Articles, Wing Chun Wednesday

WING CHUN WEDNESDAY 19 – 02 – 2015


My Sifu  had a Mantra about moving the Arms in Wing Chun, it went “Shoulder push Elbow, Elbow push Wrist”.

When you where with him and under his guidance this made perfect sense, but once you were alone, or with a junior trying to explain it, pretty soon you realised that it was not even close to what was happening.

Of all the Major Joints in the Body the Elbow has by far the smallest range of movement, it is simply a hinge, and as such all it does is open and close, and in  only one direction as long as you maintain your Arm as the frame of reference.

There is no rotation in the Elbow, it is a static joint, when we think the Elbow is rotating it is actually other components that make up the Arm that are rotating the whole Arm, or the lower Arm.

Once we look at how the Elbow operates we see that it is just not possible for the Elbow to “Push the Wrist”, in fact they do not even move along the same plane or in the same direction.

Despite this many Instructors place great emphasis on how we manipulate and position the Elbow, and as a result we take a right turn instead of a left.


How much attention do you apply to the shape, position or the way that you manipulate your Elbow when you place a Key in your Front Door and then open that Door?

I very much doubt that you give it any thought at all………..


………..but the action is identical to the Bong Sau rotation from high to low {Bong to Tarn} so why is it important at any time in any place?

Even drunk you get the Key in the door and the door open with very little difficulty.

In the last post I likened the Arm – Pointy End connection to a Spear, using a Sweeping Brush as our vehicle would fill the same roll and may be easier for you to imagine, the bit we move is not the bit that does the work.

In the case of a Sweeping Brush you are not even thinking about the Brush Head your whole attention is on the dirt and where you wish to brush it to.

Why is the action of the Sweeping Brush in any way different than the action of Tarn Sau or Bong Sau???

Janitor Sweeping with a push broom

If you have come up with ANY ANSWER to explain why they are different you need to go and have a chat with your Instructor, and if your Instructor comes up with ANY ANSWER to explain why they are different then you need to get a new Instructor.

If you are holding a partners wrist as they perform Tarn Sau it may appear to you that the force is coming from the Elbow, but this is like being hit by a Car and thinking that the force was coming from the Drivers Seat.

It is an illusion.

Next time you put a Key in a Door and unlock it, try to trace back the action to its source,  is it the Wrist?

Is it the Arm?

Is it the Shoulder?

Is the Waist involved at all?

And how about your  Feet and overall mobility?

This will help you get a better insight into all the Arm movements of Wing Chun,  Bong Sau in particular.

At the end of the Day you simply turn the Key, and because you are not trying to manipulate your Arm into some Ritualistic Position everything falls into  its appropriate position to achieve that outcome.

In this case the Key is the Pointy End.



Disagree, tell me why, if you agree give me a Pat on the Back

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.