Chi Sao Teaches the Practitioner to Become Soft Against Force.
Chi Sao (or Sticky Hands) enables the Wing Chun practitioner to develop the following:
- Contact Reflexes
- Improved Balance and Coordination
- Smooth Transitioning between Contact and Exchange Combat Ranges
- Force and Angle Detection
- Confidence in Close Range
Contact Reflexes – It is inevitable during a fight for several forces to be applied by the aggressor, ranging from quick jabs to power hooks, from joint locks to grappling, and a limitless range of other scenarios (and this is just empty hands!). Training the contact energy to lightly and continuously move forward towards the opponent’s center enables the practitioner to capitalize on changes to opponents energy, such as resetting, winding up, stepping, etc. The lighter and softer the practitioner’s connection energy, the quicker the trained response.
Improved Balance and Coordination – When training partners connect in a neutral stance (feet parallel and forward), every little force is felt. Differences in size, experience, speed, strength and confidence are made apparent pretty quickly. Being able to properly respond to any force (or lack thereof) through well trained coordination between hands and feet, left and right, blocking/controlling hand and counterstrike hand, etc. equips the practitioner with the tools and techniques needed to control their balance and that of their partner.
Smooth Transitioning between Contact and Exchange Combat Ranges – In Wing Chun, two of our combat ranges are contact (can touch but not strike with hands) and exchange (can strike). In a real combat situation, these ranges are quickly transitioning back and forth as both are trying to quickly assess, react, pursue, reorganize over and over again, trying to gain the advantage over the other. Chi Sao develops purposeful engagement with emphasis on fluidity to quickly gain control of the situation and opponent.
Force and Angle Detection – Variations in force amount and angle can be hard to see, as trained hands can move quicker than the eyes can detect. Contact reflexes train touch sensitivity through soft hands, enabling the practitioner to quickly detect the type of force (strike, push, pull, grab, release, etc.), direction of force (straight, angle, round, etc.) and amount of force (light setup, committed power, etc.). Over time, the practitioner will develop effective responses to many random scenarios.
Confidence in Close Range – The inexperienced practitioner typically becomes uncomfortable – and even scared – as they get closer to their opponent. This is understandable, since their opponent also has access to more tools as the range closes in (sweeps, locks, elbows, knees – even head butts!). Months and years of practice allow the practitioner to soften the hands, which improves reflexes, which allows more understanding/wisdom/experience using a variety of techniques, which improves confidence at close range, which further softens the hands, and the cycle repeats.
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