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Thread: Chi Sao; donít over work the mind (strong stance)Ö

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    Chi Sao; donít over work the mind (strong stance)Ö

    Here is a question that someone asked me on my site…

    How can one begin or start too understand forward sensitivity, and stay very relaxed when energy is being pushed towards you, as you explained in an article on your website?

    First of all, you must understand the concept behind what you’re trying too accomplish… Well, in the case of chi sao you should have had that understood in the SLT system (don chi sao)…

    If you’re having trouble staying soft when playing chi sao, I suggest that you really begin to explore the don chi sao within your wing chun structure, if the mechanics of the don chi sao never promotes redirection through complete softness and sensitivity, then I suggest try another structure until you can find a way too naturalize or redirected energy through complete softness and sensitivity…

    The main thing is too make sure that the mind is not over worked, meaning that your overall structure dealing with forward sensitivity must stay connected to the your stance, and your upper and lower extremities must stay connected to the floor through your stance…

    If there’s no strong connection as I mention just above, then the mind will become over worked and the hands will become tense or tight, then one will begin too fall off the track or the road that guides his structure directly to the right offensive and defensive line that needs to be occupied when under pressure, and if one just cant find it, then its a structure problem…

    Your chi sao structure must fit and work within your stance, just as the gears works within a watch, if the gears do not fit correctly within the watch, then one will never begin to understand what time it is… The concept of understanding true wing chun attacks is through timing and having a strong connection to the floor, by connecting the upper and lower extremities through you stance, it will help promote good softness and forward sensitivity; hence, very good defensive structure with very little thought pattern…

    The main key as far as the Woo Fai Ching system dealing with chi sao, is the fook sao… If one cannot master the understanding or ideal dealing with the fook sao, then he or she will always have trouble dealing with double line sensitivity, because in the start of you chi sao studies the fook sao is always misunderstood… Why? Because the fook sao do nothing but ride or should cling to structure, and the other side or arm cycles from tan to bong; in other words that side have something too do, in which helps keeps the mind pre-occupied while almost losing the ideal or mechanics dealing with the fook sao… Just master of try to understand the mechanics of the fook sao through total softness and forward sensitivity, then I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for…

    The more one can control his fook sao through good forward sensitivity and line control, the softer and stronger his overall chi sao structure will become…


    Ali Rahim.
    Last edited by Ali. R; 04-09-2008 at 11:13 AM.

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    Lop-Sao grabbing hand

    How do you use the Lop-Sao in Chi Sao? When is it best to use and not to use and why so?
    我听见,我忘记;我看见,我记住;我做,我了解。
    I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand.

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    The lop sao is a funny thing, because its really good in giving someone instant gratification of achievement (Hey look what I can do!), a lop sao attack can turn into a bunch of superficial moves if your not careful…

    The reason why I don’t use the lop sao as a offensive measure often is; when attacking with a lop sao and too make it a money shot as well, you have to have great timing too pull it off, which is all good; but it’s a lot of work epically for the lazy mind… When having good line theory understood and in action means that your forward energy is working well, so there’s no reason why one should use a lop sao too change a line or whatever, you really don’t need to lop, epically if the lops your doing crosses your hands over each other…

    When making a lop; such as the bong lop or lop cycle, the hands crosses over each other for just a moment, if one has good timing one can trap his or her opponent just by punching over the top of their opponents lopping hand or using a bil jee thrush just barely touching their chest with a small but subtle movement, and while using lop sao attacks you’re actually making openings within your structure, because if one has good timing you could actually get hit right in the middle of that movement…

    You may said; ok then, what’s the deal with the lop: The lop sao is used too change the line of attack in the Woo W.C system, but we don’t make or force the line too happen when we lop, we change the line when it comes to us (opponents attacks or forward energy), and with good timing you can do that right in the middle of your opponents attack, but while learning the lop sao attacks, we execute it the opposite way (attacking) too gain good understanding or ideal of that particular lop technique…

    I was taught the best time to lop is when under attack, not when bridge contact is made because; if your upper and lower extremities are connected to the floor through a very good stance, then you should already have good defensive position through proper line understanding, why mess it up by running away from bridge contact or going to the outside, all one has too do is step in and jam or wedge your intent, when you break chi sao structure for a lop attack…

