How to correct Siu Lim Tao

How to correct VTK

Correcting problems with techniques is difficult.Andi's roof
First you need to see the errors, then fix them. To see the errors is difficult enough, especially determining the underlying root cause. The observer, whether yourself or a fellow student, needs to have a perfect image in their head of what the technique is supposed to look like. After that, you need to know not only what is wrong, but also how to change from wrong to right in the best way. To do this well requires experience as well as knowledge, but knowledge comes first and it is vital.

Usually it is best to have a partner who knows a lot about VTK and will be critical of your technique, and not be nice to you. We are generally insufficiently critical of ourselves. However, it is also a common problem for people to only correct what they are good at, rather than all the errors they can see, but can’t do better than the person being corrected – most people do not want to correct someone to be better than themselves. This isn’t the right way to correct other people. You can often correct things you know are wrong but can’t do yourself, and this is a good thing to do. Both of you will learn to do it right. It is not enough to know how to do it, you need to learn do it right and do it right thousands of times so that in a fight you will do it right under stress and survive.

Mohammed Ali mirror training

Another good tool is a mirror big enough to see your whole body. You can learn to be critical of yourself – although most of us focus on what we are doing right, not wrong. It is important to remember that there is no “good enough” in a fight. If you are even a little wrong, you increase your chances of losing.

After you see the errors and fix them a few times, you will start to feel when you are wrong. This is the key point. Once you feel the errors, correcting them will go much faster.

Once the form is reasonably well known by the student, ensure the student is not looking at their hands, but either at someone leading the form, the mirror, or some distant point in space. Correction of errors should be, if possible, by hands-on methods, such as moving the student to the correct position, as in the above example.

The order to correct errors is from the core, then outwardsAndi correcting student1

Correct stance first, then upper body and posture, then arms then hands. For any of these, always start at the waist. The waist is the core of all VTK, and therefore, everything should be corrected starting from this, outwards step by step to the limbs.

For Stance:

Barry Lee correcting foot position

Barry Lee correcting foot position in my studio

  1. Waist first
  2. Then knees
  3. Then foot position, distance apart and angle
  4. Then toes

For upper body and posture: Correct from the neutral waiting position first, before any other technique. See the article on that for details.

Andi correcting student

  1. Go back to the waist. Correct it.
  2. Correct back position
  3. Correct upright posture.
  4. Then head and shoulders posture.
  5. Then correct shoulder angle – square to front.
  6. Now correct arm position
    1. Shoulder
    2. Elbow
    3. Wrist
    4. Hand
    5. Fingers

So far that gives you good foundation.


The Neutral Training Stance

Neutral training stance 3 views

  1. Shoulders over the toes from the front, waist over the toes from the side (e).
  2. Waist forwards, over knees, which are over toes (c).
  3. Pelvis turned up (d) and thrust forwards.
  4. Thighs vertical (f). Knees are not in front of the waist.
  5. Knees follow the direction of the feet, not pushed in, and not pushed out. In this position, the legs feel sprung, ready to move forward.
  6. Forearms parallel to the floor and each other, pulled back behind the body not flaring out. Hands back as far as possible and clenched hard.
  7. Head up and vertical, alert. Upper body vertical, not leaning back or forward (a-b).
  8. Shoulders square to the front, not one in front of the other.
  9. Feet turned in at 60° (or 45° for harder training) and both the same angle, not slightly different.
  10. Feet flat to the floor, with even pressure. Not extra pressure to the inside or outside.

For more on the training stance, see the article on the topic.