Defending against a Straight Punch

The straight punch is another quite common punch used by those on the streets. This punch would tend to be directed straight at your face and may be used by an attacker closer to you to strike you on your nose or jaw. It is like the Wing Chun punch we discussed earlier.

The move to defend against a straight punch or a grab towards your face is called ‘Pak Sau’, meaning ‘clapping hand’. Pak Sau, like Fook Sau, is part of the third section of Si Nim Tau, and I referenced it as ‘palm strike to the shoulder line’ in the Si Nim Tau section.

In Wing Chun, Pak Sau is a blocking technique that may be compared to a parry used in boxing. With Pak Sau, the hand comes directly out of the centre of the body to slap away an attacker’s strike to one’s head. The practical application of Pak Sau involves creating an angle of deflection through which the opponent’s blow can be slapped away with minimal effort.

The Pak Sau is performed with the palm of your hand and should be used when your hand is on the outside of their arm. If you are on the outside of their arm when you use the Pak Sau, it will push their arm back into themselves and trap them. 

If the Pak Sau is performed lower down the arm, towards the wrist, for example, the attacker could easily counter by bending their arm and attacking instead with their elbow. It is important therefore to ensure you try to block further up the opponent’s forearm (towards their elbow). This ensures you gain more control of the attacking arm and the opponent’s body.

As usual, it is vital to practice this with a partner and train your reflexes so that you perfect the technique if ever needed.

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