Another common attack is when someone grabs your shoulders from in front. This attack is usually used by stronger people with the aim to both intimidate and trap. In this attack, the person may reach forward and push your shoulders into a wall behind you with both hands. They have decreased the distance between you, and the wall begins to dig into your spine. Your natural reaction may often be to panic and freeze.
The defence technique here is one of my favourite techniques because it is deceptively simple to execute and extremely effective. It is called ‘Tok Sau’, meaning ‘lifting hands’, as you move your hand in a lifting motion to remove the opponent’s hands from your shoulders.
Most people would attempt to simply just grab their attacker’s arms and try to push them away. However, doing this automatically puts you into a match of strength, and remember that our key should always be to prepare for an attacker who is physically stronger than us. Pushing a stronger attacker’s arms away will always be extremely difficult. For this reason, it is best to stick to something which does not require any strength and is even more effective.
To carry out “Tok Sau”, you must place the palm of your hands underneath each elbow, as if you are carrying a tray. From here you should push upwards and forwards towards them. This will lock their arms as you are pushing from the elbow and thus force them to move backwards and release their hands from your shoulders. It is necessary to make sure that your fingers point towards your opponent to ensure their elbows get locked, otherwise, they will be given space to bend their elbows.
Practise this technique with a friendly opponent, ideally someone a lot stronger and bigger than you, a few times to understand how easy and effective this move is.