First Published in Martial Arts Legends Presents Wing Chun 2001
Robert Chu is the Founder and Grand Master of Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun, the roots of Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun are in Yip Man Wing Chun as taught by Hawkins Cheung.
Many refer to Chi sao as “sticky hands”. I always think it is a poor translation and refer to it as “sticking hands” or “sticking bridges”. Chi sao is the main training in wing chun. It is the laboratory in which one can experiment or the clinic in which one practices. Typically in classical wing chun, there are several methods which you would progress through to develop proficiency in the art. The idea was that chi sao would bridge the gap for the beginner to the advanced levels.
The levels of progression in classical wing chun include first the Dan chi sao exercises, the methods of single sticking hands as outlined in the previous chapter. From here the student moves on to Luk Sao (methods of rolling hands). Variations of the Luk Sao method with the Tui Ma (pushing horse) drill to practice the proper body structure and stepping methods.
To go further, we need to go further in more training methods. A student should be introduced in the Luk Sao platform methods of Jou Sao (running hands) and Jip Sao (capturing hands). Basically, in the jou sao drill, a student practices the changing from four gate methods into one another. Usually pitted with a senior student, the beginning Chi Sao student will learn to run away from pressure. This differs from the practice of the four luk sao positions in that each position is practiced interchangeably and smoothly. A practitioner of this drill will learn to feel at home at any position and learn to run smoothly from one position to another based on the partner’s pressure. The Jip Sao methods are methods of capturing and detaining an opponent’s attacks. In this level of practice, we learn how to slow the opponent’s incoming force and how to receive it.
Another training drill in beginning phases of double sticking hands is to mix luk sao with dan chi sao exercise. In this drill, one rolls hands and feels for an opening. When one is felt, the person in the tan sao position will attempt a palm strike. From here the sequence of single sticking hands occurs, but this time both arms are in contact. This is best illustrated in figures ##.
We finally come to the next drill which emphasizes simple gor sao (bridge crossing) methods with single arm attacks such as jing jeung, chung chuie and huen sao. In Chinese we have a saying, “If there is a bridge, cross it; if there is no bridge, build one.” All of the previous training was learning to build a bridge. In simple gor sao practice, we drill simple single arm attacks. This is not to say the emphasis on body structure is not present. We must still strive to maintain body structure behind our blows at all times. In wing chun, the hands are like nails and our body is like a hammer. We must strive to drive the nails in with the hammer.
When a student is proficient in simple gor sao methods, it is best to move on to gor sao methods with double hand complex attacks. These are typically the bread and butter tools of wing chun and emphasize one hand as an asking hand, and the other as a guard hand, and give wing chun the characteristic nature of lien siu dai da “linking defense and bringing in offense”. I typically teach only a handful of these tools and allow a student to find the variations on his own. These are best trained with connection to the body and stepping. Many schools teach this form of gor sao while standing stationary. I believe that the time a student learns tui ma, they should already be emphasizing the steps and coordinating the hands. We will go into detail here on some of the complex gor sao methods. I will start out in the basic inside/outside pattern of luk sao and discuss the basic changes from this starting point. Tan Da – while rolling hands, I sense my opponent’s incoming force on my right hand. I immediately nullify it by using tan sao and simultaneously striking him with my left arm. Pak da – When the opponent drops his fuk sao, I immediately feel an opening and assist his dropping with pak sao, while simultaneously striking him with my right hand. Lop Da – While rolling, the opponent tries to throw a straight punch to my chest, I nullify it with bong sao, then immediately flow into lop sao and throw him off balance, while simultaneously striking him with my other hand. Por Jung Da – I feel pressure from my opponent’s tan sao, so I add on to it by pressing slightly with my fuk sao, continuing the motion, my right hand changes into a por jung sao (center cleaving hand) and I strike him with my left hand. Bong Sao – Many people do not believe a bong sao is an offensive tool as well. When I feel my opponent’s punch starting, I immediately jam his incoming pressure and using body structure, immediately throw him back. Kwun Sao – my opponent attempts a lop da on me and I immediately smother his attack with a kwun sao. Gaun Da – my opponent tries to initiate a pak sao to my left elbow, and going with the flow, I switch to gaun da Huen Da – my opponent again tries to execute pak sao on me, this time to my forearm. Going with the flow, I meld into huen da and strike him. Fuk Da – feeling a lack of pressure on his fuk sao, I immediately give him some pressure and run to his outside gate and enter with fuk da. Biu Sao – my opponent tries to trap my hands by crossing them, by positioning slightly, I wedge my biu sao from underneath and strike him at his neck. Jou Da – my opponent’s pressure is too much for me and I simply run my hand to strike him.
