By far one of the funnest training drills you can do in Wing Chun Is Chi Sao. What makes it so much fun is it can be relaxing or intense as the 2 practitioners want it to be.
Here is a quick Chi Sao (sticky hands) training clip from a seminar we did.
There has been debates as to whether or not if Chi Sao demonstrates a persons ability to fight. Or if you can even learn how to fight by training Chi Sao.
The idea behind Wing Chun’s Chi Sao is the understanding that you are learning how to feel and interpret energy. In all the years I’ve trained I have never come across another type of training that teaches this particular skill set as effective as sticky hands.
When Is Chi Sao Used In A Fight?
The mistake is thinking that this training drill is fighting. It’s not neither is sparring but you will hear experts tell you that you need to spar all the time.
It is also important to do Chi Sao all the time. A fight can be broken down into seconds. The outcome is decided in seconds not minutes. Sifu Phu once told me that he was teaching me to feel my opponents energy and decide what I should do next within 5 tenths of a second.
Get a stop watch and see how fast that really is. It’s frigging fast! This is where Chi Sao comes in. The training you do here, will pay dividends to you when you finally make contact with your opponent.
If you are good at playing Chi Sao your ability to feel what your opponent is going to do next gives you the edge in a fight. This doesn’t mean you are going to win the fight.
There are other things to consider. Like are you able to deal with adrenaline dumping? Are you able to handle the pressure of someone trying to smash your face in? As well as many other variables some of which may be outside of your control.
In my Chi Sao training I have trained the exercise very slow and calm. I have laughed and joked and just had a good time enjoying the training.
Than there has been times when the intensity of the training made it difficult to remember that I am only training.
Chi Sao does have rules, however it can be trained as intense as you feel you need to train. So while Chi Sao Isn’t fighting It can bring you really really close to experiencing the real thing in a safe environment.
If you train it traditionally it’s more realistic than sparring. Because most sparring is done with protective gear and that gear allows for errors..
When you play sticky hands you are relying on your skills not to hurt someone the higher the intensity the higher the chance of getting hurt for real. And this aspect is what prepares you for a real fight.
Wing Chun Chi Sao Close Quarter Fighting
Finally let’s talk about when to use your Chi Sao skills. We use it after we have made contact with our opponent. Actually you start using your skills the moment you and your opponent engage each other. There are so many deflections, parries, traps etc.. within the training drill that at any moment the opportunity to use one may present itself to you.
I believe it was Bruce Lee in the movie Enter The Dragon, the scene where he is telling the abbot about his experiences explains what chi sao teaches you the best.
Hopefully the above video sticks around. Youtube has a habit of deleting videos they think are violating their terms. However if the video is still playing this one clip in the movie explains clearly what you can learn by practicing wing chun chi sao.
What has your experiences been like training Chi Sao?