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Sep 1 07 8:31 PM

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Greeting Gents,

In the interview, I read that Kwun Sau is to train punch.  If you are familiar with this training, could you explain what this mean? What punching aspects are you training - punching line from angling position or power development?


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#1 [url]

Sep 2 07 2:00 PM

Kwun Sau is made up of two actions. 50% Bong Sau - 50% Punch. The two actions must be made simultaneously. The position of the elbow for the punch is important or the action isn't possible. Bong Sau opens the way for the punch. The rotation speed of Bong Sau is important. As with nearly all actions in Ving Tsun we are training the punch. In a previous VT life of mine, Kwun Sau was used in a different way. I have seen the error of that idea since.

Philipp's English translation of his ideas can be taken out of context unless somebody has seen it first hand then it becomes clear.

Graham H

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#2 [url]

Sep 3 07 6:41 AM

Thanks for the reply, Graham. From what I read, you seem to describe the Bong Da technique. If it's convenient to you at a later time, I like to read your new post on the errors that you see from the kwun sau (Bong Sau and Tan Sau) since we practice this move so often on the dummy. From what I know, the intended usage of the Kwun Sau depends on the evolving situation. For instance, you can use it to cut into his attacking lines controlling his facing first before bringing out your heavy cannon blast. At other time when you are being hammered, it may be the safest thing to do to get out of a tight jam. And then there is Bong Da.  

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#3 [url]

Sep 3 07 12:35 PM

Ok, Paul I'll try. Lets take a step away from Chi Sau for a second. The way you describe how you would use Kwan Sau assumes that you are in contact with your opponents arms. This is all well and good in the training school but the possibilty of this situation occuring is pretty small. Your opponent will not be doing VT if you were to fight for real. There is a saying in our system that you should fight the person and not the arms. Having Bong Sau and Tan Sau on your opponents arms and trying to press them out of the way or control lines so you can punch SECOND is not good IMO. The freedom to strike and maintain striking is important. This unique concept that we have in VT where we can defend and attack simultaneously (using the elbow) means that with every action such as jut sau, pak sau etc, half of that action should be a punch. The concept of Tan Sau is a punch so in MY lineage we don't use Tan Sau to block hooks and press arms. Tan Sau is for exercising the correct behaviour of the punch, as is fook sau. No point in me trying to write how the concepts of Tan Sau and Fook Sau are used in fighting because the written word is not a good medium for VT.
Kwan Sau does allow you to recover, as it is presented in the MYJ, but it for recovering to punch in one motion and not for trying to manipulate arms first.
In Chum Kiu in the part where we step three times with Bong Sau/Wu Sau. This action is exercising so Bong Sau and Wu make one action (Kwan Sau) and also to cut the way to a retreating/advancing opponent....ALL IN ONE ACTION.

If this idea doesn't conform to anybody elses method then its no problem. I use Kwan Sau a lot in Chi Sau. Maybe not so much in sparring but I've never used it in the way that I was taught by anybody in the last 3 years so that kind of speaks volumes for me.
In my lineage we open the way for striking should it be required. No pressing, no trapping, no manipulating. These methods do not work against a very agressive eratic opponent.........**IMO**.


PS. I’d just like to add (in order to avoid any political BS and as I don’t really use the forums anymore) that I’m not here to challenge anybody else’s understanding of Kwan Sau. This way works for me. The other ways that I have been taught don’t.

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#4 [url]

Sep 3 07 4:48 PM

I appreciate your reply, Graham. It explains why you prefer to bong and punch. That's perfectly fine as long as it suits you best. I like options and freedom to do whatever is best for me at the moment. Thanks!

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#6 [url]

Sep 4 07 7:41 PM

Tan is mostly to receive middle to upper attack, and Bong is for middle to lower attack. Since I don't know the exact position and direction of his incoming attack, best use Kwun Sau as a line to cut into a wide area of his possible attacking lines.  If successfully intercepted his attack line, I should gain a more dominant control over his centerline and is close enough to inflict heavy damages to him. A few possible attacking possibilities of the Tan Sau from the transition Kwun Sau: Palm, Lop Da, Bong Da, Inside Pak Sau, Neck choke, etc. all depending on the nature of his response...

