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 Jyut Ping, see here. For a dictionary see here or use the Hanping Cantonese App for Android.


These lines are where the elbow ends when finishing a move. In the 3 vertical lines the elbow should be as low as possible on that line to maintain the 2nd centreline (see article).

1st Centreline

Example moves:

  • Maai Zaang Punch (‘elbow in’)
  • Taan Sau
  • Zam Sau (combined with Zyun Maa)

Mostly used for striking when staying frontal with your opponent. If turning (Zyun Maa) then it can be used to divert the attacking strike (e.g. using Zam Daa).

If defending frontally (e.g. Fuk Sau), the elbow will be slightly lower than when attacking as the fist doesn’t need to be at the height of the opponent’s nose.

‘Braces’ lines

Example moves:

  • Frontal Hoi
  • Gaau Caa Sau (cross hands)
  • Wu Sau – when applied to a punch (different in the form)

Used for defensive moves when staying frontal. The move will usually be diagonal apart from often when using 2 moves together (e.g. Fan Sau, CK Soeng Fuk Sau) – this is good for controlling your opponent’s balance.

‘Elbow Out’ position

Example moves:

  • Fei Zaang Punch (‘elbow out’) – when striking as opposed to defending
  • Dau Sau
  • Laap Sau (with Zyun Maa)

Used for moves that aim to control the opponent’s arms over hitting them. This is because unlike the ‘braces’ line, your forearms are pointing less towards your opponent, and therefore less able to transition into a strike.

Shoulder Level

All moves:

  • Biu Zi Waang Zaang (horizontal elbow strike)
  • Biu Zi Pek Sau (horizontal chop)

Only used in the above 2 examples with high risk strikes. The risk comes from the threat of losing your 2nd centreline by having someone put upwards pressure on your high elbow, resulting in the loss of balance.