Too much force in Chi Sau

Article by Dan Knight added on 30 Aug 2012.

Dealing with people who use too much energy or force in Chi Sau

This is a common Wing Chun question

Original question asked on our Facebook page:

"What are some strategies and Wing Chun theory/principles for responding to someone who consistently uses too much energy or force when rolling in Chi Sau"

The answer

As most people are aware Wing Chun does not encourage using force to deal with force. The simple reason being that we don't want to rely on strength as we are not always the strongest in a fight. Instead Wing Chun encourages the student to use skill to overcome too much force. Both the theory and principle of this are simple. Putting this into practice in Chi Sau can, however be hard.

Before I explain the solution in more detail its worth understanding why it can be hard to deal with someone using too much force (or energy or strength) when rolling in Chi Sau. The reason is people who rely on pushing or using too much force in Chi Sau do it a lot. That is often simply how they Chi Sau. They are also used to people trying to stop them using too much force and will usually have ways to rely on using too much energy to attack and defend effectively. It is easy for a beginner to get good at attack and defence in Chi Sau using too much force as opposed to learning to roll properly, and by properly I mean using correct positions turning and use of force or energy. Most people compensate for lack of skill with force as this is effective. In the long run it will make getting very good harder but in the short term, tensing up and grabbing and pushing in Chi Sau will help beginners who see Chi Sau as a game off point scoring. If you are unsure of the true purpose of Chi Sau this article will help. So if using too much force can be effective why is it bad? Well as suggested earlier, relying on force will mean the stronger person will usually have a huge advantage. Also it will mean that a the student may struggle to get their positions and turning right. It will make the student tense and slow and although they may have good defence by tensing up they will also struggle to hit. But ultimately it will mean those who know how to fight or do Chi Sau effectively will user their force or strength against them.

The solution to too much force:

There are a number of ways to deal with too much force. Firstly try to to avoid tensing up as a response to it. If you do tense up it then becomes a game of who is strongest. Instead try to use turning. So when someone pushes at you or tries to force you back simply turn your body away to they are no longer pushing at you. Every time someone tries to push at you with too much force just turn so the force is not aimed at you.

Another way to control is someone using too much energy is to use what Samuel Kwok refers to as "hard soft energy". This will take more practice to use than simply turning or stepping. The idea is that when force is applied you will collapse one point of contact but maintain the other. For instance if someone tries to force forwards when rolling you can collapse the Bong Sau but maintain the Fook Sau. This will unbalance you opponent who will then compensate by apply more force to your Fook Sau. However when you roll again you then swap the arm that is maintaining its position and collapse the other this once again throws the balance preventing the opponent to use force effectively. Some important things to remember is that this is not easy and will take practice. Also when you collapse a position it must be done so safely this will usually involve some turning. Also when maintaining a position against force you must not push forward or you will just end up resisting force on force.

In addition some people may roll too fast or try to push your hands off the centre. In the case of rolling to fast, the solution is simple. Hit them. When someone rolls fast without regard for sticking to your hand/arm and maintaining contact, it will mean you are free to hit them. Just roll slower and take advantage of the gaps that will appear because they are rolling away from contact. It is the job of the Fook Sau to stick to the Bong Sau and Tan Sau if your opponent rolls it at its own pace you are free to hit. In the case of someone pushing your hands out of the centre simply use a turning punch or Jum Sau to regain the centre.

Video on dealing with force in Chi Sau:

The following video looks at some of these concepts:

Detailed Learning from the advanced Chi Sau DVD:

The advanced Chi Sau DVD filmed in 2007 in Hong Kong with master Kwok looks at a few topics one heavily focused on is how to deal with people pushing or using too much force. The DVD is available in store, follow this link for more info.

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