Wing Chun – Part 3: Practical Aspects

Wing Chun Part 3

Practical Aspect of Wing Chun Gung fu

PLEASE NOTE: I am not concerned
with whether or not the personal thoughts
offered below … “agree”, or do not,
with current representations and assertions
about Wing Chun
that I have been sadly obliged to observe
when curious to see how the subject is portrayed
on the Internet.

The Internet – for me, is NOT a place
in which to search (generally speaking!)
for reliable, mature, humble, and
experienced advice.

I am not a thug;

and am not interested in what
modern thugs are saying.

If thoughts here differ from The Internet,
then I confess to being quite content to have it so.


The use of physics in Wing Chun, is evident:


The ‘sheep clamping stance’ [ Yi Ji Kim Yeung Ma ]
of Wing Chun forms a triangular shape where the centre
of a practitioner’s gravity is in the centre of the triangle.

With the Wing Chun stance, the head is held
slightly back; the hips are positioned forward which,
in turn, lowers one’s centre of gravity while providing
a near-perfect compromise between being stable,
and being able to move quickly.

Structure is carefully thought out:

The body remains vertical – it does not lean to the side,
forward, or backward. The muscles are not rigidly tensed.
The shoulders are lowered – never raised;
the elbows – ordinarily, kept down.

Movement is by brisk, determined shuffling.
One shuffle brings both legs forward:
the centre of balance is never lost.
Weight is never predominantly on the front-most leg.

Rather than stand in an assailant’s centre-line: Step aside,
divert the incoming strike, and strike the attacker.

The hips must be kept forward
in order to allow a step forward (if pushed),
or back, (if pulled).

The punch is delivered from the vertical:
there is no propelling one’s upper body ‘into’ a punch as
forward force will result in overbalance … if I miss,
I will certainly fall forward.

The stance – rotated on the heels by 45 degrees,
provides exceptional stability
with the majority of weight on the rear-most foot,
and the body instantly ready to advance if required.


With leverage, a smaller force can divert a larger force.

The force in Wing Chun is delivered from the ground up:
through ankle, knee; the drive is with the hip –
then to shoulder, elbow … and wrist,
which delivers the actual ‘whip lash’ of power.

In Wing Chun, the movement of the body
is connected – shoulder with hips;
elbow with knees; and wrists with ankles.

There is no ‘blocking’ in Wing Chun:
an assailant’s strikes are re-directed,
which diverts the force away from the centre-line.
To divert an incoming strike is to ‘receive’.

Any contact blow from an attacker may be
partially absorbed by rotating the hip
in order to lessen the shock;
the hip is then reapplied to deliver
counter-thrust and propel a punch
to the attacker’s centre line.

Diverting a strike, as well as an offensive counter,
are delivered simultaneously.

The hands will always strike or re-direct
towards one’s own centreline.

The PUNCH [ Da – Cantonese, to punch ]

Strike only when there is an opportunity.

Strike (as much as possible) on a level, horizontal plane.

The power in a Wing Chun punch
comes from proper Stance, the Waist, and Speed.
The entire body works together in unison.

In Wing Chun, the fist is held vertically.
This provides least antagonistic muscle resistance
while still delivering maximum force.

The punch uses the bottom two knuckles.

The body is positioned behind the arm,
the elbow maintains the centre line.

The punch is delivered at shoulder height
in order to leave no excessive ‘opening’
in the upper or lower gate.

The wrist will lead the shoulder:
the shoulder does NOT push the wrist.

Punch as to strike the central CORE of the attacker.
The wrist ‘screws’ the force into the attacker’s central core.
The shoulders are never raised.

Power is launched at the beginning of a punch:
not at the point of impact.

Tension in the fist is at the end: immediately
before the point of impact … and relaxed
immediately thereafter.

The thrust of the punch occurs from shoulder to elbow.
Focus is on the elbow.
Fingers curl during transit: not before.

The elbow is a “hinge” and does not supply force.

It will be ordinarily positioned downward,
and no more than a hand-breadth from the centre-line.

( One will find illustration by picturing the bar
that dries the wheels on a steam locomotive:
forward, circles, and returns in a straight path underneath. )

The hand does not form a fist
until immediately before impact, upon which,
the hand is immediately relaxed once again.

To tighten the muscles into a fist restricts speed.

The nearer to the centre-line an attacker is struck,
the more force is delivered, and the more impact
he will experience.

The hips must face the centre-line of the attacker
if the punch is to deliver maximum power.

A successful punch will collapse the assailant.

( I suggest that the Okinawan Karate tradition
of slamming the fist into a bucket of gravel,
striking a large stone – or any such other method
of “developing” the bone density,
will be most successful in developing arthritis –
and achieve little else of genuine value?
Perhaps, a thought to consider ? )


Kicks are delivered speedily, at close quarters,
to the ‘lower gate’ of an assailant: the knees, shins,
top of foot or instep; groin or hips,
in order to disable any size of attacker.

