Chum Kil – Sink or Seek?

Chum Kil is the second of the empty hand forms. What is it that makes this form so interesting? Is it to search for a bridge or is it to sink the bridge? Is it the precursor to Bil Gee, continuation of Sil Lum Tao or a stand-alone form in itself?

What concepts are being trained and do these techniques actually work in application? These questions have all been asked at some point as we progress from beginner learning to intermediate skill level.

The answer to these and many other questions is Yes!

What do I mean YES? Now before you say this guy is off his tree, ponder this. The term Chum Kil has meanings that translate to both search and sink the bridge. Once we have established a bridge with the oncoming energy of the opponent, we must endeavour to disrupt the opponent’s flow by “sinking” their bridge.

Now, this can be done with various techniques dependent on the direction, intensity and commitment of the attacker. In the style of Wing Chun that I practice which is Grandmaster William Cheung’s Traditional Wing Chun (TWC), Chum Kil trains the practitioner to employ the use of what we call the B.O.E.C concept.

B. is for balance. During Sil Lum Tao the Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma is developed & we have instilled the muscle memory for a solid base and balanced centre of mass. Our COM should be balanced on the front 2/3 of our feet with 50/50 weight distribution between the two, allowing for efficient movement whilst maintaining a solid base.

Chum Kil will take this foundation and teach us to maintain this balance and spring-like tension while putting it in motion. The body must move as a single, cohesive unit so we do not lose our structure or telegraph our attack.

The “B” in this acronym also pertains to our opponent’s balance. We must employ our own balance and structure to displace or disrupt our opponents balance.

O. is for opening. When our opponent has thrown the incoming strike, an opening will be created either by the act of striking itself or the redirection of energy or intent brought about by our defensive technique. Timing is critical to make use of these openings and this is where Chum Kil trains us. If I have perfect technique and perfect structure, I can’t lose, right?

Wrong! All of these attributes account for nothing if the timing is off.

Your feet must be moving in time with your hands. Your shoulders must be moving with your hips, changing your centreline & creating power.

E. Elbows! Watching the leading elbow is probably one of the best ways to counter the oncoming attack as it is being thrown. The human brain cannot physically keep up with a fist/foot being thrown from close range. The time it takes for the eyes to see it coming and for the brain to recognise that signal and send an impulse to the required body part required for defence is about .04 of a second.

A good striker can throw leather in about .02 of a second. See the deficit? Now, the elbow moves around half as fast as the fist thereby giving the brain time to register and respond. Once the bridge has been made, contact reflexes take over and your Chi Sao training will come into play. Controlling the elbow will disrupt your opponent’s balance and interrupt the inevitable next strike.

This can be done by pulling, pressing, pinning, lifting or just stopping the elbow and delivering a counterstrike or taking the base/balance. One of the Chi Sao drills practiced in our school involves no striking & only getting to the elbow. Once elbow control is gained the players reset and start again.

C. Crossed Arms. The use of trapping is used in many martial arts. The act of crossing arms can be taken in the literal sense, where one arm is crossed over the other limiting movement and allowing control and counter striking. It can also be the act of putting the offending limb across the path of the next potential strike, thereby forcing the opponent to shift in stance or direction. This allows us to capitalise on them having to take the outside path and also exposes their centre.

So the answer to all these questions is…..Yes. It is the continuation of Sil Lum Tao. All the base techniques and structure can now be applied using correct timing and motion. It gives us the grounding in motion that will allow us to regain control of the centre or central line should we find ourselves taken outside of the parameters of Wing Chun (Bil Gee).

Without the solid understanding of the body moving as one unit as trained in Chum Kil, the Bil Gee techniques won’t be as effective. So again, the answer is Yes! It is the precursor to Bil Gee.

B.O.E.C is just one concept that we utilise when training Chum Kil here at Kungfu Southside. This form is just as rich and complex as Sil Lum Tao if you allow yourself to explore it beyond face value. I could go into the applications of the techniques contained within the Chum Kil form, but that will have to wait for another day.

It doesn’t matter what lineage you are from, or who your Sifu is. The combination of techniques may differ to yours & what you’re used to and your perception may be different to mine. But the fact is that the concepts and principles should be the same no matter how they are expressed. This is the difference in lineages & we are all merely branches from the same tree who must grow together lest the tree wither and die.

Peace to you all. Ω

Sifu Dave Richardson has a school located in Hillcrest on the southside of Brisbane, Australia. Sifu Dave began his study in Wing Chun in 1989. When that school closed and with no other wing chun schools in the area he went on to train in Muay Thai and Western Boxing.

In 2007 he found a Traditional Wing Chun kwoon in Browns Plains and resumed the wing chun journey he had started years before. He continued training until Sifu Del Brocco stopped teaching in 2012.

Sifu Dave then travelled to Melbourne and met with Grandmaster Cheung himself where he was fortunate to become his student. This proved to be the moment that forever changed the direction and purpose in his life and opened up a higher understanding of the art of Traditional Wing Chun.

In 2016 he was graded to Provisional Master 3rd level by Grandmaster Cheung and is continuing his training and studies under the watchful eye of Grandmaster. He was officially accepted into the TWC family in a Disciple ceremony in Foshan that same year.

High profile work in the security industry at SouthBank Parklands in Brisbane, Indy Carnival on the Gold Coast and various other sites from 1993 saw Dave engaged in Personal protection for celebrities and dignitaries, Crowd control and armed services, Hotel security and management & Security Dog handling and training (both dogs and handlers)

He is committed to ensuring the art of Traditional Wing Chun is preserved for future generations and that the methods practiced are effective and have been tested in a real world environment.

For more information check out or Kungfu southside on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WCO Magazines

Follow Us

© 2023 Wing Chun Origins