The 3 Elbows of Wing Chun

Today we talk about the 3 types of elbow strikes in Wing Chun.

You can see all 3 elbow strikes used in the Biu Tze form.

They may look subtly the same but each elbow does something different.

Keep in mind that elbows should only be used close range and not from a far because elbows have shorter reach than a punch so you lose half the distance.

The 3 elbow strikes in Wing Chun

1. Pinning Elbow – It is used to pin my opponent. It’s done by bringing my elbow up, around and over my opponent, then onto their chest. It’s essentially an elbow strike to the chest. The key thing is to neutralize my opponent’s two arms and strike.

2. Striking Elbow – This starts off similar like the Pinning Elbow but instead of just going around the opponent, my elbow goes straight for the strike. This should be done while inside my opponent’s space.

3. Blocking Elbow – Is done from the outside for blocking strikes or striking behind my opponent’s head in an intimate range.

These are the 3 elbow strikes. I plan to talk about how they’re used in Biu Tze form. So stay tuned for the next episode!

How often do you use elbows in Wing Chun? Let me know in the comments!

Elbow Strike Your Opponent

Today we talk about using elbow strikes effectively in Wing Chun!

An elbow strike can devastate your opponent but it does have a few weaknesses:

– You need to be extremely close ranged to land an elbow
– Your centerline is no longer facing your opponent

That being said, I never lead an attack with my elbows. I think the best way to use an elbow strike is when you follow it up from another strike. For example, I use Lop Sau to pull my opponent towards me, while disrupting their centerline, then I drive my elbow into them as I am pulling. I show two examples in this episode, let me know if they make sense.

Question for you: How do you train your elbow strikes? Do you need to learn Biu Tze first? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk About Biu Tze

Biu Tze is the third open hand Wing Chun form I learned.

Today we’re going to do Biu Tze together!

Before we do, I want to tell you why I share my forms.

It’s a way to…

– Review my form – It’s a good way to spot any mistakes I make. It also lets me see the things I can work on to improve my form.

– Get feedback – Getting feedback, from viewers like you, helps a lot because you guys can spot things I don’t notice. Plus, it’s always nice to receive constructive feedback!

– Help others – When I first started Wing Chun and learning the forms, I had a lot of trouble memorizing the movements and I often mix up parts of the form. I think having a visual reference helps a lot! For me, I found a book called Wing Chun Kung Fu that had photos of all the open hand forms. But I believe, watching a video is much more useful. So I hope this can help you when you’re forgetting sections of the form.

Let’s get into the Biu Tze form! If you know the form, feel free to follow along!

Please leave any feedback for my form in the comments!

Elbow Strikes in Biu Tze

Today we’re gonna talk about how the 3 Elbow Strikes are used in Biu Tze.

In the last episode, we talked about the 3 elbows. In this one, I want to go over how they’re used in Biu Tze.

To understand that, I want to quickly go over the Elbow Strike part of Biu Tze.

In the Biu Tze form, when we complete an Elbow Strike, the hand, of the arm that elbows, grabs the opponent and Lop Saus. The momentum from the Lop Sau brings the opponent towards my opposite Elbow Strike or Biu Tze.

With that said, let’s go through the 3 Elbow Strikes in the Biu Tze form.

Pinning Elbow – Pin the opponent then Lop Sau, use that momentum to Pin from the outside. Then Lop Sau again to Pin from the other side. Then end with a Lop Sau on the inside to Biu Tze.

Striking Elbow – This strike is done from the inside. Right after, I go for the Lop Sau on the inside and Biu Tze.

Blocking Elbow – This is a block from the outside into a Lop Sau on the inside then Biu Tze.

As with any new ideas, I recommend testing them to see if they work for you. If they do, add them to your library of techniques. If not, discard them. Let me know how it works out for you.

Also, my question for you is, how do your elbows strike work in Biu Tze? Let me know in the comments!

Additional Notes

General

  • Biu Tze can be used to block and strike simultaneously as it is the straightest path to inflict a lot of damage while defending.
  • Add a torque to every movement even when grabbing.
  • The fingertips when Jum Sao begins and ends should be on the same line and be at the same height as the fingertips with Tan Sau.
  • Biu Tze

  • Any chop in the form is to the opponent’s neck. When striking, the arms should be visible to yourself and not past your back.
  • Three elbows

  • The first elbow in the form is over and down on the opponent’s center line.
  • The second strikes, from the top to bottom, diagonally across the opponent.
  • The third elbow cuts right across.
  • Elbow drills (Chi Sao)

  • While rolling, resting hand grabs and the rolling hand strikes with elbow over the opponent’s rolling hand.
  • The elbow behaves as a pin to the opponent but should be used as a close quarter strike in a live situation.
  • Foot work

  • Lead the opening of the form with the toes.
  • The movement is used to sweep opponent’s leading leg.
  • Additional Notes

  • Practice elbow strike + grabbing
  • The ending swinging arms are 3 forward and on the 4th, go all the way down
  • Biu Tze starts from elbow not the armpit
  • Grab + elbow happens at the same time in one motion
  • Fist to chest is pulled all the way back, even in Chi Sao counters
  • The final position of an elbow strike should end with wrist lower than the elbow
  • The biggest takeaway from this month is applying the three type of elbows and sweeps. I don’t see either being used often in Wing Chun and would like to incorporate it more into my training.