The Wing Chun kicks are found in the Chum Kiu form
which features no ballet-quality performances
of arcing kicks to an assailant’s head, for instance.

In Wing Chun, one does not ‘draw back in order to kick.
Neither does one withdraw the leg after delivering a kick.
The foot is placed down and advance is made from there.

Jie Gerk – Front Kick

Wan Gerk – Side Kick

Several Hands [ Sau = Hand/Arm ] in Wing Chun

Purpose: Vital and vulnerable areas are on the centre-line:
If I occupy my centre-line, an attacker’s aggression cannot.

The intent is to divert (defend) and strike (attack)
simultaneously – in order to prevent an assailant
from potentially taking my life.

Jong Sau … Ready Hand which is held out in front,
hand vertical – fingers toward attacker, thumb up.
The alternate hand is positioned at the downward-elbow
(which is positioned fist length from body) – fingers forward,
thumb up.

Man Sau – The Extended (Albeit Never Over-extended!),
‘Asking’ Hand … maintains distance between self and
potential assailant. (It ‘Insists’ that distance be kept.)
Used in conjunction with Wu Sau, Man Sau can readily be used
to counter a downward strike delivered from an overhead punch.

Wu Sau – Protecting Hand/Arm … in raised position to divert
any incoming punch, or strike (as needed).
A very good ‘general’ hand as it may be readily moved and
adapted to any situation, the hand that is not actively engaged
should be held in Wu Sau.

Tan Sau – Dispersing Hand/Arm … Spiralling outward whilst being raised,
the Taan Sau redirects an incoming strike using the outside of one’s arm.

As one’s arm lifts – fingers forward, palm facing inward –
the wrist is rotated thumb side out, turning palm towards the sky.
The Taan Sau arm moves straight outward towards the assailant
which obliges the attacker’s force to travel around one’s forearm.
Forearm and wrist travel over the assailant’s arm.

Huen Sau – Circling Hand … to move around an assailant’s wrist
to the other side of his forearm which will serve to
release from an attacker’s grip … elbow will not move …
Movement is around the wrist: not the shoulder.
The forearm is part of the circular motion.

Pak Sau – Slapping Hand … to slap away a leading,
threatening arm prior to a strike to the assailant.
[ Exercised in Siu Lim Tau, at end of Section 1 ]
Never used to ‘push’ incoming strike away,
but to divert it out and past one’s body.

The Paak Sau contacts the assailant’s upper forearm area
with one’s vertical hand, using the heel of the palm;
fingers pointed skyward.

Note; The feet are grounded firmly; the effect is the same
as when pushing open a heavy door.

Do Jak Jeung – Side Palm Cover (similar to Paak Sau)
effective to cushion a common, outward-elbow punch,
and facilitate a punch from underneath the assailants extended arm.

Fook Sau – Covering/Subduing Hand … Practiced in Sui Lim Tau:
Used to divert a strike coming from below,
the heel of the downward-facing palm contacts attacker’s forearm
and presses down.
The arm is never rigid with force: but flexible enough to ‘give’
with the force of the attacking limb.

The wrist will always be in front of the elbow; the elbow is kept in
and facing down; the thumb will be at my centre-line.
The little finger will rotate up and inward, which will redirect
an incoming strike from one’s centreline.
Mechanics are in the wrist: not shoulder.

Fak Sau – Whisking Hand … A Chopping Hand that is practiced
in Sui Lim Tau, it is used for defence against an assailant who is
Not positioned in the centre line.

Lan Sau – Barring (or, Barrier-forming) Hand … used to redirect
a mid-level attack. A Jong Sau that then rotates palm down
[ Tan Sau is Jong Sau, palm up ]. [ Exercised in Chum Kiu. ]
The result is somewhat like Bong Sau, only the elbow
is side-downward at ribs, rather than up.
NOTE: The intent is NOT to push away an incoming fist,
but allow it to be redirected slightly off its path.

Lap Sau – Pulling Hand/Arm … using a sloth grip …
as if intending to grab a door handle and sharply pull;
turning one’s hand rolls it down the attacker’s forearm:
when my palm touches his hand, I grip
and move the hand downward: this guides his punch.

Mechanics are in the wrist, not the shoulder.
When an attacker grips, one does not resist:
resistance gives an attacker’s superior strength
a place to apply force and, so, control me.

Gaan Sau – Dividing Hand … This Low Gate, Sweeping Hand
is used to divert strong lower attacks.
Exercised in Third Section of Siu Lim Tao, it is effective
in protecting the ribs by diverting hooking punch strikes.

From the Jong Sau, sweep the hand in a small arc,
palm downward at centreline. A light touch will contact
the opponent, from whence force can be increased
to move the strong incoming force.

