Article:    Why Trap?

This week we’ve been covering some of the grading syllabus. In last nights class we just concentrated on trapping. The first thing that I covered was: Why Trap? As I explained your main intention should be to strike your opponent supposing a scenario where if you don’t strike them they’ll strike you. I said that a single direct attack is often enough but this requires timing and a good set up to work all the time. If you’ve got an opponent who’s got good counter attack skills he’s going to hit you as you move in. Using trapping you isolate the front hand and supplement your jab. Lots of people think of this as slap the arm ( pak sau ) then punch (pak sau da) as that’s how it’s sometimes taught. A more effective way is to think of it as the first move of a combination in this case the jab of jab cross and hook-or any other follow on technique. The rear hand which pak sau’s or slaps just assists the jab as it goes towards the target and slaps any branches or arms out of the way. Directly afterwards throw the cross and the hook. Seeing it like this it just works better, concentrate on making it seamless and smooth. We also covered what to do if he’s a passive blocker with the rear hand. First, as we’ve already covered, you hit with a combination or secondly a body tackle. We concentrated getting a good cut on the ribs with the left hand and palm down with the left and palm up with the right grip. This gives you the tightest of grips and makes it very difficult for your opponent to counter. A good base is essential preferably on his side where his tools don’t work. From here we did a takedown and followed with a V arm bar from the mount.

Those who were in the class also learnt the three big and simple counters to the pak sau and punch. I trained the basic trap today with Steve Payne in my garden and he found it was very hard to see or stop. This is what you want. Simplify how you think of trapping, just think of it as clearing the path to the target or a way of assisting your jab. It works on even the best fighters so should be part of your game. Once you can do it then apply it in sparring. David Onuma looking at the class wrote a version of a quote from Bruce Lee on the board. ‘To know and not to apply is not to know’. Thanks Dave. Good training.