Chi Sau (Sticking hands)
Sticking hands is the necessary step in learning the fighting principles of Wing Chun. The purpose is to train the application of the movements and the ingenious responses in fighting so one can foster the natural reflexes of the movements.
In order to develop the superior, natural and habitual reflexes, one needs to have a rigorous basis in sticking hands training. Because of this reason, the practice of sticking hands is divided into the following stages: single sticking hand, rolling hands, practicing the defensing and attacking techniques and free sparring and requires to be learnt step by step.
When some of the people discuss the sticking hands of Wing Chun, they consider that the techniques in sticking hands are effective only when there is arm(s) contact with the opponent. The Wing Chun practitioner can then feel what the opponents are doing and respond to the action and fight back. In fighting, if the opponents can avoid arm(s) contact with the Wing Chun practitioner then they think the function of sticking hands cannot be used. This idea is due to the lack of their understanding of Wing Chun.
Sticking hands does not need to have arm(s) contact in its responses to the action of the opponent. The purpose of sticking hands are diverse and need to be coordinated together in order to achieve the best fighting result.
The procedures and purposes of sticking hands, generally, can be divided as follow:
(1) Single sticking hands;
(2) Rolling arms or also called rotating arms;
(3) Practicing defense and attacking techniques or called the double sticking hands;
(4) Application of force (No actual force is required but it is difficult to find a proper phrase to replace it.);
(5) Establish and utilize the natural reflexes of “Loy Lau Hoi Shun, Lut Sau Ja Chung” (Means: when a person strikes in, one should neutralize his incoming force. When his force is withdrawing, one should move in. When he removes his hand(s) away, one should strike in.);
(6) Seek the profound techniques of facing one’s shadow, chasing one’s shadow and pointing towards the centerline.
(1) Single Sticking Hands: It is the first step in learning the sticking hands of Wing Chun by practicing the usage of the defensive and attacking techniques of Tan, Bong and Fook Sau. Generally, beginners will find it difficult in using Tan and Bong Sau when they receive a downward pressing force from the opponent. They will feel that the application of force in Fook Sau has a dominant advantage over the other movements. However, if one can understand the rotational skill of Tan Sau and Bong Sau, not only can he intimidate the one using the Fook Sau but he can also tire out that person very easily. In contrast, if the person can utilities the Fook Sau properly, he can also make the user of Tan or Bong Sau feels very difficult to withstand his force. This is a contradicting matter but however, the one who can apply the movements the best will win.
(2) Rolling arms: Both sides try to practice with the Tan, Bong and Fook Sau to form a circular rotating movement resulting in redirecting force, applying pressure on the opponent, finding the way to withstand the pressure from the opponent, feeling how to upset the balance of the opponent by using a proper technique and developing a complete relaxed shoulder-joints even when one is under pressure. If one can relax his shoulder-joints more, the force developed from the initial sliding movement of the joint(s) will increase which will lead to the acceleration of the rotation movements and thus creating the best result of tractive and striking forces.
(3) Practicing defensive and attacking techniques (Double sticking hands): During the training of the double sticking hands, one can use the defensive and attacking techniques freely. The defensive and attacking techniques are divided into three learning stages: (A) Siu Nim Tau; (B) Chum Kiu; (C) Bill Gee. As for the Wooden Dummy techniques, the movements are derived from the combination of the three forms and uses the dummy as a partner to practice on.
(A) Siu Nim Tau stage: Each side will practice the defensive and attacking techniques in a nearly stabilized position (a slight forward or backward movement is allowed). Both sides will use the Tau, Bong and Fook Sau to sense the attack and respond with a proper defensive and attacking movement, e.g. “Tan Da” – rotates from Bong Sau to Tau Sau together with a strike; “Jut Da” – a quick strike-in movement; “Pak Da”- one hand controls the opponent’s contact hand and removes his remaining hand by using the Pak Sau to allow the free hand to strike in; “On Da” – affects one of the opponent’s contact hands with one hand and strikes in with the other hand; “Yat Fook Yee” – controlling both hands of the opponent by using Lap Sau and uses the free hand to strike; etc.
(B) Chum Kiu stage: When practicing sticking hands with the Chum Kiu movements, firstly, one should understand the purpose of the Chum Kiu form. The purpose of Chum Kiu to transfer the power generated from the movement of the body mass to the techniques. Although the techniques used are nearly the same as in the Siu Nim Tau, the application of each movement, no matter defensive and attacking, will be supported by the body mass, e.g. moving forward or backward, pivoting, etc., in order to increase the power of the techniques.
(C) Bill Gee stage: Bill Gee is the form that concentrates an enormous destructive power in attacking. For training purposes, in order to prevent the chance of hurting each other, Bill Gee is seldom used in sticking hands because the techniques of this form can accelerate the power of the body mass to the striking point. Even a slight contact between the hands can produce damage to the opponent. Therefore, explanation and demonstration under proper control will be used to show the way of practicing Bill Gee techniques in sticking hands.
(4) Application of force: When practicing sticking hands, the direction of a force from the opponent will be changing constantly then one should alter his force to counter the changes by using techniques such as facing one’s shadow, chasing one’s shadow, rotations, forward and backward movements, etc. and develops the feeling of how to use the right technique at the right time to upset the balance of the opponent and then stores the most effective ways in his mind to thus become subconscious reflexes and enable people to apply the best technique from these natural responses.
(5) Establish and utilize the natural reflexes of “Loy Lau Hoi Shun, Lut Sau Ja Chung”: It is not easy to develop the skill from this motto of Wing Chun. “Loy Lau Hoi Shun, Lut Sau Ja Chung”. If one uses the sense of sight to feel the direction of the force of the opponent and then responding by neutralizing the incoming force or attacking the withdrawing force then this has not being perceived as the true skill of “Loy Lau Hoi Shun, Lut Sau Ja Chung” because the responses to the sense of sight are very slow and most of them could not achieve the desired result. By not using the sense of sight but the subconscious reflexes to response then one should concentrate on the training of the sense of brain which is the same “Mind Force ” (Nim Tau) as used in the Siu Nim Tau to maintain the elasticity of the joints of the arms. By coordinating the springy arms and the mind force together in focusing at the weakest point of the opponent’s structure then one will develop the direct reflexes of the subconscious mind and reaches the original aims of “Loy Lau Hoi Shun, Lut Sau Ja Chung”.
(6) Seek the profound techniques of facing one’s shadow, chasing one’s shadow and pointing towards the center line: The purposes of facing one’s shadow, chasing one’s shadow and pointing towards the center line have already been explained (see previous notes). Therefore, in practicing sticking hands, one should concentrate on its feeling and try to comprehend its practical value and skill in order to understand its real purpose and worth.
- Grandmaster Chu Shong Tin- Hong Kong Wing Chun