Loose hand technique approaches in Wing Chun

Bino TWT

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Geezer, I'd love to sit around and drink beer and listen to all of your stories one of these days...
 
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Yeung

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It's a good idea to collect all the WC "san shou " and link into a "WC 4th form" for teaching/learning and recording purpose. This way our next generate can understand it's possible that "training can be the same as fighting".

I think you will be in a position to evaluate various Wing Chun loose hand techniques in this thread. For your information:

Lat-sau (Li shouX or 蝳餅): hands are separated.

Loose hand techniques for beginners and non Wing Chun practitioners should be techniques without Lap-sau (lie shou): to hold, to grasp; to pull at; to glance.

You have mentioned quite a lot of techniques in this forum which can be use to test the effectiveness of Wing Chun San Shou. Sum Nung Wing Chun has 12 standard techniques but it is mainly encounters for hand techniques. I am not sure about the recent San Shou developments of Gulo Wing Chun and Yip Man Wing Chun. Maybe members of this forum can come up with some agreed techniques for evaluation.
 

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I think better term than "loose hand" would be "dispersing hands" or "scattering hands" since is more often a verb than an adjective (and even then, my dictionary mentions it as "scattered").

There exists a training method in Hung Kyun with the same name; however, their San sau is more akin to not-quite-clinch arm-grappling/trapping:

 

KPM

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Is "San" not the same character used for the "San" in Sanda competitions? In that context it means something more akin to "separated" hands....as in you are drilling or fighting from a separation from each other rather than in contact with each other as in Chi Sau. In Pin Sun Wing Chun when we talked about the "San Sau" stage of training the sets, it meant applying them "on the fly" or in sparring as opposed to applying them in Chi Sau.

The sets themselves were not referred to as "San Sau". They were called "San Sik" .....which I was told translated best in this context as "separate parts", as in separated out from the larger forms that others use. But this seemed to be a more modern label. I was told the older generations didn't give them a label like this.

The training consisted of learning the short sets....then learning a two-man drill for each that taught their meaning or application (Chok Sau)...then learning to perform them on the dummy (Jong Sau)...then learning to apply them in Chi Sau....and finally learning to apply them in sparring or "free application" (San Sau).
 
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VPT

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Is it not the same character used for the "San" in Sanda competitions? In that context it means something more akin to "separated" hands....as in you are fighting from a separation from each other rather than in contact with each other as in Chi Sau. In Pin Sun Wing Chun when we talked about the "San Sau" stage of training the sets, it meant applying them "on the fly" or in sparring as opposed to applying them in Chi Sau.

It is the same character: and . It has the meaning of something coming apart (or getting loose from its attached/tightened/firm state), instead of staying apart and not coming together. Example from my dictionary: 函拳鈭 = "The wooden box came apart." Thus the implied idea is to disperse the incoming attack coming from the opponent.

Here from 0:50 onwards there is an explanation of San sau in Wan Kam Leung's Practical Wing Chun:
 
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Gerry Seymour

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It depends how many "san shou " techniques that you can collect. It will be hard to remember when that number can reach to 60, or even 80.

One Karate school when they test their black belt, they require their black belt students to perform 50 different self-defense techniques. They have to physical remember number 1, 2, ..., 49, 50. I suggested the instructor to make a 50 moves solo form, or even 2 men form. After that their students had easier time to take their test.

I have created a 84 moves long fist "san shou " form. It's a quite challenge task.
In NGA, the core curriculum is 50 individual techniques. I've never known anyone to really struggle remembering all of them if they had any sort of mnemonic device. Those devices require a lot less time and effort than learning a form (I know, becasuse I created forms for the first two sets, and see how much it takes for my students to learn those, even when they already know the techniques).
 

Gerry Seymour

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It is the same character: and . It has the meaning of something coming apart (or getting loose from its attached/tightened/firm state), instead of staying apart and not coming together. Example from my dictionary: 函拳鈭 = "The wooden box came apart." Thus the implied idea is to disperse the incoming attack coming from the opponent.

Here from 0:50 onwards there is an explanation of San sau in Wan Kam Leung's Practical Wing Chun:
VPT, a point of purely intellectual curiosity here. Is your dictionary electronic? I've long wondered how one would look up a word/ideogram in a paper dictionary when an alphabet isn't involved. My entire paradigm for "looking up" involves languages with alphabets (English, Romance languages, Russian, German), and just doesn't seem to apply to traditional Asian writing.
 

VPT

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VPT, a point of purely intellectual curiosity here. Is your dictionary electronic? I've long wondered how one would look up a word/ideogram in a paper dictionary when an alphabet isn't involved. My entire paradigm for "looking up" involves languages with alphabets (English, Romance languages, Russian, German), and just doesn't seem to apply to traditional Asian writing.

