and added techniques, repeated techniques over and over, all sorts of things that I might have had trouble with. It is a very simple training aid that habituates your actions to be the same every time you apply them. Trying to read too much into it is going to make it far too complicated. It should not be complicated at all, but remain as simple as you can possibly make it.
    I think people try to see hidden information in the moves, but what they are looking at are concepts that can be applied to various situations, but these are not secret or hidden. You just have to use a little imagination.

    LCP

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