As we can see, we have already covered much of the material. Chi sao is simply a platform for the practice of these drills learned singularly, then connecting and flowing with them. In training, we can add many variations. We can progress to using gor sao utilizing shifting and small evasion methods with the body. It is also important to emphasize gor sao with more active moving steps for large evasion tactics and stealing the gates from the outside positions.
We must also train in methods of recovering the centerline when being on the receiving end. I also make my students train while trapped against a wall, so they get familiar with practice in a tight space. Conversely, we must also train methods of chi sao that trap and follow up, giving our opponent no chance to escape.
After a while, we may even begin to dispense with methods of rolling, and from a distance, begin our chi sao practice. This is known as “long bridge methods of chi sao” called “Cheung Kiu Chi sao” in Cantonese.
Advanced practitioners go through a period of training with a blind fold. This level of training blind folded chi sao, emphasizes more tactile and contact sensitivity. We have demonstrated some of these exercises in figures.
The final phase of gor sao practice is mixing of methods of both sticking hands and sticking legs in free form way without having to engage in luk sao. We will be discussing that shortly.
The most important thing is to control your opponent’s bridges and set him up for the next shot. Good wing chun is like playing good billiards, you must always look for the next shot. When one is beaten by an expert, you cannot do anything. For my students, I can not emphasize enough the importance of the posture and structure. It is also through sticking hands training where one develops the ability to change and make variations to one’s techniques and adapt to the circumstances.
In Chi Sao, we concentrate on attacking and breaking our opponent’s center of gravity. When you find your opponent’s center of gravity, this is when you really attack him. This is what your sticking skills teach you, not a silly game of tag. I also make sure I do not push my opponent away, as it will force me to bridge the gap again in order to stick with and strike them. I always maintain a very close distance between me and my opponent. As I have demonstrated in the different application photographs, the correct distance for using wing chun is keeping the opponent within the cubital crease of your extended arm. When you see certain “grandmasters” demonstrate wing chun applications from an arm’s length or more, they lose the timing involved in the application. In order for the art to work specifically, the distance is an important factor, as it also involves a close enough distance such that the opponent cannot get away from consecutive blows due to the delay in reaction time you cause when you strike your opponent. Each blow sets up the next until the opponent’s reaction time is so lengthened he cannot defend himself adequately. This more than makes up for the apparent “lack of” hand speed. It is still more than fast enough to do the job and the added benefit is that you only need one or two strikes. A flurry of “hand only” chain punches, is a joke, in comparison with power. In this way, the body is faster than the hand.
I teach my students the use of the whole body from day one. It is just that many people work only on the arms first. If I show them chain punching, as in the first form’s closing, I make it very deliberate and slow so that I can reinforce linkage first. Later, as coordination gets better, they can link and unlink as they see fit. Wing chun has four basic variations that involve the body and the hands. They include: hand-hand, hand-body, body-hand, body-body methods. All have their place in combat and Chi Sao.
Hand-hand is when a practitioner links one movement powered by local muscles, followed by another movement also powered by local muscles. The advantage here is speed. The purpose here is to set up the opponent.
Hand-body is when the hands lead the body. In essence, this is when one initiates the attacking movement with the localized muscle, then finally link the body with the limb for additional power. Hand to body is one basic way to transition over from the hands alone, then power your movements with the body.