I use an app called Pleco on my smartphone. Handwriting input makes looking up words gloriously convenient. Best of all, it is free and it does not have ads and it does not force you into buying their plug-ins. (Which I believe would be very good.)

Not going into details here how it works, but it suffices to say that using Chinese dictionaries in book format is a real pain in your general posterior and requires already a fair share of knowledge how Chinese characters are constructed.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I use an app called Pleco on my smartphone. Handwriting input makes looking up words gloriously convenient. Best of all, it is free and it does not have ads and it does not force you into buying their plug-ins. (Which I believe would be very good.)

Not going into details here how it works, but it suffices to say that using Chinese dictionaries in book format is a real pain in your general posterior and requires already a fair share of knowledge how Chinese characters are constructed.
So, in vague terms (the only terms I'm likely to understand, frankly), does looking them up in book format flow from the compositional parts? I seem to recall the kanji for "life" was composed of two other words' characters (rice/fire, maybe?), so you'd look by those parts? Or is it based upon the stroke order (so, knowing the character you're looking for has a first stroke that is vertical and curved)? If it's too complex for a vague answer, let me know; I'm definitely proceeding from ignorance here.
 

VPT

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So, in vague terms (the only terms I'm likely to understand, frankly), does looking them up in book format flow from the compositional parts? I seem to recall the kanji for "life" was composed of two other words' characters (rice/fire, maybe?), so you'd look by those parts? Or is it based upon the stroke order (so, knowing the character you're looking for has a first stroke that is vertical and curved)? If it's too complex for a vague answer, let me know; I'm definitely proceeding from ignorance here.

I was afraid of going too OT with this explanation, but it might be beneficial and informative to people in general, so here goes. I believe there are plenty different ways to organise Chinese (book) dictionaries, some more sensical than others, but the one I'm describing here is one of the more structured ones and what Pleco uses as well (if you are not searching for words in English or in pinyin, the romanisation for Mandarin Chinese).

Now, from a dictionary perspective the most important thing for a character is its radical. Radical can actually refer to any part of the character, but in common Chinese student's parlance it refers to the semantic component of a character, i.e. what kind of "set" does the word belong to. More of this below. In a Chinese dictionary, all the words are arranged by the radical in the order of the number of strokes in them. Single-stroke radicals come first, then two-stroke, three-stroke and so on. There are apparently different ways to arrange them (I had to check this), Pleco and one website I use apparently arrange them by their "Cangjie encoding" input. It's best not to explain that here but yes, there's a sense to that too. One possible other way would be alphabetical order by pinyin and tone number (1 to 4).

(There are a number of different structures for the characters where the radical can take place, to know which one it is takes time in studying Chinese. So it's somewhat impossible to use the dictionary without knowing any Chinese!)

The second step is to count the number of strokes in the other part, because the characters with the same radical are then ordered after the count of their strokes. Example: Our radical is /(they are the same and mean "human/person"), the character is listed way before , because the former has only three strokes, latter has nine. Then again all the characters with the radical 鈭蒼nd the same number of strokes could be arranged into order by their Cangjie encoding order.

Let's take an example character of "box" from one of my previous messages: 蝞, pronounced "xiang". I can tell by looking at it that the semantic radical of the character is "bamboo", written . Apparently the Chinese used to make boxes out of bamboo. 蝡 has six strokes so I'd first find from the dictionary index where the characters with this radical are. Then I count the strokes of the bottom, which is the part that is actually pronounced "xiang". This, for example is also pronounced "xiang", but with different tone: . So the number of strokes in is nine, therefore I would search under section "蝡" among the characters with nine strokes this exact character. Here they are ordered to the same logic they were ordered in the radicals index.

This type of way of finding words is horrid. The coming of electrical dictionaries greatly helped this cesspit of looking for the right word you were after. I've personally never used a Chinese dictionary that would've been printed and bound.

Edit: EXTRA! Chinese characters are written in following order: up to down, left to right, horizontal lines before vertical lines.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I was afraid of going too OT with this explanation, but it might be beneficial and informative to people in general, so here goes. I believe there are plenty different ways to organise Chinese (book) dictionaries, some more sensical than others, but the one I'm describing here is one of the more structured ones and what Pleco uses as well (if you are not searching for words in English or in pinyin, the romanisation for Mandarin Chinese).

Now, from a dictionary perspective the most important thing for a character is its radical. Radical can actually refer to any part of the character, but in common Chinese student's parlance it refers to the semantic component of a character, i.e. what kind of "set" does the word belong to. More of this below. In a Chinese dictionary, all the words are arranged by the radical in the order of the number of strokes in them. Single-stroke radicals come first, then two-stroke, three-stroke and so on. There are apparently different ways to arrange them (I had to check this), Pleco and one website I use apparently arrange them by their "Cangjie encoding" input. It's best not to explain that here but yes, there's a sense to that too. One possible other way would be alphabetical order by pinyin and tone number (1 to 4).

