Chi Sau (Sticking Hands) Part 2
By Chu Shong Tin
Facing One’s Shadow, Chasing One’s Shadow & the Centre Line
Sticking Hands (Chi Sau) is the main exercise in practicing the fighting techniques of Wing Chun. When practicing sticking hands, instructors always mention about facing one’s shadow (Chiu Ying), chasing one’s shadow (Jui Ying) and pointing towards the centre line (Gee Ng Sien). These are the main points in fighting that have been passed down from successive generations.
But, regardless of whether the fight is between humans or animals, when the fight is between two people it is natural to prepare oneself by facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line. These are the natural instincts in preparing for a fight and should not form the main points in fighting even though they have been passed on from generations. Whether it contains any hidden meanings, it is worth further research and discussion.
Wing Chun put emphasis on facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line, however the explanation for these terms is not as simple as the literal meaning of these sayings. Actually, these terms contain the hidden skill of using the mind force in practical application which develops the automatic attack and defence reflex together with effective counter-attacking techniques. It also speeds up the reflexes and become the best way to develop the subconscious power in fighting. Therefore, facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line together with the motivation and infusion of mind force will combine to form the profound fighting techniques of Wing Chun.
If one wants to understand this type of fighting technique, firstly, he has to understand the purpose of the Wing Chun Forms and then analyze the reasons for it.
From the position of the Siu Nim Tao stance, the legs are pointing towards the centre line which makes the knees and toes do the same. This is the basic position for the legs when facing towards the opponent. The movements of Tan Sau, Bong Sau and Fook Sau are also pointing towards the centre line. The coordination of the shapes of the arms and legs will make the whole body form a solid triangle pointing towards the centre. The front point of this solid triangle together with the forward movement of the body will become the cohesive point of the body mass. Using this shape and point to contact with the opponent will create the abilities to crack in, break through and thrust open. This means controlling the “Noi Mun” (Means: the hands are within the inner area closer to the centre) of the opponent and will destroy his defence and put him into a disadvantaged position by opening up his central area.
Further analyzing the relationship between facing one’s shadow, chasing one’s shadow and pointing towards the centre line, each functions with the same logic.
Facing one’s shadow: to face the opponent directly in front.
Chasing one’s shadow: when the opponent is moving either left or right, one has to move in the direction where the opponent is moving to so he can focus at the centre line of the opponent again. This is why it is named as chasing one’s shadow.
Centre Line (Gee Ng Sien): a representation of time as used by the Chinese. Gee represents the middle of night time. Ng represents the middle of day time. (The meaning of Gee Ng Sien can be used very broadly. It can be used by the study of Fung Shui. In geography, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn is also called as Gee Ng Sien.) It just another word for centre line.
If one can harness the skills of facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line, generally he can achieve the following reactions:
- Accumulate the strength of the whole body mass
- The limbs are in the condition that is ready to fight just like the arrow is in the bow ready to fire
- Conceal the abilities to absorb the external pressure and to bounce back incoming force
- Develop the faculties for automatic defence and attack reflexes
As facing the opponent, chasing the opponent, pointing towards the centre line can develop the above-mentioned skills which also contains the hidden profound power of Wing Chun, I find this difficult in expressing and explaining it in black and white. For this reason, it is necessary for me to demonstrate in the course so you can feel the power personally.
By Chu Shong Tin