One thing that separates Wing Chun from other martial arts is Chi Sao (Sau) also known as Sticky Hands.
However there is also a ton of controversy around Chi Sao. I think a reason for this is people not understanding what sticky hands is actually used for.
While Chi Sao looks fancy it isn’t actually effective to use sticky hands when you are in a fight. The reason is because when you are practicing Wing Chun’s sensitivity training game you are playing by rules.
Rules that don’t exist during a street fight nor do they exist in standard competitions.
So What Is Chi Sao?
Chi Sao helps a person bridge the gap between understanding and applying techniques. Chi Sao is a dynamic exercise. It starts off in a fixed position but quickly changes to more fluid movements once the practitioners get rolling. It’s hard to tell what exactly is going on by watching.
This is because it (chi sau) is a training tool to teach a person sensitivity under stressful conditions. While you can feel what is going on, often times it’s hard to visually see what is happening.
It takes years of experience to truly see what the energy is doing. Chi Sao is also called sticky hands because the idea is once you make contact with your opponent you want to feel like you are stuck to their arms.
Chi Sao can be played many different ways and you can incorporate different rules depending on who you are training with and what goals you set for the training session.
For some people the idea of actually getting hit isn’t something they look forward too. While other folks are looking for that adrenaline rush. So the game itself can be at whatever level you are comfortable playing at.
I have played with people who flinch if I raise my voice and I have played people who don’t acknowledge a hit until they are feeling pain and everything in between.
Through consistent practice your body will learn to become fluid moving between techniques.
Chi Sao Is Not Fighting But…
It’s the closest thing to fighting that you can do in your Wing Chun training. With some people the intensity that they play Chi Sao can feel like they are fighting. In fact through the process of practicing with different people you will find moments where you can have an adrenaline dump.
It’s actually good to have them while you are training because you can work on teaching your body how to respond effectively during stressful scary situations.
There is nothing worse than being in a violent situation and freezing up like a deer in headlights.
One of my favorite ways of training Chi Sao is “No Peak or Blind Folded. Here is myself and one of my students practicing no peak Chi Sao..
The idea behind it is practicing feeling and reading your opponents intentions. Chi Sao is an amazing training aid that helps you bridge the gap between not fighting and fighting.
This is just one of the ways we have here for you at Enter Shaolin to help you develop your sensitivity skill.
Have you played Chi Sao Before? If so what has your experience been like?