How to Do a Gang Sau aka Splitting Hand in Wing Chun

Learn how to do Gang Sau aka Splitting Hand from Sifu Alex Richter in this Howcast Wing Chun video.

Gang sau, or splitting arm, is another very common technique in wing chun. It comes right in the opening part of most of the basic hand forms in wing chun. Gang sau is actually a movement we use to protect kind of the midsection here. Again, for example, a low punch or a body shot or a kick or sometimes, even more complex attacks. So basically, the idea is that gang sau falls along the vertical midline. Okay? So it doesn’t sweep to the side like you see in a lot of very traditional martial arts when they do a low block.

Ours actually chops straight down. So rather than it being a block used to stop a low punch, it’s actually more of an attack. So when it’s practiced, it’s actually done with elastic force with the intention to attack or to injure the opponents attacking arm instead of just block it away. So it’s very important that when it’s practiced, it’s done in a very relaxed manner. Your arm should be naturally straightened. What that means is it’s not hyper-extended but it’s not bent either.

It’s just naturally straightened just like when you walk. Your arm has a very slight bend to it and that’s actually how we apply the gang sau here so, it shouldn’t be straight or stiff or anything like that. And of course, like most movements in wing chun, it’s always done in combination with some kind of attacking movement. Now, there’s another very important idea, important concept when applying gang sau that you need to know. We never apply gang sau frontally, all right?

If somebody were to give us a low attack and we go in completely frontally using the gang sau, unless you were much stronger than your opponent, you’ll still probably get hit. So, your body, even when you’re advancing forward, you have to do it with a slight turn in order to get your body out of the way because we have a saying in wing chun. It says [foreign language response] which means gang sau and quan sau, two very famous movements in wing chun, are never done frontally. They’re always done with a slight turn, or either a full turn or a slight turn and gang sau’s no exception.

So if I’m standing at a distance and he gives me a low punch and I step in, you’ll see that I have a slight body turn when I use this one here. Once I’ve gone in with my gang sau, I can, of course, follow up with chain punches or a number of different follow-ups after that. Gang sau can also be used in chi sau training at close range when somebody, for example, tries to take your side and attack you low like this, we can use the gang sau here to defend this kind of movement here and then, follow up with other things as well.

So, gang sau’s a very practical movement, a very basic but it’s still extremely useful, even at the advanced levels.