A note on Cantonese

I use the ‘Jyut Ping’ (粵拼) Cantonese writing system as I have found it to be the most accurate.

For an excellent way to learn Cantonese pronunciation, see Fluent Forever. For a dictionary see CantoDict or use the Hanping Cantonese App for Android.

intro

The 8 Punches (Baat3 Ce2 Kyun4/八扯拳/Eight Pull Punch) comprise the 2 main punches (elbow in/elbow out), plus the 6 variations that a punch, or retraction of a punch, can defend against an opponent’s incoming punch.

There are 4 pairs:

  1. ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  2. ‘Elbow Out’ Punch
  3. Zam Daa (double outside 1 arm – forward)
  4. Laai Daa (double outside 1 arm – backward)
  5. Gwaat Daa (double outside 2 arms – backward)
  6. Cyun Daa (double inside 2 arms – backward)
  7. ‘1 out, 1 in’ – Defending hand ‘outside’ (like Gwaat Daa but front hand is inside their back hand)
  8. ‘1 in, 1 out’ – Defending hand ‘inside’ (like Cyun Daa but front hand is outside their back hand)

We train the 8 punches in isolation, but in practice numbers 4-8 are only used if you already have a hand forward (i.e. at 135°).

1 – 埋踭/maai4 zaang1/’elbow in’ [punch]

Angles:

  • Elbow in line with your nose
  • Fist in line and same height as your nose
  • Fist turned out 45°
  • Hit with bottom 3 knuckles

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Both partners ‘elbow in’ punch with Zyun Maa (Turning) each with the same hand
  3. Punching arms will be ‘diagonal, outside’
  4. Nose/Elbow/Fist/Opponent’s shoulder should all be in a line
  5. Focus on each keeping the elbow ‘in’, not on putting pressure on your opponent

2 – 飛踭/fei1 zaang1/’elbow out’ [punch]

Angles:

  • ‘Elbow out’ elbow position when striking down the 1st centreline
  • ‘Braces’ elbow position when defending against a central strike
  • Wrist of the fist is extended to angle the finger joints in the direction you’re punching
  • Fist at the height of your ‘Alternate 3rd Centreline’
  • Fist at (as though gripping a vertical pole)
  • Hit with bottom 3 finger joints (makes a rectangle)
  • Your rear fist is at the level of your front hand’s 3rd centreline

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Both partners ‘elbow out’ punch – 3rd centreline in line with 1st centreline
  3. One of the only drills where you will clash
  4. Therefore stay soft as you throw each punch forward, especially when fast

3 – 枕打/zam2 daa2/’pillow’ strike

Angles:

  • Elbow in line with your nose as you Zyun Maa (turn your body)
  • Nose/Elbow/Fist/Opponent’s shoulder (before you’ve turned them) should all be in a line
  • Zyun Maa 45° from central (90° back the other way if doing a 2nd Zyun Maa)
  • Can rotate the forearm using the 1st Circle
  • Use the ‘blade’ of the forearm (the ulna) as it’s sharper
  • In training the punch will go past their chin – in practice it would spin their jaw
  • Your rear hand forearm (90° elbow angle) points to their chin

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You Zam Daa
  4. Doesn’t matter if their 2nd punch comes inside or outside your front hand
  5. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  6. Do 2nd Zam Daa
  7. Keep repeating

4 – 拉打/LAAI1 DAA2/PULLING STRIKE

Angles:

  • Your wrist or 3rd centreline catches the punch on the outside as you Zyun Maa (turn body)
  • Same as execution as Zam Daa (above)

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You Laai Daa
  4. Make sure their 2nd punch is outside of your front hand (by making an opening with your front hand for their 2nd punch to hit you through)
  5. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  6. Do 2nd Laai Daa
  7. Keep repeating

5 – 刮打/gwaat3 DAA2/scraping STRIKE

Angles:

  • Your wrist or 3rd centreline catches the punch on the inside
  • Forearm does a circular motion
  • At the end of the move, your forearm points to your opponent’s nose
  • Your front hand (a punch) ends up outside your opponent’s back hand
  • If it ends up inside then it is 8 Punch number 7 (see below)

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You Gwaat Daa
  4. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch inside your front hand
  5. You do 2nd Gwaat Daa into Diagonal, Outside Punch (under your own arm) – to put more pressure on your opponent
  6. Repeat from that position

6 – 穿打/cyun1 DAA2/piercing STRIKE

Angles:

  • Your wrist or 3rd centreline catches the punch on the outside
  • Forearm goes straight backwards along its own line
  • At the end of the move, your forearm points to your opponent’s nose
  • Your front hand (a punch) ends up inside your opponent’s back hand
  • If it ends up outside then it is 8 Punch number 8 (see below)

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You Cyun Daa
  4. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch outside your front hand
  5. You do 2nd Cyun Daa into Diagonal, Outside Punch (under your own arm) – to put more pressure on your opponent
  6. Repeat from that position

7 – 一外一內/jat1 ngoi6 jat1 noi6/1 outside 1 inside

Angles:

  • Same as Gwaat Daa (5) above, but your front hand ends up inside their back hand (rather than outside)

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You ‘1 out, 1 in’
  4. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  5. You do ‘1 in, 1 out’ (see number 8 below) into Diagonal, Outside Punch (under your own arm) – to put more pressure on your opponent
  6. Repeat from that position

8 – 一內一外/jat1 noi6 jat1 ngoi6/1 inside 1 outside

Angles:

  • Same as Cyun Daa (6) with Zyun Maa (turn body), but your front hand ends up outside their back hand (rather than inside)

Drill:

  1. Both partners face each other in Peng Maa (Flat Stance)
  2. Training partner does ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  3. You ‘1 in, 1 out’
  4. Training partner does 2nd ‘Elbow In’ Punch
  5. You do ‘1 out, 1 in’ (see number 7 above) back to Peng Maa into Diagonal, Outside Punch (under your own arm) – to put more pressure on your opponent
  6. Repeat from that position