Chi Sao,does it have any purpose in real fighting?

futsaowingchun

Brown Belt
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
438
Reaction score
82
Location
NJ, USA





I know what you must be thinking. Not another article on Chi Sao. It's been done to death, and what else can you say about it that hasn't been covered already. Well Chi Sao in my opinion, has gotten a bad rap due to its misconception and misuse of it. Which is why I feel it's necessary to state what Chi Sao is and what it’s not. Of course this is just my opinion,but hopefully this won't be another typical Chi Sao article. I want to clear up a few points, and explain why I feel Chi Sao is still a relevant component to training and has its place in the Wing Chun system.


First off let me state my position on Chi Sao,which I hope later on will be obvious.First, Chi Sao is not fighting nor has anything to do with real fighting. Like I’ve heard a million times by other Chunners say,”No one is going to Chi Sao you in a real fight”,and I agree.However over the years,there has been some confusion among the many lineages about what Chi Sao represents.Is it fighting or is it a Drill? So this needs to be cleared up. Second,Chi Sao in my opinion should only be used as a training platform to test and refine certain skills which is unique to the Wing Chun system. Even though Chi Sao is not fighting, however it still serves as a very useful training tool to help the student master the basic tools and to learn how to apply the various theories needed for fighting.What Chi Sao practice does is allow two people to pressure test those tools like Tan Sao, Bong Sao, Fuk Sao,etc without the need of conventional sparring or worrying about getting hurt in the process. Chi Sao training provides a very safe environment to practice which is conducive to learning.

The purpose of pressure testing of the basic tools in Chi Sao helps to see if one has mastered these skills and can apply them at will.If one has not mastered these basic skills it will easily show up in their Chi Sao. These mistakes or what I call holes need to be fixed,so Chi Sao can serve that purpose.In Chi Sao,and in fighting,basic skill sets have to be mastered first before one can be effective in fighting. One has to have the ability to be able to maintain proper body a lineament under constant multi-directional force from the opponent while maintaining balance, mobility, and structural integrity.One also has to be able to deliver force from a stable base. All these basic skills are needed in combat,and can come from proper training in Chi Sao and later be carried over and applied in sparring or fighting.




Therefore,Chi Sao can serve as a very useful training tool in the Wing Chun system.Chi Sao is the testing ground before one engages in sparring,so if one’s Chi Sao is very poor it is not likely one is ready to move on to sparring or fighting.Chi Sao can serve as that critical stage before fighting.So even though Chi Sao is not fighting,nor was it ever intended to be used in that way,Chi Sao still is an invaluable tool. Which if used correctly can lead the student to mastery and eventually unlock the keys to the Wing Chun system.



Sifu Michael Mc Ilwrath
April 25, 2013
http://www.futsaowingchun.info



 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Reminds me of Victor Kiam's famous catch phrase advertising Remington razors; "I liked it so much I bought the company".

Well, I liked Chi Sau so much I introduced it into my karate training and it is now the starting point for most of our drills. I am definitely a convert. :asian:
 

WingChunIan

Blue Belt
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
209
Reaction score
4
chi sao isn't pressure testing anything imho. Chi sao is simply an exercise in learning how to hit without being hit after your initial effort has been stopped in some way, nothing more and nothing less. It is therefore highly relevant to real fighting in the same way as hitting bags or pads isn't real fighting but the ability to hit hard is definitely relevant.
 

WingChunIan

Blue Belt
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
209
Reaction score
4
Reminds me of Victor Kiam's famous catch phrase advertising Remington razors; "I liked it so much I bought the company".

Well, I liked Chi Sau so much I introduced it into my karate training and it is now the starting point for most of our drills. I am definitely a convert. :asian:

Glad you like chi sao but how do you use it as the start point for a drill? Chi sao is endless, random and unscripted so I'm not sure how it can be the start point for anything else?
 
OP
futsaowingchun

futsaowingchun

Brown Belt
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
438
Reaction score
82
Location
NJ, USA
chi sao isn't pressure testing anything imho. Chi sao is simply an exercise in learning how to hit without being hit after your initial effort has been stopped in some way, nothing more and nothing less. It is therefore highly relevant to real fighting in the same way as hitting bags or pads isn't real fighting but the ability to hit hard is definitely relevant.

learning how to hit with out being hit is pressure testing..Pressure testing is a resisting opponent.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Glad you like chi sao but how do you use it as the start point for a drill? Chi sao is endless, random and unscripted so I'm not sure how it can be the start point for anything else?
Before I describe how I utilise Chi Sau can I just say that Okinawan Goju utilises a form of sticky hands called Kakie. This is normally a single hand drill and from the drill we can do what I do from Chi Sau. Chi Sau is more natural.

