Tan Sau (Dispersing Hand)
Tan Sau is an iconic Wing Chun Kung Fu technique. Tan Sau roughly translated means “Dispersing Hand”, but is often referred to as palm up block. A simple way to get into the correct position for the Tan Sau is to do the same with your hand as you would when receiving change.. hence the title “Give Me The Money”.
You just need to ensure that you bring your Tan Sau hand up through your own centre line, keeping your elbow in tight to your body. As your Tan Sau moves forward and your elbow loses contact with your torso, make sure your elbow goes no further than your “fist and a thumb” distance away from your body. Your middle finger should be in line with your nose and your palm approximately level with your throat.
The Tan Sau’s triangular structure is incredibly strong and in class we will quite often test this by trying to crush the shoulder and forearm together. We train the Tan Sau in class the same way as I was taught, which is to use it to shepherd in our own straight punch against a straight centre line attack.
When training traditionally, the Tan Sau works best as it was intended to be used which is with a Wing Chun turn. This technique creates a wedge and will push your opponent’s attack offline – hence the name “Dispersing Hand”. The Tan Sau is a perfect illustration of Wing Chun’s “using the attackers power against them” i.e they punch, you receive their power with your Tan Sau, then you instantly use their force in your Wing Chun turn and pay back their power “in kind” with your own punch!.
In class we will talk in more detail about the pro’s and con’s of the Tan Sau. We will learn for instance that we don’t use it against hooks, nor generally against primary incoming attacks, unless we’re stepping in close quarters and driving it towards our opponents. But, we do use it to regain control of our centreline and for passing techniques. Further details to follow in class, along with lots of practical examples as always…