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#8 [url]

Sep 6 07 11:02 PM

Yep, very different - but it's more a terminology problem than a technical difference, I think.

The difference between Kwun Sau and Bong Da is a matter of movement not hand shapes, like all techniques of VTK.

The way I look at it, Kwun more spirals out from the body, nearly always with the pivot forming the turning movement, more or less sweeping something out of the way or catching something on the way in that ISN'T coming straight in from the enemy. Bong da is bong sau plus an attack, usually the punch.

If you punched while doing Kwun sau it wouldn't do  it's job.

And, although the hand shapes are bong and tan, the overall manner of performing it and it's use is sufficiently different in function to give it a different name. It isn't doing the job of just a tan plus a bong.

My understanding, bad as my Chinese is, is the the terms for the techniques are based on function, not shape. I am sure David Peterson can be more explicit on this.

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#9 [url]

Sep 8 07 12:51 PM

Ok for me they are the same thing. I don't use Kwun Sau to catch things and sweep things out of the way. Too dangerous and goes against my understanding of VT theory.

I used to use Kwan Sau in the way you have described Bill until a certain person showed me the error of my ways.

I like Philipp Bayers thinking on Ving Tsun.

Question : I'm not chinese. I can't speak Chinese. Does that mean that I have an unclear idea of the system????


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#10 [url]

Sep 10 07 6:34 AM

No, I said, and I quote myself

- "Yep, very different - but it's more a terminology problem than a technical difference, I think".

Calling something the wrong name leads to misunderstandings when you try to discuss it.

Kwun means something like turning, so kwun sau has to be err turning, in the language of the people who were describing it. To say it isn't turning is dumb. You therefore have a terminology problem. Bong Da means attacking with the bong sau, so is obviously straight in.

Calling a hammer a spade doesn't change the nature of the beast, but using a spade for a hammer's job is dumb too. It has nothing to do with the "thinking" of the system. You seem to be putting words in my mouth. They are certainly used for different things, and bong da doesn't work for some of the things that kwun sau is used for. I certainly use bong dar more often than kwun sau in say, chi sau, but kwun has it's place..

If you think that Kwun sau goes against VTK thinking then I would say whoever showed you was doing it wrong, or for the wrong applications. I could describe the infinite number of ways I have seen people do it wrong, myself. But Kwun sau is turning, whether you like it or not, and what you describe isn't it. It sounds like bong dar.

Perhaps I described it badly, or you misread what I said.

You don't like Kwun sau, fine.You aren't doing it, anyway, so calling what you are doing kwun sau, then saying other people aren't doing it right, and implying that I need to be shown the error of my ways, well, it's a bit inflamatory, as is the outright challenging way you wrote this

"Question : I'm not chinese. I can't speak Chinese. Does that mean that I have an unclear idea of the system????"
                            when plainly I didn't say anything of the kind.

But it is entirely possible you have an unclear idea of the system, whether you speak Chinese or not. Barry has a clear idea of the system. WSL did also, but few others still alive have to my certain knowledge. I have only been doing it for about thirty years, and it isn't totally clear to me yet, although I have a solid grasp of the basics, which few do indeed.

However, that's a different subject entirely from the one at hand, which is Chinese terminology. I would say that yes, not knowing Chinese is definitely a handicap in discussing chinese terminology. Absolutely.



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#11 [url]

Sep 10 07 2:01 PM

To quote Philipp........"Bong and Wu Sao have to become a unit, so that punching during Bong becomes possible (Kwan Sao)."

I like this way. I don't like your way.

No need to start a war!!!



