Chi-sau Vs. Lat Sau- What is your opinion?

jeff_hasbrouck

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Hiya there folks! I've been doing Wing Tsun for 9 Years. I've had the opprotunity to train with a different WT, WC, VC, VT guys throughout my few short years in the art. I've noticed that if you get down to it, many people focus on different aspects of training. Some people it seems ONLY do chi-sau (poon-sau, lok-sau, gwoh-sau (guo-sau)). And some people really focus on the lat-sau (be it chinese or european).<br><br>I was just wondering on what you like, why and what you find more useful for your training?<br><br>Just in case we have some some people who really don't understand my question, I'll explain in a little bit more detail. We will start with chi-sau.<br><br><br>Chi-sau is known as "sticky-hands" worldwide. But there are different aspects to the practice of it. Chi-sau is really an all encompassing term for sticky hand practice. Poon-sau and lok-sau are just known as "rolling-arms" basically, it just means practicing the actual roll of chi-sau with minimal effort emphasized on attack and defense. This kind of practice is dedicated to getting you to feel your opponent better and to train your anti-synaptic reflexes. Poon-sau and Lok-sau (when done correctly), should be done slow with emphasis being placed on making sure your pressure is forward. It was explained to me as "softley trying to make your fingertips touch your partners shirt".<br><br>Gwoh-sau (aka Guo-sau/Gor-sau) is basically the beefed up version of Chi-sau. It is where you pretty much just go at it. You attack and defend at different levels of speed and strength to try to unbalance your opponent or strike them. It is like sparring while still conforming to the chi-sau rules.<br><br>I could go into the chi-sau motto's, but really, I don't feel as if that would really help anyone's understanding, and it can be quite the laborious task to explain, however if there is a demand for it, just let me know and I'll oblige the best that I can.<br><br>Lat-sau is known as "free-handed-fighting". There are two types of Lat-sau: European Lat-sau (German Lat-sau) and Chinese Lat-sau.<br><br>European lat-sau was developed in Germany and it is performed by putting one of your legs against your partners while cycling through pak-da (pak-sau-punch) and or wu-da. There are many in's and outs to the cycle, starting usually with an off-speed punch or a boxer jab.<br><br>Chinese lat-sau is basically just sparring, but it usually starts out with some pre-set's so you can get the feel for it. You stand about one step away from your opponent and you both step in and bridge and the fight is on. The other older version of chinese lat-sau is where both opponents stand close enough to touch wrists and then start to fight at the first movement. (That last version has been romantisized for the movies alot and you can see bruce lee do it in the "return of the dragon".)<br><br>So folks, newly armed with that valuable information, what do you like? What do you feel is most important in your training? And if you have more questions feel free to ask, speculate or just say hi.<br><br>All the best my friends!<br><br>Jeff (Sifu Panda)
 

Nabakatsu

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Hi there, I am a WT guy too, I feel like form work, chi sau, lat sau, applications all lead into themselves.. some are more fun.. depending on ones mood and predilection. They all lead into each other. I feel like a nice balanced practice is best.
What are your thoughts?
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

jeff_hasbrouck

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Hi there, I am a WT guy too, I feel like form work, chi sau, lat sau, applications all lead into themselves.. some are more fun.. depending on ones mood and predilection. They all lead into each other. I feel like a nice balanced practice is best.
What are your thoughts?

Form work is essential. But many WT/WC instructors don't teach what needs to be taught... And that is application of every movement. Did anyone know that lap-sau is actually in SNT, and chum-kiu? And to further my thoughts on this, chi-sau isn't very fun, but it needs to be done. It's hard and sometimes a very laborious process! You need to go slow and FEEL your way through everything. Gwoh-sau is where you cut loose and throw it all together, and lat-sau is what you do to simulate fights. Basically, lat-sau is sparring that is controlled.

And I heartily concur with your assesment; Balanced practice is the best... Well for me at any rate. But not everyone believes this, and to me that is a shame, but hey everyone has their ways!

All the best and thanks for the reply!