Body – hand is when you have to change or set up the opponent. Perhaps there is a struggle between you and your opponent and you need to break free. From here, you initiate a de-linkage with your body in order to maneuver quickly to a faster position.
Body – body is when you consistently move from movement to movement with full body linkage. This is the most powerful approach and is the most difficult to do. It also has the danger of trapping or jamming oneself, if one cannot maintain the proper distance.
Many get frustrated and think they do not have any sensitivity. I often say, “You don’t develop sensitivity. You’re already born with it. You learn to recognize opportunity, and sensitive to that!” As I teach it, wing chun is broken down into three components of tools, timing and positioning, and lastly, experience. Experience gives you the ability to recognize other avenues, when before, there seemed to be none. Chi Sao is the part of the art where one’s study never ends. One will always be perfecting your Chi Sao to improve one’s skills.
It seems that many practitioners of Wing chun don’t have the right idea when they play Chi Sao. The Chi Sao is a living laboratory for the techniques found in the forms, and it gives a fixed environment in which to freely apply the movements contained in Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu and Biu Jee. The Wing chun system does not have a fixed form of application nor does it contain any of the elaborate formal two‑man sets found in other systems of martial arts. Wing chun is a reform of the Fujian Shaolin systems that relied on many forms and two man sets to teach their practicality, and preferred to get to the point by introducing one to energy development and to develop one’s own techniques through constant practice.
Because our system gives practitioners a sense of freedom while practicing in Chi sao, they follow only certain criteria when engaged in Chi sao practice.
Chi sao is not an all‑out, anything‑goes type match, nor should it be considered a form of competition. Chi sao practice is the training for sensing and feeling an opponent’s attack through the touching of the bridge‑arms. Because the sense of touch is brought into play, we can react faster than if we relied solely upon our vision.
Open the door
Chi sao allows one to feel openings in what we define as the gates. An analogy that I am fond of using is that of a door. In order to strike my opponent, I must pass through the door or gate of his defensive bridges. If a door is open, I can walk through it, if it is closed, then I must wait until it is open to walk through it. I can also knock on the door and hope that someone opens it. If I have lost the keys, perhaps I will have to remove the hinges to get inside. Similarly, if a door spring loaded to close, I must hold the door open to enter. If the door is a revolving door, one must wait for the correct time and get into position to enter it. Wing chun practitioner can even knock the door down, depending upon the circumstances.
There are levels of Chi sao practice. Beginners often engage in using force against force and will do techniques of a singular sort. Intermediate level people tend to use more combinations, begin to utilize strategy and use more body power. Advanced level practitioners utilize their power with correct timing and proper positioning and exhibit confidence. Having confidence to face an opponent can be one of the most important attributes developed through Chi sao practice. There should not be a contention of forces while practicing Chi sao.
Those who degrade Chi sao into a practice of force against force are not practicing Chi sao, but some terrible form of Sumo wrestling. Training in Chi sao develops reaction of the sense of touch, with the bridge‑arms used as feelers or antennae of an insect. Due to the close range nature of which Wing chun practitioners are familiar with, there are no feints. The closest principle which resembles feinting is what we call “Mun sao” (Inquisitive Hands). Many practitioners within the Wing chun clan think that only the lead hand can be considered a Mun sao, but this is incorrect, as either hand or both hands can be considered Mun sao depending upon the situation. The Mun sao concept makes Wing chun Kuen an art of problem solving, for when faced with a question, one must strive to answer the question.
The principle of Mun sao is to ask the opponent what he will do in this instant. At the onset of touching hands with an opponent, or when engaging during Luk Sao (Rolling Hands), one can already feel the level of skill present. Tai Ji Quan’s Push Hands exercise is very similar to Wing chun’s chi sao. Both Tai Ji’s Push Hands and Wing chun’s Sticking Hands exercise develop the ability to interpret, understand, and neutralize the opponent’s energy. The most important aspect to avoid during Chi sao is to make it a match of strength. If Chi sao practice is regulated to a mere force against force match, you have lost the Wing chun aspect. We react to an opponent’s energy, not wrestle with it. I doubt the legendary women founders, Ng Mui and Yim Wing chun, would develop a system based solely on strength or to use force against force.
