An interesting article on Chi-Sau

Thunder Foot

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That and the fact that clinching does show up when Boxers or Muay Thai guys fight, and pummeling does show up when wrestlers compete. When was the last time you saw anything that looked like Chi Sau show up in a sparring match??? And I know! I know! The response is going to be "Chi Sau is not fighting. Chi Sau is for developing attributes used in fighting. Why would you expect fighting to look like Chi Sau?" My answer......people have tried to make a direct comparison between Chi Sau and things done in other fighting systems. However, as NI suggests, the platform used for clinch work is the clinch! And the clinch is something that happens in Boxing, Kickboxing, and MMA. The platform used for pummeling is the "tie up" position, which is something that happens in grappling. The rolling Poon Sau platform for Chi Sau is very artificial and doesn't show up in sparring. So it is not really directly comparable to clinch-work or pummeling as suggested.

However, it can be trained more realistically. DanT's school seems to do so. I know Rick Spain's guys in Australia do so. And using the Poon Sau rolling platform as a transition to these close-in grappling kinds of applications doesn't take a "high level" training in playing the Chi Sau game that so many work on. It just serves as a good "jumping off point" when contact is made with the opponent.

Another factor to consider, you can take it or leave it, is that JKD schools have never emphasized Chi Sau to the extent that Wing Chun schools do, and many of the JKD schools today don't seem to do much of it at all. Some have dropped it completely. Why is that? Because using a practical mindset they came to the conclusion that it isn't a high yield exercise to spend time on when it comes to being able to fight effectively. And every JKD school I have seen seems to spend far more time on actually sparring than on doing Chi Sau. Take that for what it's worth. Just another data point in the discussion.

The same can really be said of clinch work, as not all clinch work is created equal. The objective of the plum is not to tie up and exchange, it's to strike dominating the center and interior position, much like chi sau. So I would posit that it's directly comparable. There are multitudes of plum techs that don't require you to grab the guy and be tied up in a "clinch" to execute, so that is actually not the correct platform. What you and NI are referring to as "clinch" at least in relation to Muay Thai, is a by-product of not successfully controlling the center/interior position or having your attempt nullified. Plenty of examples of this in Seanchai, Pajunsuk, Samart, etc etc. And chi sau as I was taught is quite the same in that striking with control of center is a main objective, establishing the bridge. One problem that both of these mechanisms can develop if not trained properly is "chasing hands" or "chasing plum" where a person forgets why he's there in the first place. And perhaps that's what you're alluding to. But as a training mechanism, I position that they are comparable and valuable. To say that they are not is questioning a fundamental understanding that is at the basis of both of these training methods.

Regarding the data point of JKD's reduction of chi sau, its much more quantified than that. According to several who knew and trained with Lee, he personally continued training chi sau even after closing his schools, teaching privately, and up to his death so that closes the case on the speculation. But since you referenced it observing that I practice, I'll extend the point. JKD at the heart of the reduction of chi sau, lies in refinement of the strike as an establishment of the bridge. So the attributes of chi sau are still present as a by-product when this isn't achieved, at least with places that do their homework.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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being "good Wing Chun" and being "good fighter" aren't always the same thing!
If we can all agree that

good fighter > good XYZ style fighter

then the XYZ style will not be able to put any restriction on us.

My major Shuai Chiao (Chinese wrestling) is a standup grappling art. After the kicking/punching were added in, it became Combat Shuai Chiao (Chan Chiao). It evolved after that. Will WC evolve someday? I think it will.
 

Flying Crane

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I really don't think there is a comparison. Chi sau does indeed teach useful skills and provides a deeper understanding of how to move. However it is controlled. In chi sau I am never afraid of getting my bell rung, injured etc. The heightened awareness of straight up sparring, the intensity of it, is already proven to be more useful. Why do I say this?

Wing Chun is a fighting art. We know from every other fighting art in history; whether empty hand, melee weapon or firearm, that pressure testing is the most efficient way to turn taught technique into actual skill.

Because of this I think it is relatively safe to say that a WC practitioner who both spars and does chi sau a fair bit would be better than one who does only one or the other BUT the practitioner who spars would be better than the one who simply does chi sau.

I would also agree with KPM. The better you chi sau the better, cleaner, more proper you will be at WC BUT in real combat, especially against different styles of combat, the actual tactical value of chi sau ends up being on a sliding scale. The value of pressure testing however is far more consistent.
Well let's be honest here, anyone advocating an "either/or" scenario is missing the point. I believe I have commented in an earlier post that there is also room in the toolbox for sparring. But I will qualify that point by saying that not all sparring is created equal, and some kinds of sparring are worthless. I believe there was a video posted that showed some kind of "sparring" I guess, done by some wing chun people. I would not really have called that sparring. To me, it was controlled drill. That also has a place in the tool box. But it wasn't sparring, in my opinion.

