TAN SAO is one of the important hand movements in Wing Chun. To describe it as a ‘palm up block’ implies a force against force movement, which it can be if necessary but that description diminishes it’s true function which is to disperse the incoming energy from an opponent’s strike.
Tan Sao is also used in Chi Sao as a ‘Seeking Hand’ continually seeking the gap with forward intention. Tan Sao against your opponents Fuk Sao can take advantage of any weakness in the Fuk Sao to move forward in either a strike or to gain control of the opponents head or neck.
The classic defence using a Tan Sao is against a round punch, turning to face the point of contact with the Tan Sao centred and absorbing/dispersing the energy downwards which serves to reinforce our connection with the ground. In the diagram below, imagine the strike being received against the Tan Sao and the force dispersed downwards towards the ground, then returned to the opponent through the elastic Tan Sao.
The angle of the Tan Sao is important to enable you to absorb and return strike energy to your opponent. In an ideal world the angle should be 135® or midway between horizontal and vertical. Mechanically, this provides the most powerful position that uses the opponents force to reinforce your own groundedness.
If the angle is too vertical, the Tan Sao will collapse and betray your intention. If it is too horizontal it will compromise your structure and enable your balance to be taken. Similarly the Tan Sao is not held against the body, which could enable your opponent to trap you. The elbow position is best at around two first widths out from the body, providing you with the flexibility to absorb abd return energy.
When a strike is received by the Tan Sao, the energy is absorbed with an ‘elastic’ point of contact. If the energy is weak, the Tan Sao can immediately convert to a forward strike or Lop Sau or Jut Sao and followed by a strike. If the energy is strong from a forceful strike, the elastic Tan Sao absorbs the energy, connecting your bones, tendons and muscles to the ground in a spiral motion through the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee ankle pathway. This connection is then used to return the force to the opponent through the releasing of the ‘spring’ that has coiled through the absorption of the strike.
Tan Sao’s elastic nature, in combination with your grounded and centred structure enables you to absorb the strongest strikes and return them with much greater power to the biggest of opponents.
Practice, train hard and enjoy the power of the Tan Sao!
The 2019 Victorian Kung Fu Championships on May 19 was held at Springers Leisure Centre in Keysborough.
Spirited competition from our opponents gave our younger students Tate, Maddy, Marcus, Blayze & Talin some great experience and some good life lessons. Resilience, patience, courage, self control, strategy, determination and above all good sportsmanship.
Blayze also represented us in the Wooden Dummy Form and did an excellent job to be awarded a first place trophy.
Congratulations to Bendigo’s Nick Denham on becoming 2019 Victorian Kung Fu Champion in the Open Age Under 80kg category and to James Areson for 2nd place.
The SANDA sparring rules are very much suited to our Wing Chun style and allow us to deploy sweeps, trips, throws and grappling to combat our opponent in a much more realistic fighting scenario than the karate tournaments.
My congratulations to everyone who competed on Sunday - it was a great day and I'm enormously proud of you all.
Sunday December 11, 2016 was a big day for Bendigo students with Nick and Sonya both completing their Level 2 gradings with great skill and endeavor earning a bar to their Orange sash. Ryan also showed his level of commitment to learning the Intermediate skills of Wing Chun by completing his Level 5 grading and earned a Blue Sash.
I'm extremely proud of the commitment shown by Bendigo students and their desire to progress in their knowledge and skills in Shaolin Wing Chun Kung Fu.
These students are truly reaping the benefits of healthy exercise and learning an ancient traditional Chinese martial art at the same time.
One of the great benefits of gradings with our Melbourne brothers and sisters is the social aspect of making new friends with who we share a common interest.
It was a great day and I was fortunate to also complete my Level 10 grading which has been a long time in the making, but is really just another step in the journey.
On behalf of all our students in Bendigo, I would like to thank Sifu Linda and Sigung Garry Baniecki for their continued and generous support.