    Thinking Outside the Box to Create New Wing Chun Techniques

    Today we talk about thinking outside the box and creating new Wing Chun techniques.

    My friend, Michael (MJBarry on Youtube), introduced a new idea to me. He introduced the idea that each technique can have more than one purpose and can be done on multiple planes.

    This is what I mean by multiple planes:

    You have the Center Plane, Upper Plane, and Lower Plane.

    – Center Plane are techniques done at the body level – Examples: Bong Sau, Tan Sau, Man Sau
    – Upper Plane are techniques done high, mostly strikes – Examples: Biu Sau, Throat Chop, Blade Strike
    – Lower Plane are techniques done low – Examples: Gan Sau, Gum Sau

    The idea is to take the normal use case of each technique then using them outside their normal plane.

    For example, let’s use Bong Sau 🙂

    Bong Sau is normally done at the Center Plane but in Chum Kiu, you can see it done in Lower Plane. But I haven’t really seen it done on the Upper Plane. This new idea that Michael introduced made me think of a way to use it in the Upper Plane.

    Upper Plane Bong Sau – Deflecting upwards and forward to expand my opponent’s opening.

    I haven’t tested the Upper Plane Bong Sau yet but as you can see from the Bong Sau example. We have essentially increased the amount of techniques we have at our disposal. In my mind now, each technique that I know are essentially three techniques because it may be possible to do them all on a different plane.

    When it comes to new ideas with techniques I always welcome them because I want to take in as much as I can so I can test them out in my Wing Chun class to see what works. Now, if I introduce an idea that’s new to you, please try it out in your class, with your training partner, and let me know how it works for you. It’s also okay for the idea to fail because it’s better to know that something doesn’t work so we can move on.

    My question for you is, have you thought outside the box about Wing Chun? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments.

    Modifying Our Wing Chun Forms

    Today we talk about modifying our Wing Chun forms!

    My Sifu says that the Wing Chun forms were created after the techniques were established as a way to memorize the techniques.

    This year I’ve been working on adapting my Wing Chun to me.

    Since I want to adapt Wing Chun to my personal capabilities, I’ve decided to modified some of my forms. These aren’t big modifications, just small things. Right now, it’s currently just adding forward steps, to close the distance, with each striking movement. I’m planning to share my modified forms so you can compare it to the traditional forms I learned.

    But for the moment, the reason for this modification is based on several things.

    I believe staying on our toes instead of being static is super beneficial and I learned this when I was doing Chi Sao in Central Park every weekend this past summer. It opened my eyes to how important footwork is. I don’t mean just Shifting but moving in, moving out, and retreating at different angles. For me, the best way I could think of to emphasize these things was by incorporating them into my current forms. By adding more footwork and stepping in to my forms, I also add it to my muscle memory.

    I won’t be making big modifications to my forms because the movements I add need to make sense. But I’m keeping an open mind and I am thinking about the little details that I haven’t noticed before that you guys have. I also believe this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t share my form, so I’m glad I did. Thank you for your feedback.

    Keep in mind that these modifications are only for myself. I’m only starting with one little idea at a time. They focus on things that I need to work on. If you’re thinking about modifying your form, ask yourself, what do you want to improve in your Wing Chun?

    Leave your answer in the comments below!

    Rules of Wing Chun

    Today we talk about the most important rule of Wing Chun!

    Before I share that with you, I want to talk about differences.

    When I look at my Sifu, I can see our differences right away. We are different in height, size, shape, and more. This makes his style of Wing Chun uniquely his own so when I learn it, I am essentially learning his style of Wing Chun. Whatever I learn from him, I know that based on our physical difference, it will look different than the way he does it. The only thing we will share in common is the knowledge of the technique and how to use it.

    This means, regardless of who our teachers are or what lineage or Wing Chun style we’re doing, it will always be different than the way we learn it because our mind and body processes it differently. We all create our own style of Wing Chun when we learn and train. And that’s a good thing because through our differences we create new perspective that adds to the style.

    So…what is the most important rule of Wing Chun? It is understanding yourself and using what works for you by adapting Wing Chun to you and not conforming to other people’s style or standards. Embrace the difference.

