View Full Version : Strategy within Chi Sau

Sean Madigan
08-31-2000, 10:10 PM
Hi All,

How do you determine the best route to hit your opponent within the structure of Chi Sau?

Do you have a strategy? Do you just flow? I know that most WC/JKD practitioners tend to say they flow, but then you touch hands with them, and you can almost 'see' them thinking of what to do next.

I would be lying if I said I didn't have some form of strategy, I do. Yes, sometimes the hand 'just hits by itself' but more often then not, I feel something, and I then try to use what I feel.

As an example, I may feel that the opponent/training partner has poor structure in his fook sau position, I then do what I can do to capitize on that poor structure. That is strategy. When I mention this to some people, I get "No, you should just hit"...or "You should NOT be thinking at all"...that kind of stuff.

Better yet are the guys that just speak in 'maxims'. You know them, you ask them a question and they look at you knowingly with a "you poor dumb *******" look on there face and say "Ahhh..Receive what comes, follow what goes..blah, blah, blah" Come on, what kind of answer is that?

Thanks for any help you can share.

BIG Sean Madigan

[This message has been edited by Sean Madigan (edited 09-01-2000).]

08-31-2000, 11:59 PM
It varies with me. I have a good friend that I work out with constantly. He and I know each other's chi sau very well. With him I must strategize. With someone that I am less familiar with I tend to rely more on feeling what they are doing so I can exploit them.

09-01-2000, 11:50 AM
Hi sean, Just curious to what linnage you are from?
When we practice chi Sau we are constantly changing partners every few minutes or so. This lets us not get use to training with the same partner all the time. This also I think applies to your problem. When I approach one of my fellow students before we start in the back of my mind I am thinking of what he is like and how he works in acordance to my abilities, and I dont think it is a good idea to do so though.
But still these quick changes gets you out of thinking and trying to adapt to people!

09-01-2000, 01:48 PM
the whole point of chi-sao is to capitize on poor structure. you should not go into anything expecting what they are going to do. if the person is rolling proberly the only way to do the traps and punches is if they do something wrong or you make them do something wrong. chi- sao is not to teach you how to fight. the chain punch teaches you that. chi-sao teaches you how to get out of situations you shouldnt be in with instinctive reaction.ie both arms pressed against your opponents arms, much better to tan punch or fuk punch then chain.
the only time i go into chi-sao trying to do something is when i need to learn something.
but thats only my ideas
see ya

09-01-2000, 03:33 PM
My goal of doing chi sao is to get "out" of chi sao.

By that, I mean trying to extricate myself from the sticking situation that'll imperil me with my lack of mass and short arms.

I can do "straight" standing chi sao, but I prefer to do "disintegrating" chi sao which doesn't remain rooted in a stationary position, uses the entirety of my body (legs, head, shoulders, back, butt). The whole point of chi sao is to degenerate into a free-fighting situation using total control.

Either way, I tend to adhere to Siu Lum Tao principles all the way through. Everything I've ever needed to take on anybody in chi sao (including Wing Chun sifus who've practiced the arts longer than I've been alive) was contained in Siu Lum Tao.

09-01-2000, 04:28 PM
Hello All,

I would just like to interject a couple of things here, hope no one minds /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

IMHO, the "purpose" of Chi Sau is to teach one how to deal with energy of differing natures and to hone ones sensitivity. Chi Sau is NOT a fighting exercise. There are portions of the training which will look like and even mimick actual fighting but the goal is again the reaction to the energy given by the opponent. Too often today people do Chi Sau and try to hit the opponent. This is wrong, IMO, because you are conentrating on just one aspect. You also are focusing your mind on the goal of hitting or not being hit. Once you have set you mind on a specific aspect you have pushed aside the sensitivity portion of the training and the many benefits you can gain.

