“Three Stars Hitting” or “Three Stars Conditioning” (Da Saam Sing) is one of the most commonly practiced drills in Southern Chinese martial arts.
Do you practice “Three Stars”?
Why and how?
Do you practice it correctly, with a specific aim?
Check out 12 tips and fine points of Da Saam Sing from our Practical Hung Kyun training methodology!
Above: Mok Ga Grand Master Lam Jung Wei sifu from Canton performing the commonly know version of Da Saam Sing: Chau (Low Inside Block), Tiu (Upper Inside Block), Pek (Low Chopping Block).
- Correct stance and using the hips (“Stance Turning”, Jyun Ma) is vital – the “Three Stars Conditioning”, as many other fundamental drills, is used to hide the repetitions of basic skills.
- Don’t forget to turn your head as well – watching your sparring partner in a drill teaches youth watch your opponent in sparring or a fight.
- Generate the force from the core (“Cinnabar Field”, Daan Tin) – turn at the hips and thoracic spine, not at the lumbar spine. Use your lats to connect your arms to the torso, especially in the “Short Bridges” Saam Sing.
- Although Da Saam Sing belongs to so called “Hard Arts” (Ying Gung), it doesn’t use brute force and hard power. Relax your arms!
- Practice “Three Stars” preferably with a sparring partner.Other options include a pole or a “Wooden Dummy” (Muk Yan Jong).
- Gradual progress is the key – avoid bruises at any cost. They will happen, especially in the beginning, but they are not a proof of your toughness. Injury means that you have to stop training for some time. Use Dit Da Jau – preferably before and after.
- Do Arm circles (Sau Lyun) after the “Tree Stars Hitting”, practice the “Art of Loosening” (Fong Sung Gung)
Above: Practical Hung Kyun Long Bridges Saam Sing
- Don’t practice just the standard variation – we at Practical Hung Kyun drill “Long Bridges Three Stars”, “Short Bridges Three Stars”, “Changing Steps Three Stars”, as well special variation which complement our knife defense drills.
- Don’t “compete” in Da Saam Sing – hard bridge doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a good fighter. We say: “He can hit hard, but he can’t fight”. Same thing by the way happened to other arts – Wing Chun’s “Sticky Hands” (Chi Sau) or Taijiquan’s “Pushing Hands”. They don’t represent the actual fighting skill – don’t confuse the means with the end.
- Work on the complementary “internal skills”: “Three Extensions” (Saam Jin Sau), “Golden Bridge” (Ding Gam Kiu), first sections of the basic sets, specialized “Internal Training” sets like “Art of Twelve Bridges” (Sap Yi Ji Kiu Gung) or of course “Iron Thread Set” (Tit Sin Kyun).
- Don’t forget to forge your other weapons – if you prefer to use fists, work on fists conditioning, if you like palm strikes, work on your hands conditioning.
- Use your Bridges in fighting, otherwise it is just an isolated skill. Don’t block the opponent’s punch or kick, strike it! Don’t wait for your opponent to attack first – create your own opportunities to use your Bridges in combat. Destroy the limb, finish the the opponent.
Are you interested in traditional conditioning methods?
Make sure to check out a digital edition of one of the old conditioning manuals, with short vintage instructional video – Iron Palm in 100 Days.
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