When Will I Use Chi Sau In A Real Fight?
Chi Sau with my Sifu,
Grandmaster Ip Chun
When will I use my Chi Sau in a real fight?
Now I do not mean that to sound like a feeble general sweeping statement by way of keeping you safe, but instead a genuine answer, as this kind of connection between Chi Sau and a fight, should be so far down the line when entering any confrontation.
To understand what I mean let’s first look at the practical side of Chi Sau.
The reason for playing this game is to work sensitivity, relaxation, to gain the ability to read body mechanics and the understanding of what bends where and what does not, all while trying to find openings and weaknesses in your opponents defences.
Now I’m sure there will be many people out there wishing to say differently or to add on to what I’ve just listed, but here I’ve only mentioned a few points/benefits to give an overview.
One of the main bonus factors in playing Chi Sau relaxed is that should you ever find yourself in a grapple situation, EVERYTHING becomes magnified when your opponent applies the use of muscle.
Think of this –
If you find yourself in a vertical tussle, what might you need to defend?
Perhaps a knee to the groin?
In order to do this your opponent will need to shift their weight, a huge move easily read due to your Chi Sau’s sensitivity training.
A head-butt maybe?
Again you should either use the hand you already have contact with (via a Pak Sau), or keep your head tight in so as to avoid this, OR, if the head moves back to generate power, follow the head through.
What about a hook punch or an upper-cut?
Same rules apply, as all of this movement and reaction is what you play from day to day in your Chi Sau training.
Feeling through sensitivity how the body moves and how to react to it.
Before we get carried away with ourselves we need to go further back.
Let’s imagine there are three ranges in a fight situation:
The first strike/defence
At this third stage I am avoiding the idea of, or term ‘groundwork’ due to the fact that this is already being addressed in the third stage arena.
Going even further back there are three areas we need to recognize before we get to stage 1!
I am of course referring to Adrenaline.
These three stages of adrenaline are:
This is related to that feeling you get when you see someone across the room, across the bar or even across the street that makes you feel uncomfortable and (often wisely) takes you in a different direction.
This is when the idea of redirecting yourself has now been taken away by the opponent shouting something like:
“Hey you! Where do you think you’re going?”
“What the hell are you staring at?” and so on.
This is when the distance has been closed down to its minimum and pushing and prodding is now taking place.
At this point you need to decide what is acceptable and what is not.
So to recap on all of this:
There was an uncomfortable feeling when you were being starred out –
You did NOT walk away
The guy starts shouting and approaching you –
You did NOT defuse the situation
The guy starts prodding at you –
You did NOT control the situation
Now knowing full well that a fight is now unstoppable –
You did NOT attack first
You have waited and waited until the threat is right on top of you and then you’ve waited until a strike is thrown at you, but even then (ideally) we should not engage in a grapple Chi Sau as we should try to take care of this situation at a range WE choose.
Of course I understand this is not always possible as these ranges etc. may also be trying to be controlled by our attacker.
Now then, have said all that, let’s return to the original question with a different perspective.
‘When will I use my Chi Sau in a real fight?’
If you are practicing Chi Sau then you are probably using this, every day, and not even knowing it.
If someone moves toward you a little too close or a little too abruptly, you may well automatically begin to bring your hands that little bit higher without being aware.
If someone gestures widely, you may find your body rotate ever so slightly so as to move as they do.
This to me is like playing sticking hands without sticking hands, when your Chi Sau has given you the ability to begin reading and preparing for a situation, way before it even arises, and subsequently defused it without you even being aware.
This is what I mean when I say that after training all this time to be able to defend yourself, you may find that you now never need to use it!
The secret is, you already are.