Are You Moving Too Much In Chi Sau?


It is often the case when defending in Chi Sau for a student, especially the beginner, to simply step back against every attack, in essence, to be out of range.


As one of my instructors told a student only the other day, “Okay so you may be able to just move back, but what are you learning? Nothing.”

The obvious danger with this mentality is that at some point you are going to run out of room having nowhere further to step back.


Grandmaster Ip Chun says;

‘When watching students playing Chi Sau, too many people focus on just the hands, when really you should move back and look at the body as a whole’.

With this in mind, obviously it is ok to step, the question is how and when, and how much is too much?


Stability in Chi Sau is important, but so is mobility.


Being grounded and un-moveable is one thing, but there will always be someone stronger than you, so you cannot rely on this as your savior.

Likewise, being light on your feet and fast footed is only an asset when you have the room to use these skills.


Keep your feet as close to the ground as you can and move when you have to, but why step when you can just turn, and if your turn is not enough then support this with a turn, but not so much that it takes you out of range.

At one class this week I noticed this ‘hit and run’ mentality, where students would strike and then back off at lightning speed so as not to be hit in return.


I then put it to the class, ‘What is Chi Sau?’

The reply, ‘Sticking hands’ they said.

Then stick!

Believing that you will always be a one hit wonder and a knock out champion is delusional, remembering that you are defending against a bigger opponent we must always assume that after you hit, you will need to hit again, and again, so embrace this idea in your Chi Sau.


Not with force, power or aggression, but through the skill of the playing the game.

Once again I feel the need to repeat, CHI SAU IS A GAME, a game of skill and fighting tactics, but still a game.


In order to stop my students from backing off I gave them a small area in which to play, taking away some of the dangerously overused mobility.

Unfortunately the outcome was the refusal to move an inch.


So I say again, it is ok to move, it’s just that you probably do not need to move so much.


Less is more, especially when you consider that. ‘You’re always in danger when you’re in transit’.

I tell my students, ‘You can do whatever you like in Chi Sau, providing two things;

1/ You get away with it.

2/ It was your choice.’


Too many people move back when playing Chi sau without it being their choice, so train close, train well, and only step if you need to and make sure it was your choice.




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