(There are a number of different structures for the characters where the radical can take place, to know which one it is takes time in studying Chinese. So it's somewhat impossible to use the dictionary without knowing any Chinese!)

The second step is to count the number of strokes in the other part, because the characters with the same radical are then ordered after the count of their strokes. Example: Our radical is /(they are the same and mean "human/person"), the character is listed way before , because the former has only three strokes, latter has nine. Then again all the characters with the radical 鈭蒼nd the same number of strokes could be arranged into order by their Cangjie encoding order.

Let's take an example character of "box" from one of my previous messages: 蝞, pronounced "xiang". I can tell by looking at it that the semantic radical of the character is "bamboo", written . Apparently the Chinese used to make boxes out of bamboo. 蝡 has six strokes so I'd first find from the dictionary index where the characters with this radical are. Then I count the strokes of the bottom, which is the part that is actually pronounced "xiang". This, for example is also pronounced "xiang", but with different tone: . So the number of strokes in is nine, therefore I would search under section "蝡" among the characters with nine strokes this exact character. Here they are ordered to the same logic they were ordered in the radicals index.

This type of way of finding words is horrid. The coming of electrical dictionaries greatly helped this cesspit of looking for the right word you were looking for. I've personally never used a Chinese dictionary that would've been printed and bound.

Edit: EXTRA! Chinese characters are written in following order: up to down, left to right, horizontal lines before vertical lines.
Thanks for the excellent explanation, VPT!
 

Kung Fu Wang

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In NGA, the core curriculum is 50 individual techniques. I've never known anyone to really struggle remembering all of them if they had any sort of mnemonic device. Those devices require a lot less time and effort than learning a form (I know, becasuse I created forms for the first two sets, and see how much it takes for my students to learn those, even when they already know the techniques).
When students learn a form, they are not learning individual techniques. They are learning:

- different ways to apply the same technique.
- the flow from technique to technique (combo).

Of course it will take more effort to do so.

Even just the straight punch, you can have:

- downward block and punch.
- upward block and punch.
- left to right block and punch.
- right to left block and punch.
- ...
 
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Gerry Seymour

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When students learn a form, they are not learning individual techniques. They are learning:

- different ways to apply the same technique.
- the flow from technique to technique (combo).

Of course it will take more effort to do so.

Even just the straight punch, you can have:

- downward block and punch.
- upward block and punch.
- left to right block and punch.
- right to left block and punch.
- ...
I was replying to your comment that a form can be a way to remember the techniques more easily. I thought that would be the case, but it turned out they work just as hard to learn the order of the techniques in the form as others did to learn the list of techniques.

All the other things you mention in this post are the reasons I added the forms, in the first place. The hoped-for (but not received) easier memorization was just a bonus.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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easier memorization was just a bonus.
When I prepared my TOEFL (Test Of English as Foreign Language), I had a small dictionary in my pocket all the time. I started to learn English words from A to Z.

One of my friend used a different approach. He got himself a book (such as "Pride and Prejudice") and learned English words along with the story.

If I can relive my life again, I think I will take his approach instead.
 

Gerry Seymour

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When I prepared my TOEFL (Test Of English as Foreign Language), I had a small dictionary in my pocket all the time. I started to learn English words from A to Z.

One of my friend used a different approach. He got himself a book (such as "Pride and Prejudice") and learned English words along with the story.

If I can relive my life again, I think I will take his approach instead.
Context is a better way to learn. But a form with multiple techniques in it is not more context than those techniques practiced in application. If they are actually practicing the techniques (rather than just memorizing them), it shouldn't be difficult to remember them, with some mnemonic device used. I created sentences ("Once, James Arness Made Us Laugh While Eating Fried Cabbage." = first 10 techniques). My wife remembered them by primary body part (how many of the first 10 were: head = 0, hand = 4, elbow = 2, shoulder = 1, body = 2, or leg = 1).
 
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Yeung

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Is "San" not the same character used for the "San" in Sanda competitions? In that context it means something more akin to "separated" hands....as in you are drilling or fighting from a separation from each other rather than in contact with each other as in Chi Sau. In Pin Sun Wing Chun when we talked about the "San Sau" stage of training the sets, it meant applying them "on the fly" or in sparring as opposed to applying them in Chi Sau.

The sets themselves were not referred to as "San Sau". They were called "San Sik" .....which I was told translated best in this context as "separate parts", as in separated out from the larger forms that others use. But this seemed to be a more modern label. I was told the older generations didn't give them a label like this.

The training consisted of learning the short sets....then learning a two-man drill for each that taught their meaning or application (Chok Sau)...then learning to perform them on the dummy (Jong Sau)...then learning to apply them in Chi Sau....and finally learning to apply them in sparring or "free application" (San Sau).
Thank you for confirming my observation, san shi for beginners and san sau or free techniques for proficient practitioners.
 
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