WingTsun™ Chi Sau explained
Through my training under my si-fu, Great Grand Master Leung Ting, years of practice with numerous practitioners and personal experience, I have made the following observations about WT chi sau ?? :
WingTsun chi sau is a special practice for intermediate students and above.
Chi sau skill develops with continual regular practice.
Chi sau is not real fighting but an element of reality must always be present in real WT chi sau.
Chi sau skill is not an end in itself but is a skill that is to be transferred to real fighting applications.
WT chi sau is a drill designed to increase fighting skill at close range. It is a way to obtain fighting skill superior to what can be obtained by fighting or sparring practice alone.
In WT chi sau, the object is never to clash force with our opponent but instead to use “springy forward energy” yielding to our opponent’s force but always storing, borrowing and using that force to counter attack.
To develop skill in WT chi sau, the rolling arms drill must be practiced with dedication to build endurance and eventually build a springy forward energy as though an opponent were encountering a young sapling tree where the limbs snap back at the attacker when compressed.
Dedication to Poon Sau (rolling arms) will enhance other aspects of the trainee’s WingTsun training and give life to the movements. It is the only exercise that can reliably develop close range ability to borrow an opponent’s force and is more highly developed in WT than in any other system.
Conditioning is the key to early success. The Poon Sau exercise is the most tedious and strenuous of the upper body exercises but cannot be ignored. Conditioning is necessary to make the arms like rubber—soft, yet tough, sensitive, yet powerful. The arms cannot relax and still be full of “chi” if they are in poor condition. Conditioning equals Confidence.
The weak point in many WT practitioner’s chi sau is the shoulder which is often too stiff and must be as soft as the rest of the arm. If it is stiff, it restricts the flow of energy to the arm. Conditioning of the shoulder will allow longer practice times, improved sensitivity allowing overall skill including application skill to increase. The body must be relaxed as well and be willing to turn with little external force applied (by an opponent). The bong / tan reflex must be immediate, sensitive and precise. The arm must respond without tension and with speed as fast as thought! Think of your arms as being as light as a feather.
In WT chi sau, the direction of force is forward. The force must be forward and never up – down or left – right.
As the practitioner’s conditioning improves, so does the sensitivity. A practitioner must gauge the springy pressure and match it in a training session. A skilled practitioner in real fighting can sense the pressure, angle, etc. and can combine mechanical responses with training in angles and other WT concepts for the most reliable and deadly self defense method known.
Many chi sau practitioners need physical conditioning exercises as a supplement to poon sau drilling. Complimentary exercises include chain punching, wall bag training and the triceps training shown in the book, Wing Tsun Kuen by Dr. Leung Ting. There are other special shoulder exercises. You can ask your Si-fu about these.
In the training for Student Grade Six, the techniques begin to be applied in more complex ways for real fighting application. Remember, chi sau techniques form the shield against attacks. Your arms are your defense against attack. Train them. Take care of them.
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Chi-Sau by Grandmaster Leung Ting, $19.95, available at: www.wle.com