Jeff
 

Danny T

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Call it what ever you wish. In order to be able to function at real time with real pressure as in a real attack one Must work in a free spar action. There must be some constraints as individuals learn and should be released as they get better. Form is a part of the puzzle, Drills are part of the puzzle, strength and conditioning is a part of the puzzle, application potential is a part, and so is free sparring. All are important to understand Timing, Range, Power, Speed, application of attacks, and how they support the technique potentials.

I do not believe one needs to know application for every movement. They do need to understand the principles driving the movements and that there is potential application of technique throughout every part of movement/motion based upon the relationship of position, direction, and pressure; and that is something the chi sao actions help develop.

Danny T
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

jeff_hasbrouck

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Call it what ever you wish. In order to be able to function at real time with real pressure as in a real attack one Must work in a free spar action. There must be some constraints as individuals learn and should be released as they get better. Form is a part of the puzzle, Drills are part of the puzzle, strength and conditioning is a part of the puzzle, application potential is a part, and so is free sparring. All are important to understand Timing, Range, Power, Speed, application of attacks, and how they support the technique potentials.

I do not believe one needs to know application for every movement. They do need to understand the principles driving the movements and that there is potential application of technique throughout every part of movement/motion based upon the relationship of position, direction, and pressure; and that is something the chi sao actions help develop.

Danny T

I believe that a student should learn all the applications, because if he doesn't know them, you can't flow. I've sparred with many people that don't know how to lap-sau correctly and I can exploit every single time. Application is a part of the comprehension stage. You can't understand something and not know how to apply it. You can't say that knowing less application makes you understand the principals better. That has a big whole right in the center of the logic. Yes I concur, people need to do some more studying on the principals and the APPLICATION of the principals. But chi-sau isn't going to help much if you don't know how to position your body.

Thanks for your comment, I really do apperciate all input from all the collective WT/WC/VT/VC families!

All the best,

Jeff
 

cwk

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I spend less time training chi sao, lat sao,etc than I do on free sparring (by that I mean starting from an unbridged position)
For me, chi sao is just training for that moment when your attack is checked by your opponent and you need to find a way around to continue striking/ controlling. Finding the correct angles and timing for entering from the outside is a completely different skill set. Both need to be trained. I'd say more focus on free sparring if you want to compete or spar with other styles, more focus on bridged drills/sparring if you're training more for self defense as the gap is usually already closed by the attacker.
But like I said, both need to be trained, as well as other ranges,like starting of in the clinch.
Just my tuppence worth.

edit- I forgot to mention the importance of good pad/mit work. This is something I picked up from my muay thai training and something I feel more wing chun schools should adopt and adapt to their style. Having someone who knows how to hold the pads properly and throwing attacks at you so you can counter and vice-versa really improves a students ability to land strikes with power on a moving opponent and helps with the "flinch" reaction and also the problem of switching off after the first shot lands. With practice, the pad work can flow from outside range, into chi sao range, then clinch and then back out again.
 

Danny T

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I believe that a student should learn all the applications, because if he doesn't know them, you can't flow. I've sparred with many people that don't know how to lap-sau correctly and I can exploit every single time. Application is a part of the comprehension stage. You can't understand something and not know how to apply it. You can't say that knowing less application makes you understand the principals better. That has a big whole right in the center of the logic. Yes I concur, people need to do some more studying on the principals and the APPLICATION of the principals. But chi-sau isn't going to help much if you don't know how to position your body.

Knowing the structures, the Why of the structures, the movements for those structures there are many applications. May be I am just a slower learner and therefore don't even attempt to learn and know 'all the possible applications'. I find that within sparring by utilizing movements into the proper structures applications simple are there.

Take the tan sao structure and the movement associated with it. How many different applications are available based upon the position and range? A deflection, a jamming of the opponent's movement, an arm break, an off balancing of the opponent's center or even all the above at any one time? Where is the tao sao structure being presented? On the forearm, the upper arm, the collar bone, the neck? All different applications. How about the Jum Sao structure moving to Gong Sao structure? A deflection, a jamming, throw, a takedown, a shoulder lock? Many possible applications.
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

jeff_hasbrouck

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I spend less time training chi sao, lat sao,etc than I do on free sparring (by that I mean starting from an unbridged position)
For me, chi sao is just training for that moment when your attack is checked by your opponent and you need to find a way around to continue striking/ controlling. Finding the correct angles and timing for entering from the outside is a completely different skill set. Both need to be trained. I'd say more focus on free sparring if you want to compete or spar with other styles, more focus on bridged drills/sparring if you're training more for self defense as the gap is usually already closed by the attacker.
But like I said, both need to be trained, as well as other ranges,like starting of in the clinch.
Just my tuppence worth.

