All Martial Art styles come about to answer a specific yet local problem.

Chi Sau is both an exceptional learning drill and a uniquely social ‘training hall’ game.

From a practical perspective, if we find ourselves in a violent situation while also being in the position or shape that we play Chi Sau we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We have well and truly stepped in ‘IT’.

If we are in ‘IT’ our priority must be to get out of ‘IT’, and not to start rolling with our attacker.

This is a no-brainer, so what does it say about Chi Sau Trapping?

It is all so “stand and deliver”.

Does it have a practical application or is it just a way to enhance the GAME aspect of Chi Sau?

Is it something that was once useful but is now surplus to requirements?

All Martial Art styles come about to answer a specific yet local problem.

If the local problem is that attackers rush in hey diddle-diddle and attack the centre, then that’s what the style seeks to deal with.

If the local problem changes or another problem comes to the fore, the Martial Art styles evolve to keep pace.

Untrained people very rarely attack head-on, attacking straight down the centre is an indication of training.

In Wing Chun, we talk about our shape and set-up as superior to the basic side-on stance of other Kung Fu styles as it gives us better access to our defences and attacks.

It would appear from this that the local problem Wing Chun was facing was other Kung Fu styles that used a side-on stance and attacked down the middle.

This is exactly what Dr Leung Jan would have faced when he formulated Wing Chun back in the 1860s during the unrest caused by the Taiping Rebellion.

But I digress, this is about Chi Sau trapping.

We stand face to face in the same position as our partner.

The local problem now is a mirror image of ourselves and not a side-on stance Kung Fu opponent.

This can lead us into thinking that Chi Sau trapping only works when playing the game of Chi Sau.

To a certain extent, this is true, how we do what we do in Chi Sau, only works in the default Chi Sau position.

A positions which, as I have said, we should immediately change if we do find ourselves in.

There is no doubt that ‘Trapping’ is more than useful when playing Chi Sau, but does it teach us anything that can transpose to a violent confrontation?

The short answer is ‘yes’, but do we know what to look for?

In some ways, the ‘Game’ of Chi Sau is not correct or proper Wing Chun, even though it is a central aspect of our training.

We defend with both arms, a Wing Chun no-no.

We strike while our arms are in contact, ignoring Lut Sau Jik Chung when the hands are FREE strike through.

 We voluntarily give away the superior position afforded by our set-up, giving our partner access to all of their defences and attacks and as a result, putting ourselves in a compromised position.

It is all so wrong.

How can this be, is this meant to happen?

As I often say, the real work is to recognise moveable, transposable patterns.

We must also recognise that some things and shapes are just a framework to allow the drill to revolve and repeat.

We must learn how to separate the WHEAT from the CHAFF.

Chi Sau is not, as is easy to forget, double-arm rolling it is simultaneous single-arm rolling.

Traps and locks where we pin our partner to our arm are a convenience of the game, in practical usage, we would be pinning the opponent’s arm to themselves as we applied our body weight with the deliberate aim of compromising their balance, {and of course, hit them with our FREE hand}.

It is this aspect of Chi Sau trapping that is the WHEAT.

This is the IDEA to take away from the play.

The breaking of the opponents defencive structure, and the introduction of instability.

The Wing Chun trained person always aims to be in the ‘position of dominance’.

A position where we have better access to our defences and attacks than our opponent.

There can be only one reason a Wing Chun trained person would be in violent contact with another person, and that is we are under attack and in real danger of physical harm.

In this case, every contact that we initiate needs to do one of two things.

  1. Cause severe pain or if possible injury.
  2. Takeaway the attacker’s balance, no balance = no power.

Luckily simultaneous attack and defence allow us to do both.

 The pins and latches that make the game of Chi Sau so much fun transpose effortlessly into a method for keeping our attacker continuously out of balance.

A never-ending rotation of pin/hit, latch/hit, press/hit, pull/hit.

Rinse and repeat.

Man overboard!

Lost at sea.

It is only politeness and respect for our training partner that prevents us from clearly seeing that this is the real power of Chi Sau trapping as we hurl them around the training space.

If you touch them, move them.




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