Wushu Front Sweep
In this lesson you will learn how to do a wushu
front sweep. In Chinese this is called: "Qian Sao". The front sweep is
one of the most basic wushu skills and you should work on it at least 2 or 3 times a week. A full wushu
front sweep is 540 degrees. That's 180 degrees of an initial turn which is used to create momentum
and balance, plus 360° twist on the ball of the left foot.
In wushu competitions,
the 540 front sweep without hands values as much as a
cartwheel without hands or
flying wushu frontkick.
If your hands touch the floor the sweep doesn't count at all. The front sweep 900 values as much as a
wushu whirlwind kick 540.
Find more wushu techniques at wushu main.
- Before you do the actual wushu
front sweep, you always have to do a
smash punch. For detailed instructions on how to do a smash punch, please visit
the smash punch tutorial at
- BTW, I modified the movement after the smash punch a little, so that it's easer to practice. The real movement is a bit different (see this video). If you wanna use the original version, skip the next bullet point.
- Wait one or two seconds and look straight forward. Then
step back with your left leg like illustrated above. At the same time extend your left arm in front of you and pull your right fist to the hip. The left hand forms a palm and the fingers point up. Keep your upper body vertical and don't stand up as you step back. Your
head has to stay at the same height.
- Open your right fist and extend the right arm
behind the back, so that left and right arm are in a horizontal line. From now on your upper body has to stay perfectly vertically and your
arms only move in a horizontal layer. This helps balancing the initial turning phase of the front sweep.
- Now start swinging your lined up, extended arms,
until your arms are in one line with your chest. Then lock your shoulders. From here, trunk arms and head move as one
unit. Move backwards at the same time and put your left heel down. This and the next 2 stages are the initial turn of the front sweep. The purpose of the initial turn is to create momentum for the actual
twist / sweep on the ball of the left foot. Important: During the initial turn you put your heel down, then
turn on the heel and finally put the ball of the foot down again. After that, the actual sweep begins. So make sure your learn to
balance the initial turn properly. Keep your arms wide open and
make sure your upper body stays vertical. If you mess up the initial turn,
front sweep will not work.
If you are a beginner, I recommend you only practice the wushu smash punch
and the turn without the sweep for a while.
- As mentioned in the last step
, now arms, trunk and head move as one unit. Now turn your hips and keep balance with your arms. (trunk stays vertical) Watch the left foot: Now the toes are raised and you twist on the heel.
- This is still the initial turning phase and now your right foot starts moving. Important: The toes of the right foot have to point to the sweeping
direction like an arrow. The center of rotation should be in one line with your left foot and your spine. But if you are slightly off, you can still adjust the position during the next 180 degrees. That´s what the inital turn is for ! Sweep 180 degrees and step from the right heel onto the right ball of the foot. Trunk, head, arms and right leg move as one unit.
Then the actual wushu
sweep begins. (end of the initial
turn) Here you lock your entire body and let go on the ball of your left foot. The center of rotation goes through your spine and the left ball of your foot. Keep head high and view horizontal. If you did the inital turn of the front sweep correctly, you will
easily be able to sweep around once or twice. If your right leg gets stuck or you fall backwards or you slip, you
didn't keep your upper body vertical enough during the initial turning phase. (keep practicing the inital turn) To speed up the sweep, close your hands in front of the chest. The arms can be used to improve balance during the sweep. Keep your view horizontal. Keep the right leg fully extended. To speed up and stabilize the sweep, stand up a little as you sweep
around and bring your hands closer to your chest. The left leg should not be too relaxed or you will automatically round your back. Many beginners put their hands down at the beginning. This leads to a bent back and a sweep with a not-vertical upper body. It will take you much longer to learn the front sweep without hands
if you get used to using the hands. If you already learned the front sweep
with hands, start over and work on the initial turn. However, lets say you already gave it up and wanna use your hands now: Then you can put your hands down instead of closing the hands after the initial turn. This way the practice of the turn wasn´t a total waste of time
NOTE: The front sweep with hands doesn't
score in most wushu competitions.
- Lean slightly forward and / or open your arms to stop the sweep. For information on how to sweep around twice, please check the related links below.
A normal wushu front sweep ends after a 180° turn plus a 360
degree twist => Wushu
Front Sweep 540
- There are different ending positions for the front sweep.
Most endings are wushu flat stance "PU BU" positions, but you can also end in a bow stance or a wushu rest stance.
Above you can see the most popular flat stance ending. Keep turning your upper body and open your arms like shown above.
right arm up, left arm extended behind the back.
This is like a very low wushu bow stance.
- Then turn back fast and go into a flat stance with both heels on the floor. Right hand: Hook behind the back Left hand: Palm - Pointing up. Both elbows extended, Left knee extended. Flip your hands at the same time when you lock the
end position of the wushu
- At the beginning you should only practice the initial turn without the actual sweep.
- If you wanna learn how to do the wushu
front sweep 900, check out the videos.
Summary: For the front sweep 900 I recommend you keep the
arms opened during the entire first rotation and close them in or shortly before the second rotation. However, the 900 can also be done like the a normal 540 sweep - closing the arms
before the first rotation. Another difference is that you have to apply pressure through your
left leg while you sweep around. This gives you more hold on the left foot and when the sweeping leg
comes a bit closer, the rotation speed goes up.
- If you stand up on one leg and keep your spine perfectly in the
center of rotation,
even 4 or 5 rotation are possible. I tried that with ballet shoes
on a slippery ground - but if you fall, you fall hard ;)) Btw, the higher you stand up, the less
it will look like a wushu front sweep.