Saving Wing Chun by Eliminating Chi Sau

Gerry Seymour

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When you teach your student how to make arm contact, if you student asks you, "How can I avoid it?"

What will be your respond?
That depends whether there's a reason (within the context of what I teach) to avoid it or not. If the system needs that contact (or at the very least always seeks it), then the answer could be, "Don't. Use it when it's given to you. It's a gift."
 

Callen

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Geezer this post is in your honor, happy belated birthday by the way!

The question has been asked "What does Wing Chun need in the 21st century?" My answer, eliminate Chi Sau or at least minimize its "importance" as a litmus into the efficacy of martial prowess. My questions to Chunners everywhere is:

1. Do you truly believe that Chi Sau is the "Key" to making Wing Chun work?

2. If Chi Sau is really such an effective training process why don't arts like Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling or Jujutsu (all arts that have proven themselves effective in sport and street fighting) adopt the method?

3. For all those that say "Chi Sau isn't fighting", then why act like it is and put such emphasis on it as to make it integral to the functionality of the art?

Let the sh!t show begin! Geezer you're welcome, lol.

The purpose of Chi Sau can vary between any given curriculum, school or group depending on their interpretation and overall intended goals. The methods in which a practitioner utilizes Chi Sau can in-turn shape their knowledge and use of the system in general.

Chi Sau is not exclusively for trapping or sticking (sensitivity) to an opponents arms, it is also trained to free the arms from obstructions and maintain the attack. Chi Sau develops automatic responses and reflexes for getting back to the center-line when blocked out or entangled by an attack. All of this compliments the idea of Lat Sau Jik Chung, influencing how the system is implemented as a whole.

Training Chi Sau can also be viewed as a way to let the opponent show you how to hit them. It is also often thought of as fixing a problem of access and not gaining an advantage of control. It is paramount to chase the center and never chase hands, Chi Sau should always develop the instinct to chase the center-line and take position.

IMO, these are key attributes to fully understanding the system. No serious Wing Chun practitioner should ever really consider eliminating them... no matter what century it is.
 

Gerry Seymour

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The purpose of Chi Sau can vary between any given curriculum, school or group depending on their interpretation and overall intended goals. The methods in which a practitioner utilizes Chi Sau can in-turn shape their knowledge and use of the system in general.

Chi Sau is not exclusively for trapping or sticking (sensitivity) to an opponents arms, it is also trained to free the arms from obstructions and maintain the attack. Chi Sau develops automatic responses and reflexes for getting back to the center-line when blocked out or entangled by an attack. All of this compliments the idea of Lat Sau Jik Chung, influencing how the system is implemented as a whole.

Training Chi Sau can also be viewed as a way to let the opponent show you how to hit them. It is also often thought of as fixing a problem of access and not gaining an advantage of control. It is paramount to chase the center and never chase hands, Chi Sau should always develop the instinct to chase the center-line and take position.

IMO, these are key attributes to fully understanding the system. No serious Wing Chun practitioner should ever really consider eliminating them... no matter what century it is.
What other ways can those attributes be trained?
 

Callen

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What other ways can those attributes be trained?
That could sponsor a completely different debate of course, but those attributes are the mothership of Wing Chun. They are main concepts that are apparent throughout the entire system, trained and honed constantly. Everything we do is in the name of making these attributes more effective.
 

Gerry Seymour

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That could sponsor a completely different debate of course, but those attributes are the mothership of Wing Chun. They are main concepts that are apparent throughout the entire system, trained and honed constantly. Everything we do is in the name of making these attributes more effective.
I think I was being unintentionally indirect. My point was that if those are fundamental to WC, then they were likely being trained in many ways (as you replied here), so removing one exercise likely wouldn't remove any of those attributes - you'd just have to make sure you had them properly balanced in other exercises.

Though, frankly, I like the concept of chi sau. I've done a vaguely similar exercise in Aikido training for some (not all) of the same reasons. I suspect the issue is more a matter of balancing areas of training, rather than a need to eliminate a specific drill.
 

geezer

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[/QUOTE]
Squirrel Alert! Am I the only one with a weird reaction to the uniform tops in the photo above???

