Be Your Own Bodyguard ... and Walk Away Alive



The Lop Sao/Pull Hand (pronounced: L'ah'pp SS'ow) is a sneaky and very clever move that gets your opponent off balance and startled. It is used in many fighting scenarios and can yank your opponent’s arm to jerk the entire body.

LOP 1in

 LOP 2-1in  LOP 3-1in

 LOP 5-1in


 The action is usually done by pulling downwards either straight down or across the body. It is also performed horizontally or parallel to the ground, straight outward or across the body. Although it can be pulled upward it is seldom or virtually never performed in this manner. This is due to the infrequent positioning that you and your opponent need to be in order to complete this move. Also, any fighter needs to have trained sufficiently to be prepared for this scenario and its response. Nonetheless, it can be done and is acceptable.


The pull is quite intense and causes a jerking of your opponent’s body. It may be powerful enough to jerk the entire upper body to cause your opponent’s head to snap back quickly. This will allow you a quick moment for an attack that may make you the winner. Depending on the power of the pull and the pose of your opponent, your opponent may likely be pulled completely towards you by leaning or taking a step to regain balance. This is very common.


The pull is very startling and your opponent will show you by the sudden jerk of the body and a look of surprise in the eyes. This will not last long, therefore you need to take advantage of it immediately.


Many fighters have their arms tightly or tensely up or out in front. This works to your advantage because the more tight or tense a fighter is then the more the entire body will be jerked and pulled off balance. Boxers and karateka frequently are seen in this mode. Again, this is your advantage and should be used.


The Lop Sao/Pull Hand has several worthy uses besides unbalancing or jerking your opponent. Like so many movements in Wing Chun Kung Fu, the pull is used to create an opening for your attacks. A quick pull of an arm or hand blocking the face of your opponent and suddenly the chin or a mandible is completely unguarded, ready for your punches or elbows. The same is true for clearing a path to the middle of your opponent’s chest allowing the solar plexus to be attacked. Another pull and your opponent’s kidney is exposed ready for your punches or even a knee attack.


One very useful value is to bring your opponent closer to you. The quick pull that jerks the entire body forward causes your opponent to take that dangerous step closer to you and your attacks immediately begin. Your opponent is either still trying to recompose or leaning toward you while you begin your assault.


The Pull Hand also is great for smashing your elbow into the arm of your opponent. You pull your opponent’s arm across your body and drive your elbow upwards into the tricep or even the forearm of your opponent, inducing tremendous pain. This same smash with your elbow can be used on the inside of the arm to strike the bicep. Instead of pulling the arm across your body, pull it straight towards you or a little away from you so that the inside of the arm is exposed. Then strike with your elbow in an upward motion.


Use the Pull Hand downwards and across both your body and your opponent’s body so that your opponent is leaning and facing downwards. Then use your other, free hand to push the elbow of your opponent causing your opponent’s arm to be frozen from any movement. Your opponent is now stuck, unable to move or attack and quite embarrassed while in a submission move.


One of the best advantages of the Lop Sao/Pull Hand is to use the trap feature Wing Chun is well known for. A simple pull of your opponent’s arm across the body and over your opponent’s other arm puts your opponent’s punches totally out of commission. You can either attack freely or talk your opponent into realizing the futility of continuing as you are clearly a superior fighter.


The Lop Sao/Pull Hand is performed by grabbing your opponent’s wrist with your cupped hand. The cup action uses all your fingers and your thumb next to each other shaped like a small cup that is scooping up water for you to drink. The cupped hand then twists or turns downward to grab the wrist of your opponent, then immediately grabs hold of the wrist as you then pull the arm away from the body. You must not grab with your thumb away from your hand as seen in a handshake. The thumb may get detached if your opponent pulls away. This detachment is at the joint and will probably never heal. 


Using the Lop Sao/Pull Hand will surprise, jolt and unbalance your opponent. Whether in a tie up or catching a punch in flight, the jolting shock from a lop sao pull will provide you with many advantages and opportunities to strike deadly blows to your adversary. Use it and you will be in a superior position.


See Lop Sao Pull Hand Video


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...Sifu Mike