Chi Sau vs Tui Shao conundrum

Xue Sheng

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Forgive me if I have the terminology wrong but I will try and explain this as best I can

I have been working with a group of Wing Chun guys and the other day the guy who is the teacher was not there and the guy who wants to be the teacher was and I was doing Chi Sau with him and he continually told me I was not engaged when we started. It was a Fuk Sao/Tan Sao start

He continued to tell me to put more pressure in my fuk sao or my tan sao so he could feel that I was engaged. Now from a Taiji perspective as soon as I touched him I was engaged and he was asking for way too much pressure from me. His point was without that he could not feel my intent.

Is this what I am supposed to do in Chi Sau?

And I will be honest here; if this is how it is I can't do it. It would require me to tense up and use way to much force and I would not be able to flow, move, stick or follow. It would become a test of strength rather quickly or it gives me a rather large advantage because I would need to do is relax and then he is done and has no idea what my intent is.

I should also say I have never heard this from the guy who is the actual teacher there when I did Chi Sau with him. Doing Chi Sau with him I see a lot of similarities of underlying principles between Wing Chun Chi Sau and Taiji Tui Shao.



Note: See the top picture, that is the position I am talking about

564176_3946729911292_154000_med.jpeg
 

Vajramusti

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Actually- a complicated subject. Wing chun and taichi are great arts- both with deep principles and applications.
At their best- both are natural and you become softer and sensitive to any touch. Both arts have their own
structures and applications. Both arts have two person touching drills -tui shou and chi sao.
But there are important differences.
Words can mislead action.
The touch in tui shao and chi sao are different. You don't tense muscles in either imo. The chi sao contact
is at the kiu- the bridge in contrast to taichi- atleast the chen version. The contacts in chi so involve different parts of the bridge
for fuk, tan and the wu/bong families. Levels of pressure at the kiu(not muscle tension) varies with the intent
of the partners-normal, heavy and light. There is much more to this.
 
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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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Actually- a complicated subject. Wing chun and taichi are great arts- both with deep principles and applications.
At their best- both are natural and you become softer and sensitive to any touch. Both arts have their own
structures and applications. Both arts have two person touching drills -tui shou and chi sao.
But there are important differences.
Words can mislead action.
The touch in tui shao and chi sao are different. You don't tense muscles in either imo. The chi sao contact
is at the kiu- the bridge in contrast to taichi- atleast the chen version. The contacts in chi so involve different parts of the bridge
for fuk, tan and the wu/bong families. Levels of pressure at the kiu(not muscle tension) varies with the intent
of the partners-normal, heavy and light. There is much more to this.

I have no doubt there is much more to this, let me add that I was continually being told to push a little harder and forward with my Tan Sau, that, for me, is difficult to do because of taijiquan
 

Danny T

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Our pressure is based upon the opponent's pressure and is through the tension of the skin. Quite soft in the advanced stages; it is about reading pressure and force; not about matching it.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Our pressure is based upon the opponent's pressure and is through the tension of the skin. Quite soft in the advanced stages; it is about reading pressure and force; not about matching it.

That is more like taijiquan and I'm ok with that, but if force is required then I'm not ok with that. I touch, I'm engaged. I do not have to add or receive pressure/force to be engaged

I have not been able to get back since this post originated but I will be going in a few days and I will talk with the teacher about this.
 

Kwan Sau

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but if force is required then I'm not ok with that......I do not have to add or receive pressure/force to be engaged...

Sounds like you need to stick with your tai chi.

"Force" is subjective, and relevant to each practitioner. Everything is a matter of degree.
 

PiedmontChun

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That is more like taijiquan and I'm ok with that, but if force is required then I'm not ok with that. I touch, I'm engaged. I do not have to add or receive pressure/force to be engaged

I have not been able to get back since this post originated but I will be going in a few days and I will talk with the teacher about this.

Wing Chun is all about forward pressure, and without it Chi Sau doesn't "work". When I say "pressure" I don't mean it in a rigid / muscular strength kind of way; it can be very subtle, but it should be felt. For example, if you were to drop your Tan Sau completely, your partner's Fook should naturally want to move toward your centerline. Likewise, if your opponent did not give you forward pressure with their Fook, then there is nothing pushing your Tan into Bong Sau or impetus to even move at all.

Different lineages can very on how much "pressure" there is; some are stiffer and more force used, some are very supple and subtle (especially at higher levels) but I wouldd think generally all Ip Man lineages would agree there has to be forward pressure present.

I'm sure others here can offer a more articulate comment than the above; I'm not at a level where I regularly roll or gotten far at all into the Chi Sau program. Take it for what its worth.
 

Kwan Sau

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Piedmontchun is correct...except that his example is / may be specific to his lineage or kwoon etc.
Again, force or pressure is used regardless of tai chi or wing chun. Even the simple act of raising your hand up from the side of your leg to form a tan or fook or whatever....uses muscle.
 

LFJ

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He continued to tell me to put more pressure in my fuk sao or my tan sao so he could feel that I was engaged. Now from a Taiji perspective as soon as I touched him I was engaged and he was asking for way too much pressure from me. His point was without that he could not feel my intent.