But my comment to which you replied, was the point that armchair quarterbacking this kind of thing is pretty pointless. Trying to say that these guys who had these fights back in the 1920s to 1950s or whatever, that they would have had better "success" if they had sparred more...blah blah blah. No point in that discussion.
 

Nobody Important

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The same can really be said of clinch work, as not all clinch work is created equal. The objective of the plum is not to tie up and exchange, it's to strike dominating the center and interior position, much like chi sau. So I would posit that it's directly comparable. There are multitudes of plum techs that don't require you to grab the guy and be tied up in a "clinch" to execute, so that is actually not the correct platform. What you and NI are referring to as "clinch" at least in relation to Muay Thai, is a by-product of not successfully controlling the center/interior position or having your attempt nullified. Plenty of examples of this in Seanchai, Pajunsuk, Samart, etc etc. And chi sau as I was taught is quite the same in that striking with control of center is a main objective, establishing the bridge. One problem that both of these mechanisms can develop if not trained properly is "chasing hands" or "chasing plum" where a person forgets why he's there in the first place. And perhaps that's what you're alluding to. But as a training mechanism, I position that they are comparable and valuable. To say that they are not is questioning a fundamental understanding that is at the basis of both of these training methods.

Regarding the data point of JKD's reduction of chi sau, its much more quantified than that. According to several who knew and trained with Lee, he personally continued training chi sau even after closing his schools, teaching privately, and up to his death so that closes the case on the speculation. But since you referenced it observing that I practice, I'll extend the point. JKD at the heart of the reduction of chi sau, lies in refinement of the strike as an establishment of the bridge. So the attributes of chi sau are still present as a by-product when this isn't achieved, at least with places that do their homework.
Agree, I was speaking specifically to the Rolling Hands platform of Chi Sau. I feel it to be an inferior method from which to practice the exercise, because one person always starts off in a dominated inferior position. While this may be conducive to learning how to re- establish a dominant position, no one willingly enters a fight by assuming an inferior position. It lends itself directly to hand chasing, constantly being a step behind & excessive clinching when overwhelmed. This is where clinch work becomes necessary yet is often neglected in favor of using a structured platform with "rules" that don't allow for much deviation as found in other methods such as pummelling. IMO the platform is poor, not the exercise itself.
 
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KPM

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According to several who knew and trained with Lee, he personally continued training chi sau even after closing his schools, teaching privately, and up to his death so that closes the case on the speculation. .

I think Ted Wong, for one, would have disagreed with your conclusion. He is the one that has said that Lee de-emphasized Wing Chun more and more as time went on and, at least according to him, the version of JKD just before Lee's death much very much an "evolved" kickboxing style. Of course, Inosanto and others disagreed with him, but it has also been said that Ted Wong remained Lee's closest student to the end. So I'd say our "speculation" isn't a much of a "closed case" as you seem to think. ;)

I've been looking into the "Chinatown JKD" curriculum taught by Tim Tackett and his group, and I can tell you that they don't have a big emphasis on Chi Sau.
 

KPM

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Well let's be honest here, anyone advocating an "either/or" scenario is missing the point.

I don't think we've been talking about an "either/or" scenario at all. We've been talking about "relative value" and what is the biggest return on hours spent in training. Everyone has said that both have their place. No one has argued to get rid of Chi Sau completely.
 

LFJ

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Unfortunately, being "good Wing Chun" and being "good fighter" aren't always the same thing! ;)

Isn't Wing Chun a fighting method??

And I would say that "high level" Chi Sau....as in the elaborate Chi Sau game people play that is a thing unto itself...is not necessary for "good Wing Chun."

Because gaming with it has nothing to do with good Wing Chun, fighting, or fight training.

As NI noted above, that level of Chi Sau hasn't really been part of Wing Chun except for the last 80 years or so.

Wasn't he just referring to the pun-sau platform?

80 years as he surmises based on some vague and unsubstantiated claims/stories?
 

Vajramusti

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I think Ted Wong, for one, would have disagreed with your conclusion. He is the one that has said that Lee de-emphasized Wing Chun more and more as time went on and, at least according to him, the version of JKD just before Lee's death much very much an "evolved" kickboxing style. Of course, Inosanto and others disagreed with him, but it has also been said that Ted Wong remained Lee's closest student to the end. So I'd say our "speculation" isn't a much of a "closed case" as you seem to think. ;)

I've been looking into the "Chinatown JKD" curriculum taught by Tim Tackett and his group, and I can tell you that they don't have a big emphasis on Chi Sau.
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So what.Neither Ted Wong or Inosanto are wing chun folks. This is a wc forum I think.
Jumping from bits and pieces of system to other bits and pieces of systems does not seldom develops competence-
no matter how long one wanders around.
 
