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Home > FAQ – Wing Chun Terms Glossary

There is no definitive reference for Wing Chun terms and most lineages and even schools have their own versions of a move, stance,block or shape. This is because Mandarin used in China (from which the Wing Chun shapes originate) has more available sounds than the Cantonese (used in Hong Kong) where Wing Chun was popularised. Add to this the limited word sequences available which require the tone of the expression to be taken into account (the same phrase can mean something entirely different when emphasised or stated with different intonation) and the problem is exacerbated. Transliterations into English-sounding phrases is problematic and spelling is very hit and miss. This goes some way to explain how the shape names have evolved over time.

Take as a case in point Shaolin – supposedly the origin of Kung Fu practiced by monks in the temples of China. Our first form is derived from this word ‘Shaolin’. We know this as ‘Siu Nim’ or ‘Sil Lim’. This means early or small idea. Add the word ‘Tao’, meaning ‘the way’ and we get ‘The Way of the Little Idea’. Trying to use handed down phonetics to relay an idea across generations has led to these deviations.

So here is my version of the standard terms and phrases. They may differ in spelling and pronunciation from yours, but ask yourself if that really matters. The keys here are the principles of Wing Chun are adhered to and s a label is nowhere near as important as the actual execution of the shape. It doesn’t matter whether you call it a Tan Sau, a Taan Sau or a Tarn Sau, what is important is the structure, position, motion, purpose and feel.


Basic Terms Needed For Siu Nim Tao

Preparing
Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma – No 2 grabbing goat stance also known in some lineages as IRAS stance
Ha Cha Sau – Low Crossed Hands (defines the low point of our area of defence and aids centre location)
Seung Cha Sau – Double Crossed Hands (defines the high point of our area of defence and aids centre location)
Seung Sau Kuen – Double Closing Fists

Phase One – Structure
Jaw Yat Chi Chung Kuen – Left Single Centreline Vertical Fist
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Yau Yat Chi Chung Kuen – Right Single Centreline Vertical Fist
Yau Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist

Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling hand
Jaw Jum Sau – Left Sinking Arm
Jaw Wu Sau – Left Guard Hand
Jaw Fook Sau – Left Subduing Hand
Jaw Jum Sau – Left Sinking Arm
Jaw Wu Sau – Left Guard Hand
Jaw Jum Sau – Left Sinking Arm
Jaw Wu Sau – Left Guard Hand
Jaw Pak Sau – Left Slapping Hand
Jaw Jic Jeung – Left Vertical Front Palm Strike
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist

Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling hand
Yau Jum Sau – Right Sinking Arm
Yau Wu Sau – Right Guard Hand
Yau Fook Sau – Right Subduing Hand
Yau Jum Sau – Right Sinking Arm
Yau Wu Sau – Right Guard Hand
Yau Jum Sau – Right Sinking Arm
Yau Wu Sau – Right Guard Hand
Yau Pak Sau – Right Slapping Hand
Yau Jic Jeung – Right Vertical Front Palm Strike
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist
 

Phase Two – Recovery
Jaw Wan Gum Sau – Left Pinning Hand
Yau Wan Gum Sau – Right Pinning Hand
Seung Hao Gum Sau – Double Low Reverse Pinning Hand
Seung Jin Gum Sau – Double Front Pinning Arms
Seung Lan Sau – Double Barring Arms
Seung Fak Sau – Double Whipping Hands
Seung Jum Sau – Double Sinking Arms
Seung Tan Sau (only to emphasize subsequent technique) – Double Dispersing Hand
Seung Jut Sau – Double Jerking Hand
Seung Biu Tse Sau – Double Thrusting Fingers
Seung Naat Sau – Double Dropping Hands
Seung Ding Sau – Double Butting Hands
Seung Sau Kuen – Double Closing Fists

Phase Three – Co-Ordination
Jaw Pak Sau – Left Slapping Hand
Jaw Wan Jeung – Left Horizontal Palm
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Yau Pak Sau – Right Slapping Hand
Yau Wan Jeung – Right Horizontal Palm
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist

Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Jut Sau – Left Vertical Jerking Hand
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Dai Jeung – Left Low Palm Strike
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Jut Sau – Right Vertical Jerking Hand
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling Hand
Yau Dai Jeung – Right Low Palm Strike
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling Hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist

Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Gang Sau – Left Splitting Hand
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Dai Jeung – Left Low Palm Strike
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Gang Sau – Right Splitting Hand
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling Hand
Yau Dai Jeung – Right Low Palm Strike
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling Hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist

Jaw Bong Sau – Left Wing Arm
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Tok Sau – Left Lifting Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Yau Bong Sau – Right Wing Arm
Yau Tan Sau – Right Dispersing Arm
Yau Tok Sau – Right Lifting Arm
Yau Huen Sau – Right Circling Hand
Yau Sau Kuen – Right Closing Fist

Jaw Tout Sau – Left Freeing Hand
Yau Tout Sau – Right Freeing Hand
Jaw Tout Sau – Left Freeing Hand
Jaw ng Wan Kuen – 5 Chain Punches
Jaw Tan Sau – Left Dispersing Arm
Jaw Huen Sau – Left Circling Hand
Jaw Sau Kuen – Left Closing Fist
Sau Ma – Finishing Stance


Our 16 Point Hand Drill

Our 16 Point Drill consists of:
Tan Sau – Dispersing Hand
Gang Sau – Splitting Hand
Outside Gate Pak Sau – Slapping Hand
Inside Gate Pak Sau – Slapping Hand
Gum Sau – Pinning Hand
Bong Sau – Wing Arm
Kau Sau – Detaining Hand
Fook Sau – Subduing/controlling/bridging hand

Yau means right
Jaw means left
Da means strike

The sequence is:

Yau Tan Da
Jaw Tan Da
Yau Gang Da
Jaw Gang Da
Yau Pak Da (outside Gate)
Jaw Pak Da (outside Gate)
Yau Pak Da (inside gate)
Jaw Pak Da (inside gate)
Yau Gum Da
Jaw Gum Da
Yau Bong Sau Wu Sau (Guard hand no strike)
Jaw Bong Sau Wu Sau (Guard hand no strike)
Yau Kau Da
Jaw Kau Da
Yao Fook Da
Jaw Fook Da

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