A Common Concern With Online Training


The age old question?


On Monday, 1st June, I was met on our forum with a question:

“I’m loving my early days training in Wing Chun but my biggest concern is, will having no Chi Sau partner hold me back?”


Now I could have given a short answer to this query but I felt it deserved a lengthier explanation, hence the reason for this blog, and as for any delay, well I wanted to ponder over the matter first (in-between home schooling my three children and arranging four live-stream classes)


As you would expect, people often wonder,

“Can I learn Wing Chun by training online?”


Now of course I am going to say yes, and obviously I truly believe so, depending that is on what your ultimate goals are?

The bigger question is:

“Can I learn Wing Chun by training online, WITHOUT A PARTNER?”


Well, as I say, that depends on your reasons for learning Wing Chun?

If your reasons for learning are:


Reason 1/

Meditation, Internal health, Personal Well-being, to build energy and longevity,

Then… Yes, 100%


Reason 2/

To be able to defend yourself?

Very possibly yes, but of course that depends on the individuals, both of you and of your attacker.


Reason 3/

To be highly skilled in Chi Sau?

Mmmm, now we have a situation.

This unfortunately may be where things have to change a little.


Now let’s take step back and look at these three stages, or reasons for training, but before we do I must remind you that in no way am I suggesting that any online training beats personal tuition (although that would depend on the teacher!).


What I AM saying is that training with WingChun.Online is the perfect balance to your class tuition as it allows you to remain open-minded and encouraged to question everything, and therefore in doing so we will all gain a deeper understanding of what it is we are studying.


The approach I am discussing now, is for those people who truly wish to learn Wing Chun but do not have a school nearby or any chance of getting to one.

So what do they do?


This is why at WingChun.Online we encourage you to form your own training groups, using us as your teacher and you as the organizers, but again we need to go back to the original question and the original issue:


“I’m loving my early days training in Wing Chun but my biggest concern is, will having no Chi Sau partner hold me back?”


To answer this let us go through those three reasons for learning once again.

Reason 1/

Personal fitness, internal health, wellbeing and longevity etcetera,

Yes of course we can cover this online and, to a great extent, without a partner.


Reason 2/

Self defence

Well again, here this is possible without a partner but let’s be honest, trying to train without any partner would be one hell of a gamble.


Although we do have our virtual sparring tool to assist you within the site, this is best used as an add-on after you have initially trained these defenses with an actual partner (and a lot).

Now if you are in disbelief and wondering what the hell I mean be ‘Virtual sparring’?

Let’s explain.


When sparring what is it that we are trying to do?


We are trying to train ourselves to react with the correct defence against attacks and to look for opportunities to attack, and this is what we try to approach within the site.

Remembering once again that this is only a training tool I have designed for reaction training, things are very different when you are faced with a real and genuine threat.


As Mike Tyson said:

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”


So to sum up, of course you can learn self defence if you can find a partner (again with us teaching you), and as for solo ONLY training, well you can learn to spar without a partner but it would be dangerous if that was your only way.

We teach you the moves, we give you the counter attacks, we give you the reaction training but without a partner (even occasionally) we cannot teach you that final feeling, but then again you must remember this quote:

“I can teach you all the moves but I cannot teach you how to fight”

This is not a denial, the meaning of this is phrase is important.


We all know of someone who has had no training in any Martial Arts, but is hard as nails, a nutter if you like, now he can fight, but then there are also those of us who are simply not born fighters and therefore need to train in order to use skill to defend ourselves (you know who you are).


It is not a bad thing to not be a natural fighter (Or, ‘A thug’) so do not be concerned by this, unfortunately the truth is that we will NEVER know if this actually works, until we have to use it, even if you are training in a school, one-on-one with the teacher.

However, training to see these threats, are part of the tools necessary to avoid or defuse them in the first place.


Reason 3/

To be highly skilled in Chi Sau?

Well here is where things do get different, one of the biggest elements of Chi Sau is our development of sensitivity and awareness, and unfortunately this DOES require a partner.

Not immediately.


Look at it this way, before you can partner, you need to know what you are doing yourself, how to stand, how to punch, what the blocking positions are and so on, most of this you will do on your own, probably before you even look for partners (that way you may feel more confident with what you are doing).


But the key elements of Chi Sau are P.E.R.T.






These are listed in order of importance with Technique being the least important.


Technique – is basically anything you can see or touch (including a Tan or a Bong).


Reaction – the more you train, the better you get.


Energy – this is not about how much you have but how well you can use what you have (as in conservation of energy).


Position – this is the most important as it refers to Body position.


Body position is something that Master Ip Chun says can only be achieved through time, not calendar time but Chi Sau time.


So to conclude this blog:


If you are training for self-development and personal health/wellbeing etc, you do NOT need a partner.


If you are training for self-defence and sparring, you need a partner, even if only occasionally, I mean, you COULD learn to fly without a plane, but when it comes to you actually being in the air, it’s going to be a very different story.


If you are training for Chi sau, at some point, you need a partner.


You still need to learn the shapes and to roll etc, and we can give you reaction training within this field,

but to fully enjoy what Chi Sau is offering you, you DO need a partner.


Do not let this discourage you, they’re not that hard to find.


Try friends, work colleagues or just likeminded people found through advertising (such as posters at work, in gyms, stores, on campus’s, or even through Facebook, Meetup.com, Gum-tree, Twitter etc.) to see if they may be interested joining you.


They are out there and when ready, you’ll find them or they’ll find you.





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