OP
Juany118

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So what.Neither Ted Wong or Inosanto are wing chun folks. This is a wc forum I think.
Jumping from bits and pieces of system to other bits and pieces of systems does not seldom develops competence-
no matter how long one wanders around.

Ummm while Guro Dan doesn't personally teach Wing Chun, he does actually formally study Wing Chun and brings Wing Chun teachers into the Academy weekly. He actually has come to believe that you can not understand JKD (as he was taught it) without understanding Wing Chun.
 

KPM

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So what.Neither Ted Wong or Inosanto are wing chun folks. This is a wc forum I think.
Jumping from bits and pieces of system to other bits and pieces of systems does not seldom develops competence-
no matter how long one wanders around.

Uh...did you bother to read the thread? The discussion was about the relative value of Chi Sau training. JKD also uses Chi Sau training, but more modern versions place much less emphasis on it than most Wing Chun lineages. JKD was brought up in this discussion for that reason.
 
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Juany118

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Uh...did you bother to read the thread? The discussion was about the relative value of Chi Sau training. JKD also uses Chi Sau training, but more modern versions place much less emphasis on it than most Wing Chun lineages. JKD was brought up in this discussion for that reason.

Your point is more literal, I only added my response because of Guro Dan's comments on how he now see Wing Chun. If I remember correctly he said (while he was saying that you can't really understand JKD without understanding Wing Chun) something to the effect of (paraphrase) "sometimes you step away from something but when you come back you look at it with new eyes."

I actually found this almost inspiring. Guro Dan's reputation was built on FMA and JKD. These are the arts people recognize him as a "master" of yet he spoke of his current WC teachers (meaning he is not the master) publically and how to really understand the JKD he is associated with you need to know an art he is admittedly not a "master" of? How many people are humble enough to do that?
 

Thunder Foot

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I think Ted Wong, for one, would have disagreed with your conclusion. He is the one that has said that Lee de-emphasized Wing Chun more and more as time went on and, at least according to him, the version of JKD just before Lee's death much very much an "evolved" kickboxing style. Of course, Inosanto and others disagreed with him, but it has also been said that Ted Wong remained Lee's closest student to the end. So I'd say our "speculation" isn't a much of a "closed case" as you seem to think. ;)

I've been looking into the "Chinatown JKD" curriculum taught by Tim Tackett and his group, and I can tell you that they don't have a big emphasis on Chi Sau.

Interesting, because Lee was teaching and working chi sau with John Saxton and others on the set of Enter the Dragon which was the early 70's just before his death. Why would that be if he had abandoned it as you say? Because he still saw value in it and trained it. As for Tackett's WNG, they train many things and chi sau is one of them and he stresses its importance. Whether you see importance in it is your right of opinion, but I can assure you that established teachers of it see more than an evolved form of Kickboxing. And even in that, the close range combat techs are highly effective.
 

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Interesting, because Lee was teaching and working chi sau with John Saxton and others on the set of Enter the Dragon which was the early 70's just before his death. Why would that be if he had abandoned it as you say? Because he still saw value in it and trained it. As for Tackett's WNG, they train many things and chi sau is one of them and he stresses its importance. Whether you see importance in it is your right of opinion, but I can assure you that established teachers of it see more than an evolved form of Kickboxing. And even in that, the close range combat techs are highly effective.

I didn't say he abandoned it. Just that there was not nearly the emphasis on it that there had been in earlier years. And yeah, Tackett's group trains Chi Sau...I said that...just not the emphasis that it had early on in JKD. Now, take guys like Burt Richardson and Matt Thornton...they seem to have dropped Chi Sau completely.
 

