Siu Lien Tao (Siu Nim Tao, Sil Lim Tao, Sil Lum Tao) (Traditional Chinese: 小念頭; Simplified Chinese: 小念头; pinyin: xiăo niàn tóu; Jyutping: siu2 nim6 tau4; Yale: siú nihm taùh; literally means little thought/idea/intent form) is the first Hand form of the Wing Chun Kuen system. Siu Lien Tao translates to Small Training in the Head or Begining set.
The Siu Lien Tao form is the Archival method of all the basic Bridge, Leg, and Body Structures of the Wing Chun system. The Wing Chun context is defined and the geometry of relasionships are clearly defined via use of the Center line and central region. It also includes all the core Jing manefestation methods that are unique to the Wing Chun system. It also contains all the seed concepts , and principles, that make up the criterion for what is or isnt Wing chun kuen. In most modern Wing chun systems, the Siu Lien Tao form has minimized leg movements , reduced to their most elementary components during the Hoi Mah/opening of the stance/Horse at the beginning of the set. But some older systems still preserve some shifting and Footwork, within the first set.
Older systems of Wing chun, such as that decending from Lo Kwai, Cho Family, and Fung Siu Ching preserve that the Wing chun system was actually 1 long form, with 4 sections. The first section, of the single form, was the Siu Lien Tao set, Biu jee the Second, Chum Kiu the Third and the 4th, in most cases has been lost to antiquity, but can still be found in a few lineages. Kulo Village and other older Wing Chun methods preserve that Wong Wah Bo, broke the single form sections, into seperate forms for ease of learning.
Additionaly there are several branchs of Wing chun that dont use the Hand forms and prefer the San Sik method of preserving and transmiting the knowledge.
The movements of Siu Lien Tao are combined with use of 2 hands doing differant functions, Shifting, Footwork, and Kicking into a fighting system in the Chum Kiu set, where the idea of how to Face your opponent, how to find your opponents bridge so you can join with it, and how to Destroy the opponents bridge once found are of paramount importance.
The form trains many things such as:
- Archives the various Bridge structures
- Archives the Various Wing Chun Faat Jings or Force generation methods
- Archives the Various Concepts and Principles
- Archives the Various Wing Chun Geometrical relasionships
- Bridge, Waist, and Horse unite IE Body Unity
- Protecting and keeping your Centerline
- Attacking your opponents Centerline
- Independent use of Hands from Body
- Jarn Dai Lik / Elbow underneath Strength
- Yik Gan / Tendon changing
- Cha Jee Sau
- Kwan Sau rolling
- Jg Ng Choi
- Sup Jee Sau / Sae Mun Bai Jee / Sai Ying Sau
- Tan Sau
- Fook Sau
- Por Jung
- Gum Sau
- Sao Sau
- Gan Sau
- Gwat Sau
- Bong Sau
- Chum Jarn Gao Sau
- Chuen Jing
- Chern Jing
There are varied belief on if the Siu Lien Tao form has Hei Gung and Internal training contained within it. Many feel it does not and have supplimented the system, with Hei Gung forms.