The Ving Tsun Story
Sil Lim Tao
Luk Dim Poon Kwan
Pah Chum Do
Watch the video.
First in a series entitled "The Study of Ving Tsun using a Conceptual Framework."
Run time 13:37
Introduction to Chi Sau: the Signature of Ving Tsun Kung Fu
Of all the exercises found within the Ving Tsun Kung Fu System, none
is more important to the Ving Tsun practitioner for overall development
than the exercise we call Chi Sau.
Fundamentally, the day a student begins his/her training is the day we
embark on the path of Chi Sau. Sil Lim Tao, the first form of Wing Chun,
introduces the student to the centerline, the development and storage of
energy, the release of energy, attention to detail and importance of
structure. More importantly than all of these is physical and mental relax-ation
which is also linked to the economy of motion.
The student is then introduced to the basic two man exercises of Pak
Sau, Lap Dah and Gan Dah to reinforce the nature of each hand using
the centerline as the reference point. We then come to what is considered
the most important hurdle before embarking upon Sheung Chi Sau (Double Arm Chi Sau) and that is single
hand Chi Sau or Dan Chi Sau. Although seemingly simple, it contains the seeds which allow the student to
understand the importance of maintaining the centerline while in contact with the opponent. The hands continue
developing the forward, sensitive, penetrating, interpretive hands that Ving Tsun is so famous for. The student
utilizes the best hand in the best position to attack or defend the centerline. The hands are introduced to
the concept of economy of motion at an early stage of training. In all martial arts contact with your opponent
is inevitable thus Dan Chi Sau introduces the student to contact on the centerline in order that the student
learns the correct Ving Tsun hand to maintain the centerline regardless of whether the hand is in the indoor
or outdoor position.
As with all Ving Tsun theories, it is based on simple efficient and reasonable use of, in
this case, the hands to maintain and occupy the centerline. Consequently, in Ving Tsun we are continually
striving to either remain or to regain the centerline while remaining in contact with our opponent. Timing and
coordination are introduced as well as distance awareness and the sensitivity to resistance.
To achieve correctness and understanding, the exercise must be guided according to the Si Hing/Si Dai relationship.
This is where the older brother/sister guides the younger family member to the understanding of "sticking"
to the opponent on the centerline. The three pillar techniques of Bong Sau, Tan Sau and Fuk Sau are used
to emphasize the importance of correct structure and flow of energy from one hand position to the other. The
subtle motion of Go Bong Sau, Tan Sau, Fuk Sau, Jut Sau, and Chung Choi (punch) demonstrate the correct
nature of outdoor and indoor attack while at the same time regaining or maintaining the centerline from the
outdoor or indoor positions. The importance of the forward sticking nature of Ving Tsun hands cannot be
overstated so as to perceive your opponent's intent. Without this sticking one cannot sense the opponents
weakness in order to attack. At the same time your hands learn to "sense" your opponents intent
before he/she can even begin to launch the attack. The Ving Tsun student thus learns to allow the
opponent to guide him/her to the opponent's weakness and ultimately to defeat. The process
begins here and simply continues to grow and expand to Chi Sau, but the proper growth requires
proper structuring of these sequences of events. The method is very important in structuring success.
With time the sticking nature of each hand becomes extremely subtle and reacts instantaneously with a minimum
of effort to maintain control of the centerline. In Dan Chi Sau the student is guided to achieve the use of
the correct technique at the correct time. This exercise requires correct distancing, timing, coordination, stick-ing
and of course relaxation. If the horse stance "Yi Chi Kim Yeung Ma" is properly used then the student will
not overextend thus losing his balance or on the other hand be Chuk Kiu or jammed when performing the
exercise. Partners must face each other with their centerlines, shoulders square (Doi Yeng) to avoid loss of balance
due to over-extension. Each element or detail of the exercise must be performed with complete understanding
of the component parts. It is essential to maintain a sticking energy at the wrist area throughout the
entire exchange between partners. Each partner is connected to the
other, feeling and reading smoothly and cleanly without jerking the hands
or losing contact. You are one with your opponent and vice versa. There
is no winner or loser in Ving Tsun both partners are winners and share
a sense of confidence, trust and respect with each other. In time the Si
Hing leads the Si Dai to greater skill, confidence and fearlessness which
will come about naturally and effortlessly with the correct method of
training. The left and right hand are trained, independently, to occupy the
indoor or outdoor positions correctly when performing the entire cycle
of the exercise. When striking, your partner occupies the centerline by
striking to the centerline with the knuckles; do not strike or hit your partner, rather correctly position the wrist and elbow. This exercise is about proper use of "sticking", positioning of shoulders, elbow, and wrist.
Maintaining a good horse stance, relaxation of the mind and body, energy
forward, correct technique, leverage, etc...
As your training continues each student will then discover their own personal insights and meanings thus gathering
greater insights as to the profound nature of Wing Chun.