Basic Blocks & Counters

Lesson 1 – Basic Blocks & Counters

These are the most basic and most important moves in Kung Fu and self defence, aside from the actions involved in avoiding conflict in the first place. These blocks are often neglected, but they won’t be neglected here – they deserve a good share of your attention until you’re comfortable with them.

A: Jong Sau

Bolo Yeung's Jong Sau upwards wedging block

Jong Sau 樁手 (‘post hand’) is an emergency move, for when your hands are low (like they normally are naturally) and the opponent is punching over the top of them. With little time to react, or little space to move, an upwards wedging block may be needed.

B: Gam Sau

Bruce Lee doing Gam Sau / Pak Sau and Biu Jee vs Dan Inosanto

Gam Sau 撳手 (‘pin hand’) is generally the best thing to do for defending against a straight punch, if you have the time & space for it. It puts you in a dominant position for exchanging punches, or for flanking the opponent and potentially getting behind them.

C: Jak Jeung

Bruce Lee doing Jak Jeung 側掌 (side palm) on Dan Inosanto

Jak Jeung 側掌 (‘side palm’) is a high sidewards slap, usually accompanied by counter striking underneath the attacker’s arm, as an alternative to slapping it down and punching over the top. For when your attacker is punching too high, or seems too tall or too strong for bringing their hand down and punching over it – in this case you can step more, press less, by slapping it aside and countering underneath while still flanking or standing your ground if you insist.

D: Biu Sau

The Biu Sau 鏢手 (‘pointing hand’) is a sharp emergency move (when done on the Inside Gate, which is where it’s most useful). It can either be done very aggressively or very passively but must be done very carefully either way, since it’s a high risk position to be in. This is a sidewards wedging block for dealing with long, wide swinging hooks around the side of your head, that you need to come inside the arc of, because you can’t lean back enough to avoid it.