If one observes how the feelers of an insect work, you will notice that the feelers move about in a random manner. When the feelers touch something, they go around it to interpret and determine what the object is. There is some whipping about and springiness to the action of the antennae and the insect decides whether to walk around the object, walk over it, or simply avoid it. We can use this analogy to explain Wing chun’s Chi sao training ‑ If our Mun sao feels or senses too much pressure, we can redirect it, guide the pressure elsewhere, ride it, or go away from the source of force. This principle exemplifies the Wing chun motto “Lai Lou, Hui Soong, Lut Sao Jik Chung” (As he comes, receive him; As he leaves, escort him.) Rather than fighting force, you utilize your opponent’s force to create your technique. Many other Gung fu systems call this principle using your opponent’s force against him or borrowing his strength.
Only proper practice and experience determine what is the correct feel during Chi sao practice. A master cannot give it to you ‑ one must earn it through hard work and insight. Because learning this level of wing chun is so hard to master, many students get frustrated and quit. Equally frustrated are the wing chun teachers who realize the difficulty in teaching this aspect of the art.
Using the Mind
The concept of using the opponent’s force to give rise to your technique is not unique to wing chun. It is however, a stage of realization where the martial arts merge with philosophy and principles. Concepts such as “using no way as the way” and “allowing yourself to be empty” stem from throwing away your ego and stop leading. Rather than lead, allow yourself to follow your opponent. Sun Tzu recommended to “Attack after, but arrive first”, and it is this principle of interception that wing chun is based upon. As long as your fist contains ego, you can never reach a high level. Merely doing forms and practicing techniques never made anyone a master. You must invest in loss, receive many beatings, give up yourself to follow others, and learn to lose, before you can learn to win.
Some of Wing chun’s concepts relate to Chan Buddhism and Taoist teachings. At the advanced aspects of both, the concepts of “egolessness” and “emptiness” is appreciated. Buddhism states that suffering is caused by desire. In Wing chun, the desire to not be struck, can cause suffering. There is a wing chun saying that admonishes the desire not to be struck, “If you’re afraid to strike, then you will be struck.”
When we first learn Chi sao, we feel afraid or insecure. Thoughts like, “I can’t stop him!” or “I can’t control the situation!” run through your mind. It’s quite natural to have these feelings, but you must not let them control you. Later as you grow more skilled and confident, your air changes. You’re then able to face your partner in Chi sao with more confidence, but then, you must not let the confidence control you. When you finally reach the highest levels, you have no fear, no emotion. You merely reflect. The Buddhists refer to this as a “mind like water”. Should your opponent attack, “you” are no longer there, there is no “you” as in ego ‑ you flow with the motion and give yourself up to follow your opponent’s action, to ultimately allow your opponent to give you the means of defeating himself. At this stage, there is “no‑technique” and “free form”. At this point, a student has become an expert.
This corresponds to the Wing chun saying of “allowing the hands and feet to defend accordingly”. Wing chun becomes a true art then, with the practitioner’s experience allowing to express and interpret the art for himself. No one can tell what’s right and wrong for the artist, only the artist decides for himself. It is only at this level of development that wing chun kuen transcends a mere method of self‑protection.
Wing chun practitioners that reach this level can be called experts. But first, they must learn to ask where the openings are, and once there, how to close up their own openings while crossing the bridge. Giving up ego is an easy thing to say, but hard to put into practice.
Chi sao trains an exponent to cross bridges and develop technique. You learn touch or contact sensitivity and the ability to flow with an opponent. Problem solving skills are imparted, utilizing wing chun tools. Chi sao bridges the gap between form and actual usage. A wing chun student can learn the changes and variations of the techniques in a live laboratory.