edit- I forgot to mention the importance of good pad/mit work. This is something I picked up from my muay thai training and something I feel more wing chun schools should adopt and adapt to their style. Having someone who knows how to hold the pads properly and throwing attacks at you so you can counter and vice-versa really improves a students ability to land strikes with power on a moving opponent and helps with the "flinch" reaction and also the problem of switching off after the first shot lands. With practice, the pad work can flow from outside range, into chi sao range, then clinch and then back out again.

I agree with more sparring, and when I say lat-sau, I just mean sparring. Put on pads if you want, but your out there to do business. If i'm going to put any protective gear on I like to keep it simple. Head mask, gloves, and cup. And then just go at it. That is the way to train what your using. But chi-sau is essential to get those reactions top-notch.

In my opinion, chi-sau is the building block to lat-sau. I really don't like drills or pre-set motions at all. Any actual fight doesn't have these things and I refuse to trian anyone with set patterns. To me it doesn't work. I'll train people in chi-sau sections so they learn the material. But as soon as they comprehend the section I move them on to applications immeadiately. As soon as they can apply it in chi-sau, then they can try it in lat-sau. I see too many people trying to apply techniques in which they don't even know the basic mechanics, let alone the theory behind when/where it should be used.

Theory (and footwork) is the most disreguarded aspect of WT nowadays, and I'm getting a little tired of it. But that is another thread... or two. Matter of fact, I'm gonna start two more threads and ask what people thing. Stay tuned folks!

(And thanks for the reply CWK!)

All the best,

Jeff
 

yak sao

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The German lat sau (GLS) programs are very good at getting the new WT student up and running. WT fights at a range where most people are uncomfortable being in, the GLS puts you right there and you learn to deal with it right away.
The new student is learning these various steps and hand positions, all very foreign to him, the GLS is a way of immediately pressure testing these new structures and helps to eliminate flaws early on in the new student.

Many the new student who walks into a MA school is wanting to learn how to defend themselves. They want to know how to deal with a boxer, a kicker, a grappler; the new student is filled with so many "what ifs"..."what if he grabs me, what if he throws a hook punch"....and on and on. The GLS addresses this and helps to lay the what if demon to rest early in the WT students training, now they are ready to focus on chi sao.

If chi sau is taught too soon, it seems like a whole lot of theory and not very substantive to the new student looking in. It doesn't seem to address their what ifs. By putting the lat sao first and then bringing in chi sau, students are now able to see the whys and hows of chi sau more clearly and reap its benefits.
 

yak sao

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As for Chinese lat sau, or what we call Hong Kong lat sau, it is great at teaching how to close the distance in a safe and explosive manner.
The GLS and the chi sau sections are great at teaching how to be effective at close range. The HKLS deals with the pesky problem of actually getting into that range efectively without getting your clock cleaned.

Oh, and pardon my manners, Jeff, welcome to the forum.
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

jeff_hasbrouck

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Danny T.,

You are very correct sir. I forget that sometimes other systems did not have what I did. We have certain programs that spell out all the applications you need to learn for a certain rank (well the system I used to be associated with). And I meant that every program has a certain number of applications that you need to learn before you can move on to the next. You have just made me re-evaluate the way I will try to explain that in the future. SNT (SLT) is something you never stop learning. There are so many things in there that you can't cover in just a few months. But those techniques are there! Not hidden, just waiting for the chance to be explained. And its not the speed at which you learn, it is the understanding you gain that dictates how effective you are with this. Now I am quite the quick learner. I have had very few troubles learning a new techniques when it has been presented to me. I often felt as if I was being held back, but this just led to greater understanding of the technique, so I've always had a win-win situation in my training!

Again thanks for the post sir!

All the best,

Jeff
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

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Bah, my webpage had to recover, and I lost all the information I had down.