    Take care,


    Ali Rahim.
    Last edited by Ali. R; 04-14-2008 at 10:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ali. R View Post
    The lop sao is a funny thing, because its really good in giving someone instant gratification of achievement (Hey look what I can do!), a lop sao attack can turn into a bunch of superficial moves if your not careful…

    The reason why I don’t use the lop sao as a offensive measure often is; when attacking with a lop sao and too make it a money shot as well, you have to have great timing too pull it off, which is all good; but it’s a lot of work epically for the lazy mind… When having good line theory understood and in action means that your forward energy is working well, so there’s no reason why one should use a lop sao too change a line or whatever, you really don’t need to lop, epically if the lops your doing crosses your hands over each other…

    When making a lop; such as the bong lop or lop cycle, the hands crosses over each other for just a moment, if one has good timing one can trap his or her opponent just by punching over the top of their opponents lopping hand or using a bil jee thrush just barely touching their chest with a small but subtle movement, and while using lop sao attacks you’re actually making openings within your structure, because if one has good timing you could actually get hit right in the middle of that movement…

    You may said; ok then, what’s the deal with the lop: The lop sao is used too change the line of attack in the Woo W.C system, but we don’t make or force the line too happen when we lop, we change the line when it comes to us (opponents attacks or forward energy), and with good timing you can do that right in the middle of your opponents attack, but while learning the lop sao attacks, we execute it the opposite way (attacking) too gain good understanding or ideal of that particular lop technique…

    I was taught the best time to lop is when under attack, not when bridge contact is made because; if your upper and lower extremities are connected to the floor through a very good stance, then you should already have good defensive position through proper line understanding, why mess it up by running away from bridge contact or going to the outside, all one has too do is step in and jam or wedge your intent, when you break chi sao structure for a lop attack…

    Take care,


    Ali Rahim.
    What is your approach to Chi Sao as regards the mobility of the stance. The way I was taught to chi sao was to be mobile in my stance. That is by rolling the stance, steping in using the angles and walking through the opponent and chasing him as an opening presented itself. In turn the opponent having taken hits would establish a bridge and continuen the chi sao without stopping.

    It is important to note that we were told not to step back no matter what, but instead to absorb the incoming attack by rolling or angling. Stepping back was a big no,no.

    Is this a similar approach to what you teach/practice?
    Last edited by HardWork8; 04-15-2008 at 03:30 PM.

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    I like this post

    You obviously know what you’re talking about, and you’re right on point… We don’t step backwards also... Only in training, so one can get the feel of stepping without breaking chi sao contact... One should try to step one time and no more then two when working this chi sao drill... We will take one step back with just one leg; too adsorb the on coming force if we have too, the front leg is there too reminded the back leg too come back home or back to the front line, and we follow what goes but never chase our opponent, when they run let them run… I would like to think that you meant the word chase in the same terms as follow…

    Sometime we settle for that one step for absorption, most of the time its more then what we need…
    Wow, you’re really on your way, keep up the good training…


    Ali Rahim.
    Last edited by Ali. R; 04-16-2008 at 09:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ali. R View Post
    You obviously know what you’re talking about, and you’re right on point… We don’t step backwards also... Only in training, so one can get the feel of stepping without breaking chi sao contact...
    We are told not to step back even in combat, as this would meand giving ground to the opponent who can end up steamrolling us. Of course, there are times when one just has to make "a strategic withdrawal"


    Quote Originally Posted by Ali.R
    One should try to step one time and no more then two when working this chi sao drill...
    Sifu never gave us a limit of no more than two steps, but I understand what you are saying,as usuaslly by the second or 3rd step the training partner usually establishes a "new" bridge and flow of the Chi Sao continues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali.R
    We will take one step back with just one leg; too adsorb the on coming force
    That is exactly what we are taught to do when we are overwhelmed. That is to take one step back, gain control of the central line and continue to "roll".

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali.R
    if we have too[/B], the front leg is there too reminded the back leg too come back home or back to the front line, and we follow what goes but never chase our opponent, when they run let them run…
    I believe that I used the wrong term when I said "chase". What I should have said was continue striking contact while following the opponent. Of course, when contact is lost and the opponent is out of range,then the "chase" stops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali.R
    Wow, you’re really on your way, keep up the good training…
    Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Unfortunately for now most of my Wing Chun training is on my own as I have temporarily changed my country of residence. I do however train in an excellent non-Wing Chun school here in london.

