Unlike most other types of martial arts, especially the so-called "hard styles", Wing Tsun has only a very few empty hand forms. There are comparatively few movements. The genius of it lies in the infinite ways in which they can be combined and applied.
Also unlike most other arts, Wing Tsun forms are not made to resemble fights against imaginary attackers. They are simply learning tools that allow students to internalize the different movements and the ideas and principles they represent within their mind-body system.
Siu Nim Tao (Little Idea) Form
Siu Nim Tao is the form taught first to every beginning student. That does not mean that it is a "beginners" form, though. SNT actually contains within it all of the most advanced concepts in Wing Tsun. It's just that they have been distilled down to their bare essence, so that even a beginner already gets a rough overview of the whole system as he learns and practices it. He just doesn't realize that yet, at the point where he is.
Here is the form in its whole simplicity:
And here is another front view:
... and Side View:
Every movement is executed with one arm only, or with both arms performing the same movement. This is designed to prevent "movement overload"in the student so he can concentrate on and "feel" every single movement as it slowly takes shape within himself.
The form also contains a section designed to teach "meditation in motion", somewhat like Tai Chi Chuan. There is an entire book dedicated only to this form that discusses these principles and concepts in detail. You can purchase it (here).
Chum Kiu (Seeking Arms)
There is a line of thinking in Wing Tsun circles that maintains that Chum Kiu was actually the original "first form" in Wing Tsun, because it is the most essential fighting form in the system. Whether that is historically true or not cannot be accurately determined, but you can examine the concept and make up your own mind about it. These days, students ordinarily learn it after learning SNT.
Chum Kiu introduced basic footwork, kicks, knee attacks, stance turning, steps, and different arm movements for each arm executed simultaneously. It is probably the form that most closely resembles a fight against imaginary opponents. At least, it can be understood and executed that way.
Following is a slightly altered Chum Kiu form with some additional punches from different angles:
While Siu Nim Tao training coincides with single-arm Chi Sao training, Chum Kiu is taught while, or before, the student learns two-armed chi sao or "poon sao" (rolling arms).
Biu Tze (Thrusting Fingers) Form
Biu Tze is the last purely empty-hand form. It teaches how to counter attacks with direct attacks of your own by simply slicing through your enemy's attacks without yielding and bending your arms first to defend against them.
The following is an old video of the form, which has since been updated an dis taught in slightly different ways even among "WT" or Leung Ting-derivative practitioners. Please see your local Wing Tsun school for more details on that. (Of course, it helps to have mastered the other two forms and the chi sao sections derived from them first!):
Here is an example of what the movements of the Biu Tze form look like in application. You can see immediately why it is often said that "Biu Tze breaks all the rules." The movements of BT are designed to slice through and cut to shreds every technique and combat principle that comes beforehand:
The Wooden Dummy Form
The Wing Tsun Wooden Dummy is an indispensable training aid for both advanced and beginning students. Beginners can practice even simple concepts like modified movements of the single-arm "Daan Chi" exercises, or the German Lat Sau Program, or simultaneous attacks and defenses, and even footwork.
And here is late Great-Grandmaster Yip Man's version. This video was taken only ten days before he died of throat cancer,so there are points where he forgot the next move and had to be reminded (in this video, these portions were actually cut):
The Weapons Forms
Finally, there are the two weapons forms in wing tsun: The Long Pole Form "Luk Dim Boon Kwun) and the "Eight Cutting Broadswords" Form (Bart Cham Dao.
There is no good video out there that shows the entire Long Pole form correctly performed by a high ranking master, but here is one showing pieces of the Bart Cham Dao form performed by GM Leung Ting, as well as a short demo showing some application against long pole attacks.
Stay tuned for more about these versatile weapons forms in future updates to this page.