Gum Sau – Pressing or Pinning Hand used to divert kicks
and low punches; effective in pinning an assailant’s hands;
one must not linger as delay will leave one’s mid-
and upper-areas open to attack.

Jum Sau – Sinking Arm … Consists of dropping
the shoulder to use the inside forearm to ‘meet’
an assailant’s arm with the intention
of creating a ‘hole’ for defensive attack.

Jut Sau – Jerking Hand [ practised in Siu Lim Tau section 2 ]
Essentially, Jum Sau, but with force for countering punches
and inflicting discomfort by striking with the inside wrist.

The elbow must be kept low, fingers vertically skyward,
forearms parallel to ground: a quick dropping of the shoulder.

The ‘sinking’ part of the movement can have a slight pulling effect
– as opposed to Lap Sau which is a full pulling motion.
(After this manoeuvre in Siu Lim Tau,
the fingers are thrust towards the eyes of the assailant.)

Biu Sau – Thrusting Hand/Fingers of Biu Ji.
Made from a position below the opposing tricep,
Biu Sau has the ability to divert any incoming arm attack
made at shoulder height or above,
and deliver the gravity of a strike where fingers attack
eyes, throat, and similarly very serious targets.

Pie Jarn – The Hacking Elbow of Biu Ji

Kop Sau – Downward Hand … a ‘lower’ Pak Sau
practiced in Chum Kiu second form.

Kwun Sau – Rotating Arm … used to extricate oneself
from an attacker’s strike.

Bong Sau – Wing Arm … Effectively a shield, when reacting
from incoming, Pressing or pushing strike that effectively
forces one’s body to turn.

With Movement being almost as if looking at a wrist-watch,
it is, perhaps, the least dependable manoeuvre
that should never be used alone. It is a reactionary move
that initiates actual defence.

Note that, if the attacker’s elbow is higher than
the defender’s elbow, the Bong Sau will fail.

Bong Sau may also be used to facilitate release
if one’s wrists are held.
Since used at close range, it may be immediately
turned into an effective elbow strike.

Bong Sau is essentially a Tan Sao, but rotating the upper arm
towards centre-line, while moving the wrist forward
and turning from the waist.

The wrist actually ‘meets’ the primary force
whilst the waist turn pivots the body to lessen the impact,
and facilitate a step to the side.

Bong Sau must be parallel with centre line: never positioned
across one’s centre-line.

Ju Cheung – Side Palm using heel of hand to strike attacker.

Lin Wan Kuen – Chain Punching


Siu Nim Tao – Introduces the Principles of Body Structure;
the Stance, Centre Line, and Punch.
( The “Little Ideas” of Wing Chun ).

Within the stance, are exercised: the punch, Tan Sau,
Hyun Sau circling hand, Wu Sau guarding hand;
Fook Sau resting hand; and,
at the end of the first sequence, Paak Sau.

Section Two considers a potential arm grab
and rear ‘bear hug’ attack
from rear and front; exercises chopping strikes to the side;
and addresses release from an assailant’s wrist grab.
The punch-diverting Jut Sau hand is practiced,

Section Three exercises Paak Sau: palm strikes
to the side, to the front; and the sweeping Gaan Sau
to defend the lower gate. The circling Hyun Sau
positions hand and arm for a palm strike
to an assailant’s lower abdomen.
The section concludes with Bong Sau, upward palm strike,
three low-defending Gan Sau’s and three punches.

Every essential technique in Wing Chun is exercised
in this first Siu Lim Tau form.

Chum Kiu – Seeking a Connection … the basic principles
are here put into action.

Chum Kiu exercises turning and looking for opportunity,
with coordination and movement of the legs
during an assailant’s attack.
Generating power through the pelvis –
correct movement – is now added to the techniques
that were introduced in Siu Nim Tao.

Biu Ji – Thrusting Fingers: Delivering Power upon Contact;
in effect, putting the technique and power of the previous forms
into motion.

Its techniques also allow one to ‘re-align’
if control of centre line is lost. In such a situation,
Biu Ji recognises that one does not see a surprisal
– (a grab, for instance) – but may certainly
find a way out of it.

For me, the purpose of Biu Ji is –
“How to get out of an unexpected situation”.


Muk Jong – The Wooden Man … is made of wood precisely
to indicate that it is NOT a punching bag.
Nor is it a Makiwara to ‘toughen’ the hands.

The action on the Wooden Man consists more of a push,
than a punch. Punch this, and you will break fingers.

“Gong fu” or Gung fu … the term means proficiency
gained with persistence, over a prolonged period of time.

Wing Chun, for me, has been a supplement
to my simple, plain lifestyle, that has enriched
my health and mind-set.

For those who may be curious, I hope that the brief
introduction provided here has been of interest
to one or two folk.

[ P Livingstone ]