2 things to NEVER do in Siu Nim Tao

When you practice Siu Nim Tao, you are certainly NOT practicing any fighting-techniques.

Siu Nim Tao is about shaping the body in a way that it is suited for stability and economy.

In order to achieve that, there are 2 things that you should avoid like the plague when practicing Siu Nim Tao.

Siu Nim Tao Error 1: Shifting your pelvis to the front

This is an error which is very common in the world of wing chun. I also call this “tucking your tail under”.

If you have your pelvis tilted like this, this is what will happen:

You automatically shorten your front line. Think of your pelvis being connected to your chest by a rope. By tilting your pelvis forward, you will shorten that rope. This inevitably leads to a rounded back and forward-head posture.

Consequently, this whole structure lacks stability.

You may have experienced this before. You practiced the form with your pelvis tilted forward. Maybe your teacher came along and pushed your arms and you lost balance. Well, you HAVE to lose balance when your pelvis is tilted forward. It would be much easier if it were tilted back. It is elementary anatomy.

To illustrate this, look at the following picture. You can see here no less than Bruce Lee himself in IRAS with a forwards tilted pelvis. Look especially at the front line from pelvis up to the chest. See that it is concave, i.e. shortened. Look how his back is rounded, and his head comes forward (his master is no better example – same there). This is the effect of a forward-tilted pelvis. It is a piece of cake to pull at their arms with only forefinger and thumb and break their balance.

Bruce Lee and Yip Man - Siu Nim Tao IRAS

Siu Nim Tao Error 2: Pressing your adductors together

A second commonly seen error in Siu Nim Tao is pressing the adductors towards each other like crazy.

The purpose of Siu Nim Tao in general is to reduce tension in the body. By contracting the adductors, you are doing the exact opposite.

Although we call this stance IRAS (Internally rotated adduction stance) this does not mean that we contract anything. It just says that something is internally rotated.

Sometimes we are told that the IRAS is a pre-stance. This is absolute nonsense. Especially if you contract your adductors.

You see: Movement is only possible in relaxation. Don’t believe it? Then try this: Stand up, contract your leg muscles as hard as you can. Also contract your gluts. Keep it for a few seconds. And now walk.

You will notice that – in order to walk – you have to let go.

So, if this is the case, then IRAS in this way cannot be a fight pre-stance.

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