The 80-20 Principle or better known as the Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is true in Wing Chun. Over 80% of successful strikes, defenses, or both are from doing only less than 20% of the basic Wing Chun techniques we first learn. In Chi Sao, it’s no different.
Chi Sao (Stick Hand) is a Wing Chun drill that can be considered as light sparring. In Chi Sao, we learn how to effectively gauge sensitivity as well as actually striking and defending against a partner but we tend to do flashy or overcomplicated attacks when we Look Sau (roll our hands) during Chi Sao. Most of the time a simple Pak and Punch is enough to get to the opponent. But why do we learn all these other techniques in Chi Sao if we’re only going to be only using the same few techniques 80% of the time?
The reason is because we learn different techniques is so when we train with a partner we are helping them react to different attacks. It also teaches the sensitivities of different type of attacks so when we feel an attack come a certain way, we logically connect them to the defense drills that we’ve practiced over and over.
Master your Chi Sao Technique
By doing the same few techniques over and over, you’re building muscle memory for those techniques and this will help you improve and master them. If you have heard that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, well in Chi Sao, by doing a single type of attack or defense repeatedly 10,000 times should be enough for you to own that skill and to be very comfortable doing it. When doing your techniques come natural to you, it allows you to start focusing.
Think about your own Chi Sao training sessions. Think back about when you Chi Sao and the techniques you use and the effectiveness of the ones that you use the most often. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s the one technique that you have the highest success of striking and the least amount of success your opponent has defending. If you’re already aware of what technique you use that is effective, the next step you need to do is focus on the why.
The reason this is important is because once you realize what your strengths are, you can now focus on your opponents’ weaknesses and why they’re failing to defend against you. If your technique is successful against the majority then the majority has the same weaknesses. Help your fellow Wing Chun practitioners out. Tell them where they need improvement and show them why they’re unsuccessful. They will be thankful because it’s hard to realize our mistakes and address a solution.
Learn Chi Sao
If you haven’t learned Chi Sao (Sticky Hands) yet or want to learn different Chi Sao drills, you need to check out Sifu Chuck O’Neill’s Chi Sao video courses. He has two videos out on Chi Sao, the first video is called “Chi Sau Foundations” and is for those who are just starting Chi Sao. The second video is called “Chi Sau Advanced Techniques” and it goes over eight Chi Sao techniques. I have both videos and I have to say that I was surprised…
We’re both from the Yip Man lineage but his approach to beginning Chi Sao was much different than the way I learned it. Sifu Chuck explains each drill by breaking them down into three sections: introducing the drill, reviewing it, and then adding key points to why the drill is important.
I actually learned a lot from his hour long “Chi Sau Foundations” video. One thing that differentiated my Chi Sao training and Sifu Chuck’s is that he goes in details the importance of foot work in Chi Sao. Upper body is important but it requires both lower and upper body working in unison for us to be truly effective in Chi Sao and in Wing Chun.
The videos can be downloaded right away and you can begin training as soon as it’s done downloading.
You can buy Sifu Chuck’s video course here. (Disclaimer: I will earn a commission if you purchase through this link. I have personally used Sifu Chuck’s videos and I am recommending them because they are helpful and are products that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products. Please do not spend any money unless you feel you really need it and will help you reach your goals.)
If you’re an absolute beginner to Chi Sao, I recommend grabbing a friend or training partner to watch the videos so that you can train along. One note though, don’t try to digest everything in one day, there’s a lot of information in each video but the benefit of having a downloadable video course is that you can rewatch it whenever you want.
Preview of Sifu Chuck’s Chi Sau 1 Video
Click here to buy Sifu Chuck’s videos.