How To Get The Best From Chi Sau


The 1 – 2 – 3 of Chi Sau


This week at class I wanted to go back to basics a little, just by checking hand positions and footwork.


When attention is given to the hands, there is no problem.

When attention is given to the feet, there is no problem.

When attention is given to both hands AND feet, there is a BIG problem.

And yet it is exactly this that we are trying to train, to be able to use the body as a whole.

No fight is ever going to be in a standing still position,


Therefore I would like to give you a checklist, and I guarantee that if you can do all of these things together, keeping all plates spinning as it were, then your Chi Sau will be spot on!


Let’s start with the rolling and remember my three points of importance:


Think of the tips of the elbows rolling to their highest and lowest points


Any pressure given, met or returned, should come from the base of the forearm only


Keep the hands relaxed (Until it is time to not relax of course)


Now at this stage I would like to remind you of something,

‘If you can do a Tan Sau, you can do Wing Chun.

If you cannot do a Tan Sau, you cannot do Wing Chun’.


I would ask you to think of these three points in that same mentality,

‘If you cannot keep control of point No 1, your Chi Sau will fail you’.



After getting balanced with your rolling we focus on changes, remembering to keep them ‘Tight but not tense’.

When this gets to a point where it feels ok, we start to walk.

Do not give this much attention apart from resisting the urge to simply push and pull, all you need to do is mirror where your partner goes and vice versa.


IF you manage to tick all of these boxes then try attacks, either a straight palm from Tan (As in Dan Chi Sau), or a Turning Punch from Fook Sau.

Try to execute the strike while your partner is stepping (Just not every time eh?),

‘You’re always in danger when you’re in transit’.


THIS is why we keep our feet as close to the ground as possible.

It is NOT important that you scrap the foot, or slide the foot but just that you,

‘Keep your feet as close to the ground as possible’.


Sliding a foot on a wooden floor with smooth soled shoes is easy, try it with brand new trainers on a carpet and you are screwed.


Now we get to the important bit, at this point ask yourself truefully, are you still remembering the first three stages of Chi Sau?

I’m quite sure that the Bong will have dropped or/and tension drifted down to the wrist area, encouraging tension in the hands.



A drop in reserve energy and a battle of strength over skill


I am not saying that this is the only way to play and all else is wrong, I’m simply saying that IF YOU CAN DO THIS, then you have perfect balance AND the CHOICE to play harder or softer.


I tell my students that in Chi Sau you can do almost anything you like providing:


You get away with it


It was you choice


Having THIS skill will give you a choice rather than always just following the crowd and walking into techniques.


Make your own decisions and control your own Chi Sau.

Good luck.


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