    Fortunately, I will be seeing my Wing Chun sifu who will be visiting the UK to give a seminar on Siu Lam Wing Chun. I am looking forward to training with him every day while he is here.

    There is a good chance that in a few months time I will move back to Brasil and resume my full Wing Chun training.

    By the way, what is your lineage of Wing Chun?
    Last edited by HardWork8; 04-16-2008 at 10:19 AM.

  7. #7
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    When it strikes 'I' do not hit...'IT' hits all by 'IT'self - Enter the Dragon

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali. R View Post
    Here is a question that someone asked me on my siteÖ




    First of all, you must understand the concept behind what youíre trying too accomplishÖ Well, in the case of chi sao you should have had that understood in the SLT system (don chi sao)Ö

    If youíre having trouble staying soft when playing chi sao, I suggest that you really begin to explore the don chi sao within your wing chun structure, if the mechanics of the don chi sao never promotes redirection through complete softness and sensitivity, then I suggest try another structure until you can find a way too naturalize or redirected energy through complete softness and sensitivityÖ

    The main thing is too make sure that the mind is not over worked, meaning that your overall structure dealing with forward sensitivity must stay connected to the your stance, and your upper and lower extremities must stay connected to the floor through your stanceÖ

    If thereís no strong connection as I mention just above, then the mind will become over worked and the hands will become tense or tight, then one will begin too fall off the track or the road that guides his structure directly to the right offensive and defensive line that needs to be occupied when under pressure, and if one just cant find it, then its a structure problemÖ

    Your chi sao structure must fit and work within your stance, just as the gears works within a watch, if the gears do not fit correctly within the watch, then one will never begin to understand what time it isÖ The concept of understanding true wing chun attacks is through timing and having a strong connection to the floor, by connecting the upper and lower extremities through you stance, it will help promote good softness and forward sensitivity; hence, very good defensive structure with very little thought patternÖ

    The main key as far as the Woo Fai Ching system dealing with chi sao, is the fook saoÖ If one cannot master the understanding or ideal dealing with the fook sao, then he or she will always have trouble dealing with double line sensitivity, because in the start of you chi sao studies the fook sao is always misunderstoodÖ Why? Because the fook sao do nothing but ride or should cling to structure, and the other side or arm cycles from tan to bong; in other words that side have something too do, in which helps keeps the mind pre-occupied while almost losing the ideal or mechanics dealing with the fook saoÖ Just master of try to understand the mechanics of the fook sao through total softness and forward sensitivity, then Iím sure youíll find what youíre looking forÖ

    The more one can control his fook sao through good forward sensitivity and line control, the softer and stronger his overall chi sao structure will becomeÖ


    Ali Rahim.

    I find that knowing how the YI can be easily unsettled and continuity of awareness breaks down at certain points in the Chi Sao exercise makes me aware of how the vision and eyes can be fooled when dealing with such 'small intervals in time' and trying to look at fighting movements/energies. (funny how in high level martial arts discussion we speak of intervals and energies and such....kinda the same as when physicists and quantum mathematicians speak of intervals and time when dealing with the small things...). But this being what it is what are your thoughts on this, Sifu Rahim...
    It is a known fact that the hand is quicker than the eye. The hand can move faster than the eye can track. Just try to track a fastball from a pro or try to catch the slight of hand from a master Mage. This is also true in a fight. 'Its always the one that you dont see that gets you'. Kinda reminds me of the Kuen Kuit...'Good Wing Chun is felt but not seen.' Anyways, Chi Sao, being a sensitivity excersize, developes a way to track your opponents intentions with your own hands(Sao) so that you dont fall behind.
    This is why it is so important to get proper bridge contact immediately or to attack thier attack with a bridging movement to occupy space (Bil Gee). After that we maintain that range with moving stances and bridging(Chum Kil) in order to stay in the proper followthrough range. At this point we use the basic hand postures (SLT) to end the fight.
    Wing Chun as a training system teaches us from the inside out(SLT,CK,BG) but in the event of a fight we move outside in as I described earlier. This way...the closer we get to an opponent the more comfortable we should become.
    Chi Sao is the way we bring it all together. When an attack is engaged, natural reaction always gets our hands up and we make contact with something. If that 'shape' or 'energy' at that moment triggers the muscle memory of a trained and powerful technique and our followthrough is supported by the proper structure, then the art comes alive and there is no need to be caught up in the eyes.
    There is a Kuen Kuit that says something like ' Attack the emptiness '. This is not an emptiness in vision...its an emptiness in sensitivity and asking energy. How much asking energy do we need to activate Jing Lik and not overwork the mind(YI)? Well I remember some old masters of the Supreme Ultimate Fist saying something about 2 ounces of force. Once our Chi Sao senses a differential of 2 ounces either way our structure should adjust accordingly to neautralize, take over lines, support double arm control, etc. After all....WCK has a Taoist root does it not?

