Beyond Techniques

Multi-Dimensional Chi-Sao


Before we do anything else, let’s clear up some common misconceptions regarding Chi-Sao training. First of all, Chi-Sao drill is not real fighting. It is a perhaps one of the most important tools we use in Wing Chun training. However, it is, by no means, the only tool. You must remember that drills are partial reality. They are designed for specific purposes. Some people tend to train Chi-Sao exclusively, thinking if they get really good at it, they will become good fighter. Wing Chun is a multi-faceted fighting art. Training only one aspect of the art while neglecting others won’t make you a good fighter.

The purpose of Chi-Sao training is to help you develop sensitivity and quicker responses. Sensitivity allows you to detect opponent’s energy and quickly flow with it. Another important skill you develop is the ability to "trap" (to tie-up) opponent’s arms to either nullify his attacks or to facilitate your own attacks when you and he are in the "Chi-Sao" range.

Most of you have learned Chi-Sao rolling (rotation), and are pretty good at it. Some of you have been doing Chi-Sao for years but may feel you’re sort of stuck in what I call the "Chi-Sao Purgatory" – going nowhere.

Most of the Chi-Sao training is done very one-dimensionally – very quick attacks with hands but involves no angles, no footwork, no joint-locks, no knees strikes, no sweeps, no throws, and certainly no take-downs.

When you train like this on a regular basis, all you are concerned is how to get to your partner first. You put the emphasis only on speed without developing other Chi-Sao fighting skills.

The way we approach Chi-Sao training is a Multi-Dimensional one. Multi-dimensional, how? You ask. Let me explain. If we say using the trapping (sticking) aspect of Chi-Sao to punch is one dimension, using it to kick would be another. Using it to lock would be yet another one. You see where we are going?

Consider Chi-Sao fighting applications as a 3 dimensional, six-sided box. If punching represents the top side, kicking would be the bottom side. If joint-locking is the left side, sweeping would be the right side. If take-downs are the front side, throwing would be the back side.

To train like this requires a lot of re-thinking, but then again, that is exactly the beauty of Chi-Sao. It is a tool with no limitations. You can use this tool to make anything happen.


How to increase power in your punches

Punching power is of utmost concern for any martial
artist who wants to win a fight.  Without "knock-out"
power, you can't put your opponent down.

I'm sure most of you out there have seen Bruce Lee
perform the famous "one-inch" punch.  Pretty
impressive, isn't it?  Well, I'm about to show you how
to accomplish that and then some right now!

There is no mystery in the "one-inch" punch.  It all
has to do with how you harness and deliver the energy.
  There is an old Kung-fu saying "power comes from the
groud".  Well, power doesn't really come from the
ground.  The gravity grounds us and provides a
counter-force when we push against it.  Without the
ground, it's very difficult to throw a decent punch.
Try punching while treading water.  You'll realize how
difficult it is.

Next thing we need to learn is that power is different
from strength.  Strength is "gradual", but power is
sudden". It'S an explosion of energy.  The explosion
comes from torquing and linking the joints on our

There are altogether 6 joints on either side of the
human body.  On the upper body, we have a wrist, an
elbow and a shoulder.  We have a hip, a knee and an
ankle On the lower body.  You link all six joints
together by torquing your ankle, your knee, your hip,
your shoulder , your elbow and finally your wrist in a
chain-reaction fashion. What you get is punching power
much like an atomic explosion.

Here is how it's done: stand in either right fighting
stance (right side forward) or left fighting stance
left side forward).  First drop your center of
gravity by bending both legs, then rotate your ankle
by pivoting on the ball of your foot as you spring
upward. Rotate you hip and  shoulder one after the
other so you can project your elbow forward.  Tilt the
striking hand upward just before clenching.  There you
have it!  Do this slowly until you feel the
chain-reaction taking place.  Practice this in the air
until you're comfortable with the movements, then test
it out on a heavy bag.

Nothing I just described is my own creation.
Everything is in the Wing Chun forms.  All you need is
to look deeper into the forms to discover them.
Until next time, train hard, but train smart!