What is Chi Sao?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts Articles' started by futsaowingchun, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    What is Chi Sao?


    In the Fut Sao Wing Chun system, Chi Sao or Sticking Hands practice is not treated as simply a drill or sensitivity exercise as performed by some of the other Wing Chun lineages. In Fut Sao, the practice of Chi Sao, is treated and is equivalent to close quarter fighting. The skills one learns in Chi Sao practice will bring the practitioner to a higher level of development in his art. When one trains in Chi Sao one is not simply practicing a purely physical art but something that is also energy oriented and spiritual as well. When one concentrates on drills or applications one can clearly see that the practice becomes purely a physical and limits development in other areas. As one progresses in Chi Sao, one comes to realize it is not all about fighting but rather knowing yourself and your opponent. When one has reached a high level of proficiency in Chi Sao, the practice of simple drills and applications has almost no functionality. When practicing Chi Sao at such a high level all applications become possible. As mentioned earlier, if one just trains applications and drills he is only training the physical and not the energy side of the art which has no application yet is contained in all applications.

    I hear all the time people say, "if your attacked on the street no one will Chi Sao you." Of course they will not Chi Sao you as Chi Sao is a way of training and an attack on your life is another matter. It seems to me people do not really understand the purpose of Chi Sao training, but something one has to realize is what one does in ones training is designed to build and develop real skills which can be applied at will. Chi Sao gives one the means necessary to reach that level of skill of which I am writing of. When you Chi Sao with your partner it is more like the testing grounds of an actual fight. One does not need to pummel your partner into the ground in order to see if what you've learned has any real value. Chi Sao is about control. If I can control myself and my partner during Chi Sao training then I know I have already won and do not need to go any further. In a real fight it will be over very quick. Once a move has been made it will have already ended and either I'll have survived or not. There is no playing; there are no points as seen in Chi Sao competitions.

    Another point a lot of people seem to believe is that Chi Sao is merely "the rolling of the hands". Simply put, Chi Sao is not in the rolling, the contact point or the ability to always stick to the bridge. This brings me to another point, that Chi Sao "is not about always sticking or chasing the hand". It's not, as mentioned earlier it's about control. Chi Sao is found in any type of attack and the defense that one deploys in a real fight scenario. Chi Sao does not have to look a certain way. Again, the essence of Chi Sao is about control. Therefore, if I can control myself and your actions I'm using Chi Sao. WCK is very much based on maintaining a bridge which is conducive to Chi Sao training. Chi Sao training has many advantages over sparring. Most styles practice sparring from a non bridge non contact point. As sparring is also a good way to test and develop one's skills it is not the preferred way in Fut Sao Wing Chun system. Since Wing Chun is about controlled infighting it makes sense to use Chi Sao as a platform to test ones skills. Staying close and maintaining a bridge has an advantage over sparring where contact is lost. For a Wing Chun practitioner to be able to maintain a bridge is to his advantage while to someone like a boxer it is not. In fighting arts like Muay Thai or Western Boxing the idea of controlling the bridge is not part of the training, so Chi Sao is not needed for these types of arts. The advantage when you train with your partner in Chi Sao is that one does not need to gear-up as it is very safe to train granted that one has control. In sparring you must gear-up as there is no control and the idea is to pummel the opponent or score points as in point fighting. In Chi Sao, if practiced correctly, one can know he could have been hit without actually being hit. On the other hand, in sparring this is not possible one must hit the opponent. For beginners, psychologically, sparring can have negative effects due to the fear of being hit, and can ultimately affect their confidence and martial arts development.



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    Sifu Michael Mc Ilwrath
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2010
  2. DontMoveTilUCIt

    DontMoveTilUCIt Valued Member

    Was this rhetorical? Lol

    Nice post. For me, chi sao is just a way of closing gaps in your guard, building sensitivity and building reaction

    It is similar to sparring in that it can be played as a 'free drill' rather than a set repetitive pattern

    Yet many chunners focus on it too much. It is just one part of a very large system. As you mentioned the classic phrase of 'I'm not going to chi sao on the street', but my kungfu master has a better one

    'When you are facing that six foot five, heavy built, mountain of a man who has just asked you to fight, are you really going to wish you had learnt more chi sao? Or wish you learnt how to hit harder...?'
     
  3. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    Hi..It was just an article. Anyone can comment on it. The way I Chi Sao is like sparring so to me they are the same. What good is your Chi Sao if it has no real application.
     