A former co-worker of mine, a teacher at the same High School, was the daughter of a nazi concentration camp survivor. On one occasion, she brought her father's old concentration camp uniform to show her class and raise awareness about the Holocaust. Her father had kept it all those years as it was what he was wearing when the camp was liberated and at that moment was his only possession left in the world. This is what it looked like:
_107053666_74095.jpg


Yeah, and it was even the same color. Kinda grey with darker grey-blue stripes. Talk about a really unfortunate coincidence. Yikes!
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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My primary long fist system doesn't have this kind of training. My long fist teacher didn't teach me this. I believe my long fist teacher's teacher didn't teach him this either. If I can re-live my life all over again, I will spend more time in this kind of training than in the solo form training. IMO, every single hour that one can spend in this kind of training, he will get good benefit from it.

I don't like 2 men form. I do like 2 men drill. For any striking art system, what other kind of training can be more important than this?

 
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geezer

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I think I was being unintentionally indirect. My point was that if those are fundamental to WC, then they were likely being trained in many ways (as you replied here), so removing one exercise likely wouldn't remove any of those attributes - you'd just have to make sure you had them properly balanced in other exercises....

If you did that -i.e. eliminated chi-sau and used other methods to train the same concepts, you could still have a good fighting system, but IMO it wouldn't be Wing Chun. It would be like training Shotokan or TKD and eliminating all kata. You would have a different art.

Now on the other hand, different WC groups train chi-sau very differently. And frankly, I'm getting kinda fed-up with the way some of the groups in my own lineage train it. But that doesn't mean I reject chi-sau in general as a key training method, along with paired drills, forms, and sparring.
 

Flying Crane

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My primary long fist system doesn't have this kind of training. My long fist teacher didn't teach me this. I believe my long fist teacher's teacher didn't teach him this either. If I can re-live my life all over again, I will spend more time in this kind of training than in the solo form training. IMO, every single hour that one can spend in this kind of training, he will get good reward from it.

For any striking art system, what other kind of training can be more important than this?

It is a useful tool, among many useful tools. Forms are also a useful tool, among many useful tools. The key is, use a variety of tools to balance your training and develop your skills.

You have a tendency to present things as an all or none choice. I dont understand why you do this. Reality does not work this way.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you did that -i.e. eliminated chi-sau and used other methods to train the same concepts, you could still have a good fighting system, but IMO it wouldn't be Wing Chun.
This is why we should add things in and not take things out.

boxing + kicking = kick boxing
kick boxing + throw = Sanda
Sanda + ground game = MMA

A + B > A
 

Danny T

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Forms = the cliff notes of the system. Study form only your art will be lacking
Drills = help develop the attributes needed to function as well as to understand range, timing, cadence, rhythm, angles, proper use of footwork, entries, countering, re-countering, set-up, primary attacks, contingencies, and follow ups plus many other needs for physical movement for fighting.
Exercises = conditioning and strengthening the body.
Free Movement training = shadow boxing or equivalent
Padwork and bag work for power, targeting, movement and conditioning.
Restricted Sparring = Working specific parts of your game.
Technical Sparring = playing to put it all together with resistance, speed, and not knowing what is coming at you or when.
Hard Sparring = Hard sparring (should be limited, too much gets people burnt or damaged)
Weapons work.
Scenario work, multiple opponent work, different environment work.

All of the above important aspects for a complete program of training.
 

Flying Crane

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This is why we should add things in and not take things out.

boxing + kicking = kick boxing
kick boxing + throw = Sanda
Sanda + ground game = MMA

A + B > A
Adding things can violate methodology and consistency. It can also make the system cumbersome and unwieldy and in-practiceable. While it can be an improvement, It is not automatically an improvement. It is not always a good idea.

Martial systems were created by people, not gods. They had the same failures and faults as you and I and all people. Not everything put into a martial system was a good idea. Some things would be better eliminated. It depends on what that thing is, and in what context.

Adding things is not always good. Eliminating things is not always bad.

A+B is not always > A. It depends on what A is and what B is.
 

Danny T

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I see forms as more than cliff notes. Maybe more like a text book.
I used to think as such or maybe a catalog of movements/techniques. However, over the years and with deeper understanding I realized not everything is in the forms but most all is referenced within them therefore, I see forms more as cliff notes or memory minders to much more than is presented.
 

drop bear

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Just like there are different intensities of sparring, chi sau is done at different intensities as well...at least it should be.

I think this video is a good indication that chi sau is an effective means for increasing fighting skills.


That teaches a lot of bad habits along with the good ones.

Not favoring head movement and lateral footwork.
 
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