Intercepting is always better than blocking. We are going to look at what the definition of intercepting is before we give some practical ways of accomplishing that. Webster’s dictionary defines intercepting as “to stop, seize, or interrupt in progress or course or before arrival”. The best way to view intercepting is that last part of the definition, “interrupt”. Not only is the attack itself being interrupted, but the timing of your opponent should be as well. And that is the key, the timing. When timed properly your opponents attack will be nullified and you will be primed to launch a second attack (in theory before his second) or you would have already hit him. Now that we have addressed what intercepting as a concept let me provide you with 4 Ways to Intercept your opponents attacks using Wing Chun.
4 Ways to Intercept
The first technique we will go over is the Intercepting Fist. Made famous by Bruce Lee, this technique is typically taught fairly early on in student’s training. The idea is to counter the opponents punch with a punch of your own. By keeping your elbow down and pressing from center mass you are elbow to offset your opponents strike. This can quickly be follow up a flurry of punches we refer to as Chain Punches. Keeping the strikes down the center you are able to maintain control of your centerline.
When you substitute a Paak Sao with an intercept you will find it can be much easier to deal with a second and third punch. Part of this is due to the fact that you are returning the opponents punch with a punch. They will be slightly less confident with their next punch as opposed to when you simple deflect their initial punch with a Paak. Second to that, the Intercept automatically covers your opposite side incase of a second attack. Whereas the Paak leaves you more open.
The Turning Punch basically the other side of the same coin referring to the Intercepting punch. The Intercepting fist is typically used to refer to the lead hand being used with the lead foot to interrupt the opponent. This is illustrated in the first photo above.
Turning punch is simply using the the same structure but opposite hand to accomplish the same goal. Since the punch is coming from the back foot, the turning punch will have more power and torque then the straight Intercepting. However, much like the Paak punch, if not used properly, can leave you open on the inside for an attack.
The Tan Sao is a very effective and sound way to intercept a strike. You have not only nullified the attack but you have also almost guaranteed a strike of your own. Tan and the actual punch are the exact same shape. The only exception is what the hand is doing at the end. You can see here in the photo the Tan Sao is an hand open towards the ceiling. By opening the hand the focus of the technique is diverted to the elbow. The Punch itself can be delivered to the head, or for a taller opponent you can strike the ribs.
Since the Tan extending through the strike towards your opponent, it makes stopping a second strike fairly straight forward. You can transition to a Paak Punch if the Strike is down the center. Or, you can continue pressing forward with a Bui Sao against a hook punch.
Our last technique for this article on intercepting attacks is the Paak Punch. Clearing the attackers hit with Paak good, but combining it with straight punch is better. Since the Paak is coming off of the back foot there is a lot of power and structure with this counter. The Paak is also quite diverse.
When used, you can use the Paak to press forward and crush the attackers structure. You can guide his hand downward if he is taller. You can also use it to setup a baiting for the second punch.
Bonus: The Paak Punch is also a great attack to throw in a kick along with it. By doing this you maximize Wing Chun’s ability to use multiple weapons at once. You can see here in the photo, Sifu Justin used the Paak, Punch, and Kick. He uses the kick just before the punch clears the arm to finish the attack.
When it comes to Intercepting timing is everything. You can have GREAT structure, technique, and power. But, if you do not practicing your techniques in LIVE sparring scenarios you will get hit no matter how good you think you are. There is no substitute for hard work, and good punches to the face. Train hard and never give up.