Wing chun training is physical, but ultimately awakens the mind. For example, many say that Chi sao teaches you sensitivity. Nothing can be further from the truth. You are born with a nervous system that gives you the ability to feel and sense. You can certainly feel pressure when it is placed on your arm, even without Chi sao. The Chi sao is really a means of organizing the data, of using the results to some use. The Luk Sao or touching is an information or data gathering process ‑ what do you do with that data? It is ultimately your choice or decision. After touching hands with hundreds of people, I can honestly say that if you don’t develop it yourself, no one can really teach you Chi sao. If you are bright, inquisitive and resourceful, others can give inspiration or guidelines to help you progress, but none can really pass it on to you. Chi sao is extremely difficult to teach! Most students can hardly learn Chi sao without being to be frustrated. Chi sao is your own laboratory or practice. No one can give you this clinical experience, you just have to do it and develop it. If you can only pass on the forms of Wing chun, then you are just an interpreter or technician of Wing chun, not an artist. We should all strive to reach the level of a creator, choreographer or composer. Many can play a musical piece by reading musical notes, but how many can compose? Many can dance well, but how many can choreograph a new dance? Unless you develop insight to compose or create, you can only be a follower of a “Mun Pai”, not one qualified to create a new “Mun Pai”. I don’t mean that you should break away and teach a new style. I mean that a Wing chun practitioner’s goal should be to make the art alive, rather than passing on a dead art.
Helpful hints for common mistakes
Beginners in wing chun chi sao often make the same mistakes. In this article, I hope to clarify some of them and offer some helpful hints in improving their sticking hands capabilities. In no particular order, I list the common mistakes as 1) Fighting force with force 2) Seek the hands, not the opponent’s body, 3) Missing opportunity, 4) Not setting up a strike with another strike, 5) Being sloppy with your strikes 6) Forcing your strike(s) 7) Not Relaxing, 8) not sinking, 9) Not maintaining good structure, 10) allowing the mind to freeze, 11) Not understanding options
Force against force
A common mistake is when students clash, they have a tendency to fight force against force. To fix this, I suggest to avoid fighting force with force. In other words, flow with the opponent’s force.
Sticking to the hands
Another common mistake is that many people seek to chase after their opponent’s hands during Chi Sao. I suggest that they seek the opponent’s body, not their hands. Wing chun oral tradition states, “Seek the Body, not the hands”. I differentiate wing chun from other southern fist systems in that we have sensitivity in our hands like a “guided missile” to guide us to our goal. Some systems of martial arts are more like a “cannon ball” – if one shot misses, they merely reload and shoot again. One should make adjustments, and the goal is to strike the opponent and set him up for more strikes, not to just stick to his hands.
Often, we seek to be at the right place at the right time. Some literally ignore or miss openings, and I believe it is a matter of being focussed elsewhere. Chi Sao is also a game of mindfulness. I suggest that one hit the “empty spots”, places where the opponent is not mindful. These are areas that it is an opportunity to “steal” or “leak” into.
Use one to set up one
Another common mistake is that people fail to use a strike to set up another strike. They have not learned to link up defense with offense and offense with defense. As a result, they are “one shot artists”. In wing chun, every movement links with another.
Many beginners are often very sloppy with their strikes and do not exhibit good form. For them, I say they should spend more time on the fundamentals and the basics. When one trains the forms, they should be mindful of their position and structure. When doing sticking hands or fighting applications, one should almost treat it as if though there were no opponent in front of you.
Forcing a strike
Just as pursuing a love affair with a person who has no interest whatsoever with you is more than likely a wasted venture, so it is in forcing a strike. Many students force their strikes. It is best not to force your strike, but rather flow into the situation.
Relaxation is the key to being smooth and avoiding jerky movement. Smoothness is a large component of speed. Relaxing also allows one to use the proper muscle groups in body structure.
Sinking is an important aspect of maintaining structure. By keeping the shoulders sunk, elbows sunk, and stance sunk, we can keep rooted and protected. Maintain good structure by keeping good form, relaxing and sinking.
