View Full Version : sensitivity and friction

kungfu cowboy
05-10-2001, 07:02 AM
Howdy! Ok, so wing chun relies on sensitivity and forward pressure. Usually seen during chi sau, etc, which is usually practiced with bare forearms. This skin on skin contact coupled with forward intent, allows you to "read" the opponent, and attack when there is an opening sensed, etc. But this only applies with DRY forearms that produce fricton! What happens to your wing chun skills when there is very little friction because of sweating, or when wearing long sleeves or Eskimo parkas? When super lubed do you just hit? Same when heavily clothed? Do these conditions severely weaken wing chun's efficacy?

"Gimme a break, now I'm eatin' the cake!"-excerpt from the "Gimme a Break!" theme, as sung by Nel Carter. (circa the early 80's)

05-10-2001, 07:12 AM
From my rather limited experience wing chun's sensetivity works fine in long sleves, coats, jackets, and sweat. There's a realy good explaination of how somewhere in the archives. I'll try to track it down.

05-10-2001, 08:48 AM
I don't do wing chun, but I understand how the sensitivity feels. It works all the time, regardless of what you are wearing or if you are sweating. Once you have any contact, you can feel what your opponent will do.

You have no chance to survive - make your time.

05-10-2001, 01:08 PM

The concept of Chi Sau applies to the entire body not just to the arms. Many people make the mistake of becoming over reliant on the feeling in the arms and stop there.

Wing Chun Chi Sau is all about energy and how one utilizes and reacts to this energy. You learn to use footwork and your body structure in order to utilize the opponenets energy. At first this is taught with only the arms however once the concept is grasped it is expanded to use the entire body. Once you realize this you will find that it does not matter what you are wearing, whether you are sweating or not.

Chi Sau is a difficult concept to grasp. It must be felt in order to be explained. In the past, and today also ;) , people have watched and video taped Chi Sau inb order to copy it. They got the movements but not the root :( In order to truly grasp the concept of CHi Sau one must experieince it. Kind of like trying to explain the color Red to a Blind Man or the Sound of Music to a Deaf man. The idea may be grasped, but only to an extent. To truly understand the color Red one must SEE it. Likewise Videos of Chi Sau can aide one in Learning but only if one has someone to guide them with actually touching of hands. Chi Sau can be improved with videos and boards such as this, but only if one has already been trained in the fundamentals and has access to someon who can "touch hands" with them to facilitate the application of anything observed.



05-10-2001, 06:49 PM
Like most things in Wing Chun, Chi Sao has many functions and many levels. And although Chi Sao translates to Sticky Hands, Chi also translates to energy. In the begining stages, chi sao teaches you to sense your opponents structure and movement, but in later stages it is your opponents energy and intention. This energy can be sensed through clothes or sweat. And at it's highest level it can be sensed without any contact at all.

In our school we do a drill where we are doing chi sao and we think of an attack without doing it to teach the other person to sense an energy change. Chi is lead by the mind and in thinking of an attack, the chi will automatically go to that area even if there is no physical change.

And no, don't ask me to demonstrate it. For me the higher stages are still a goal.

05-10-2001, 07:52 PM
"Like most things in Wing Chun, Chi Sao has many functions and many levels. And although Chi Sao translates to Sticky Hands, Chi also translates to energy."

This is a misconception. Chi means sticky in Cantonese. Qi (chi) is the Mandarin word for air (energy). You don't get a lot of cross-pollination of words between the two languages, so don't expect a native Cantonese speaker to believe you when you try to convince them that "chi sao" translates to "energy hands." :)

You are correct in that chi sao does have many levels and that the energy play comes into the picture.

Nian/chi(sticky) (http://zhongwen.com/d/194/d72.gif)

Qi/Hei(air) (http://zhongwen.com/d/174/d240.gif)

05-10-2001, 08:40 PM
durian ....... Perhaps you could clear this up a little further for me. Obviously I am not a native Cantonese speaker so I rely on what I am told. About a year ago I brought a caligraphy into work. A co-worker that is a native Cantonese speaker and is from Hong Kong told me that it can mean "sticky" or "breath/air" or "energy". Is this incorrect?

