Bong Sau

Discussion in 'Kung Fu' started by TonyMc, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. TonyMc

    TonyMc Valued Member

    I have a question;
    Some years ago I practised Wing Chun. I enjoyed the training but I had an issue with Bong Sau. My teacher used to say that my shoulder kept coming up too high when attempting a Bong Sau, he insisted that it was due to doing too much weight training. He said that I should more or less keep shoulders level when performing this technique. I practically find this impossible to do, but I won't quit going to the gym.

    Anyway a new Wing Chun school has opened nearby and I fancy giving it another go but I am concerned about my past Bong Sau issue. Is there an excercise that I can do to relax the shoulder? Or is my old teacher right, and I should quit the gym if I want to practise WIng Chun?

    Any advice would be appreciated..
  2. slapjitsu

    slapjitsu Banned Banned

    Try working on the flexibility of your shoulders, rotational pressups etc.
  3. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    your teacher knows nothing about strength training. what you need is pectoral, lat and serratus engagement to create scapular depression and possibly protraction (see here:

    push ups with both shoulder-width (for serratus) and wide (for pecs) hand positioning should help, as should pull-ups (for lats). dips will also teach you to do the correct shoulder motion for depressing the shoulder blades (the very end of the dip, basically a reverse shrug).
  4. Giant Sea Panda

    Giant Sea Panda Valued Member

    Everyone has trouble with this. How are your shoulders when you roll punch? In my experience (limited as it may be) once you get the hang of keeping the shoulders down when you punch, bong sau gets a lot easier.
  5. WaywardWarrior

    WaywardWarrior Valued Member

    Besides what others have said, I would pay attention to your technique. Don't concentrate on what your shoulder is doing so much as to where your hand is in relation to your opponent.

    Your elbow should be bent at approximately 45 degrees.. maybe slightly less. When you execute a Bong Sau, if you look down your arm, your hand should be covering your opponents throat. You should not be able to see his throat for your hand. If you can see his throat over your hand, your Bong Sau is too low and you stand a fair chance of being hit in the head. If you can see your opponents throat under your hand, your Bong Sau is too high. Rotating your shoulder is a common cause of this. If you watch your hand and practice this way, you should be able to get your shoulder in check.

    I lift 6 days a week (working arms and shoulders on two of those days). I go heavy on Upright Rows and Military presses among other things. I don't believe I have a problem with my shoulders while executing a Bong Sau. I don't think weight training would really affect this. If so, you could always work on integrating more shoulder stretches into your routine to regain some flexibility there.
  6. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    A good instructor should be able to teach you how to deal with this situation, not just say it's because of X,Y,Z.... and leave it there....

    I had a really bad shoulder injury that restricted movement in my shoulder, but my instructor helped me and with some practice I could Chi Sau with out even noticing any restriction.

    I'd say, like someone else above, forget about your shoulder, the more you think about it the more you will have a problem. If you can hold a tan sau you should be able to hold bong sau, I'll explain but you have to avoid the natural urge to mover from your shoulder, and ignore it completely;

    Hold a tan sau with your right arm/hand (reverse everything for left), rotate your wrist anti clockwise, and as you do drop your forearm level in front of you using your elbow as the pivot point. Your upper arm and shoulder should not move at all, you upper arm will twist but position should not change.

    If done correctly you are now holding a basic bong sau. (This is Wong Shun Leung WC so some differences to mainline) Any tweaks from here to get the perfect shape should not affect your shoulder.
  7. poulperadieux

    poulperadieux New Member

    Some article I wrote and a vidéo in French that I plan to re shoot in English, and with a second part that cover bong sao in the second and in the third form of OC.

    Basically, there's two attitudes on bong sao in scools:

    The geometrical one, and the "feeling" one.

    Some says the bong sao must be this height, this angle, in rapport with your opponent or not.
    Some say that, if you punch, If you feel that, you must do that, and see what's next... Or rather feel, that's the chisao approach, and that's mine.

    Ok, so, now, from my point of view and my point of view only,

    Bong sao is a fist interrupted by a force that is stronger than the structure of my fist at the exact moment of the collision.
    My intent is not to make a bong sao, but indeed to make a fist or something less cheezy than this weird chicken like move.

