Wing Chun Wednesday




The Chi Sau drill is pretty much the centrepiece of Wing Chun training, it is a complex drill that continually evolves as our understanding deepens, it allows us to study and explore all of the shapes, movements strategies and concepts contained within each of the empty hand Forms in a dynamic and semi-antagonistic environment.

When I was training Chi Sau with my Sifu he would tell me “Chi Sau is a means to an end, not an end in itself”, this is probably the wisest and deepest lesson I ever received on Chi Sau.

Although Chi Sau contains all the moves from the empty hands it is mostly centred in Chum Kiu, we seek the bridge, and then seek to manipulate the bridge of our partner all the while supporting our arms with our body two of the central ideas of Chum Kiu, with regards to Chi Sau the other two Forms, Siu Lim Tao & Biu Gee can be seen as preparation and extension.

Most of us begin Chi Sau when we are still at the Siu Lim Tao level of training, this can create understanding issues that in some lineages never get rectified,  Siu Lim Tao is a CHI KUNG set that teaches us the very important attributes of Body Awareness and Motor Ability, it is a method of conditioning and preparation for the work ahead, S.L.T. is not intended to make physical contact, it has no real regard for the positioning of opponents or the directions of incoming force, Chi Sau done from a S.L.T. perspective tends to be performed in quite the wrong place and quite the wrong way for it to effectively and effortlessly transfer to real fighting.  This does not mean it will not work, it just means it will not work as well as Chi Sau approached from a Chum Kiu perspective.

S.L.T. inspired Chi Sau tends to be relatively static, both wrists in the centre, body still, Y.C.K.Y.M. arms at ultimate angle, it is a closed system that discourages creativity and creates an over reliance on the work done by the Bridges.

Chum Kiu inspired Chi Sau is driven by the body, the Arms are still a little restricted remaining mostly at ultimate angle but the ability to turn and shift the body bring about different relationships between our own bridge and our partners, the rotation introduces multiple vectors that can simultaneously push and pull at our partners bridges opening them up, closing them down and breaking their balance. Chum Kiu Chi Sau rotates up {cranial rotation}, down {caudal rotation}, centre out {lateral rotation} and into centre {Medial rotation}.

The Biu Gee addition of a mobile shoulder girdle and core activation adds diagonal and front {proximal} to back {distal}, back to front rotation as well as the ability to extend and retract the shoulder itself creating an incredibly unstable platform for our partners arms.

To simplify the explanation of rotations if we intercept an arm on the outside of our own arm we move it {our own arm} out to our shoulder line, if we intercept an arm inside our own arm we move it {our own arm} in towards the centre, to prevent this being a one dimensional single vector as we move out we move up { i.e.Tarn Sau to Dai Sau} as we move in we move down {i.e.Biu Sau to Fook Sau}.   The aim in redirecting any arm is to put it in a position where it no longer points at us so that should our partner try to punch it would not hit a target and is in a position that is difficult for our partner to apply their body mass to our bridge.

All Chi Sau practice should be task driven, it is training and as such we need there to be a recognisable learning objective, understanding what you are doing, why you are doing it and why it is working will help you discover how to stop your partner doing it to you.

Chi Sau sparring is great fun without doubt but we rarely learn anything from it, work hard on making one thing work, if you partner can prevent that try to find out why instead of just doing something else.

There is a complete suite of concepts, intentions that we can work on in Chi Sau that are of as much if not more importance than that of rolling our arms, I will go over these next week.

Complete Chi Sau would incorporate all aspects of both the Chum Kiu and Biu Gee Forms { if your training is sufficiently advanced it should also incorporate the extensions to these Forms brought in by studying the Knives and Pole}, it should contain  body movement that rises, sinks, rotates and shifts at the same time the arms should individually rotate up, down, side to side and in and out.





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