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Let’s Talk About Fook Sau

In Chi Sao, my Sifu says keeping contact with the opponent with Fook Sau is important because it’s the first line of defense and it will alert me when my opponent is about to make a move. I do my best to correct my Fook Sau because I know it’s important but in reality, I tend to forget my Fook Sau (resting hand) in favor of my rolling Tan Sau/Bong Sau.

I feel most people can’t keep the elbows in because of tight shoulders or if they can, they can’t keep it in for long without eventually stiffening their shoulders and losing it altogether, which happens to me.

So how can I improve my Fook Sau and make it better? There are two ways.

  1. Practice Sil Lim Tao
    Fook Sau is in the early part of the form. The Fook Sau shouldn’t go further than 135 degrees. For me, any more than 135 degrees causes more shoulders to tense and my elbow moves further away from my centerline.
  2. Shoulder stretching
    Get in Fook Sau and use your other arm to pull your elbow in, you should feel a stretch in your outer shoulders and the Fook Sau side of your chest.

To do a correct Fook Sau, you need to keep your elbow in towards the centerline because if a strike goes through, the forearm is there to naturally deflect the attack. You also need about a fist distance from your body. Here’s what I think a good Fook Sau looks like:

The goal is to keep those elbows in because in Wing Chun, everything is done from the centerline. Having a good Fook Sau is just as important as a good Tan Sau. Don’t forget, our punches also comes from the center. Keeping the elbows in the center keeps us ready to defend or attack.

Focus: Fook Sau elbow should be more in than the wrist.

The Mistakes I Make with Fook Sau

Fook Sau is a really great technique for protecting the centerline but I have a lot of trouble maintaining a good Fook Sau. Here are three ways my Fook Sau fall apart.

  1. I think my Fook Sau is in good position so when it moves out of place, I don’t notice that my elbow is no longer protecting my centerline making it easy for my opponent to go through my Fook Sau.
  2. I use my Fook Sau’s point of contact (my wrist) to keep my opponent out of my center without realizing that this brings my elbow out and away from my centerline. Most times I even apply pressure from my wrist and that makes it even easier to take advantage of my unprotected centerline.
  3. I focus so hard on keeping my elbow in the center I forget to keep contact with my wrist on my opponent. Once my opponent knows I’m not keeping contact, they can take advantage of it.


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