Let your mind flow, in other words, don’t freeze if you are hit, but move on to solve another problem or create a problem for your opponent. By cleaning up these basic mistakes, a student can further improve his ability in sticking hands.
Sometimes because a student has no experience, he does not know what options are available to him. It is best to consider one’s options. Use opposites and understand yin and yang. Who is the leader and the follower? Make your opponent follow you. If you are fast, make him catch up to you. If he is faster, make him slow. If he is hard, defeat him with soft. If he is soft, defeat him with hardness. Strike when his intention is not there, stay wary and mindful of your own situation. Lastly, Mastering the principle of “Lai Lou Hui Soong, Lut Sao Jik Chung” is mastering Chi Sao and ultimately, Wing chun Kuen.
Variations of Chi sao:
Controlling: When you have full control over your opponent, you make his hands your own. You can strike at will, alternating soft and hard, fast and slow. Generally you can say that if you can move your opponent, you can strike him any time. When you control your opponent, you must make use of the entire body.
Guiding: When you Chi sao and you cannot stop an opponent’s incoming strike fully, the next best response is to guide it. Guide it to a point that is less favorable to your opponent and more favorable to you.
Blasting: Often in Chi sao, two partner will find a lull in their rhythm. A way to break this rhythm and to shock your opponent is to use Pak Da or Lop Da. You must experiment to catch the correct timing. When you shock your opponent, you cause him to `blank out’, and in that instance, he loses himself and his awareness of his surroundings. In that moment, you have an opportunity to destroy him.
Bridge Crossing: The one who can take the initiative of crossing the bridge is generally the one to strike first. You must constantly play the game of using the bridge to pass over your opponent’s wrist or your elbow passing over the opponent’s bridge. In this manner you can maintain control and strike at will. Maintain proper bridge control. When you cross the bridges, don’t rush to cross them. Make sure you have control of the bridges at all times, or else it’s better not to cross.
Deception: If I can trick you, I am trapping and controlling your mind. If I can make you believe there’s no pressure in my right hand, you may believe I’m not paying attention and want to attack there. But since I’m deceiving you, I want to draw your response so I can set up the next shot. Sometimes it is a good strategy to using “cheap” shots as an opening or set up shot.
Problem Solving: Often during Chi sao, the flow may be too fast for one to see his mistakes. In this case, you can slow down and help your partner problem solve. Problem solving is the key to making Wing chun your own art. This is a good training method for all level practitioners.
Siu Sao Chi sao: This is Hawkins Cheung’s variation of Chi sao, of what he was able to make as a method of the defensive timing hand. Sifu often warned me that if you follow his method, that one would not have any hand techniques at all. Sifu would describe a ball being thrown into a jello wall or wall made out of flypaper. The ball would simply absorb the force and nullify the attack. In this form of Chi sao, an attack would be made and Hawkins would simply absorb the force of the attack. Sifu would rush in (Lut Sao Jik Chung) upon the opponent’s attack and despite being struck, would always jam the opponent’s power point, perhaps absorbing only 20% of the blow. If the opponent tried to escape, Sifu would strike when the opponent changed (his excellent usage of Lai Lou Hui Soong). If the opponent remained, Sifu would force his opponent’s change by utilizing his body structure to force an opponent to change (as illustrated by his favorite saying “Bik Fu Tiu Cheung” – Force a tiger to jump a wall.) This form of Chi sao requires high skill, good body structure, sensitivity, excellent timing and thorough confidence in one’s training. One can say that Sifu was forced to develop this method due to his small size.
14 mental methods of Chi Sao
I know that teaching Chi Sao is a complex thing and often there is no way to convey the methods across. For a long time I did not have any definitive way to transfer my knowledge to my students. I simply did what I felt was correct at the proper moment as I felt and sensed my partner’s intentions. This was fine for me, but did not impart the main skills found in Chi Sao. Unfortunately for some of my students who preferred a more practical approach and were more analytical, this was not enough. After much reflection, I have categorized the following Chi Sao methods.
