How "Springy" is your Bong-sau?

geezer

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Different branches of the Wing Chun family vary widely as to how flexible and reactive their movements are. I've found that the way your branch approaches making bong-sau to be a good indicator of this. At one extreme, bong-sau is launched fiercely, almost like a block/strike, knocking aside an incoming strike. Some would call this a "hard" bong-sau, although few Wing Chun stylists would embrace this term. At the other end of the spectrum, the bong sau is created by the opponent's strike coming accross your bridge, bending your arm into bong-sau as though it were a springy piece of bamboo. I've heard this referred to as "soft" Wing Chun, but that is misleading too, since the "spring" may be very strong. In neither case is the bong-sau rock-hard and rigid nor limp and weak. The difference is more one of "subjective", ie "do you initiate the move?" versus "objective" ie "does your opponent's force initiate the move by flexing and rolling your arm?" I've found that how a Wing Chun branch conceives of bong-sau equally affects how it approaches all of it's techniques from tan-sau and fook-sau right down to stance and footwork. Over the years, I've worked with both approaches, and I've met excellent fighters from each perspective. But it's not a trivial distinction! I know that the Leung Ting Wing Tsun branch is a major proponent of the "flexible" or "let your opponent's force initiate your movement" school of thought. What kind of bong-sau do you have?
 

marcus_p

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Some school apply the idea of coverage in their hand techniques as well. Using subjective terms like hard and soft is something I personally find doesn't work for me in getting together with friends. How can you use it? Can it be applied by a small person against a larger person? Does it require you to compete strength against strength? Speed against speed? Agility against agility? These questions work better for my own understanding. If I practice a technique that heavily requires strength to achieve it's goal, what happens when I encounter someone stronger? Same thing with speed.

Here is a video of my SiFu talking about the Bong Sau. You seem to have a lot of experience with other branches of Wing Chun. What have you discovered works?
 
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geezer

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All good questions...what it really boils down to is what works for you. From what I could get out of the video clip, Sifu Lee favors what I termed the "subjective" bong sau, thrown powerfully to jam or deflect a chest-level punch. He astutely points out the limitations of this technique. The Leung Ting "springy" bong sau is different. Your hand springs out forward to strike, and if it meets a strong opposing force, your opponent bends your arm into bong-sau. If his force does not bend your arm (as when Sifu Lee demonstrated on the very tall student) there is no bong-sau. Rather you continue extending your arm as a deflecting strike, such as a high inside gate punch, biu-tze, etc.
 
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geezer

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All good questions...what it really boils down to is what works for you. From what I could get out of the video clip, Sifu Lee favors what I termed the "subjective" bong sau, thrown powerfully to jam or deflect a chest-level punch. He astutely points out the limitations of this technique. The Leung Ting "springy" bong sau is different. Your hand springs out forward to strike, and if it meets a strong opposing force, your opponent bends your arm into bong-sau. If his force does not bend your arm (as when Sifu Lee demonstrated on the very tall student) there is no bong-sau. Rather you continue extending your arm as a deflecting strike, such as a high inside gate punch, biu-tze, etc.
 

qwksilver61

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Opinion; During the approach B,ie;punch being directly launched towards you A,once contact has been made with the arm (man-sau) B's force drives A's body to one side (turnstile effect) if A is in proper form. He then has several options:wing arm at centerline until B's punch has been re-directed ,wu-sau; Tan-sau,Pak-sau,;Bong-sau; sun punch,chain punch.or if one is adept;take the full punch to a 90 off of a Bong sau (man sau) and whisk the throat with the Bong sau once the opponents force has been nullified.
I have seen and demonstrated this,there are limiting factors (for me) when executing the Bong sau,one of the other phenomena that I have experienced was when
the man sau was overtaken by force I initiated wu sau Bong sau with a sort of cork screw effect forward torwards the opponent while turning,then freeing up man sau while re-loading man sau to a wu sau or another techinique.
as far as force,yes a springy medium,never sloppy or weak,the more power coming towards you re-direct arms find a hole.....that is all I know,tell me more.Oh and Hello Geezer!
 
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geezer

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It definately sounds like you use a "springy" bong sau and you borrow your opponent's force to bend your arm and shape your defense. To do otherwise is to use only your own strength and cross force with your opponent. It works great if you are strong, but it's not my idea of good Wing Chun/Tsun.
 

qwksilver61

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Just thought I would add; springy until met with a whole lot of weight and force,then it feels like the energy is transmitted from your arm all of the way through your body through to your legs and then dissipated.Question for Geezer;
when were you in Steve Brandons school? I attended back in 86 on.Also I attended the Seminar that year hosted by GM Leung Ting and Robert Jacquet.
Do you remember Karl? Rick Mok? (aka. black death) and the twin brothers?
 