    Create Your Own Wing Chun Form

    Today we talk about creating your own Wing Chun form!

    What do I mean by creating your own form? It means gathering all the techniques you know and making an actionable form out of them. This is a memorization technique so that once your body is used to doing the form, it becomes natural for you.

    In this video I use Chi Sao as an example and talk about creating my own Chi Sao Form which goes through my Chi Sao techniques. The importance of this is so when I go through the techniques, by relying on muscle memory, I have an advantage over my opponent because my body already knows what to do. Instead of spending time on remembering my technique, I spend that time thinking of the next move.

    What do you think about this idea? Do you think you can create your own form with the techniques you’ve learned? Let me know in the comments.

    Let’s Talk About Jut Sau

    Today we talk about Jut Sau and how I use it as a combo starter.

    Jut Sau is present in the Dummy Form and Sil Lim Tao Form. To do Jut Sau, I use the ball of my palm to stick and pull my opponent. Jut Sau is a small motion and can be used to quickly transition into a strike.

    I believe Jut Sau is a good combo starter because it creates a lot of options. For example, I can Jut Sau then strike with the same hand. I can also use it, like in the Dummy Form, to pull my opponent and strike with my other arm simultaneously.

    I’m guilty of not using it as often but I want to know how you use it (outside of the forms it’s used in). Tell me about it in the comments!

    Additional Notes

  • After pulling in with Jut Sau, make sure my elbow is resting on my body. Block with elbow in the Centerline first
  • Let’s Talk About Lop Sau

    Let’s Talk About Lop Sau aka “The Pulling Hand”

    Today we talk about Lop Sau also known as “The Pulling Hand”.

    Lop Sau is a fundamental technique in Wing Chun but is only notable in the Wing Chun dummy form, more specifically, section 1 and section 6 of the form. The problem is that Lop Sau isn’t fully expressed in the dummy form because the dummy is stationary and the dummy’s arms aren’t fully mobile for pulling. In the video, I show what a good Lop Sau looks like based on how my school teaches it.

    A good Lop Sau consists of pulling the opponent’s arm down to waist level and keeping it away from my body (at least 2-3 fist sizes away). The reason for this is to completely disrupt my opponent’s center and to prevent them from charging and taking me down.

    If you’ve already learned Lop Sau, do you do it the same way I do? If not, give it a try the next time you practice and let me know how it goes in the comments!

    Keep training!

    This is How I Lop Sau

    Today we talk about how I grab with my Lop Sau so if you’re doing it differently, I hope I can introduce a new idea you can try out!

    I’ve been told the best point to grab is at someone’s wrist level but going into Lop Sau doesn’t always guarantee that. The wrist is a harder target to grab but I can grab higher and slide my hand down to my opponent’s wrist.

    I’ve been taught to grab with my thumb closed but I never use full strength when I grab. The reason why is that it makes it very vulnerable for me to get locked and a simple Tan Sau from my opponent can essentially control my arm that I grabbed them with. So when I grab, I always only use enough to contain the opponent and this allows me to quickly let go if my opponent does try to lock me.

    So this is how I go about grabbing when I Lop Sau. How about you?

    Today we talk about all the various types of Lop Sau, the pulling hand!

    Lap Sau is one of my favorite techniques because it’s one of the best ways I can disrupt an opponent.

    I know 3 variations of Lop Sau.

    1) Inside-Out Lop Sau – This was the first Lop Sau I learned. I start from the inside of an opponent’s space and then drive my arms outside to Lop them towards the same side my arm pulled them with but away from my body. For example, if I grab with my left arm, I pull them towards my left hip and away from me.

    2) Inside Lop Sau – This version is more stealthy and pulls the opponent’s opposite arm I use to Lop. For example, my right pulls my opponent’s left when they’re both on the same side.

    3) Elbow Pinning Lop Sau – This one is a mix between an elbow and a grab. It’s done by grabbing the same side arm I’m using then bringing my elbow over to pin my opponent’s chest while pulling my opponent towards me but away from my body. For example, my right grabs my opponent’s right, then I simultaneously bring my elbow up and over to pin my opponent as I am pulling my opponent towards me and away from my body.

    Note: Always Lop Sau with elbow in and always Tan Sau to block before grabbing.

    These are the 3 versions of Lop Sau I know. How many do you know and which is your favorite? And lastly, if you can name these better, please leave all your suggestions in the comments! Cheers!

    Keep Your Arms Close and Your Opponents Closer

    Today we talk about keeping your arms close and your opponents closer.