05-10-2001, 10:20 PM
I would have to see the character to tell. Look at the two links I included above for more info.

Celestial Amiboshi
05-10-2001, 10:28 PM

I don't practice Wing Chun and I'm not familiar with any of this Chi Sau business, so I can only share my own experiences. You don't even need to have any physical contact in order to sense your opponents energy, so it really doesn't matter what they're wearing. Even though I've only been involved with the martial arts for two months, this is one area in which I naturally excel, since I am a naturally gifted Empath. For example, I have had the displeasure of sparring one time and have found I could easily sense when and how someone will attack, though it did me little good because I wasn't skilled/fast enough to avoid it half the time.

"If it cannot hatch from it's shell, the chick will die without ever truly being born. We are the chick; the world is our egg. If we don't break the world's shell, we will die without truly being born. Smash the world's shell, for the Revolution of the World!"

05-11-2001, 05:17 PM
I thought this was about how to spend
a saturday night. :D
my mistake!

05-13-2001, 04:13 AM
ROTFLMAO @ mikey :D

You have no chance to survive - make your time.

kungfu cowboy
05-13-2001, 08:18 AM

mun hung
05-13-2001, 06:22 PM
Wow! What's going on here? Chi sau in Eskimo parkas and sensing attacks thru chi energy??? Since when does dry or sweaty arms make any difference at all when your chi sau is practiced correctly?

I don't get it. Do you wish to chi sau with a partner wearing long sleeves or coats, or are you going to ask someone on the street to fight you by beginning in chi sau?

If you could easily sense when and how an attack was coming why could'nt you defend yourself against it or at least move away from it? Why was sparring such a displeasure to you? I'm really not trying to be rude. I'm really just curious.

First off, chi sau is an "exercise" that teaches you how to cover possible openings in your structure, attacks and trapping at close range. With a partner this "exercise" helps to build your sensitivity thru feeling energy and feeling the openings in your own, or your partners structure. Obviously, there are many other benefits that would take too long to type, but I hope you get the picture.

Chi sau in cantonese means "sticky hands".

kungfu cowboy
05-13-2001, 09:14 PM
Hi mun hung! I was just curious as to opinions on how different kinds of contact barriers (sweat, eskimo parkas, etc) would effect wing chun in general, which relies pretty heavily on the sensitivity gained during chi sau. I figured if dry bare arm is the optimal situation, changes in this might effect your wing chun ability. How is that weird? :confused:

mun hung
05-14-2001, 03:15 AM
Cowboy, I'm sorry if I came off as being rude with you. The way I see it is that if both practitioners are using foward force towards the center in the "exercise" there will still be a sticking point even if your arms are sweaty. As far as parkas are concerned - I would'nt chi sau with one on, nor would I try fighting someone in a chi sau position at all. I can still punch, kick and hand trap with a parka on.

...and that's all I've got to say about that - Forest Gump

kungfu cowboy
05-14-2001, 03:35 AM
mun hung, sorry if I gave the impression that I thought you were being rude! :)

05-14-2001, 07:59 AM
i think most people get the sensitivity bit wrong. chi sao does not suddenly make new nerves grow. the best way i found to explain it like a computer. you put all the data in(ie round punch do this/ force sideways go forward) and eventually you learn to do certain things in certain stituations.sort of like he does this then you do that. your whole body feels the force not just your arms.

mun hung
05-14-2001, 09:53 AM
May the force be with you!

05-14-2001, 04:42 PM
I asked my sifu the same thing, if we practiced chi sau on bare skin how would that change if we were wearing coats.

He said that we practice barearm to 'prime the pump' so to speak, to teach our minds to be aware with more senses than just vision. He said that as training progresses, there is a gestalt of sensory perception that becomes 'intuition', creating/developing a new sense that is greater than the individual senses or their sum.

So, when we have trained to that level, this 'intuitive sensing' is not blocked by clothing, or lack of vision, or deafness, or even, ultimately, lack of physical contact :)