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#12 [url]

Sep 10 07 11:46 PM

Kwun sau is not bong sau plus wu sau. Bong plus wu sau is a good technique, I use it a great deal, especially with the punch. But that fails to answer anything about kwun sau. A bong shape plus a tan shape are kwun sau. They are just used differently.

The terms used in VTK are verbs not nouns (first pointed out to me by David Peterson), so how they move not what they look like is the key to understanding what we call them, and actually, a deeper understanding of the techniques Chinese ideogram's meaning on a philosophical level often gives insights into what masters in the past wrote about VTK. Since many were Chinese doctors and pharmacists, they used the words in a poetical fashion and in contexts that have multiple meanings and many levels, difficult to understand without the same background. It's very interesting. My translators for this material are chinese doctors who also do VTK, and this has produced many interesting and insightful things (more entertainment that paradigms, but with the occasional epiphany), although the same analysis  has perhaps caused a lot of people to overthink, like the ("secrets of") bagua and VTK stepping, eg Benny Meng when I last spoke to him in Foshan. But this is by the by.

You can know nothing of my way, since at all times I have been talking about the terms being used. To say you don't like my way without  seeing it isn't polite. If you have seen Barry Lee, that's my way, although not at his level. Lok Yiu was kind enough to call me over and say nice things about my VTK when I did a demo he was watching. We had a nice talk. WSL was kind enough to say I was probably the tallest guy in the world doing it right. Barry Lee was kind enought to say that I was able to think in VTK. I do know however that I am far from perfect, and neither is my theory. I am happy however, for you to like 'another way' which if it is WSL's way, should be very similar.


It is impossible to discuss something if two people don't use the words to mean the same thing.

Phillipp's quote is entirely correct for the technique he is describing, but the term for this isn't used for kwun sau either in HK nor the mainland, or in fact anywhere else I have been, given my limited understanding of Chinese. He is describing bong and bong da. I do this technique the same. But I call it something other than kwun sau. Everyone seems to call it something else.

Using terms is only important when you discuss it with someone outside of your group. Common terms need to be agreed to. The right terms don't have any effect on whether or not you are doing it correctly, but they do stop discussions like this one. Basic debating or philosophy. First agree on terms.

But it isn't my job to educate people in Chinese terms, philosophy or debating methods. I have enough trouble teaching Chinese people in China WSL VTK using English, bad Cantonese mixed with bad Putonghua, and appropriate gestures. Or the occassional inappropriate ones.

That's why I said, perhaps David Peterson can clear up the terminology. Like Barry, I barely speak Chinese at all, even though I live there. David is fluent. If I was in China at the moment rather than doing seminars in Oz, I would have one of my Chinese speaking students clear this up.

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#13 [url]

Sep 11 07 1:14 PM


I meant "your way" as in I don't like the way you explained it earlier. If that is a problem for you Bill then I apologize.

Having somebody go off and translate things word for word is pointless.

Terminology isn't too much of a big thing for me. Interpretations vary from school to school. The names given to actions should be conceptual. The concept is important. For instance, I translate
Wu Sau as part of an attack and also your next hit position. For others rear guarding hand.
Tan Sau as improvement for the elbow...... for the correct way of using the Ving Tsun punch. For others a palm up block.
Fook Sau as improvement for the elbow......the correct way of using the punch. For others subduing hand.

This isn't a case of who is wrong or right, I grew out of that stage a long time ago. There is obviously different ideas on how the system should be expressed and practiced. I like one way and you (generic) may like another. Its no big deal.


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#14 [url]

Sep 11 07 10:17 PM

No worries. I only reacted after you said it twice, so I thought it was specifically directed at me.

Back to the point. Most of this is general and not directed at you, GH.

My point is that someone asked about kwun sau, then someone else is describing bong da.

It's like saying "what's a banana?"
then someone describing a green round fruit. the first guy then says "but, isn't that an apple?" and the guy goes "but I prefer these green round bananas, they make better pies". The first guy is going to be dissatisfied with the explanation.