    A fully extended arm makes it easier to be grabbed and pulled. This was something my Sifu mentioned after he watched the video of me doing Chi Sao with my friend Marc (episode #069). He noticed that my arms were almost fully extended. From my perspective, I thought I was keeping Marc out but from my Sifu’s perspective, I was giving Marc my arm to be grabbed. I should have kept my arms at 135 angle, so that my arms were closer to me, which makes it more difficult for my opponent to grab and pull it.

    Also, when I lose contact with my opponent, especially during Chi Sao, I need to quickly reestablish the connection. Even if I keep my guard hands up, I need to close the distance and maintain connection with my opponent. Without the connection, I’m not in range to do anything.

    I think Wing Chun is only effective within a certain distance between an opponent. Once I’m out of range, it makes anything I do ineffective.

    So as a reminder, keep your arms close and your opponents closer! 🙂

    Spring into Action!

    Today we talk about using the spring action to amplify the power behind each technique.

    The idea behind the spring action is fully utilizing the whole body to use a technique, whether it’s for striking or defending. This means using the whole body from the ground up.

    I’m still experimenting and finding the best way for me to utilize it. At the moment, the best way for me to do it is based on how my friend Marc explained it. He said think of it as retreating inwards then bouncing back out. In and out, essentially. This made it much easier to understand and allowed me to use the spring action more often. Of course, it’s still a work in progress and I’m going to continue testing it out.

    Have you heard of this spring action principle before? Have you been putting it to use in your training? Let me know in the comments!

    Let’s Talk About Pak Sau

    Today we talk about Pak Sau!

    Pak Sau is only about deflecting a strike away from my centerline but I need a follow up or else I lose momentum. I create the momentum for myself by closing the distance and disrupting my opponent’s centerline by stepping in on them and using the Pak Sau to move their body away from me. Now if they want to try to resist, that’s not a problem because if I initiated my step correctly, they’re in a bad position. Now if they choose to step back, then they are adding to my momentum allowing me more options to follow up with.

    This may not always be the case when I use Pak Sau but the key principles that I try to always remember is to disrupt my opponent. And for me, stepping in usually does that 🙂

    Additional Notes

  • When doing the Pak Sau drill, keep punch arm straight and do not retrieve or bend the arm to strike. Step in and use Pak Sau to clear the center
  • Pak and/or Block opponent’s forearm (close to where the arm bends), not the wrist
  • I talk about how I had to add on to my Pak Sau to make it effective for me but how about you? Do you have to change the way you do the technique to make it effective for you? It doesn’t have to be Pak Sau, it could be any other technique. If so, let me know in the comments!

    Guard Up and Wu Sau

    Today we talk about keeping your guard up with Wu Sau!

    Wu Sau is one of the first hand techniques we learn and it’s also our most versatile because Wu Sau can transition to any of our hand techniques for defense OR offense.

    Wu Sau should be held below eye level.

    Ultimately, Wu Sau should always be up and on guard. And unless both hands are being used, one should always be in Wu Sau, ready to defend in case anything passes the forward arm.

    So keep your Wu Sau up!

    Additional Notes

  • Wu Sau hands doesn’t cover the Centerline. Imagine holding Centerline between them
  • Trust Your Bong Sau

    Today we talk about the benefits of trusting your Bong Sau.

    In my last class, I had the opportunity to really observe my fellow classmates (Sihings) and I noticed one common pattern…they didn’t trust their Bong Sau the same way I trusted mine.

    Here are the 3 common mistakes I saw when Bong Sau failed:

    1) Bong Sau was being pulled down.
    2) Bong Sau collapsed so it was no longer effective.
    3) Not trusting the Bong Sau enough to maintain it and letting it drop.

    I use Bong Sau in 80% of my defense. I always trust my Bong Sau and have confidence that it will block whatever is coming at me when I use it. When I defend with my Bong Sau, the Bong Sau gives me a lot of options to counter strike. Bong Sau is definitely one of my favorite techniques.

    Here are my suggestions to keep a good Bong Sau and trust it.

    1) Know that Bong Sau is only the first line of defense and that there should be a Wu Sau behind it in case the Bong Sau fails.
    2) Keep the angle in Bong Sau and don’t collapse it (even when using it to pin or bump opponent).
    3) Don’t let Bong Sau get pulled. If it does, use the advantage of the momentum to advance.

    Now, my question to you is, how is your Bong Sau? Do you trust your Bong Sau? Let me know in the comments!

    Additional Notes

  • Don’t raise Bong Sau too high. It should not block my view of vision. My elbow should be higher than the wrist. 135 degrees to keep opponent away
  • Bong Sau in Chi Sao

    This week we discuss my favorite technique, Bong Sau! We talk about Bong Sau in Chi Sao and the importance of transitioning from being defensive to going on the offensive!

    Do you find the show helpful to you? Let me know in the comments!