Wing Chun Wednesday



When someone first embarks on Wing Chun they are required to teach their Body how to move in accordance with Wing Chun objectives, they do the first Form, Single Chi Sau and then Double Hand Chi Sau more as a preparatory exercise than real study of the Style.  Depending on how quickly their Body adapts this can be anything from 6 months to 3 Years, in todays time poor world it is likely to be a minimum of 2 years simply due to available training time.

A result of this is that often Students spend a  lot of time doing exercises preparing them for Chi Sau thinking that they are actually doing Chi Sau and when they get to the place were their Body is capable of doing the movements they do not realise that they have not started training yet, and think that what they have been doing up to this time is actually the way things are done, often they never change this thinking.

At the beginning it is very difficult to deal with the abundance of information that is constantly coming in, mental overload is almost instant and it is no surprise that we all think that what we are doing is training instead of recognising that all we are doing is preparing the Body and being introduced to some working concepts.

When we are introduced to the movements of Single Hand Chi Sau we are also introduced to the “IDEA” of not carrying our partners weight, this usually called Running Palms, but whatever you call it the practice is to teach us not to carry our partners weight, when we begin Double Arm Chi Sau the first serious exercise we do, Lok Sau,  is actually all about carrying weight, but this is a Foundation exercise that is to introduce us to absorbing force, allows us to receive physical feedback so that we can feel where resistance is held in our Bodies and to realise that our partners force cannot stop us from rotating our Arms, in many ways this is not Chi Sau, it is a Foundation exercise practiced while we continue to become familiar with the Chi Sau action, but if students are not made aware of this {they usually are but due to the aforementioned Information Overload it get lost in the noise} and kept aware of this it becomes the way that Chi Sau is performed from that point forwards.

In Chi Sau, as in all Wing Chun there are only 2 actions that we employ when we meet incoming force, we either Redirect it or Control it, we do not actively try to absorb incoming force, this should be happening naturally due to a lack of physical tension {that we train through Lok Sau}, so it would be one or the other but it could be both under certain circumstances.

What we never do when we meet incoming Force is to try to return the Force back where it came from, this is obviously Force against Force and creates a 50 – 50 situation where the stronger Man wins.

If Students do not keep this in the front of their mind when they perform Bong Sau they invariably drive their Elbow back at their Partner.

If you can feel your partner as you perform Bong Sau you are beginning to carrying his weight, if you push back at this weight you are fighting against his Force with your own Force.

In Single Sticking Hands we avoid carrying our partners weight by releasing our Arm, Running Palms, in Double Chi Sau we are introduced to another method to avoid carrying our partners weight, redirection via rolling away.

Once you feel your Partners Body, his weight,you have established the existence of a force Vector, it is actually your Partners force Vector and you want to move it away.

Chi Sau is an exercise for us to explore our defensive tools, if we employ a type of thinking that has imaginary Circles or Balls then the Circle or Ball is between me and the contact point, not the partners Body, thinking that your partner is the opposite side of your Circle only makes you return force and try to fight,  Chi Sau is a defensive exercise.


A common practice is for Students to try to Strike as they come out of Bong Sau, while there is definite value in being able to strike from a defensive posture we would do well to have a Talking Heads moment here……

And I ask myself …. Well ….. How did I get here?

What would need to happen for me to be attempting this move?

This is not about right or wrong, everything is right if it is done for the right reason and of course wrong if it done for the wrong reason but if you do not know why you are doing it then there is no chance of you knowing what you are trying to achieve, in my experience the majority of Students do not know what they are trying to achieve except hitting their partner on the chest.

Not exactly a fight ending move.

I played Chi Sau with my Sifu most Wednesday evenings for 12 years, not once did he hit me in the Chest!

Occasionally if I failed to maintain my Fook Sau correctly so he would reach through and tap me on my Chest to let me know, somehow this became a Strike with Students.

If you are still at the beginning stage of Wing Chun, and time spent training is no indicator that you are not, then what I have described will quite accurately describe how you play Chi Sau.

Set training aims in your Chi Sau Training, decide what learning objective you wish to explore, if you do not have the knowledge at this time to do this yourself then ask your Instructor to set a learning objective, if your Instructor does not have the knowledge to do this then seek assistance from someone that can.

If you engage in contemplation here is something that I heard from Grand Master Chu Shong Tin many years ago…….

 “You do not need to be in physical contact to use Chi Sau skills”.

If Chi Sau can be used without touching, why push?


Disagree, tell me why, if you agree give me a Pat on the Back

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