Please don’t dwell on the vocabulary too much, because they’re only words and they mean different things to different people. For example:

  • Most Wing Chun teachers will assume Tai Sau is referring to the Long Bridge move from the Sil Lim Tao routine, but that’s just one way of doing it – a rare way for extraordinary circumstances.
  • Most Wing Chun teachers will assume Gam Sau is referring to a firm forwards & downwards pressing action, ie, a very assertive trapping hand, but that’s just one way to do it – the main way I teach it is more downwards, less forward, less aggressive, less risky, more neutral and more energy-conservative.

In Yi Quan, similar movements are called Fú 扶 meaning ‘supporting’ (up) and Àn 按 meaning ‘pressing’ (down) in Mandarin. In Yi Quan these are both gentle sticky moves, which is what we usually want with Up Wedge and Down Slap. But in Tai Ji Quan, An often refers to a sharp shove that causes separation – ie, a push with surface impact and disconnection rather than a sticky penetrative impulse. Having said that, if the attacker has a sharp weapon, that changes the kind of connection you need – you may then prefer a shocking & disconnecting move to open them up wider temporarily and hopefully also make them drop their weapon too.

So please don’t dwell on the Chinese terminology too much – we’ll use my own system of Plain English instead. Less focus on wording, more focus on the movement and energy we see in the demonstrations provided. After all, this is a course of Kung Fu for Self Defence as a priority.