Is this what I am supposed to do in Chi Sau?

From my point of view, not at all!

If he could not "feel your intent" that's his problem, not yours. What a funny idea...

Plus, in my lineage "feeling intent" is not even the purpose of the drill. Rather it is to develop basic use of the elbow for simultaneous attack and defense functions. Here, fuk-sau is a neutral elbow position and no pressure is applied. It has nothing to do with sticking and feeling each other. We actually train not to do that.

Also, in your image, we don't go back to wu-sau or down with jat-sau like many. It's jam-sau; elbow in and forward lining up the punch. It's two actions in the drill to learn elbow control. Later in free fighting it becomes one punch and doesn't rely on pre- or prolonged contact.

 

LFJ

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if your opponent did not give you forward pressure with their Fook, then there is nothing pushing your Tan into Bong Sau or impetus to even move at all.

Bong-sau, for me, doesn't rely on pre- or prolonged arm contact, and my VT isn't so passive as to allow my opponent to push me into different shapes, unless I wanted my nose to take on a different shape as well.

I wouldd think generally all Ip Man lineages would agree there has to be forward pressure present.

Nope, at least not yet in daan-chi. We are just learning basic elbow control with a single limb and striking concepts we need before exchanging force. The starting position is neutral elbows.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I'm not really a WC practitioner, so take the following with a huge grain of salt ...

If the point was that your chi sao would be less effective due to you not applying sufficient force, then the instructor should be able to easily demonstrate why while touching hands with you. (If he can blow through your structure too easily and you are unable to react to the holes in his, that might demonstrate such a point.)

On the other hand, if the point is that he can't effectively chi sao with you unless you give him the exact energy he wants, then that would seem to indicate a failing in his ability.
 

wtxs

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Forgive me if I have the terminology wrong but I will try and explain this as best I can

I have been working with a group of Wing Chun guys and the other day the guy who is the teacher was not there and the guy who wants to be the teacher was and I was doing Chi Sau with him and he continually told me I was not engaged when we started. It was a Fuk Sao/Tan Sao start

He continued to tell me to put more pressure in my fuk sao or my tan sao so he could feel that I was engaged. Now from a Taiji perspective as soon as I touched him I was engaged and he was asking for way too much pressure from me. His point was without that he could not feel my intent.

Is this what I am supposed to do in Chi Sau?

And I will be honest here; if this is how it is I can't do it. It would require me to tense up and use way to much force and I would not be able to flow, move, stick or follow. It would become a test of strength rather quickly or it gives me a rather large advantage because I would need to do is relax and then he is done and has no idea what my intent is.

I should also say I have never heard this from the guy who is the actual teacher there when I did Chi Sau with him. Doing Chi Sau with him I see a lot of similarities of underlying principles between Wing Chun Chi Sau and Taiji Tui Shao.

Could it be he's a teacher wanna be ... shows lack of experience and understanding of basic Chi Sao concept.
 

Argus

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The forward intent he is referring to is an important part of "lat sao jik chung" -- that springy energy, and forward intent, which allows us to find and enter gaps as soon as they appear.

The energy should be very subtle, though. You shouldn't be "pushing" with your tan-sao or fuk-sao. You should just give a very subtle pressure directed at the opponent's center, and not outwards, regardless of his pressure. And, if possible, this should come from the ground, so that you want to step forward should a large hole appear.

This "forward intent" is cultivated in the first section of Siu Nim Tao, in the tan/fuk section. You'll see people do this section very slowly. That's partially in order to cultivate a subtle tendency to "want to go forward." When you do it correctly, it should feel like your hand just wants to creep forward on its own, as opposed to feeling "dead" and "consciously/mechanically" moved... If that makes any sense.

But, keep in mind that Wing Chun is a very subtle art, and honestly, not everyone gets it or feels what they're supposed to all the time. It could be that you were giving your partner the right energy, but you were just more subtle about it and he didn't feel it. Or it could be that his understanding is not fully there yet. In every martial art I've practiced, I've found varying levels of understanding among both the students and teachers, with either just "not feeling" things from time to time, or using words that are misleading to me. That's the nature of learning a martial art. So, always take things with a grain of salt, retain an open mind, and come back for more. You'll be lead in the right direction more often than you'll be lead astray, and eventually, it'll start to make sense.

I really consider learning a martial art a rather haphazard endeavor. For someone like me who constantly questions and assesses things, that's a really frustrating aspect, and leaves me with constant doubts. I wouldn't say, though, that this is indicative of having a poor teacher. It's more the bane of having a critical and discerning mind -- which is no doubt beneficial in the long run, but can make things harder than they need be in the beginning, before you really have the foundation to make good use of it.
 
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mook jong man

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The guy is an idiot , stay away from him.
Forward force is more about mental intent than actual physical force.
There is pressure involved but it is very slight , it is about the same amount of effort required to lean your elbow on a table top.

