Trapping or HIA

BruceLeeTrappingHIA: Hand, Foot or Hair Immobilization Attack 

In HIA our methods of trapping are unique to JKD and Wing Chun. It’s a concept that Bruce Lee learned when training in Wing Chun under Yip Man in Hong Kong. In HIA the practitioner uses his opponent’s energy and his own sensitivity to dictate his immobilization technique of choice. The simplified way to explain HIA is to apply an immobilization technique to your opponent’s limb or head while in preparation to or simultaneously strike them. Simultaneous attack and defense is called Lin Sil Die Dar and is also a concept in Wing Chun and JKD. In Lin Sil Die Dar we don’t block then strike in a 1, 2 beat. The incoming strike is blocked or deflected as the strike is delivered on a single beat; we hit and deflect on 1. There are other combative systems that employ traps but they are less sophisticated. It’s important to note that trapping should be seen as incidental if not accidental, don’t go into a fight looking for a trap. Traps are used most commonly used when there is a barrier between you and your intended target. The most common barrier would be an arm or hand resulting from a blocked strike by either opponent. Being able to read or feeling your opponents energy and will allow you to decide how best to immobilize that limb. For example if his arm is pliable and loose, we may use a Pak Sao to collapse it and pin it into his ribs while simultaneously striking with your other hand. If he’s holding it out and pushing forward we may steal that forward energy and use a Lop Sao that pulls his arm down and forward while simultaneously striking with your other hand. Both upper limbs and lower limbs can be trapped as well as the head and neck. As stated before there are other combative arts that employ less sophisticated traps. In most combative arts today practitioners utilize the clinch. Wrestling, Muay Thai and Panantukan all use the clinch. Other forms of trapping is stepping on your opponent’s foot or grabbing them by the hair. If you watch a UFC fight you will see fighters try to snag their opponents arm to open up a line for them to strike, crude as it may be it’s a form of a trap. Clinching is also prevalent in the UFC as well. There are a lot of techniques that can be applied from the clinch. Many striking techniques can be used effectively from the clinch such as knees, elbows, head butts, short hooking punches like hooks and uppercuts and some low line kicks or foot stomps.

Traps can be single traps or in combination. The most common trap is the Pak Sao Da or Slapping Hand and then hit. The term Da, is a general name for hit. It can be any strike of choice for example Pak Sao Straight Punch, Pak Sao Palm Strike or Pak Sao Finger jab. The Pak Sao again is the preferred tool for collapsing a barrier like our opponents arm. The Pak Sao is usually used after establishing a connecting bridge with a barrier, given that the sensitivity and energy tells you it’s pliable. In Wing Chun the barrier is also called the Bridge or Chum Kue.  When using the Pak Sao from the connection, your free hand slaps down pinning your opponents limb against his body as you step forward and strike with your hand that was connected to the bridge. Important points to remember is not to pull back your punching hand to chamber and hit. The idea is that your hand is the water and your opponents arm is the dam. When the dam breaks the water pushes forward, it doesn’t flow backwards and then forward. This would go against the concepts of simplicity, directness and economy of motion. Forward pressure is essential in this technique.  The strike can be a high strike to the head or throat, middle strike to the sternum or abdomen, or a low strike to the groin.

The sister technique to Pak Sao is Lop So or Pulling hand. The Lop Sao is commonly used when you feel the opponents arm in the connected bridge pushing forward. We don’t fight with his strength we absorb it and use it to our advantage. With our connection arm we pull that arm down and towards us in a fast whipping motion as we strike with our free hand. The force of our pulling and punching should jerk his head forward as our strike is coming forward, it should be like two high speed trains colliding head on.

In closing, keep in mind that trapping is incidental if not accidental. Don’t go into an altercation looking for a trap. That’s a good way to get yourself knocked out. It’s a tool to use if you find yourself tied up or with a barrier obstructing your path to strike your opponent. It’s away to read your opponents energy through tactile reflexes.

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