Now, as to Seans original question here are a few thoughts;
When I practice Chi Sau I would idealy have nothing in my head. No thoughts just a blank screen. I would try to go on auto-pilot and simply react to the energy given to me. Still, I am human and often do have thoughts. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif
There are various methods of performing Chi Sau and if you wish to you could view each as having a different strategy;
You can do Chi Sau with a strong forward pressure. With this method you are going in with the goal of executing a strong forward force which will move in as soon as the opponenets nuetralizing force is too weak or there is a hole in his defenses. I think Bruce Lee liked this method and the developement of this type of force is part of the basis for the inner-tube exercises developed by Jesse Glover. This method will develope strong fighters and give you a great deal of forward energy to give to the opponent. However, against someone with greater sensitivity, the focus on power may allow you to be swallowed or drawn in and destroyed.
Another method is to use a very light touch with very little pressure. The goal here would be to feel everything your opponenet gives you without giving him anything to work with himself.
Now, when doing Chi Sau you can utilize various "strategies" /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif You can try to draw your partner in and have him lose his balance, or draw him up on his toes or even go side to side. The thing to kep in mind is that this is a learning experience and an exercise, not fighting.
IMHO, one of the best ways to develope ones sensitivity is the Dan Chi exercise. This allows one to concentrate fully on one arm and learn from just that one area of input.

Well, I hope some may find the above useful. I just wanted to get across that Chi Sau is different than fighting. If you alloow it to degnerate into a fight then you have lost already /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Chi Sau is a game. You can give your opponent energy in order to set him up for your next move or try to do this. It is a lot like chess.



09-01-2000, 10:48 PM
well said sihing
chi sao is a game & above all else it can almost be said that it is not even related to fighting.the only reason i would say this is because the moment you begin to relate it to fighting you have lost sight of what it is trying to teach you.when my sifu was first in hong kong he said there were many people who had excellent chi sao but were not that good when it came to fighting because they couldn't differentiate between the 2.
please understand the true importance of chi sao but never think that if you can wipe the floor with everyone at training it still may not mean you will be able to apply it on the streets unless you have been taught these differences or how it should be combined with real fighting.

09-01-2000, 11:02 PM
sorry i forgot to add my say on the original
when first learning to play chi sao it is fine to have stratagies & think of what technics you may want to use but if inevitably you don't do it on feeling alone then it's really of no benifit whatsoever.
sorry sean, but i have to say that i know you practice jkd & that sticking hands is modified to suite but without finding a good wing chun teacher & spending some quality time with him you will be lucky if you can ever gain the true benifits of chi sao.
i have nothing against jkd but that's just the way it is & the only reason i say that is because if you were to travel around & look at some of the wing chun schools you would see that they are having enough trouble grasping it's true function themselves & they are supposed to be concentrating on wing chun soley.
good luck anyway

sifu dan
09-14-2000, 03:31 AM
i agree,sean,how do jkd guys do ch sau and lop sau,and not practice the forms. also forms can not be learned from a tape. the movement can,but you will never undertand the system. i started a little jkd recently,luckily i have already been doing silat ,kali chun,and grappling,for years. i learned these other arts from start to finish. of course kobody culd learn all these and be great at them all,but i understand these arts enough to see what is going on in jkd,teaching is hard,i foud myself having a much harder timegetting people competant at wing chun,tha at boxing,grappling,etc. wing chun is all about the principles.as far as chi sau,i do have basic concieved ideas,as if the guys elbow s out,i hit. but against a god guy,you have to make a move to make him react,so you can capitalize on his energy.there are only so many ways a guy can react to apush,or a pull,or another energy. in essense,goo wing chun guys can lead you to open yourself,so they are thinking aheadTHEN feeling your reaction.and chi sau is applied in fighting,when a guys hands are to fast for you,you must stick,if not,what do you do?get ht,or tackle the guy?no ,wing chuns superiority lies in its priciples of sticking. yes,i agree to many people think chi sau is the answer to all,it is not.but it does have its place in fighting. hey sean,im in ny also

09-14-2000, 06:44 AM
Hi Sifu Dan,

Out of curiousity do the guys that do Wing Chun without forms like, Gaulo, know how to do Chi Sau or do you think they are lacking? Forms are a nice tool and provide a systematic appraoch to training but they are only reflections of the concepts found within the system. In other words I am saying that you can learn Wing Chun without knowing "forms". You can also learn to apply different principles within Chi Sau without knowing the forms. The forms will aide you in leanring and give you a nice frame of reference but there are those who do well without them.

