Chi Sau Introduction
In many Martial Arts there is some form of sparring. Sparring is designed to improve your martial arts skill with a live opponent. In Wing Chun we do an exercise called Chi Sau which is roughly translated as sticky hands. This is the form of sparring within the system that uses a few of the basic arm positions Tan Sau, Bong Sau and Fook Sau and rolling them with a partner in a circular, forward and backwards motion.
The exercise of Chi Sau teaches the student that their sense of touch is far quicker than the sense of sight and therefore the student can rely on their own reflex based on what they feel instead of what they see.
Wing Chun is renowned for its fast hands and direct techniques and Chi Sau is what develops the students speed.
Speed of hand and arm is developed from being relaxed therefore a student who is tense will be far slower than that of a relaxed student, so every student needs to work on relaxation to improve his/her speed, and many students who practice can see an improvement with their speed and reflexes within few sessions.
Chi Sau is all about preparing the practitioner to defend themselves in fight scenario, thus enabling the practitioner to defend themselves quickly and efficiently.
Wing Chun techniques use the sense of touch to enable the student to feel where an opponent is without actually looking at them, therefore you as a Wing Chun practitioner are able to feel the opponent through out the technique thus enabling you to maintain control. Chi Sau as an exercise is the best way to develop this skill.
Chi Sau is an exercise and therefore there is no real punching or kicking and the idea is that you aim to control your opponents centre line to enable you to strike. The best way to do this is to keep things simple as there are many theories within the Wing Chun system however none more important as simplicity.
If you try to carry out flashy techniques that look great as opposed to being direct then a good Wing Chun practitioner will be able to take control of your centre line and open you up for a strike.
All of the exercises are all driven around the central line theory (see Centre Line) and some say that Chi Sau is like a physical conversation between two people with the idea that the exercise stays as a conversation and does not turn in to an augment hence missing the point of the exercise.
Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes recognises the importance of Chi Sau in the Wing Chun system and have dedicated parts of the syllabus to focus on it.
There are different levels of Chi Sau which a student learns within their development each of which increase in difficulty:
Dan Chi Sau - Single Sticky Hands
Dan Chi Sau is the first flow drill that teaches the student to use the sense of touch, again using a few of the basic hand positions you are able to practice with a partner flowing from one position to the other. In this exercise you and a partner must work together to make the drill work, as you are trying to feel where your partners arm is at all times, if you or your partner try and force the position or speed up/slow down you or your partner are able to detect it before you have actually seen it. Dan Chi Sau is done by using one of your hands and one of your partner's hands, hence the name "Single Sticky Hands". Remember this is an exercise.
Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes regularly dedicate class time to learning and practising this drill in order to benefit both training partners.
Lok Sau or Bong Lap Sau Drill
This is the next level, from Dan Chi Sau, this exercise is done by again using a basic hand position and turning footwork, you and a partner take it in turns to punch whilst the other turns their feet and move their hand into a Bong Sau, you then use Lap Sau (grabbing Hand) and move your partners punching hand and you then move your arm that is in a Bong Sau in to a Punch towards your partners centre line, and then the whole process starts again.
The idea of the turning footwork is to teach the student about moving their feet in preparation to double Sticky Hands - Poon Sau.
At Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes you will get to practice with students with a wide range of experience from entry level all the way up to black belt and instructor level.
Poon Sau - Double Sticky Hands
This is the basic level of the main rolling movement which is done with both hands, the exercise is practised again with a partner an the idea is to control your own centre line and try and gain entry through your opponents guard and control their centre line, if done successfully you should be able to strike your opponent using techniques.
To enable you to do this you are continuously relying on your sense of touch or sensitivity, and the reason why this exercise is good at getting results from students is because Poon Sau is Dynamic, with each roll of the hands no two are the same, each person rolls at a different speed are uses less or more force, so the more people you practice this exercise with the sooner you ill begin to see results.
Progressive Wing Chun Milton Keynes students continually learn and evolve their use of energy and sensitivity by practising this technique.
Luk Sau - Double Sticky Hands using forwarding energy
This exercise is the same as Poon Sau as you are doing the same movements however there is energy added (See Energies).
This is the most advanced form of Poon Sau rolling, as you are using your body and structure to gain entry to your partners centre line to enable you to strike.
Gor Sau - Free Application of Technique
This exercise is done through breaking off from Poon Sau or Luk Sau rolling. Each person steps back and breaks contact with one arm however you and your partner remain in contact through the contact of one arm. In the Gor Sau position you are a lot further away from your partner than that of the Poon Sau/Luk Sau Exercise, therefore it can be quite tricky to try gain entry if left too long in this position as you/your partner can see what is going on with a lot more time to react.