Thunder Foot

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Agree, I was speaking specifically to the Rolling Hands platform of Chi Sau. I feel it to be an inferior method from which to practice the exercise, because one person always starts off in a dominated inferior position. While this may be conducive to learning how to re- establish a dominant position, no one willingly enters a fight by assuming an inferior position. It lends itself directly to hand chasing, constantly being a step behind & excessive clinching when overwhelmed. This is where clinch work becomes necessary yet is often neglected in favor of using a structured platform with "rules" that don't allow for much deviation as found in other methods such as pummeling. IMO the platform is poor, not the exercise itself.
I respect your opinion but I don't follow the logic. How is fook and tan an inferior dominated position? It can be directly equated to an overhook and an underhook in pummeling. It is what you make of it. I think what you are inferring to is a leveraged position that is 50/50. But pummeling whether neck or chest, usually starts in that way as well so I'm not understanding the dominated inferior position you speak of. In terms of a limb being over and under its really the same exact thing, unless I'm missing something in your point. The "rules" which are better described as principles set the context, which are later adapted/crossed/modified as a situation calls for like most other training mechanisms. Those principles are only limiting for those newcomers trying to define that context. But conversely, there are those bad examples that never do and thus become lost in chasing hands. Chasing hands in my opinion is due to lack of context and not the position you're in. It's all in reference to how the material is taught and unfortunately with WC/VT's rapid popularity, some principles that drive the techs aren't a focal point. As I see it this doesn't mean that the mechanism is faulty but rather the teaching method. This inadequacy you are highlighting is not something that is exclusive to chi sau, and can be the case for any mechanism which has lost the context in which it is effective. Without the principles there is no intent behind the mechanism. No intent, no power or effectiveness. Just my $0.02.
 

Nobody Important

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I respect your opinion but I don't follow the logic. How is fook and tan an inferior dominated position? It can be directly equated to an overhook and an underhook in pummeling. It is what you make of it. I think what you are inferring to is a leveraged position that is 50/50. But pummeling whether neck or chest, usually starts in that way as well so I'm not understanding the dominated inferior position you speak of. In terms of a limb being over and under its really the same exact thing, unless I'm missing something in your point. The "rules" which are better described as principles set the context, which are later adapted/crossed/modified as a situation calls for like most other training mechanisms. Those principles are only limiting for those newcomers trying to define that context. But conversely, there are those bad examples that never do and thus become lost in chasing hands. Chasing hands in my opinion is due to lack of context and not the position you're in. It's all in reference to how the material is taught and unfortunately with WC/VT's rapid popularity, some principles that drive the techs aren't a focal point. As I see it this doesn't mean that the mechanism is faulty but rather the teaching method. This inadequacy you are highlighting is not something that is exclusive to chi sau, and can be the case for any mechanism which has lost the context in which it is effective. Without the principles there is no intent behind the mechanism. No intent, no power or effectiveness. Just my $0.02.
Rolling Hands starts with one individual in tan/bong being contacted by another in a double fook position ( I'm my lineage anyways, I've seen some Yip Man lineages do it a little differently). From my understanding, and Yuen family oral history, it was developed as a way to train recovery from inferior position. Pummeling hands has no defined starting position, though often entering from collar & elbow, which is 50/50 for each person. Rolling Hands always starts with one on top, I would equate it to mount & guard. A good exercise for recovering from what is generally considered an inferior (bottom) position. Using many of the same principles, pummeling, feeling hands, Grinding arms, push hands, circling hands exercises almost always have both practitioners starting in the exact same position with the exact same advantage. While both ways have merit, and with slightly different goals, starting from the bottom generally causes hand chasing & constantly being a step behind IMO. Others may feel differently & obviously skill of practitioner must be considered, but rolling hands is not the only sticking hand platform, there are others I feel more realistic in approach. In my personal opinion, the Rolling hands platform is over emphasized and often used for training a method it wasn't designed for. It, IMO, is not for testing skill as many use it for, but actually learning how to overcome a mistake, kind of like Biu Jee. I only speak for my branch of WC, others will certainly be of different opinion & that's OK.
 

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I'm just throwing in what I think, and it is related to the article, not any of the replies that followed, although I did read them all.

In my opinion, Chi Sao is an incredibly useful exercise because it takes place at the range where I have seen many, many, many fights initiate. Two guys will be standing less than arm's length from each other, doing it up alpha male style, until one guy gets sick of the monkey dance and throws a punch. There is not a lot of time or space to react in, and Chi Sao can help develop the reflexes at this range. Is it as good if your fight happens to start further away? No, but once the distance is closed (and your training should include drills to get yourself into the proper range), Chi Sao skills become useful again.

I will say this to what one person wrote, regarding "Starting from an inferior position." I am not sure what you mean by that. Possibly you are talking about a positioning of the arms where one person has two Fook Saos going. So they have both hands on top, while the other person has both hands on the bottom? If so, then I have this to say: as it has been said, Chi Sao is not fighting. Therefore if Chi Sao is not fighting, then I see no harm in one person starting out with both hands on the bottom. Plus during the roll, each partner should be doing changes so that whoever is on top is not ALWAYS the one on top.

Lastly, I will agree that you are right: no one enters a fight in the inferior position, but I will add one word to that, which is no one PURPOSELY enters in the inferior position. However, sometimes that is beyond your control, and you should train in a way where you know how to handle it if it does happen.
 
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