One last question; do you think the fighting techniques came first or do you think the forms came afterwards?

This is not an attack but an attempt to point out another perspective.



sifu dan
09-19-2000, 12:11 AM
hey sihing,im not sure about the question. i guess that both are valid reality. i know you can learn to fight without chi sau,but your sensetivity will be lacking. i also feel thqat some guys have learned chi sau only,and not the forms,and got very gpood at chi sau. some jkd guys never learned the forms,and have good chi sau. but most that i have rolled with have not been good,because of lacking the details of position stressed in the form. so i guess its a yes-no answer. also,the mainland stuff i learned,did have forms.i believe the san sau tech cme first,then the forms. it is purely speculative o my part. alot of fights i had,or saw,wer ended with tan da,or pak da followed by a chain punchand kicks. the mainland stuff i saw was much more direct than hongkong. the drills always went for throat or eyes,etc.i love them both,however,like my friend said,(a praying mantis master)the wing chun forms make your body very stiff.and i hated to admit it,but our forms are kinda stiff,even when done smoothly.i like the mainland for this also,there were more triangle steps in biu gee,and etc. i defenitely think the fihting techn came first,then the forms.i hope this helps

09-19-2000, 02:07 AM
>>>>IMHO, the "purpose" of Chi Sau is to teach one how to deal with energy of differing natures and to hone ones sensitivity. Chi Sau is NOT a fighting exercise. There are portions of the training which will look like and even mimick actual fighting but the goal is again the reaction to the energy given by the opponent. Too often today people do Chi Sau and try to hit the opponent. This is wrong, IMO, because you are conentrating on just one aspect. You also are focusing your mind on the goal of hitting or not being hit. Once you have set you mind on a specific aspect you have pushed aside the sensitivity portion of the training and the many benefits you can gain.

Once again, I am amazed at Sihing73's ability to articulate the truth about Wing Chun.
When I was a newbie at Chi Sau, I thought the goal was to try and hit your opponent as much as possible while defending yourself. It wasn't until a year later that I learned that it was all actually about honing your sensitivity and learning to deal with energy and angles.
This aspect of Wing Chun is just as important as full-contact training, but it should be kept seperate from actual combat training.

09-20-2000, 04:28 AM
Hi Sifu Dan,

I think that the problem with most people in the performance of Chi Sau is a lack of ingraining the basics and plain laziness. For example when rolloing from Taun to Bong and back many people will withdraw the Taun. This allows the opponent to take advantage and take the line. Also, many people will allow their elbows to drift from center thus giving another opening. One of the best exercises for learning and perfecting Chi Sau is the Dan Chi exercise. By allowing one to focus exclusively on one arm at a time a person can insure that they are mainting proper structure and form. Once they are able to do well with one arm then they should move onto Poon Sau. Again, slow relaxed movements int he beginning are best for maintaining proper structure. Your upper body should remain loose and relaxed without the jerky forward and back movements which many seem to do. The biggest mistake, IMO, is for the early student to try to put any power into the movements. Often this comes from a desire not to be hit. The person tenses up and gets tired too easy thus losing his structure and form. If you practice and get used to being hit, lightly of course /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif then you will be able to accept it and relax. Once you are able to relax you will find your Chi Sau improving whether you practice forms or not. In the end you should have a free-flowing exchange where it does not matter what is given as you only react.

HI Jojitsu27,

Thank you for the kind words. Again, I can only credit my instructors with any knowledge I have gained. I was lucky enough to find those willing to point me on the right path and guide me. I assure you that nothing I have said has not been said before by someone else. Sometimes, we learn by example and other times we strike out on our own and learn by doing. I have had the privelige of being able to do both. However, I have recently discoverd other aspects of the art which are taking almost all of my time. Believe me, it is a humbling experience to think you are good and then meet someone able to treat you like a child. I have had to choose between being a big fish in a small pond, so to speak and resuming the role of a novice with the hope of one day becoming good. So far I am happy with being a novie again. My past experiences are helpful but I have more to learn than to teach.