OK. Well from the initial moves of Chi Sau, as the opportunity arises we will move into all the locks, holds and takedowns you would find in Aikido. We normally train them very softly without resistance so the guys get the sensiivity to utilise those moves whenever the right situation presents. Then I add the atemi so we might take a grip and immediately strike to shock the system and take the strength out of any resistance.

The next thing we do is utilise Chi Sau as the precursor of a bridge in defusing a particular offensive threat. Basically by that I mean that we are moving in to control our opponent's hands or arms, then as our opponent reacts we can move in to attack or restrain.

And the final, and most important thing from a karate point of view, is that we start in Chi Sau and move into the various kata bunkai. We also practise oyo bunkai and once again we can move into those bunkai from Chi Sau.

Now you quite rightly say that Chi Sau is endless, random and unscripted. That is what makes it so valuable. You have to move with what you have and recognise or create the opportunity to move on to whatever technique you have available. So we are not planning ahead as to the exact technique or entry point that we will perform but more we have to recognise the available option when it arises.

The guy I really admire is Emin Boztepe. The way he defuses an attack moving through Chi Sau into his next technique is inspirational. I have watched a few of his videos, some which have been posted on MT, and just love he way he moves.

Hope that makes sense. :asian:
 

mook jong man

Senior Master
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
3,080
Reaction score
261
Location
Matsudo , Japan
I can certainly see why other martial arts would want to incorporate chi sau into their training , to improve their sensitivity etc.
But my late Sifu believed that other martial arts were missing the point when they added chi sau into their system.

The reason being that in chi sau we are primarily learning to transfer the opponents body weight down through our skeletal system and down into the floor through the use of the Wing Chun stance.

If they are just trying to do chi sau without incorporating the proper Wing Chun stance as well then they are missing a huge part of what is needed to make chi sau effective , if they realise this , then all well and good , but I don't think a lot of them do.
Sensitivity is a skill being developed in chi sau , but it is by no means the only skill being developed in chi sau.
 

Argus

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
722
Reaction score
257
Location
In my head!
I rather think of Chisau as a means of building sensitivity. While it is a laboratory to help us test and refine techniques, that's not its primary function, because we aren't pressure testing them yet. Chisau's primary purpose is to teach the hands what to do so that they respond automatically when we meet with someone else's hand. So, it is training attributes, and helping us understand the principles and concepts behind the system. But Chisau done correctly, in my opinion, and in that of my Sifu's, is not pressure testing; other kinds of practice are far better for that.

I think a lot of people tend to view chisau as either not very important, or as the end-all-be-all of training. The truth is somewhere in-between. After all, in a real fight, ideally there is no chisau. If you throw a punch and I throw a punch back, and my punch can get to the target without anything getting in the way, that's about as efficient as it gets, and there is no chisau. But if in the process of my punch getting to the target you put something in the way, then my hand should know how to respond, and the attributes that have been cultivated in chisau may come into play.
 

mograph

Master Black Belt
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
1,432
Reaction score
462
The reason being that in chi sau we are primarily learning to transfer the opponents body weight down through our skeletal system and down into the floor through the use of the Wing Chun stance.

(snip)

Sensitivity is a skill being developed in chi sau , but it is by no means the only skill being developed in chi sau.
Would you say that the person using chi sao to learn sensitivity alone has broken the connection to the ground, and will lack power and stability as a result?
 

mook jong man

Senior Master
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
3,080
Reaction score
261
Location
Matsudo , Japan
Would you say that the person using chi sao to learn sensitivity alone has broken the connection to the ground, and will lack power and stability as a result?

Yes unfortunately.
It's a bit like trying to run your motor car with an important component missing.
They will not be able to transfer the opponents force down to the ground and they will also not be able to transfer their own body mass into the point of contact on their opponent arms.
 

Danny T

Senior Master
Joined
Sep 5, 2002
Messages
4,258
Reaction score
2,292
Location
New Iberia, Louisiana USA
Chi Sao is as revelant in training and fighting as hand/arm pummeling is to wrestling or the plumb drills are to Muay Thai fighters.
I find amusing when someone questions the use of chi sao yet will turn around and practice pummeling and plumb drills.
 

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,174
Reaction score
748
Our forms teach body unity, balance, structure, etc. Chi sau is taking these same things and putting them to the test in front of a live opponent.
A bong sau applied with a turning stance may look fantastic when performed in the chum kiu form....how does it function when someone is driving their body mass into you in an effort to hit you and occupy your space?
Chi sau is applying the body mechanics developed from the forms training.
 
