The Four Pillars Of Chi Sau – P.E.R.T.
When playing Chi Sau there are four main areas of skill we should be trying to develop, theses are:
These are also laid out in order of importance, with technique being the least important.
In short technique is anything you can see or touch, and not only a turning punch, Pak Sau’s or even your hand positions of Tan, Bong and Fook Sau
Moving on to reaction, this basically is improved upon over time, the more you play, the better you get.
Now we start to get into the nitty gritty, the area where most people place the most importance.
Everybody wants to build their energy, to have power, force, strength, but this is not essential, because when it comes to energy, it is not how much you have, but how well you use what you have.
Master Ip Chun often refers to energy like money, you may have lots of cash, but unless you know how too handle that cash you will not have it for very long, then, you are in trouble.
Whereas a person with very little needs to understand how to be wise and to be frugal, to make what he has last a long time.
Ultimately then we are looking to have wealth, but to be a tight-ass with it!
Now we get the most important of the four.
When we talk of position people immediately think of their Tan Sau and Bong Sau, but this is not what is meant by position, when we talk of position we mean your body position, having the ability to get in close to your opponent and close them down.
So many people play a long-range game, trying to be the fastest on a single strike, even using the tactic of hitting and then jumping back out of range, sometimes even letting go!
This is Chi Sau – sticking hands?
Come on lads, there’s a clue in the name.
Sifu also says that this understanding of Position can only be achieved through time, not calendar time but Chi Sau time.
This is why someone who says they’ve been training for three years (but only trains once each week) can be beat by someone with only six months experience (who trains every day).
It is trying to build the understanding, the skill and the confidence to get in close when others try to escape these confines.
I’m not saying that a long game is bad, I’m saying that you need to be able to play both.
This can also be developed through our forms when we think that:
Siu Lim Tau teaches us the hand positions and the grounding (if you’re into that).
Chum Kiu teaches us how to step, not only away (to defend) but also to step in (to attack).
Muk Yan Jong Fat (Wooden Dummy Technique), this is not there to make our arms strong (whacking a tree only teaches us to overcommit should that ‘tree’ suddenly move out of the way).
The Dummy form is there to teach us how to move around our opponent and step in, while always keeping close to the thing.
So the next time you play Chi Sau perhaps give this a little thought and see at what level things start to change FOR YOU, or where you may wish to give a little more attention.
I hope some of this helps.