The gist of what I was saying was:

GLS has some answers but not all. I don't personally like it. I would rather address all those issues in lat-sau. I keep a notebook for students when they ask questions and address those questions at the end of the week and hand out copies of my notes. Kinda like a cheat sheet, or at least a platform for them to gain understanding. I try to imbibe people I work with with the idea that you should think for yourself. Listen to your sifu, and take into account what he/she says, but always try techniques out for yourself; Your sifu can't know everything, he/she is only one person. Try the techniques out and see what conclusions you come to. Everybody has a different brand of WT/WC that works for them. Don't be sucked into the sections, let your WT/WC work for you.

Suffice it to say that your whole post was awesome, thanks for taking the time, but I really need to get going right this second! Have a good one and thanks again sir!

All the best,

Jeff
 

geezer

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Bah, my webpage had to recover, and I lost all the information I had down. The gist of what I was saying was: GLS has some answers but not all. I don't personally like it.... Jeff

That's 'cause y'all ain't tried TLS ...Texas Lat Sau! I'm currently associated with a group based in Austin that's run by my old Si-dai who is very knowledgeable in both the Hong Kong and German teaching systems.

The way he integrates the stuff makes for a very logical training system. I learned the old way from LT in the 80's and back then we didn't have no stinkin' Lat-Sau "sections". But I now see that properly used, they are a very worthwhile instructional tool.
 

yak sao

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what approach do you guys take to lat sau?

In my group we tend to do a blend of HK lat sau, German lat sau and EBMAS lat sau.
 

Thunder Foot

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Sorry for my ignorance, but what are lat sau "sections"? I don't think I've ever come across these in my experience...
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

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That's 'cause y'all ain't tried TLS ...Texas Lat Sau! I'm currently associated with a group based in Austin that's run by my old Si-dai who is very knowledgeable in both the Hong Kong and German teaching systems.

The way he integrates the stuff makes for a very logical training system. I learned the old way from LT in the 80's and back then we didn't have no stinkin' Lat-Sau "sections". But I now see that properly used, they are a very worthwhile instructional tool.

I started out in 2003 in the San Antonio Wing Tsun Academy under Sifu Will Parker, so I am intimately familiar with "Texas" lat-sau lol. And all the guys down there. I daresay you know Mike Adams (From Austin, not chicago lol) and "Sweaty" Mike Yarbrough!

Well it's nice to see some other texas guys on here. You need to go check out Alamo City Wing Tsun with Sifu Glenn Tillman, and Sifu Ram De Pena (My WT Family). They are the nicest individuals you will ever meet and very highly skilled martial artists! In my honest opinion, you can't find better instruction in Texas (Or in your case someone to train with!)

All the best bubba,

Jeff
 

geezer

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Yak, we do pretty mush the same thing. A mix. Some old LT drills, some from KK's EWTO (which is pretty much the root of the EBMAS stuff) and some specifically NVTO modifications. After all, the Lat-Sau "sets" are just drills, not classic forms, so you can modify them as needed. Drills need to be changed up often, or they just end up teaching you to move in predictable patterns ...and that's not good.

Thunderfoot, no problem. Every different organization has different terminology, or maybe they use the same terms to mean different things. Lat-sau literally means "free-hand" and many use the term to mean light, free-sparring. But here, we are talking about a series of patterned drills involving a continuous flow of attack and defenses, ...kind of like chi-sau, but starting appart and not always maintaining stick. These drills include standard techniques like punch to punch, tan-da, pak-da, fook da, gaun-da, lap-da, elbows, etc. ...all linked in loosely choreographed flow.

Steps and kicks may be added for a more dynamic exchange, and eventually, all the "sets" are scrambled, and the attacks and defenses become more random and sponteineous, and the sets become like light to medium contact free-sparring. Gloves and a mouthguard are helpful at this stage.

Either way, this kind of training can help reinforce good quality movement while providing a bridge to either Chi-Sau for more refined technique, or to heavier sparring for more non-compliant "realism".
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

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Sorry for my ignorance, but what are lat sau "sections"? I don't think I've ever come across these in my experience...

