Long ago, masters of martial arts recognized that if you are suddenly attacked by a person unknown to you, the old martial arts motto “Know Your Enemy,” has lost some relevance. After all, you do not know this person. How do you deal with this event if you cannot know how he moves, thinks, or his real intent?
No fighting method is ever fool proof but sticky hands (chi sau), immediately allows you to tie into your attacker’s balance, flexibility, strength, direction of power, and taken together, gives you clues as to whether the attacker has skills, all in a millisecond.
Sticky hands skills do require extensive practice and are not introduced until the third student grade. This is because other skills that are quicker to learn, are introduced first.
The straight-line thrusting punch is the shortest distance to the target unless the way is not free. Then the Wing Tsun system has ways to deal with that. Since, as above, we do not know which direction, which hand, or what part of your body your opponent intends to attack, we place our two hands at the center of our chest, one close, one farther away to use the three-dimensional defensive strategy which you will learn about if you enroll in our classes.
Rudimentary sticky hands concepts are introduced subtly in the early stages. An example is when your classmate or instructor throws a slow-motion punch at your chest, you catch it with your lead hand and turn aside, all the while staying with his hand. The ability to deflect, dissolve and evade our attacker’s force is one of the earliest lessons, before intensive sticky hands training can begin.
-Sifu Keith Sonnenberg