The pressure that the opponent feels should be coming from your stance , not excessive muscular force from your arms.
Aggressively pushing forward through your arms will only serve to 1. Tire you out , 2. Create tension that can be exploited by the opponent.
3. The aforementioned tension will also make it very difficult to keep up with any sudden changes in direction of the opponents attack , tense muscles are very slow to react.
4. Sort of related to 3 , pressing forward to hard compresses the nerves in your wrists/forearm and can make it more difficult to actually feel anything from the opponent except your own brute strength pushing forward.

Just use a slight relaxed pressure from the elbows , and as long as your hands spring forward immediately the instant his counter force is suddenly taken away then you are on the right track.

You should be able to do chi sau for many hours without fatigue , if you can't do that , then you are doing it wrong.
 

geezer

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Could it be he's a teacher wanna be ... shows lack of experience and understanding of basic Chi Sao concept.

Could be. Or maybe he has some differences in his WC background. As LFJ's post shows, there are significant differences in approach depending on lineage.

In my group, often the lower level students use a heavier forward pressure (or "spring") because they are still not capable of responding correctly when they try to be very "light" or "soft". I believe it is better for them to use a bit more "spring" and respond to the pressure they actually receive than to pretend to be very very light and start imagining energies and openings that are not there.

Again this varies by lineage, school and individual. Xue, please post back and let us know what your sifu has to say on this.
 
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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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Piedmontchun is correct...except that his example is / may be specific to his lineage or kwoon etc.
Again, force or pressure is used regardless of tai chi or wing chun. Even the simple act of raising your hand up from the side of your leg to form a tan or fook or whatever....uses muscle.

Never said not using muscle, actually he said "he" was not using muscle.... which was another point of contention. I've done taiji a long time, with the MA still intact (that is my lineage). Like I said; he was not the teacher, he wants to be the teacher. The teacher was not there that day, but I have done chi sau with the teacher and had no issue or been told I'm not pushing hard enough or not engaging. I also know if there is no movement nothing happens, this was not force to move this was force just to stay still.

Also this is not my first time at the Wing Chun Rodeo... this is the first time I have had to give that much pressure. However I have never got past Sil lum Tao. This is however a different lineage than my first one was Ip Ching this one comes from Leung Sheung
 

wtxs

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Could be. Or maybe he has some differences in his WC background. As LFJ's post shows, there are significant differences in approach depending on lineage.

In my group, often the lower level students use a heavier forward pressure (or "spring") because they are still not capable of responding correctly when they try to be very "light" or "soft". I believe it is better for them to use a bit more "spring" and respond to the pressure they actually receive than to pretend to be very very light and start imagining energies and openings that are not there.

Again this varies by lineage, school and individual. Xue, please post back and let us know what your sifu has to say on this.

As the OP had stated "the guy who wants to be the teacher" is in the same group under the same Sifu, how is his Chi Sao drastically different from his class mate, Xue and his teacher? Lineage differences is not an issue here that I can see. It does bring up the big question of why he has the need of more pressure from Xue in order to "feel" the intend.

Xue did not mentioned he had the some encounter with others within the same class, so I can't say it's an instructional problem.

@ Geezer - If this person was to be in your group, would he be classed as in the "lower level" student rank? While lacking the experience/skill and understanding of more (in-depth) than basic Chi Sao concepts, would he be allowed to instruct others?

This just my view ... but I'm more inclined to agree with Mook on his take.
 

Cephalopod

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this was not force to move this was force just to stay still.

This is the dead give-away that, regardless of lineage or personal style, what the (hopefully not) teacher-to-be was showing you is, in strict wing chun parlance, dumb-assinine.

As everyone has pointed out, a certian kind of forward intention should always be there. I visualize the waist-up portion as a kind of "inflation", like my elbow is driven by a gentle inflation of the body to fill in any holes that my arms encounter. Imagined inflation, I should clarify, not literally huffing breath :)

But however you generate your forward tension you need to ask why are you generating forward tension?

If you have a tan-sao contacting his fuk-sao, nothing magical is going on, your arm has simply crossed with your opponents, with his on outside and yours on the inside. 3 things can happen (yes, a gross simplification):
1. If his structure or tension isn't there, your forward tension will cause your tan-sao hand to go sailing into his face. This is good.
2. If his fuk-sao hand explodes forward into a punch and you have no forward tension, your structure will collapse like a buckling bridge and you will get hit. This is bad.
3. If his fuk-sao hand explodes forward into a punch and you have do have good, alive forward tension, your tan will either divert the punch to your outside or the punch will cause your tan to roll into bong and divert the punch to your inside, depending on which side of your center the punch was coming. This is chi-sao.

But all of this assumes movement, whether explosive or inquisitive.

If at any point you find yourself using strength, even if it is a well-vectored tension, just to maintain a static position, then you are training yourself to freeze and bind up during combat.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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He continued to tell me to put more pressure in my fuk sao or my tan sao so he could feel that I was engaged.

In Taiji push hands, what will happen if you use your Peng Jin on your opponent's arm? Your opponent will either

- use his Peng Jin to against you, or
- yield into you.

In both cases, you can borrow his respond force, and take advantage on it. Of course it assumes that your opponent won't borrow your initial Peng Jin and take advantage on it first.

Do you prefer to:

- "wait" for something to happen? or
- "make" something to happen?
 

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