It is the brushing away that makes it Bong Sau and not the shape.

-Wing Chun is a set of IDEAS, not techniques, that we explore and develop through playacting in a variety of staged situations to see if we can deploy them.

Chi Sau is a perfect example, nothing we do in Chi Sau is in any way genuinely useful, but it does allow us to put meat on the bones of our IDEAs so that we get to understand them better.

The reality of random violence, as opposed to sparring or role-playing, is that unless we are ‘extremely lucky’ we will always be in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is where and when we need any skill-set that we have developed.

We must understand how to unpack our skill-set to find what might be un-related little pieces of info that can be reassembled into an action that can be deployed in very close quarters.

Wing Chun is a Body Method, our training has two objectives.

  1. Learn the method in a controlled environment.
  2. Apply the method in an uncontrolled environment.

The closest we can come to the second objective is to put ourselves into what may appear to be the wrong place for us to use established Wing Chun stuff and see how other stuff can become Wing Chun.

I have heard people opine that the arts that start from positions that are already in tight contact, such as Jiu-Jitsu starting from a mounted position or Wrestling styles that begin from a clinch, are not very practical.

Whatever scenario we imagine we may encounter we will sooner or later make contact with the Bad Guy, it is what we do next that is the work, moving into contact or waiting until the Bad guy makes contact is just a step in the process that Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling see as unnecessary. 

Getting into trouble is not the aim of the game, and not worth splitting hairs over, it is getting out of trouble that should be our focus.


Over the years I had numerous discussions with my Sifu about how Chinese does not translate into English or any European language. The main hurdle is that Chinese is a Logogram Language built around glyphs and all European languages are Alphabetic Languages built around letters and words.

He said this was why it is just not possible to understand Wing Chun by using words, spoken or written.

In English we expect a word to mean something specific whereas in Chinese a word simply points toward a glyph that may form part of a picture that must be deciphered to be understood.

In Wing Chun we have Chit Sau, the cutting hand, Garn Sau, the ploughing hand, Fook Sau the controlling hand, Tai Sau the raising hand and of course Bong Sau the wing hand.

If we ask ‘what is Bong Sau’ to a westerner we will get a bent arm gesture that comes out from the shoulder.

Really, that’s it?

If we retreat to the genesis myth for a moment, a Nun observes a fight between a Crane and a Snake, every time the snake attacks, the Crane brushes or sweeps away the attack with its wing.

The nun meditates on this and then decides to change her Kung Fu to reflect this idea.

What IDEA?

The IDEA of sweeping or brushing away an attack and not the IDEA of growing a wing.

It is the brushing away that makes it Bong Sau and not the shape.

It is the cutting that makes Chit Sau, the ploughing that makes Garn Sau, the controlling that makes Fook Sau and the raising up that makes Tai Sau.

If we use Tai Sau to brush away an attack does that make it Bong Sau?

This is what I refer to when I say we need to unpack the Forms, everything is pointing somewhere else.

did somebody say…..?

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