It's no big deal. I'm going to try to explain things in a way so that everybody can understand, since I have no clue how much Wing Tsun culture you know, so take no offense if my explanations are a bit over the top.

Lat-sau is literally translated as "Free-handed-fighting" (techniques). You start lat-sau your very first day by doing "basic-reactions". There are 3 types of lat-sau. The two most common are Hong Kong (chinses) Lat-sau and German (European) Lat-sau.

HK lat-sau is where two opponents stand in the on-guard position and attack eachother (and that is where lat-sau started, and same with the sections).

German lat-sau is where you interlock your front foot and both partners are in the sheung-ma (front-stance) and they run a continuous motion of pak-da (pak-sau-punch). German lat-sau also has sections.

Leung Ting formalized the Wing Tsun system into sections (This includes chi-sau, dummy (and dummy chi-sau), and weapons sections. There is also lap(grappling hand)-sau, bong(wing arm)-sau and Quat(Wiping hand)-sau drills. There are a few more, like the sheung-kuen (double puch) drill from the 4th Section of Chi-sau, and the fak-sau (whisking arm (also known as "Dong-Sau")) drill from 6th section Chi-sau.

HK Lat-sau is where the sections originated so Ill just explain those:

When you start learning to bridge the gap, you need to learn how to enter your opponents guard. So you start out by stepping to your opponent and performing a pak-da (pak-sau-punch). The next step is where the person defending learns to re-pak (do a reverse pak-da)... Then aggresor learns how to do pak-jut-da (pak-sau/jut(jerking hand)-da).. The cycle goes on from there going immeadiatly into a tan-da (Palm up-punch) and/or a Kwan-sau (rotating arms)... And so on and so forth.

Basically it is a systemized approach to learning how to apply chi-sau in real fighting. These lat-sau "sections" just kinda initiate the student into the practical application world and seperates them from their chi-sau form. You still want the stickiness you find in chi-sau. You want to stick to your opponent, but you can't just start chi-sauing someone in combat.

Lat-sau develops the two main fighting principles in wing-tsun (in my opinion). #1 Ya-mo-bo-fat (stance inserting step techniques), unlike most Wing Chun schools, LT WingTsun teaches you to step inbetween your opponents feet everytime whilst practicing so you are more prone to do it in real life (train like you fight). and principle #2 is called Bik-bo-tip-da (Sticking to the enemy with stepping punches), it is also known as magnectic force. You are drawn to your opponent as if by a magnet so as to not let him get away and recover. Bik-bo-tip-da is best embodied in JKD in the "Straight-Blast", just chasing your enemy with chain punches. As a JKD practitioner these techniques really shouldn't be foreign to you. But the theories and principles wouldn't be there as Bruce Lee never learned any advanced theorectical knowledge of WC/WT.

Lat-sau is basically sparring with control. It is (coupled with chi-sau) the core of Wing Tsun training. You can't learn to utilize sticking principals if you don't practice chi-sau, and you can't learn fighting application if you don't practice lat-sau.

I hope that was a well detailed answer that satisfied your question, but if I did by chance miss anything, or you just have more questions, feel free to fire back!

All the best, and happy training!

Jeff
 

geezer

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...They are the nicest individuals you will ever meet and very highly skilled martial artists! In my honest opinion, you can't find better instruction in Texas (Or in your case someone to train with!)

All the best bubba,

Jeff

Lotta good folks in Texas. It's a shame that sometimes organizational politics keep them apart. Same problem here in AZ. IMHO life's too short for that kinda garbage.
 
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jeff_hasbrouck

jeff_hasbrouck

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And I forgot to tag on the end of my reply the third side of lat-sau...

Lat-sau can just be straight up sparring. It is unchoreographed, intense and brutal. I put on pads to do this, but some people don't (and most didn't used to).

You suit up, and go at it. Testing your WT skill against your contemporaries.

Your using all your accumulated knowledge to exchange techniques with your partner. lol.

It's basically like the difference between Poon-sau (rolling arms) and gwoh-sau (chi-sau where you just go at it).

I hope all this information helps you understand what I was trying to get at, even if I was a bit long-winded in my reply!

Again, all the best ya'll!

Jeff
 
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