Tonight the focus was on drilling, the process of going over a few chosen techniques, looking at the footwork first of all then moving up to the knees, hips, shoulders, elbow and finally the wrist / fist.

sifu_showing_tan_sauStarting off with each student in pairs, forming 2 lines, having one partner throwing the punches to the count, the defender then using, in this case an outside Tan da, the purpose of drilling this way is to refine the weed out any small imperfections that may be there. To an outsider looking in this type of drilling my look as though that no learning is taking place, to the practitioner, small changes in the position of the Tan Da, the position of the feet, the elbow, the hips and punch cam make a massive difference in the technique and it’s effectiveness.

Going over and over a few techniques in this way is a fantastic learning tool and because it is done in a classroom environment, safely, confidence can be build before adding more pressure, like speed and power.

Tan Sau is one of the main basic positions in Wing Chun, the basic translation mean ‘receiving hand. You will see the use of Tan Sau predominantly in Siu Nim Tao (the first empty hand form).

The technique, when broken down involves keeping correct elbow position and alignment, relative to the opponent. It is important that the Tan Sau has forward movement so that it meets and deflects an attack. Without the proper understanding of this technique people tend to either “slap” the arm down on to the incoming punch or have no forward structure so that the arm will collapse when put under any real pressure.

The use of Tan Sau is really dictated by the attacking punch coming in, having said that to deliver a good Tan Sau + turning punch you require good knowledge of both the Tan Sau, punch, the Wing Chun footwork and the principles behind them all.

Sifu Alan Bagley