Thursday, September 1, 2016
Today’s Wing Chun Diary entry: Sometimes I wonder how many moves are lost in translation. Today, we were working on a concept of drawing someone back while still projecting forward. For beginners, it’s absurd – how does a person pull while maintaining a push?
Well, there’s a long and convoluted explanation about what to think and what to do. In English, we’re told it’s “jam sau”, which they say means “sinking hand”.
Okay, then. Jam sau. Sinking. Got it.
But when I went home and did some additional research of my own, I realised it’s not 沉手, which literally means “sinking hand”. Rather, it’s 枕手, which has a fundamentally broader meaning that couldn’t capture the description of the move any more perfectly.
I’m not sure how to explain it in English. 枕頭 means “pillow”, and 枕 is used in the context of “cushioning the fall”.
It’s as I often say: things are much clearer once you know the meaning of the word. In Chinese, it’s called 口訣 – a concise verbal formula, which unfortunately isn’t really possible in English.