TRAINING WITH SIGUNG CHU SHONG TIN
We plan to put up some videos taken over many years of visiting Sigung Chu Shong Tin in Hong Kong. They mostly consist of me (Mark Spence) getting things wrong time and time again. One can only marvel at Sigung’s patience. Hopefully they will be of benefit to students seeking a little more detailed instruction as it was taught by the great man himself. In every clip, Sigung’s wonderful dedication, passion and humour shine through.
Sigung Chu Shong Tin teaching Sifu Mark Spence (compilation)
A compilation of Sigung Chu Shong Tin teaching Sifu Mark Spence over a period of around 30 years. Sigung’s legendary smile and joy can been seen sometimes when Mark get’s the movements correct or even incorrect 😉 (especially at 3:45).
Opening the joints – with Mark Spence and Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin
This clip is a nice example of opening the joints. Generally Sigung would show me where the energy was being blocked and by relaxing the relevant joints, open up a path back to my centre. The effect from my end was that the force would move from attacking the joint at an angle to seeming to bounce off. When things worked really well, (with Sigung’s help), I was hardly aware of any force – as if it was repelled like two opposing magnets.
Notice Sigung’s wonderful skill as he applies his delicate touch to my shoulder and arms. He would talk of guiding the chi through a student’s body and it is quite easy to see the process here.
Chum Kiu Pivot – with Mark Spence and Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin
This is the pivot from the first section of the Chum Kiu form. Sigung began with opening up my joints, particular attention being paid to the shoulders. At the exact moment that I could feel a connection/open path from my arms to my centre of mass, Sigung could also feel it and motioned to me to turn from my centre. Because of the connection that he had opened, I felt no need to brace at the shoulders as I normally would. The idea of opening up a pathway from the limbs or whatever contact point that was being attacked was a common thread with Sigung’s teaching.
Biu Jee – Huen Sau with Pivot
In this clip we see Sigung (Chu Shong Tin) teaching the pivot and Huen Sau from Biu Jee. A recurring theme in much of his teaching is to use one’s centre of mass to drive a movement. The arm should not push on the contact point, rather the whole body should move as an integrated unit. To achieve this one must resist the urge to use force. Personally, I think that is the basis of Siu Nim Tao. Sigung said ‘the purpose of Siu Nim Tao is to train one’s mind to accept the idea of not using force’. Often students get caught up in the technicalities of a movement and neglect that first, all important concept.
Biu Jee, Garn Sau Full Movement – with Mark Spence and Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin
In this final clip about the Biu Jee Garn Sau, we see the relationship of the two arms working together. Sigung emphasized that the motion was a scissoring up and down of the arms as the body turns from the centre. The transitioning between up to down and visa versa on each arm reminded me of twisting a piece of ribbon at each end to create the spiral shape/vortex force that occurs throughout Biu Jee. I love the demonstration that Sigung does at the end. The shapes are perfect and the smile that comes across his face gives a glimpse of the beautiful person that he was.
Biu Jee, Garn Sau Rising Arm – with Mark Spence and Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin
In this clip we look at the arm that rises during the Biu Jee Garn Sau. Starting from the end of the downward movement and then transitioning to up gave a better sense of the purpose and shape of this arm. Sigung corrected me so that the forearm had a slight curve which focused the force more clearly. It reminded me of curved mirror focusing light. My mistake had been to apply the arm straight so it was attacking like a stick. Sigung’s correction which you can see in the clip gave me much more control of the opponent’s arm and the refined focus attacked the opponents balance more efficiently. Next week we will look at the relationship between the two arms and how they complement each other.
Biu Jee, Garn Sau – with Mark Spence and Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin
In this clip Sigung is working on the up to down part of the Biu Jee Garn Sau. The points that resonated with me were the importance of every joint being relaxed, (as always), and the fact that the fingers guide the path as the arm follows.