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geezer

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I was one of Leung Ting's first three instructor's in the US along with Sifu Keith Sonnenberg and Sifu Robert Jacquet in the Phoenix area when Steve Brandon came down for some of the early Leung Ting seminars sometime in the mid 80's..."the good old days". I believe Rick attended too, it's been a long time.
Re "springy" I agree, you redirect the force through your stance, and if your attacker's force is strong you use ("borrow") it to rotate you (stance turning) into "sideling stance" and return it to your opponent as a strike (such as fak sau) when the hand is freed. The "hard" or jamming bong sau doesn't allow you to borrow the force this way. Either way, the biggest drawback of bong sau is that it is one of the few purely defensive techniques in Wing Chun/Tsun. Unlike a deflecting punch to punch, tan-da sau, pak-da sau, guan-da sau, etc., it is NOT a simultaneous defense and counter.
 

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Greetings.

The original mentioned "hard" bong sau, I would call a man sau (as in Bil Jee Form, palms facing outward).

Also, as was mentioned, I tend to use the bong sau once contact is made for redirection.

Hope that helps.

Juan M. Mercado
 

qwksilver61

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That's cool Geezer,I believe I know who you are now,and I think I have seen photos of you in past seminars.Pleasure to meet you. I almost feel guilty
attending the EBMAS seminar this Saturday,only because Steve was my Dei-sihing at that time. For now it is the only Wing Tzun that we have in this area and I for one have no intention giving it up.Correct me if I am wrong but I believe it is the same as Wing Tsun in theory.Anywho Wing Chun/Tsun/Tzun is great stuff,especially when one begins to understand theory and the dynamics.
Definitely an addiction!
 
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geezer

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Anywho Wing Chun/Tsun/Tzun is great stuff,especially when one begins to understand theory and the dynamics.
Definitely an addiction!
I'm with you on that! So no guilt, just go for the knowledge. And, after your seminar, PM me and let me know how it went!--Steve
 

KamonGuy2

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The hard bong sao is extremely risky
Two instructors of wing chun who practice this harder version, both crumbled when I hit them with force

One of the reasons is that I was a lot bigger than them. Although they turned, it was just too much force

Bong sao can also be used in no glove boxing as a parry against jabs. You won't be able to lap sao the hand, but it will drain your opponent

In kamon we use a collapsable bong
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

The Bong sau is not anatomically capable of resisting much force in several directions... it is more like a "feeler" type maneuver.

If you want something hard, go for a lan sau, yet the lan sau is strong forward... not upwards, so you would have to be moving into the attacker of it to work best.

For something that is coming downward to my head, bil jee sau upwards to intercept and redirect plus footwork seems to be much more plausible, yet as always, it depends on the nature of the attack, among other considerations.

Hope this helps.

Juan M. Mercado

P.S. Yes, it is an addiction. People ask we "Why do you train?" I always say...

"Because I have to."
 
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geezer

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The hard bong sao is extremely risky
Two instructors of wing chun who practice this harder version, both crumbled when I hit them with force

One of the reasons is that I was a lot bigger than them. Although they turned, it was just too much force

Bong sao can also be used in no glove boxing as a parry against jabs. You won't be able to lap sao the hand, but it will drain your opponent

In kamon we use a collapsable bong

In my system we use the term "collapse" to mean "weak" or "limp". It's pretty clear that's NOT what you are doing. Your description sounds more like what we call "yielding", or bending like a shock absorber. That's part of what I mean by "springy". If after yielding, your bong sau springs back rather than staying bent, then you guys use a springy bong sau. Strong individuals use a strong spring, like a truck spring, while weaker people have to be more yielding. You use what you have. I've noted that in another post you describe yourself as a big guy. It was foolish of those other guys to try a "hard" bong sau against you. The hard stuff only works if you are stronger, but good springy energy can exhaust and defeat a stronger opponent.
 

KamonGuy2

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In my system we use the term "collapse" to mean "weak" or "limp". It's pretty clear that's NOT what you are doing. Your description sounds more like what we call "yielding", or bending like a shock absorber. That's part of what I mean by "springy". If after yielding, your bong sau springs back rather than staying bent, then you guys use a springy bong sau. Strong individuals use a strong spring, like a truck spring, while weaker people have to be more yielding. You use what you have. I've noted that in another post you describe yourself as a big guy. It was foolish of those other guys to try a "hard" bong sau against you. The hard stuff only works if you are stronger, but good springy energy can exhaust and defeat a stronger opponent.
Good post. Yeah I am a huggggeee guy. I found that flaw when I did karate. Some blocks by smaller guys wouldn't stop my hits coming in. I'm not a master puncher but a lot of weight means that you have to sometimes 'yield' (to quote your phrase) the energy

Some of the people in Kamon don't use this as much and Kevin Chan sometimes hold a firmer bong sao during chi sao
 

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