Using The Thumb In Lap Sau


When and where do you use the thumb in Lap Sau exercise?


In short, As soon as you are able


A student of mine once told me of a health and safety course they were forced to take at work, essential things you need to know, like ‘Do not pour your coffee over your computer’ and, ‘Avoid ramming scissors into your eyeballs!’

As boring and tedious as the day was, one part of this he found very interesting, and it was the, ‘Correct way to pick up a box’


Now we all know of bending the knees and keeping the back straight etcetera, but the example they used was by watching a video of infants / toddlers playing, and how they were picking the boxes up and putting them down in exactly this way.

Once again my thoughts turned to Wing Chun and my belief that;


‘It takes effort to get Wing Chun wrong’


Now when playing the Lap Sau Exercise we should make sure to keep the Lapping elbow tucked in so as not to telegraph, and the easiest way to do this is to NOT use the thumb.




When I am teaching a beginner this exercise, every time I ask them to just pull my arm down, they always USE the thumb.


So I ask you, thumb or not, which one is natural and which is not?


To go back to the original question again, ‘When and where do you use the thumb in Lap Sau Exercise?


When the time is right.


Use the thumb to gain a firm grip DURING the Lap but DO NOT commit to the grip BEFORE you set off.


The strange thing is that Lap Sap Exercise does not teach us how to Lap, but instead what to do should we be Lapped, so really this should be called Bong Sau Exercise.

The Lap in this drill is simply the trigger mechanism to get the Bong started.


There are three parts to a Lap..

The Lap

The turn

The drop


None of which is being properly used in this exercise, the turn only being used with the Bong Sau (which we all know is correct).

In fact

Master Ip Chun says there are five elements being trained in this drill..

To attack

To defend

If Lapped you will use Bong

If you use Bong you will turn

And if you turn, you will turn the right way


To go back again to the idea that;

The Lap is simply the trigger mechanism to get the Bong started.


The blade of the guard hand hitting the punching wrist, will initialize the transition from punch to Bong, during which time (and while in motion) the Lapping hand will affirm its grip by incorporating the thumb, completing the cycle and finishing correctly.

Having NOT committed to the grip BEFORE setting off.


The video below should give better clarity to this, and tomorrow we will look at the punch itself and the direction / intension.




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