Chi Sao is not Sparring

One of the misconceptions of modern day Wing Chun is using Chi Sao (Sticky hand) as a way to practice Sparring or treat it as a sparring practice. Where you will see two practitioner start striking each other like it’s a ring match. But in reality, Chi Sao is only a sensitivity and reaction drill, it’s purpose is only to teach the practitioner what to do when their hands collide with the opponents. In real life there will be no judges to separate the two fighters and the fight continues even when they are stuck with each other. You may ask , what’s wrong about using Chi Sao as a way to practice sparring there? Since there are various striking techniques when doing Chi Sao with a partner and as mention above it teaches you what to do when the opponent’s hands collides with yours. The problem is this, yes there are various striking techniques when practicing Chi Sao, but the main purpose for the striking is to teach the practitioner how to maintain their structure and reaction time. Those striking techniques applied in Chi Sao wouldn’t work in real life because you have to remember in the Chi Sao drill two practitioner are both the same hand positions which are Tan, Bong, Fok. Both are using the same techniques and hand positions. In real life, the opponent may not be Wing Chun practitioner you won’t be able to stick onto the opponent as if you’re doing Chi Sao. The hand collisions could be very random or in an awkward position. As well you only use Tan, Bong or Fok hand-techniques if you need to disperse or control a strike. If you expose those techniques before the incoming strike the techniques will not work.

Secondly, why you can’t focus Chi Sao as way of sparring because in Chi Sao, your hands are already engaged with each other. In sparring or real life combat, two fighters don’t start off having their hands touching each other already. You need to learn how to engage with the opponent. Sometimes your hands may collide with each other, sometimes you may not. For instance, boxers will withdraw back their punches or they might do a combination of jabs to distract you from their power/cross punch. If you purposely trying to chase after their hands and try to control or stick to them, you might get hit already.

You have to remember the purpose of Chi Sao is to train your sensitivity of your forearms, when the opponent collides or tries to grab your arms you have the reflexes to react. It is only a tool you can use for sparring. So next time when you do Chi Sao, you can strike but the main key is to learning how to feel the force coming in and react upon it. Rather than two people constantly striking each other. You can be good at Chi Sao, but it doesn’t mean you’re good at sparring.