Category Archives: Classical

Wing Chun Terminology (also known as the names of the ‘blocks’)

I was looking at the visitors to my site and noticed a few Wing Chun newbies searching for the names of Wing Chun block and blocking techniques.

First off, Wing Chun doesn’t really have blocks. Not in my opinion and not from what my Sifu’s have ever taught me. What it does have is ‘hand shapes’ used to cover and deflect incoming strikes, control bridges and — ultimately — allow the Wing Chun student to hit, without getting hit.

That’s the end goal but of course reality strikes, hand-bags are drawn and in a fight… it’s just about winning.

Wing Chun is an aggressive martial art, I don’t agree entirely with the ‘principle’ that we should never go backwards it is sound advice for self-defence. Desperate times call for desperate measures and for self-defence purposes it makes sense to drive forward, thru and destory everything in your path.

Remember to check back because I’ll add a video of a real-life knife incidence where the potential victim survived thanks to quick reactions and MASSIVE forward pressure into the would be attacker.

Here are some of the most common Wing Chun techniques and terminology. It’s important to remember there isn’t a ‘clean’ translation for Cantonese to English so there are variations amongst English speaking schools.

Take a Kau Sau for example. I always believed it to mean ‘circling block’ when a Chinese speaking friend corrected me. It’s more like ‘to swirl over’ rather than circle.

Small change… BIG difference.

Basic Wing Chun Terminology

  • Lin Wan Kuen – the center-line punch, the first weapon your’ll learn
  • Bong Sau – wing arm, a deflecting technique where the elbow is higher than the wrist.
  • Wu Sau – protective arm, the rear hand that always covers your throat if not being used to control your opponent.
  • Man Sau – seeking or inquisitive arm, the front arm of your guard.
  • Tan Sau – palm up block, a deflecting technique that can be used simultaneously with an attack
  • Pak Sau – slapping hand, used to defend and deflect or to remove an opponents arms while attacking.
  • Lap Sau – pulling, grabbing or deflecting arm you can use a lap sau to control and remove an opponents arm while attacking
  • Kau Sau – circling block or more accurately to ‘swirl over’ the kau sau is used in every section of the wooden dummy form.
  • Lan Sau – bar or expanding arm, it’s used to create space, keep space or control and opponent.
  • Fook Sau – bridging hand, the fook sau of the Siu Nim Tau is used to train the muscles of the forearm. In practise it’s used to create a bridge between you and your opponent.
  • Biu Sau – thursting fingers usually to attack the neck and eyes
  • Gum Sau – pinning hand, the gum sau can be used to pin an opponents arms and control them OR with footwork to deflect low level attacks. Usually kicks and knees.
  • Fak Sau – whisking arm and performed using both arms in the SNT form. It is used to attack (chop) the neck.
  • Jum Sau – a mid-level defence, the sinking arm is powered by the lowering of the elbow.
  • Jut Sau – shocking or jerking arm used to aggressively lower the arm of an opponent while you punch over with the other hand.
  • Huen Sau – circling hand used at the end of every section of the SNT. It’s an important stretch and useful for grip breaks or rotating around an arm so you can strike.

There’s more to come. As comments come in and hopefully other lineages with different spellings, meanings and interpretations come in I’d like to create a more detailed page on the techniques.

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