Archive for February, 2011

Learning The Large San Sau (Intermediate)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

OK, once you’ve got the Large San Sau down, the thing you need to do is to start adding a bit of power. This will start to happen naturally as you learn the movements, fluency seems to bring some power with it, but what I am referring to, is a more intelligent use of power.

Experiment with degrees of power to find out how much power you and your partner can dish out, and also how much you can receive without getting too badly disrupted. Keeping the flow and the form moving is the goal, and you should aim to do this despite getting disrupted. If you’re the one who’s just done the disrupting, you should start becoming aware of what you’ve just done, notice that your partner is that fraction of a second slower on the next move, become aware of the options open to you on speed, power and timing of the next move.

This is all very valuable combat practise, as you get the experience of being bashed and battered about, and can learn how to deal with it in a safe environment. Equally, you can learn what your movements can do to someone else.

To give you an example, when Mark and I first started applying some meaningful power to this, we noticed that some of our angles would go out of whack. Some parries would literally spin me 45 degrees off line and I’d end up facing in completely the wrong direction, and have to struggle to get the defense for the next move in.

Another thing we noticed was this phenomenon of “body shock”. Sometimes when you are struck, it doesn’t really matter where, the body takes a little shock, and it stops whilst your awareness goes to the bit of you that’s just been hit. If you’re not used to it, it’s quite disconcerting and that pause, even if it’s a fraction of a second is bad news in a self-defense situation. The san sau allows you to experience this “body shock” and learn how to deal with it in an environment that is safe so that should you ever experience it for real, you’ll already know how to deal with it.

Learning the Large San Sau (Beginner)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The Large San Sau is one complicated beast. The movements are complex, and unless you’re already very well versed in movement, you won’t be able to do all of the movements, let alone pull off all of the techniques.

So, you have to give yourself a bit of a break, and focus on the techniques and movements that you find easy, the ones you can do and do your best impression of the ones that you can’t.

Having a regular partner to work with also helps. As you progress you’ll develop an understanding of which bits of the san sau you can do well and which bits you’ll have to improvise through. Being cooperative rather than competitive will also help a lot. If your partner knows you’re slow on a particular move, then he or she can play that one slightly slower, to allow you time to actually pull the move off. Over time you’ll get faster and better at it.

I can’t emphasise enough how helpful a regular training partner is. They will be able to give you feedback on how you’re moving, and whether anything is changing from week to week and you should do the same for them.

Lastly, when you’re starting to learn the san sau, don’t worry too much about combat effectiveness, power or being able to “make it work”. Just learn the movements, and get a good flow going. You need to be able to do the movements without thinking about them, because this frees up headspace to work on power, timing etc. Most importantly, it helps keep the practise safe. If you’re always thinking about which move comes next, you won’t really be thinking about that fist coming towards you at speed.