Making Use of Soft Targets in Wing Chun

When I think of the many devastating Wing Chun Kung Fu techniques that I have learned so far, I realized that while these techniques can be applied to hard targets of the body, delivering them to soft targets increases their effectiveness. Let me explain the difference between a hard target and a soft target. Basically, a soft target defines any part of the body vulnerable to attack due to its lack of natural protection. It either lacks protection by the body, or has a high amount of nerve bundles/pain receptors in the target area.

Defining a Soft Target

An area falls under vulnerable soft targets when it isn’t covered by thick skin, tough muscle or hard bone. Examples are:

The Eyes

The only protection that the eyes have are the eyelids. The thin skin of the eyelids leaves the eyes open to attack even when the eyelids are shut.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the eyes include:

The Throat

The throat includes the sides where the carotid arteries are located. It also includes the jugular notch—the indentation under the Adam’s apple. If the carotid arteries are attacked, the victim could be rendered unconscious from the momentary loss of blood-flow to the brain. The jugular notch is effective as it doesn’t require much force or pressure to cause someone pain. Hitting it also results in difficulty of breathing.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the throat include:

  • Faak Sau Chop (uses outside of hand)
  • Knife-hand Strike (uses the boney part of the inside of the hand)
  • Turning backfist
  • Phoenix Eye punch (a protruding knuckle punch)

Soft Targets Above and Below

The Lips and Mouth

The areas around the lips and mouth are naturally made of soft tissue/ They have no real protection except the skin that covers them. A forceful blow to the lips and mouth will drive the lips into the teeth causing painful injury to the soft flesh of the mouth. It will also be likely that the teeth will be affected as well.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the lips and mouth include:

  • Wang Jeung (Upward forward palm heel strike)
  • Chain punches
  • Turning backfist

The Groin

Though this area is a more vulnerable soft target area for men, women also have nerve bundles in the groin area. Attacking these soft targets causes real pain. The groin is also a great soft target area for attacking a male, especially in self-defense situations. This is simply because of the fact that only skin protects the male organs. You can inflict a great amount of pain to the groin without needing a source of great strength or power.

Some useful Wing Chun attacking techniques to the groin area include:

  • Fish Kick (a quick upward front kick with the top of the foot)
  • Elbow strikes
  • Knee strikes
  • Uppercut punches
  • Tok Sau Strike (Upward cupping hand)

Concluding Thoughts

A Wing Chun style punch delivered straight to the cheek will cause a great deal of damage. Imagine, however, how incapacitating that same technique would be if you delivered the punch to one of the soft target areas? Of course, in sparring, many if not all of these techniques would be illegal. They remain unsportsmanlike at the very least, and we don’t ever recommend their use. However, if one is using one of the above techniques in self-defense from an attacker, then all rules are off. You can, and should, do everything necessary to protect yourself.

You can start your training today at Sifu Och Wing Chun. Learn self-defense techniques applied to practical, real-world situations. Sifu Justin Och will show you effective ways to protect yourself and those you love.

Sifu Och Wing Chun Kung Fu Studio
World Ving Tsun Association Regional Director for the Southeastern USA
116 East Pine Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801


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