    If it takes only 2 ounces of force....then why worry about using muscle since its the muscles that tense up and slow us down when the mind is stressed?
    我听见,我忘记;我看见,我记住;我做,我了解。
    I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand.

  8. #8
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    The two ounces of force as you talked about only comes from a strong understanding of integrity structure… It’s the happy medium between structure and connection…

    Meaning when contact is made there will be emptiness between forward vector forces without losing overall structure, yours and your opponent’s…

    Your job is too feel or fill in that emptiness just as one does when playing with a sliding thumb puzzle, just with so very little energy and with strong structure awareness and body unity, operating within a very good strong stance…

    Using up to two ounces of force mentally, sometimes even less is more then enough, in which can actually stop an all out attack…


    Ali Rahim.
    Last edited by Ali. R; 06-08-2008 at 01:52 PM.

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    Thank you.. I don't get to ask these questions to just anyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali. R View Post
    The two ounces of force as you talked about only comes from a strong understanding of integrity structure… It’s the happy medium between structure and connection…

    Ali Rahim.
    As you are well versed in the CMA (Chinese Martial Arts) I would like your opinion on this....
    Would this 'happy medium' be anything at all like the 'silk reeling' energy of T'ai Ch'i Ch'uan Pushing/Sensing Hands? I was taught from my TCC Sifu years ago that the Silk Reeling was that soft and fragile 'continuity of technique or flow' that is the meduim of sensitivity itself. It was so fragile(like reeling a single strand of raw silk) that any disturbance or unsettling of the YI would break the flow just as any extra force too fast or tension would snap the strand of silk.

    I know I could be stretching it a bit here but I seem to see a lot of similar concepts when TRUE KNOWLEDGE is at the table. Especially when it deals with CMA. And I jump at any opportunity to clear up my own understanding of things.
    Last edited by Graychuan; 06-08-2008 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, writing an exact man!
    我听见,我忘记;我看见,我记住;我做,我了解。
    I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand.

  10. #10
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    He has taught you very well, as I have seen from your many tai chi students and skills… What you just explained and identify silk reeling in a metaphysical standpoint, wonderful for chi development and could also be applied in a martial standpoint …

    When working in a martial standpoint far as that very same concept (silk reeling), the body must stay very relaxed and work almost like a whip, but when contact is made there will be a emptiness within thought pattern or offensive and defensive structures, you must swallow forward vector force with forward sensitivity, just as one is silk reeling in a metaphysical standpoint…

    When using this concept (silk reeling in wing chun), you must execute within a one-inch or half-inch radius far as nullifying his intentions (defensively, with a two ounces jam), while welcoming and swallowing his forward vector force with consecutive integrity structure…


    Ali Rahim.
    Last edited by Ali. R; 06-08-2008 at 04:40 PM.

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    Blindfolded-not magic but an obvious and natural progression if one truly understands

    Thank you for this feedback. I have often wondered about the subtleties of Chi Sao like this and after getting this information I can now see why Blindfolded Chi-Sao is not that big of a deal. If one understands the concept and the art can come to life then its easy to see how being Blindfolded is just a natural progression in sensitivity. I think this is what I was trying to get at with 'not being caught up in the eyes.'

    If there is a true understanding of Chi Sao then the eyes are not the priority anyways since we know they will fall behind. I have seen some demos of Blindfolded Chi Sao in the Tube and although I am not knocking the skills of the peeps involved, I dont get my panties wet about it because it seems to me that if they learned correctly they should be able to do this anyways.

    Also I know you have it is a part of our training curriculum. I find it intersting that its a part of our regular curriculum and is available to all students who go through your curriculum properly but it seems like a show-stopper or an ace up the sleeve for peeps who want to put on shows.

    OOOOPS! I almost forgot...WE are the ones who get accused of putting on shows.
    我听见,我忘记;我看见,我记住;我做,我了解。
    I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand.

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