    Bong sao, I don't really want it, and I don't really want to stay within it.
    And definitely, I don't use it to block something, bong sao is only part of the global flow, U can't kill the groove, or the magic stops.

    And Wing chun, for me, must remain magic, must be yin, manipulation over force.

    I can use force, but magic is more fun.
  8. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Do people realize that Bong Shou doesn't exist in any other MA system except in the WC system. Old Chinese saying said, "Your elbow should not be exposed." Bong Shou definitely violate this ancient guideline.
  9. poulperadieux

    poulperadieux New Member


    There's a way to do bong sao without "floating elbow".

    Tip : My vidéo on this page.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  10. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    In Lau Gar the form 'Jorn Sau' is taken from WC's 'Siu Lim Tau', this also has Bong Sau, but adapted slightly into a low forearm block, but the movement is the same.

    In Shinden Tatara Ryu Taijutsu, (Japanese Koryu) there is a henka version of a kata called 'Ho Setsu' in which you use a 'bong sau' type movement.

    I've seen bong sau used to a large extent in Kajukembo, also a little in Ashi Kempo, I'm sure there are others.

    Doesn't exist in any other MA is a bit of a sweeping statement. Perhaps it's not called bong sau, but it definitely has cousins hanging around in other styles.

    Bong sau should only ever be transitional, it should never be static, so where your elbow may be exposed, this should only be for a spit second as the bong sau turns into something else.
  11. Freeform

    Freeform Fully operational War-Pig Supporter

    Rubbish, the mechanic exists in various arts and styles. It's present in many FMA and JMA. Also, yes you get problems with the elbow if you're 'chicken winging' it. The Bong Sau should rifle forwards, not out to the side and forwards. Same general rule as a jab or a cross.
  12. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    Yes! Improper structure is why many people have issues with bong sau. If you "chicken wing" it instead of having proper structure people can just punch straight through. Bong sau may be transitional but you still have to have good enough structure to deflect. It doesn't stay but it shouldn't break either.
  13. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Since YKW referenced a chinese saying he probably meant chinese arts, and since people can only Lau Gar as the only other chineseart they have seen it in (a made up form copying wing chun for the most part) his point probably stands
  14. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    His post stated 'Do people realize that Bong Shou doesn't exist in any other MA system except in the WC system' not 'Chinese' system - so the point about this statement being too sweeping would stand.

    Even looking at only chinese systems it is too sweeping, there are other styles that use the same mechanics, She Ying Tou Dau a snake style from the southern Shaoin temple uses a similar technique. I've seen people practicing Tai Chi using something that could be related to Bong Sau.

    My point was that the statement was too sweeping, which it is. Even looking only at chinese martial arts there are a myriad of different styles, also different applications within those styles, much of which will only be known by senior students, do any of us have the knowledge to be able to say 'This does not exist in any chinese MA style' - I don't think so!
  15. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    probably not, but i'd lay a bet that out of all of us YKW has seen more than any of us lol :)
  16. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    random thought: what about bong sau as a pressing movement with the palm, to the lower-outer quadrant? for example covering the low-line with your lead hand, or creating an opening after a pak sao where one could strike with the other hand along the centerline.
  17. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    Not quite sure what you mean by that fish
  18. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I agree that my statement may be too "generalized". This is one way to stimulate an interest discussion.

    If your opponent right punch at you, if you block with left Bong Shou, you won't have any problem. If you block with your right Bong Shou, you have to watch out his left hand.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  19. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I had an Erik Paulson Seminar and he showed us a wrestling technique and he related the movement to being so similar to Bong Sau.
  20. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    When you control your opponent's right arm with both of your arms (like Judo sleeve and cross lapel holds), if his left hand punches at your head, since both of your hands are not free, your right arm Bong Shou can deflect his left punch upward while hide your head under your right elbow. Since he won't have the 3rd arm, you don't have to worry about your own "leak".

    The Bong Shou is safe to use as long as You don't use your "right" Bong Shou to block your opponent's "right" punch.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012

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