In Cantonese, Chi Sao means sticky hands. This is one of the most important exercises in the Wing Chun system. Without Chi Sao, forms and drills are useless. Forms and drills are the soul of Wing Chun while Chi-Sao is the heart of the system.
Chi-Sao does not only prepare you for the fight. It also teaches you how to deal with stress, teaching you how to respond by panicking healthily, to react without thinking, and yet still be accurate and quick. Chi-Sao combines hands and legs, and increases the ability for multiple, simultaneous activities as well as improving fitness, health, coordination, balance and developing the counterattack reaction - the "automatic pilot".
By practicing Chi-Sao, you learn how to use your body effectively. When you have been hit, you know that you have made a mistake - Primarily, the objective is not to look for the hit, but to ensure that you do not get hit.
This is practised in Chi-Sao by teaching your body to move fast, get out of the danger and then counterattack effectively, without thought being involved. By doing this, Chi Sao is the perfect preparation for the fight.
However, Chi-Sao is not only aimed at fighting. It also teaches you how to deal with all kinds of stress. Chi-Sao helps you to understand how to use your body naturally, effectively and bring out your intelligence.
You have to remember that no one can teach how to fight - every fight is different. When soldiers train, they don't kill each other but try to condition the body and mind up to the highest level so that if they need to go to war, they are prepared.
When training Wing Chun: train hard, regularly, and with the right school and you will be ready to use Wing Chun if necessary. Wing Chun will definitely bring out the best in you, in your relationships, your job, so that whatever you do, you will do it better.
Chi-Sao is the essence of Wing Chun. It is the primary tool for the training of instantaneous response for which Wing Chun is so famous. It is through Chi-Sao training that the practitioner develops his sense of touch, to feel the flow of energy of the opponent, so he can absorb and neutralize the attack and counter.
In Chi-Sao one must be like water, seeking the course of least resistance, avoiding the strong and attacking the weak. Chi-Sao integrates this sense of touch with the fighting techniques that the wing chun practitioner has mastered in the first two hand forms and the Wooden Dummy, so that all flow together and are applied without thinking, without waiting for the mind to make a decision on which defence or attack technique to apply, it is best not to apply the third form in Chi-Sao, because the third form is only for emergency use, to "save my ass".
Feel the flow of the energy of the opponent and Re-Act, be like water, seeking the least resistance, be Direct, Panic, Move, and Do Not Think!
Through Chi-Sao the Wing Chun motto becomes real: receive what comes, follow what goes, and attack when there is emptiness or when the hand disengages.