What is Chi Sao?

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

  1. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    I get what you mean but immobile is the wrong word. it is virtually impossible to actually immobilize an opponent. Even a small amount of movement will allow an opponent to escape to move freely again.

    What trapping does is temporarily limit an opponents movements creating an opening for the defender to counter attack.
  2. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    Chi sao is an important part of the system, but not the sole piece. Free chi sao is kind of like BJJ rolling when you start on the ground. It's basically restricted sparring starting from an agreed upon distance (close and touching).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2017
  3. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    That's not really accurate. Chi sao has a lot more restriction than rolling. It's more something like Scottish backhold; an isolation of a specific range encountered due to a specific style of fighting which is used because of a specific context. Chi sao isolates a specific range and promotes a specific set of tactics because of the context of wing chun's development and therefore what it's optimized to do. But it's incredibly overvalued because it's the closest most chunners get to any kind of pressure, and it's often badly taught because basic mechanics and the tactics from the kuen kuit are either not taught or not understood, or both.
  4. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    hmmm... so does rolling starting from the ground though. It is in a specific range and specific context. Rolling from the ground assumes that you and your opponent will end up on the ground, and chi sao simply assumes you will make contact with the other person in a close range. It also does promote a specific set of tactic (taking down the person and finishing on the ground. Just as wing chun is bridging and finishing in close range).

    But I do agree rolling covers a bit more breadth.

    Just my thoughts.

    And yeah, most is badly taught, and lat sao should be practiced as well
  5. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member

    I can see your point. Although chi Sao continually goes back to a point of nutrality and sensetivity. I would say it's a lot closer to wrestling-style pummelling.

  6. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    Good point. we do reset a lot more. Probably depends on each school too. Ours basically is close range sparring from the chi sao position.

    I guess it is a bit of a stretch to compare it directly to rolling. More like when boxers work in the pocket and try to improve close range skills.
  7. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    But both boxing and rolling involve using exactly the same techniques as you would use in a fight from positions you would actually see in a fight, chi sao seems to start from an artificial situation, use positions you dont see in a fight, it's also extremely easy to see the attributes rolling and training in the pocket build, most can't seem to agree on what attributes chi sao is actually developing or what it's usefulness is
  8. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    I personally disagree with that. Most if not all of the moves in chi sao, are exactly what we would use in a real fight. And if you are doing chi sao as it was meant to and learning all of the moves you need to, it will give you a lot of edge when it comes to close range fighting. In fact, without it, it'd be hard to actually use wing chun at all.

    Just from my own experience.
  9. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    That's really not true though. The techniques in chi sao are set up to work from a certain range with continuous pressure. They will work within specific contexts. "Real fight" is essentially meaningless though and you could be trying to mean everything from a legal use of force engagement from a variety of ranges to a social-violence conflict. Either way, chi sao misses out on a lot, and there's a lot contextually within the artificial construct of chi sao which is present and not reflective of actual conflict, or which is absent and not reflective of actual conflict.

    Don't get me wrong, there's lots that's useful in there, and especially within certain contexts, but chi sao is an artificial isolation of a specific range to drill specific kinds of attributes and techniques and it's not exactly the way it would be used in a lot of scenarios. It's a drill which which needs to be advanced from and incorporated into the rest of the skillset.
  10. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    Yeah, I agree that it certainly is set up to work from a certain range and strategy. Which is what you are supposed to implement and carry out in a fight.

    I'm simply arguing that it's very similar to practicing boxing inside the pocket. Didn't mean "real fight" to cover all aspects of fighting.

    I agree it is an artificial isolation to drill and develop techniques. All i'm saying is that when you do enter that specific range and context, the techniques would be the same in the real and simulated situation. For me, it doesn't matter if we started sparring or fighting from farther away, once we get into a medium/close range, my techniques from chi sao comes out.
  11. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    No plan survives contact with the enemy

    Except it's not. Because chi sao isn't to any high degree of contact, and can't be without a great deal of protection, the low level of feedback incentivizes speed above all else and can develop bad habits.

    And on top of that the techniques won't be the same because most people whether trained or untrained don't fight like chunners. People don't punch like chunners, people don't want to bridge like chunners, and even at that range you're not going to encounter the same kind and proportion of angles of pressure and type of attacks you'll face from chunners. You develop insular habits. When's the last time someone grabbed you by the shirt in chi sao and just started punching around your guard and you had to recover from being clocked repeatedly like that? I'm going to guess never because it violates the economy of motion both chunners strive for, but violation of the range you can maintain in chi sao is something you will encounter a lot if you engage in social violence, as are things like needing to escape from the clinch, deal with grabs, shoves, etc. So there's a LOT in chi sao which isn't covered for both social and a-social violence.

    Chi sao teaches some skills you have to bridge into sparring and other forms of pressured training/testing, but it's not the same as actually fighting at that range, it certainly doesn't include everything, and it's VERY overvalued by most chunners.
  12. wonglongwingchu

    wonglongwingchu Valued Member

    I'm simply saying it covers a sizable amount of close quarter combat and develops good techniques for attacking, blocking, and dealing with pressure.

    I agree it's overvalued by some chunners, but at the same time it's still one of the most important aspect. Without it, I doubt you can apply wing chun or learn wing chun at the pace of the people who does chi sao. At the same time of course there are needs for clinching practice, practice against hooks and round attacks, against round kicks, etc. But that doesn't mean chi sao is useless or the techniques learned doesn't apply in a lot of the situations.

    All i'm saying is that it's not useless. Or that the techniques doesn't carry over at all. Because it does. When I said that "Most if not all of the moves in chi sao, are exactly what we would use in a real fight. " I really mean that the techniques is the same if the circumstance is the same. I'm not at all saying chi sao will cover all of your bases.

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