  4. DontMoveTilUCIt

    DontMoveTilUCIt Valued Member

    Yeah but the difference is, whilst you will carry some of the stuff you have learnt from chi sao into real confrontations, you will not roll with someone on the street or use chi sao too literally. If I hit a pad with a boxing glove, I don't go into a streetfight wearing a boxing glove in the same way

    Chi sao is not sparring
     
  5. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    To me Chi sao is not rolling with someone. That is just a nice or gentlemen way of engaging the opponent. Once engaged it looks like close range infighting, grappling and some take downs with some bridgework. It can look like anything depending on what the other guy is doing and what I'm trying to do,but I use Wing Chun skills because that is all I know. I spare also and to me it's much easier to get in a hit then doing chi sao.
     
  6. Rimen

    Rimen New Member

    I found Chi Sao practical for very close combat against boxers... it is good to be practiced against close and short-flowing side and direct punches... its not easy to define how it works against that, I can just say, just practice it and you will see the point of it when you go in to klinch with Boxer... the best way to practice it is to get in sparing with good boxer and go on with it...
     
  7. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    I myself find chi sao also very effective against almost any type of attack. If used right.
     
  8. Rimen

    Rimen New Member

    Indeed... most people are not understanding point of Chi Sao, but it is really one of the most useful practices.
     
  9. maxwell_lee

    maxwell_lee New Member

    chi sao is a way of hightening your senses i think but i never really knew why we did it but now i know. it develops speed in reaction and generates power as well as sensitivity
     
  10. RAB

    RAB Valued Member

    it like kung fu slap boxing:)
     
  11. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned


    This is poor chi sao.which is not chi sao at all.
     
  12. New Guy

    New Guy I am NEW.

    Hey futsaowingchun just wondering if you have ever trained using "push hands" like in Tai Chi?

    They seems to be similar things to me as they both works in close ranges and sensitivity of what the other dude is doing is a major part... but I am very new to Chinese Kung Fu so maybe I just don't see things an expert would see... any comments?
     
  13. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    Yes,I train with pure Tai Chi guys doing Push Hands. They use their skills and I use mine. I do not hit them but play their game to uprooting you.A wing Chun Guy will benifit if you cross train with Tai Chi Guys or any one really.Most of the Tai Chi Guys think I practice with don't realize I'm doing Wing Chun.
     
  14. New Guy

    New Guy I am NEW.

    I see, sounds very fun!!
     
  15. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    Tai Chi guys in gerenal have a much better root then WC guys,so if youlike to improve your root train with Tai Chi Guys doing push hands.Most WC guys only think of the hands with is a big mistake.you must think with your whole body not just the hands.
     
  16. SunDowner

    SunDowner Valued Member

    Hi Guy's,
    For me, drills are all well and good. They show the mechanics and possible application of a particular block/strike combination. It's only when you start to get into the free flow of chi sau that you learn to deal with the spontaneous, unpredictable nature of someone actually trying to lamp you one. to say noone chi sau's in a real fight is a simplafication. All fights result in contact, the bridge being met..
     
  17. shalomdokwan87

    shalomdokwan87 Valued Member

    i feel that is a biest oppinion everything starts from the ground in WT your power when u strike is in the legs in wint tsun not from the hips and the foot work is verry spicific to protect you as well as move into your opponets attack and strike at the same time. the only focus we use on the hands is where we are striking which is mainly to our opponets face.
     
  18. futsaowingchun

    futsaowingchun Banned Banned

    you should read this http://futsaowingchun.info/articles.html#section4 read the article "Do you have a Root".
     
  19. shalomdokwan87

    shalomdokwan87 Valued Member

    this is verry true in the fact that allot of martial artist do that try to get ahead of themselves in their art. and i feel allot of it is due to the instructors letting them too. if its only in the one art. my Sifu wont let me even do chi sao untill iv been in a year and understand the basics such as the little idea form and foot work and all that fun stuff. i feel allot of people steriotype martal arts the same as they do people in highschool saying if you wear all black your are goth and such. but every martial artist is different and they should progress as such. and i thank you for the artical i shall pass it on.:cool:
     
  20. shalomdokwan87

    shalomdokwan87 Valued Member

    one last thing is are these Sifu's backed at all by a orinization such as IWTA or anything.
     

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