OP
futsaowingchun

futsaowingchun

Brown Belt
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
438
Reaction score
82
Location
NJ, USA
one thing you have to look out when you practice chi sao is being overly competitive. Its a drill to help each other to find and fix their mistakes . otherwise just fight.
 

Takai

Senior Master
Joined
Sep 28, 2006
Messages
2,189
Reaction score
73
Location
PNW
one thing you have to look out when you practice chi sao is being overly competitive. Its a drill to help each other to find and fix their mistakes . otherwise just fight.


First off let me state my position on Chi Sao,which I hope later on will be obvious.First, Chi Sao is not fighting nor has anything to do with real fighting.

Please clarify. Do you think it does or doesn't have anything to do with fighting?
 

mook jong man

Senior Master
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
3,080
Reaction score
261
Location
Matsudo , Japan
It can be either compliant or competitive , it depends on what you want to work on at the time.
If you want to just work on your stance and doing the movements as correctly as possible , then you would be best served to just do slow rolling.

But If I am working on my trapping skills , then I want somebody trying their hardest to not let me trap them and also to defend themselves with counter traps.

If my Fook sau is wandering off the centerline then I would also be expecting to get a palm strike in the chest in very short order.
Forward force should be driving through at all times , you make a mistake you get hit , simple as that.

If I wanted a compliant partner I'd go work on the wooden dummy.

Attacking is a part of chi sau just as much as defending is , attacking can mean trapping , finding a hole in their defence to hit through , pivoting or stepping forward with your body mass to attack their balance.

But if you are the senior person out of the two then it is probably a good idea to just let the junior person attack you and you defend.

Our Sigung when he was young rarely expanded his angles and crushed the junior persons structure or tried to trap them , he said he knew he could do it already , so by attacking he would not be learning anything new , so with junior people he just defended all the time and let them attack him.
 
OP
futsaowingchun

futsaowingchun

Brown Belt
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
438
Reaction score
82
Location
NJ, USA
Please clarify. Do you think it does or doesn't have anything to do with fighting?
My position on Chi sao is that Chi Sao is a very useful tool to develope certain skills but is not fighting and in order to learn to fight you have to break away from this chi sao mind frame. Chi Sao can only take you so far in your training then you have to fight with it. Some people believe chi sao is the end all be all and its not.
 

WingChunIan

Blue Belt
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
209
Reaction score
4
learning how to hit with out being hit is pressure testing..Pressure testing is a resisting opponent.
Depends upon your definition of pressure I guess and also how you perform chi sao. Whilst there may well be strikes landed during chi sao and your partner will not be allowing you to perform your techniques as in fixed drills, there isn't any real pressure. IMHO to pressure test you need to pad up, get one person to play the role of a non Wing Chun aggressor throwing full power shots, grappling, using strength, breaking contact and changing range and when that becomes reasonably comfortable add in a second aggressor. My comprehension of pressure testing is more aligned to stuff like the "Animal Day" sessions held by the British Combat Association, not just a resisting opponent.
 

mook jong man

Senior Master
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
3,080
Reaction score
261
Location
Matsudo , Japan
It is an important piece of the puzzle , but it is only one piece of the puzzle.
Sparring in chi sau , is training for close range combat , where the sense of touch becomes more reliable than vision.

It's definitely not the only type of sparring you should be doing , you should also be doing hand sparring from your Wing Chun guard vs Wing Chun guard , so that you work on your visual reflexes and Chark Jong (smashing defences) before contact is made.
Easiest way to do that from chi sau is to practice breaking off and re-engaging again.

You should also be doing a fair bit of stuff like four and six corner deflection against non Wing Chun punches , as well as working on your leg defences against non Wing Chun kicks , you can mix it all up together in an exercise we call "random arms and legs"

Chi sau is a great tool , but we have to get past the pre contact phase intact first before we can use it , which means that when the opponents hook comes rocketing in at a great rate of knots we have to rely on our eyes to see it and make sure that our arm is up where it needs to be to intercept it.
 
OP
futsaowingchun

futsaowingchun

Brown Belt
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
438
Reaction score
82
Location
NJ, USA
Depends upon your definition of pressure I guess and also how you perform chi sao. Whilst there may well be strikes landed during chi sao and your partner will not be allowing you to perform your techniques as in fixed drills, there isn't any real pressure. IMHO to pressure test you need to pad up, get one person to play the role of a non Wing Chun aggressor throwing full power shots, grappling, using strength, breaking contact and changing range and when that becomes reasonably comfortable add in a second aggressor. My comprehension of pressure testing is more aligned to stuff like the "Animal Day" sessions held by the British Combat Association, not just a resisting opponent.

Ok I see what you mean..my meaning of pressure testing is not the same as yours.
 

Latest Discussions

Top