What Seeking the Bridge REALLY Means for Self Defence

Self Defence North London

Wing Chun is a martial art that is well known for the concept of Seeking the Bridge. There are many different ways in which to interpret the concept of seeking a bridge. Here is just one interpretation that works effectively for self defence. Watch the video below for an explanation.

Seeking the Bridge is essentially the technique of probing in order to find contact with your attacker’s arms. The action is normally preformed with Man Sao but can be applied with any other Wing Chun technique such as Kicks and even elbow strikes (see 3 Best Elbow Strikes for Self Defence). Bridging Skills are a necessary technique in Wing Chun that allows you to close the distance to an attacker quickly and safely in any self defence context. In this sense, the Wing Chun Man Sao is actually an effective but versatile body weapon for self defence (see Man Sao is Not a Wing Chun Guard Hand).


What Does Man Sao Do?

The term Man Sao literally translates as ‘Questioning’ arm, but is often referred to as the ‘Inquisitive’ arm of Wing Chun. In this context, the video discusses how Man Sao can be used as an Inquisitive manner to probe the attacker’s defences in order to bridge the gap or attack cleanly. It is essentially a probing movement in which to force your attacker to lift their arms in their own self defence. The point here is that in throwing your arm, punch, or strike forward in a clear manner the person on the receiving end will naturally block or attempt to stop your punch. This leads to various counter attacks that can make it very difficult to stop.

Key to this action is that you must force your attacker to defend themselves, as this means that at that particular moment in time they are not directly punching or attacking you. This idea is quite unique for use in self defence because it not only plays on the psychology of the attacker but requires you to take action first. Typically in martial arts, you allow your attacker to strike first, then you are expected to respond. Of course, the problem with this strategy is that you run the risk that you will be injured in the attack. The approached discussed in our video attempts to reverse this dilemma by teaching you to take control of the situation.

We discuss why this technique is important to control distance to your attacker, and how this technique can be used to set up a Wing Chun Chain Punches for Self Defence (see The Wng Chun Battle Punch). Remember, the purpose of Man Sao is to bridge contact with an attacker in order to control that person’s movement, space, and distance. Our next video will cover how to use the Man Sao Wing Chun technique to drawn a punch and set up a trap.


On Closing

Remember, Man Sao is often thought of as the guard hand of Wing Chun. Contrary to this miss understanding Man Sao is not typically a guard as in other martial arts. Guard hands in other martial arts or boxing are typically a technique of protecting the head or body from the attacker’s punches. The idea being that the arms stay close to the head in order to prevent strikes landing. In Wing Chun, the idea is not necessarily a way of blocking punches. Instead, Man Sao is a technique of moving between offensive and defensive action.  The shape is a method of obtaining a link or a contact (referred to in Wing Chun as a Bridge) between two bodies. It is simply a method of seeking and/or establishing contact with an attacker.



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