Chi Sao – Wing Chun’s Whetstone

Probably the most talked about aspect of Wing Chun is Chi Sao. Every school is different on how they approach and teach Chi Sao. Many show it to you within your first week of training. At Sifu Och Wing Chun, we do things a little differently. The mentality behind our training is that of crafting a weapon. We want students to forge their weapon first on the anvil of defense against common attacks such as hooks, sucker punches, kicks, shirt grabs, takedowns, etc. Then, we sharpen it with Chi Sao, wooden dummy practice, and other drills. This is done to help students understand Wing Chun’s primary purpose—to protect yourself and your family and return home safely.

This builds the student’s confidence and understanding of the tools given to them. Without crafting the sword first, an “outsider” may not understand the need for sharpening and fall under impression that Chi Sao is useless or a waste of time.

Chi Sao – Wing Chun’s WHetStone

Once the sword is crafted, the sharpening can begin. One of the first things you can feel when beginning Chi Sao training is your structure being tested. Before any strikes, counters, and defenses can (or should) be learned, good structure and rooting needs to be cemented in your training. Without good structure, even the best attack will crumble against good alignment of the opposite body. Rooting through the heels, with hips tucked under the spine and the glutes engaged, form the basis for a strong structure.

The structure is confirmed in the science behind a squat. Ask any knowledgable fitness personal trainer, and they will agree. To safely squat, the weight must drive through the heels with the spine aligned properly. After that, you can roll with a basic level of understanding in how to not only have structure, but how to use Chi Sao to refine it.

Then attacks can commence.

Reactions and Chi Sao Training

Quick reactions are the cornerstone of Wing Chun self defense. It makes sense that, in one of the deadliest arts in the world, there is a specific drill to train your reaction. Drilling hours upon hours on good technique and structure is pointless if it cannot be applied in a combat scenario. Going back to what was mentioned earlier, that is why basic defense against attacks is introduced first at Sifu Och Wing Chun. Now that there is an appreciation for the techniques required, they can be upgraded. That is where Chi Sao lends a heavy hand to the Wing Chun practitioner’s development.

The goal is to keep forward intent with your techniques, so that any change or gap in the opponent’s movement presents an open target that is immediately struck. After the initial attempt there will be counters and defenses. Open communication between partners is crucial in this part of training. If a student is still learning how to shape a technique, there’s no need for speed and power. Partners should seek to vary the training speed based on the level of each individual. Once needed techniques are ready, the attacker should seek to to use real strikes at the student. Only in this manner can Chi Sao be used properly to develop your Wing Chun.


Without the proper instructor and good training, Chi Sao may look, to some, like a child’s game. And to some it may be nothing more than that, if they do not understand and fully grasp why they’re training in Chi Sao. With time and dedication, it is a valuable asset to training. Without Chi Sao, the Wing Chun student will not have that fully sharpened sword. Using the whetstone of Wing Chun, Chi Sao, is one of the best tools you can hone and use.

Wing Chun Forms

The concept of Wing Chun forms isn’t difficult to grasp, but it is multifaceted in both nature and structure. Wing Chun Forms and fighting combinations are based on three basic principles: Practicality, Efficiency and Economy of Motion.

Wing Chun’s Real Practicality

Blocking and attacking is key in any realistic and practical self defense system. In Wing Chun, techniques like a Tan Sau punch (or “Palm lifting towards the heavens”) both stops an incoming strike and hits the practitioner at the same time. Crane Kung Fu movements such as Wing Chun’s Bong Sau or Wing Arm application deflect strikes along the centerline and expose the outside of the assailant’s body for follow up attacks. Paak Sau’s such as the Slap Hand or quick press are used to redirect an assailant’s incoming strike while allowing the Wing Chun fighter to remain quick and nimble. These are just a few of the techniques used. Wing Chun Forms is designed to maim, tear, strike, and injure some of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. Areas that are sensitive to strikes and cannot be built up such as the eyes, groin, joints, throat, temple, spine, and much more. Though all of the techniques within Wing Chun forms are strictly used in a life threatening situation where you have done what ever possible to not use such extreme self defense for you and your family.

Wing Chun Forms Efficiency

With all the martial arts out there, Wing Chun forms are rare because they don’t simply use force against force. Many other arts talk about this, but few can demonstrate this against a struggling assailant that is striking or kicking. Using Wing Chun forms allows you to manipulate the body’s torque, momentum, and energy to your benefit. With training, accurately timing, and appropriately positioned techniques, you can master attacks and counter-attacks that manipulate an assailant’s own force against himself. The more contact you have with the assailant, the quicker your reflexes will develop—and you can gain more control with that contact and increase your awareness of how to best respond and react.

Wing Chun Forms Economy of Motion

When we talk about the economy of motion, we mean a linear concept where movements are based on a point “A” to point “B” without any inbetween movements that waste motion. This economy of motion attacks an imaginary line along the center line such as the spine. This center line (or centerline, central line, or mother line) contains the most abundant amount of vitals along a single point. All offensive and defensive movements are based on the centerline axis and are used to both protect and attack this concept while keeping with the economy of motion.

Wing Chun Forms

Empty Hand Standing Forms

There are three empty hand standing forms within Wing Chun. The first form is Sil Lum Tao or Siu Nim Tao which is the first young form or foundational form, the second Wing Chun form is Chum Kiu which focuses on movement, balance, hip rotation, torque, and rooting. The third and final Wing Chun form is called Biu Jee which is a Wing Chun form that breaks the principles and is taught with sweeps, emergency applications, escapes, short range hooks, beginner multiple attacker preparation, and extreme short range and long-range techniques and applications.

Weapon Forms

The 8′ (eight foot) long pole or Dragon Pole as well as the Bart Chum Dao or Butterfly Swords are two weapon forms and attacking combinations that are taught as extensions of Wing Chun. Though used as advanced training, many practitioners do not make it to this stage of combat weapon training—not for any other reason but lack of determination and persistence.

Wooden Dummy Form or Muk Yan Jong Form

This Wing Chun form uses a wooden device that orginally was used in the Shaolin Temple. The arms and leg represent attacking and blocking points on the human body whereas the “trunk” or middle section is the centerline of the assailant’s vitals. This device trains timing, perfection of technique, applications, angling, position, control, striking, and footwork.

Sifu Och’s Wing Chun Kung Fu studio in Downtown Lakeland Florida is one of the best places to understand all of these concept’s.


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