What Effective Chi Sau Practice Looks Like

Continuing with more of my instructor Keith dispensing both wisdom and sarcasm in our back lot chi sau session on a hot July night, pay attention to his observations on forward pressure and attack, why you shouldn’t use bong sau unless necessary and the need to be forever vigilant against reaching or flaring your elbows out.

Specifically, every attack should be to your opponent’s centerline.  This can be done either by cutting in and deflecting into your opponent’s center or by shooting forward when your opponent is forcing you off of their centerline.  Why fight it?  If you are being forced to one side or another, ole that shit like a matador and shoot your chambered hand to their center.

Every time I watch these clips I gain a bit more clarity, for the simple reason that what chi sau is designed for is simple: imposing your will on your opponent. Simple?  Yes.  Easy?  No-but then more your mind becomes attuned to why you are doing what you are doing, the more your body falls in line.

People make chi sau into more than what it is.

Chi sau isn’t “sparring.”  It isn’t a form of tournament competition.  It isn’t some woo-woo, esoteric energy field disruption ritual.

Chi sau is simply the skill of sensing both the intention of your opponent and an opening to attack through pressure and exploiting that opening to your benefit with no wasted motion or movements, period.

If you are interested in Wing Chun as a form of personal protection and self-preservation through combative means, that is more than enough for you.

As I said with the first video of Keith and I, watch this often and pick up little things each time; everything makes more sense when one thing makes more sense.

Once again, to Keith and my brothers from the NFMA, thanks guys!  I sure do miss them days.


Train Smart, Stay Safe

Sifu Bobby



  1. Hello,
    reading the article and watching the video makes me really want to learn and practice chi-sau.
    This is great self-defence tactic to know.
    To be honest, I have never heard about it before but seeing the video makes me understand that it requires a lot of mental strength. Is that true?
    Very nice and helpful post
    Thank you

    1. Thank you!

      Re: the mental aspect, yes and no.  You must de-focus the mind so as not to think of hitting; let the body feel where there is no forward pressure and hit.  

      Chi sau is a sensitivity and pressure drill from Wing Chun; it is to Wing Chun what batting practice, fungo and running bases are to baseball.

      If you look at our rolling motion, we are not rolling side to side like driving a school bus but rather are probing forward and meeting each other.  This is how we can feel an absence of fwd pressure and thus an opening.


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