Bong Sao (wing arm/hand) is a unique position in Wing Chun in that it is one of the few movements where the elbow juts outward. The energy in the movement is still going forward, but in like a corkscrew motion, the elbow rotates out and the wrist shoots forward. Here I’ll explain some of the details and uses of the Bong Sao.
Bong Sao can be used to jam or smother an attack or even the guard of your opponent. Bong Sao is always combined with a Wu Sao (guarding hand). When used to jam your opponent, the forearm of the Bong Sao presses against your opponents arm assuming his arm is bent, fist up, elbows down in a typical guard position. Since most people throw punches from this position, the same Bong Sao could be used to jam the punch particularly as the punch is retracting backwards. Using the Bong Sao in this manner is typically for close range fighting and really pre-clinch work. If you’re this close to your opponent to press your forearm against his, then you’re practically in clinching range and so, expect a grab or clinch of some type.
Be careful that if you use the Bong Sao to jam, you do so with a purpose which should always be to hit your opponent. If you successfully jam your opponent’s arm, the best strike from this position is just to elbow with the Bong Sao arm. You may have to maneuver the arm a bit and lose some forward pressure, but swing the elbow up and hit him in the head. If you don’t or if you’re too late, he may drop the arm you jammed with the Bong Sao, swing it around, and hit you. Jamming only works if your opponent resist and is applying forward strength. The idea behind jamming is using your structure to prevent the full extension of your opponent’s strength in a punch, kick, or other movement. However, if your opponent stops resisting and relaxes, he creates just enough space to counter you. So, be mindful of that.
Bong Sao can also be used at a longer distance to roll an attack, usually a punch. As an incoming punch makes impact with the outside arm, particularly your wrist, the Bong Sao rolls the punch to your inside. This Bong Sao is combined with your footwork in turn on the horse. So, you don’t just turn your Bong Sao, but your structure and body turns the Bong Sao, operating as one unit. What this does is divert the punch away from the intended target (your head) and uses the energy of the punch to keep it going off to the side. The Bong Sao does not resist, but acts as a gate to the incoming punch and allows it to keep going.
The advantage for you is the opponent will take longer to recover because not only did the punch miss you, but it kept travelling beyond the target. If you can take advantage of this recover time, then you should. Since the Bong Sao rolls to your inside, it’s very difficult to come back with a rear hand or leg attack because the punch rolled in toward that direction. Often, the Bong Sao is followed up with a Gua/Qua Choi (rolling backfist) combined with a Lop Sao on the extended punch. This is possible, but requires a close range to successfully work. You can also simply side kick your opponents lead leg by using the energy in the roll of the Bong Sao to shift your weight to your back leg and kick with your lead leg.
Like all movements in Wing Chun and in fighting, never stay in the same position. If you’re not attacking, a natural transition from Bong Sao is to go into Tan Sao which covers high and protects in other areas. It will also allow you to return to a neutral fighting stance. Thank you for reading.
Wishing you happiness and peace of mind.
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