Then going off and talking about different preferences for cooking pies then misses the point altogether.

The techniques ARE conceptual. However, the only way we can communicate these concepts is terminology. It doesn't actually matter specifically. If someone wants to call these green round things bananas, that's fine, as long as we all know that's what the other guy calls bananas, so we can also use the same term, and then we can go to the next step. Usually, the agreed terminology is Cantonese, specifically, Foshan dialect and/or Hong Kong dialect. The English translations are just too variable.

For example, 'Lat sau' literally means freed hand, but it's generally agreed that it's used for 'continuous forward energy" or forward force or some such, which is how WSL described it. Lat sau jek cheung means literally freed (from being trapped or controlled) hand thrusts (like a spear) forward. But we generally use the concept as "if my hand is able to move, previously freed from bing trapped or otherwise simply not controlled (the usual circumstance), it will hit the guy in a straight line from whever it is, thrusting preferably, but if the hand is not in centre, then simply hit, putting as much of the waist and elbow behind it as we can."

 The terms are simply labels. They don't help your VTK much, and don't help at all in a fight. But they do help it to be taught or discussed.

Now, HOW to use kwun sau, well, probably can only do that on video, and videos aren't that good since you can't see from different angles so it's still misleading, and you can't feel it, either.

All we have is words, imperfect as they are.

WSL VTK needs a standardized vocabulary and jargon to discuss itself, just like any other technical and complicated area of study.

Another example is Phillipp's students saying "there are no blocks in VTK' and then when anyone uses the term "block" immediately accuses the writer of not understanding anything about VTK.

The word "Block" is defined in my dictionary as something that obstructs or hinders or the act of obstructing or hindering. Punching someone in the face while they try to kick is obstructing or hindering, I would say. So, this is a block. So is a deflection. So is controlling their body so the can't kick or punch.

The problem is that these arguments and name calling and talking about the problem of VTK concepts is largely people using words to mean different things, not the conceptualisation of VTK itself, then going off and saying it's about the concepts and accsuing the other guy of not understanding VTK just confuses the issue.

So, common terms are completely irrelevant as long as anyone doesn't try to communicate the ideas.

And absolutely NONE of this helps the poor guy who started this thread to get an answer.

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#15 [url]

Sep 11 07 11:27 PM

No I wasn't being direct Bill.
Maybe Paul should do what I did and go and ask Philipp himself.

I also agree that its hard to communicate outside your own school. It is easier to show. We don't have this luxury on the NET which causes so many problems.


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#16 [url]

Sep 12 07 1:45 PM

Good, then, so you (GH) support the idea of a consistent terminology so people can explain things outside their own schools. So do I. It would seriously help the future of WSL VTK.
Wish I knew how to achieve this.
Anyway, Yes, the best idea is to ask Phillipp what he meant by that. It sounds like he means that the function of Bong Da (or using his terminology, Kwun sau) is to train the punch. I think I know what he meant, but it could possibly be misleading in English.
Ok, back to the original question:
I would put it slightly differently.
Using bong da in chi sau trains a student to use the punch in a fight when someone attacks you unsuspectedly (bong sau being used for when someone attacks you when you aren't suspecting it, or is too close.) and so can virtually simultaneously retaliate, since the bong itself is generally a bit too passive on it's own, although there are a few other ways of using it more agressively. 
Caveat: Using bong sau in drills assumes you are caught off guard. Be careful not to make this too much a reflex or you will be caught this way. It is better to strike rather than simply defend, of course assuming you had no choice. On the other hand, bong sau should be extremely responsive and fast to such situations.
It isn't put there simply as an exercise, it's there so you can respond in a presumably realistic situation.
Kwun sau (as is normally defined) is for a different situation, a completely different cluster fcuk. Best, generally, to avoid all of this and simply punch them in the face, if at all possible. And morally and legally justifiable. For an explanation of the correct applications of what other people describe as "kwun sau", perhaps a different situation/thread is needed.

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