The 14 mental methods of Chi Sao are not step by step or a progression, it is a breakdown of strategies in Chi Sao. Wing chun already has a progression in Chi Sao with Pak Sao, Lop Da, Dan Chi Sao, Luk Sao, Tui Ma, Gor Sao, etc. Much of what is taught in the various drills and stages of classical Wing chun Chi Sao are mechanical methods, yet do not involve a full strategy or Sum Fa (mental methods) behind it. They are more technical and rely more on a technician’s point of view.
My 14 methods include:
- Mun Fa/ Yin Fa – Asking/inquiring and enticing. Asking can be done with the hands, pressure, body, steps, technique. In asking, you pressure the opponent and use 4 ounces to offset his 1000 pounds.
- Jou Fa – Running – avoiding pressure or running from pressure, using pressure to give rise to new situations/techniques
- Jeet Fa – Methods of intercepting – beating the opponent to the strike, recognizing threat and immediately shutting it off with the hands, body or steps.
- Tao/Lou Fa – Methods of leaking and stealing, seeing an opportunity and taking it, or passively finding it
- Jiu Fa – common methods of Gor Sao (crossing hands) such as Tan Da, Pak Da, Lop Da, etc. in singular and combination. Typically, it is a technician’s level of training.
- Sim Fa – Methods of evasion with steps, body displacement, dodging, hand movement, etc., yet close enough to continue through. There are two major methods, using the torso to evade (small evasion) or using steps to evade (large evasion).
- Dai Fa – Methods of guiding, leading an opponent to walls, objects, other directions other than they wanted to go (i.e. Opponent wants to attack you, but you guide him while adding on to his power)
- Jie Fa – Methods of borrowing an opponent’s power and energy, momentum against him, this is closely tied to pressing the opponent and leading him
- Fou – methods of floating, unbalancing, uprooting an opponent
- Chum – methods of collapsing a person’s structure or sinking
- Tun – methods of swallowing an opponent’s force and dissolving it, also related are methods of storing power with the body, and folding methods to absorb an opponent’s power
- Tou – methods of expelling force in contact with the opponent, also methods of extending your force through an opponent.
- Tuen Fa – methods of breaking and delinking the body connection in an effort to preserve the body structure
- Jip Fa – methods of linking up the body connection once the connection is broken. This is the opposite of Tuen Fa.
Some of these methods may seem like they are keywords in other Fukien based Nam Kuen, but they are taught in the wing chun context. As the reader can see, this is different from a simple technical progression of exercises, as they are concepts and not techniques and they can give rise to many, many techniques. My wing chun focuses on principle, not theory, and concepts, not techniques. I have seen my student’s grow in their strategies since I have developed and outlined these methods. When I first began to teach these concepts, I did not have any definite way of describing these methods better. When I compare many of the concepts I see my methods correspond very closely to my Yuen Kay Shan and Gu Lao wing chun training. I hope that the readers can dig deep and understand my meaning, as the concepts give rise to the physical techniques and tools. The student that can master these methods with the linking/delinking of body structure and can create multiple changes here will attain a high level.
About the Author
Robert Chu is a martial artist with over 28 years experience who specializes in combat application and health aspects with a focus on the Yip Man Wing Chun Kuen system as taught by Hawkins Cheung and the Yuen Kay-San and Gulao Wing Chun Kuen systems as taught by Kwan Jong-Yuen. He is the co-author of Complete Wing Chun, (Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc, 1998) and has written many articles for Inside Kung Fu, Martial Arts Legends, Martial Arts Combat Sports and other publications, in addition to his regular monthly column, Wandering Knight, which appears in Martial Arts Combat Sports magazine. He teaches privately in the Pasadena area.
Robert Chu is also a Licensed Acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist available for consultation for pain management, sports injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and internal medicine.
Wing Chun Singapore, Martial Arts Singapore, self-defense Singapore, Kung Fu Singapore, Wing Chun classes