Chi Sao is a sensitivity training method from the Wing Chun system. It is similar to Tai Chi Quan’s Push Hands (Tui Shou) training. We incorporate Chi Sao exercises in our Internal Martial Arts Curriculum.
Both Chi Sao and Push Hands involve:
- Close range contact with a partner
- Sensitivity training in trying to listen to each other’s energies
- Dynamic balance and grounding
- Following and Sticking to the opponent (to achieve softness overcoming hardness), rather than imposing your will on your opponent
How is Chi Sao different to Push Hands?
Chi Sao is usually done from a further range compared to Push Hands. Since Wing Chun is a striking art, Chi Sao training involves listening and looking for openings in your opponent’s defense (in order to land a strike), while keeping up your own defensive ‘shield’. Therefore, one can say that Tai Chi Push Hands is a contest of dynamic balance between two partners, and Chi Sao is about finding ways to land a strike (without losing your balance).
Through Chi Sao training, the practitioner can learn effective transitions and develop reflex speed in adjustments to different energies. This is all built upon the 3 foundational hand movements of Wing Chun: Tan Sau, Bong Sau, and Fook Sau.
Similar to Push Hands, Chi Sao training can be performed in set movements through drills, or in a random/free-style exchange at later stages.
Chi Sao and Push Hands exercises form an indispensable part of internal martial arts training. They teach you both the skill to detect subtle shifts in an opponent’s position that may indicate a potential attack, and also optimal ways to respond. Through training, your arms will come to have ‘a mind of their own’. Defense becomes easier and more automatic, giving you the mental time and space to decide what you want to do with your opponent.