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.

小念頭/siu2 nim6 tau4/little think head [idea]

Siu Nim Tao focuses on the following:

  • Operating at an ideal Practical Wing Chun range (outstretched arms at 180° with your palms on your opponent’s shoulders) to leverage our Chi Sao training
  • Fighting against a single opponent (unlike Cam Kiu)
  • Fighting where we are not at a disadvantage (unlike Biu Zi)
  • Staying standing
  • Hitting opponent whilst protecting yourself (attack and defence simultaneously/trapping 2 hands with 1)
  • Acting at a similar time to your opponent (unlike Cam Kiu) and Biu Zi)

Arms should be at 135° (mid point between straight and 90°) unless otherwise stated.

下交叉手/Haa5 Gaau1 Caa1 Sau2/Lower Cross Hands

Angles:

  • Elbows on the braces line
  • Forearms point diagonally down if viewed from the side
  • ‘Blade’ (ulna) of forearm facing the floor
  • Arms touch at the 3rd centreline
  • Left arm over right
  • Covers strikes below your 2nd centreline and hence the lower half of your ‘rectangle’

Applications:

  • One arm same side, outside or diagonal, outside to a low strike below your 2nd centreline
  • Two arms together for defence against a knee
  • Can tilt torso forward at the hip in order to fully cover the lower half of your ‘rectangle’

上交叉手/SOENG5 GAAU1 CAA1 SAU2/UPPER CROSS HANDS

Angles:

  • Elbows on the ‘braces’ line
  • Come up and forward from Haa Gaau Caa Sau
  • Fingertips in line with the chin
  • Forearms pointing diagonally up if looking from the side
  • Forearms diagonal if viewed frontally
  • Arms touch at the 3rd centreline on the forearms, and at the height of the upper arm 3rd centreline
  • Left arm over right
  • Covers strikes above your 2nd centreline and hence the upper half of your ‘rectangle’

Applications:

  • Double outside (‘same side’ arm on top) and double inside (‘diagonal’ arm on top)
  • Use the 1st circle (rotation of the forearm) for the arm on top
  • Can also use 1 arm only where the back hand is a ‘Hau6 Sau2’ (90° Taan) at the level of your elbow
  • Apply the up action in the form by defending with Gaau Caa Sau directly from your arms by your sides (inside or outside, single hand or double hand)
  • To use in Ci Sau against their Fuk, roll over with your right arm first and put your other arm on top

埋踭出拳/maai4 zaang1 Ceot1 Kyun4/ ‘elbow in’ punch

Angles:

  • Elbow on the 1st centreline
  • Forearm points diagonally up if viewed from the side
  • Fist at the level of your nose
  • Fist rotated 45° if viewed frontally
  • Elbow as close to the 2nd centreline as possible – will be slightly higher than Gaau Caa Sau as fist needs to be in line with your nose

Applications:

  • Make contact with the bottom 3 knuckles
  • Wrist angle is neutral
  • Fingers folded into the palm with the thumb placed over the middle joint
  • Can be combined with Hau Paak Sau to form Paak Daa
  • Paak Daa can be applied Double Outside, Double Inside and 1 in, 1 out

前圈手/cin4 Hyun1 Sau2/forward Circular Hand

Angles:

  • Hand opens first, then draws a circle towards your own nose
  • Ends in an inverted position to Ceot Kyun
  • Stays forward unlike 3rd Section Hyun Sau which goes backwards

Applications:

  • Diagonal, inside or same side, outside
  • Often goes straight into a low palm
  • Used for lower strikes around the level your upper arm 3rd centreline
  • Backwards Hyun from the 3rd section deals with higher strikes
  • Can be used to get from inside to outside, or outside to inside without drawing back the arm
  • Later in this section you can apply Tan into Hyun into Wu, in order to train going from a straight forearm to a diagonal one

後踭/Hau6 Zaang1/Backwards elbow

Angles:

  • Elbow draws back until the forearm is horizontal and the fist is by the side of your body
  • The elbow will do a slight curve as it needs to come up again in order to get as far back as it can

Applications:

  • Used if your arm(s) is forward and opponent is very close behind you
  • Can be used straight after a punch to deal with 1 opponent in front, and 1 behind

攤手/Taan1 sau2/Dispersing Hand

Angles:

  • As it comes out, it goes down first to cover your ‘rectangle’ below your 2nd centreline
  • At the end, elbow and hand in line with your 1st centreline
  • Hand turned slightly outwards so that your elbow comes to the middle
  • Wrist is neutral and therefore hand is in line with your forearm
  • Fingers together (but not straight), thumb sits naturally out

Applications:

  • Used to get the forearm pointing to your opponent’s face, in preparation for a strike (Taan Daa)
  • If their arm is under your strike, the elbow being in will protect your upper rectangle more evenly than if it is out
  • Used in combination with a Hau paak Sau on the diagonal, outside and same side, inside
  • Used as one of your inside arms in Ci Sau
  • Taan Daa is Taan getting to only 90°, whereby the forearm then rotates into Zing Zoeng

護手/wu6 sau2/protecting Hand

Angles:

  • Forearm and elbow position same as Gaau Caa Sau
  • Fingers pointing vertically up
  • Wrist anatomically extended
  • When going backwards in the form, goes all the way back until it touches your chest

Applications:

  • Diagonal, outside and same side, inside
  • With diagonal, outside, fingers point forward and then go up as your forearm makes contact with their punch (using your 3rd centreline)
  • With same side, inside, the hand does a ‘hyun’ first in order to get your forearm outside and above their forearm

伏手/fuk1 sau2/covering Hand

Angles:

  • Your arm opens from 45° in ‘Backwards Wu’, to 90° for the start of Fuk Sau
  • Elbow in line with the ‘braces’ line – more natural than 1st centreline
  • Wrist is anatomically flexed
  • Fingers pointing horizontally, to the side

Applications:

  • Diagonal, outside and same side, outside
  • Used in combination with Hau Paak Sau on the diagonal, outside
  • Like Tan, the forearm is pointing to your opponent’s face, ready to become a strike if their arm fails to block the path
  • With your hand on top your opponent’s forearm, it can sometimes drop down into a low palm if their forearm is no longer pointing towards you

後拍手/hau6 paak3 sau2/behind clapping Hand

Angles:

  • Directly follows the 3rd Forward Wu Sau
  • End position is the back of the hand close to but not touching the face

Applications:

  • Same side, outside and diagonal inside
  • Can grab with your thumb, but quickly let go after pulling their arm
  • Can also be done without using the thumb
  • Combines with a palm or punch to make Paak Daa
  • 3 Paak Daas – Double Outside/Double Inside/1 in 1 out

正掌/zing3 zoeng2/straight palm

Angles:

  • Elbow in line with the ‘braces’ line – more natural due to where fingers are pointing
  • Fingers point upwards and are together
  • Thumb sits out naturally like Wu Sau

Applications:

  • Same side, inside (with a Hau Paak Sau)
  • Contact point is the heel of the palm
  • Straight palm hits the harder parts (bony) of the face as heel of the palm is soft, whereas the punch hits the softer parts (fleshy)
  • Paak into pull to centre into Palm (3 moves from form) can be applied to 3 punches. You can start with an inside or an outside Paak and still complete the combination
  • Can be combined with any other palm to make 抱排/Pou5 Paai4/Embrace Row [Double Palm]