A Question Of Timing


Split seconds count


In Wing Chun we’ve all heard that the Tan and punch should be executed ‘Together‘, or that when defending a strike with a Pak and punch, that these too should be used ‘At the same time‘, but how true is that?


The simple breakdown of this is to say that when attacking, yes, but when defending, this is not quite the case.

In fact this can often be ‘Trained‘ in the exact opposite manner to how it should be used!


Let me give you examples:

When training a turning punch for instance, often the issue here is in the name, ‘Turning – Punch‘, so many times I see people turning before the punch, therefore giving a signal that something is about to happen.

It is vital that you do not telegraph your strike, but how do we do this when the hands are clearly always going to be faster than your feet?

The same can be said of attacking when in Pak/punch drills, stepping in before you Pak will clearly show your intentions before the Pak even gets near to landing, so again, how do we train this?


By going to the other end of the spectrum.

Instead of turning before the punch, think of punching first, and before stepping into a Pak sau range, set the Pak off first.


By doing this, when we try to punch first, the body will simply follow with the turn, therefore resulting in a non-telegraphed turning punch, and equally so, when trying to Pak sau first, the body (and Biu Mar), will have little choice than to try to chase the hands in, with both of these techniques producing non telegraphed ‘Attacking‘ moves.


This clip shows a Pak Sau being used with the Pak ‘Intention‘ being executed before anything else…




When we defend ourselves, this timing is not the same, it will look very similar, and the intention may be there, but the truth is there will always be the slightest of delays between the defence and the counter attack.

I only mention this because if a person is training this as gospel, believing that these MUST be together, and feeling like they are not quite there yet, they may be punishing themselves unnecessarily and in fact if these moves ARE to be used ‘together’ this could actually be detrimental.


To give a couple of examples of this, Tan/punch and Bong/Lap/Fak Sau:

Looking at the Tan first, if someone throws a strike toward you then they have advantage, a head start AND the element of surprise.

The breakdown of this defence falls into 3 stages

1 – The attack down the Say Mm Seen (Meridian line (attacking line)) this line can be imagined from the top of your head to the top of your opponents head.

2 – The defence of this attack by scooping onto the Say Mm Seen with a Tan.

3 – The turning stance and counter punch, now heading down a new Say Mm Seen created by you.


This same principle is used for the Bong/Lap/Fak Sau, you MUST block before you can counter attack.


So to sum up, using moves ‘At the same time

Impossible to do when defending first, but essential to do when attacking first.



Start typing and press Enter to search