Introduction to Chu Sau Lei
Wing Chun Kuen - Kim Elman
In this essay I will try to give you a brief
introduction to some of the things that our
training revolves around that might help you
see how our system is structured. I feel that
because of this structure, it's easy to understand
how to apply it regardless of situation. The
information is at your disposal and the possibilities
are limitless. Everything fits perfectly together
to make the art of Wing Chun Kuen work to full
Sum Fa or Mental methods are keywords and concepts
from which techniques, applications and even
tactics can stem.
The genious of teaching this way is that the
applications become endless. Furthermore, a
student will be able to develop and teach himself
as soon as he understands the method. This in
turn leads to deeper understanding and freedom
Presently there are about 20 or so methods
that we work with, however, more can be developed
if needed, as they are not set in stone, but
rather an outline of the methods used in the
system. The Sum Fa can be used to describe and
communicate everything we do in WCK.
5 Major Components
These five major components are the main attributes
one should develop in WCK. They are tools, body
structure, timing, positioning and sensitivity.
The important thing to remember is that they
are all directly related to and connected to
the mental methods. I will describe each one
The tools are your collection of techniques.
These are of course necessary to make the methods
real and applicable. The tools are controlled
by the methods and not the other way around.
Each tool should be versatile enough to be used
in different contexts, for instance, the same
tool could be used as an offence, defense, lock
or takedown, depending on circumstances.
This is probably the single most outstanding
thing in the CSL system. The use of body mechanics
is trained from day one, since your body is
what powers all of your tools. Powerful body
mechanics gives you dynamic control of your
center of gravity, balance and posture, enabling
you to use full body power at will. All branches
of WCK talk about body structure but none that
I've seen or even heard of utilize it in the
same manner as in the CSL system. Some important
factors of body structure is understanding vector
forces, understand and be able to use the natural
springs of the body to full effect and have
the sensitivity to know when to link and delink
Body structure has four components;
1) It is the attacking base,
2) it is the defensive base,
3) it is the method of linking to issue
4) it is the methods of delinking to
protect our position.
There are four methods of linking up the body.
Sigung describes them like this:
"Hand-hand is when a practitioner
links one movement powered by local muscles,
followed by another movement also powered by
local muscles. The advantage here is speed.
The purpose here is to set up the opponent.
Hand-body is when the hands lead the
body. In essence, this is when one initiates
the attacking movement with the localized muscle,
then finally link the body with the limb for
additional power. Hand to body is one basic
way to transition over from the hands alone,
then power your movements with the body.
Body - hand is when you have to change
or set up the opponent. Perhaps there is a struggle
between you and your opponent and you need to
break free. From here, you initiate a de-linkage
with your body in order to maneuver quickly
to a faster position.
Body - body is when you consistently
move from movement to movement with full body
linkage. This is the most powerful approach
and is the most difficult to do. It also has
the danger of trapping or jamming oneself, if
one cannot maintain the proper distance."
Developing your own sense of timing and the
ability to read the timing of your opponent,
is essential to practical application of the
art. In entering/closing and intercepting, utilizing
the correct timing is cruicial. There are many
ways to describe timing and one of the methods
used is described in the 5 Methods of Combat
in the context of intercepting. Once you've
broken the opponents structure you have a timing
advantage, since your opponent is trying to
recover rather then defend or attack. You can
only get this proper timing if you're in control,
and you can only be in control if you're in
the right distance. Another aspect of the WCK
timing is that once you've made contact and
stored your opponents force, it will automatically
be released as soon as the way is free, since
your entire body is being used as a spring.
This takes away the time-consuming stimuli -
response way of fighting, as any spring will
immediately snap back as soon as the force affecting
Tactical advantage and control can be gained
through proper positioning. The goal is to achieve
a position where you are occupying or controlling
the centerline, while your opponent is directed
away from your center. This is what proper facing
is about, your opponent having one hand against
two of yours or no hands to one of yours.
In essence, your sensitivity is the means of
letting your opponent tell you how to defeat
him. No matter what happens you must always
be sensitive to change and be able to adapt
to circumstances. At contact range tactile sensitivty
is most important and at non-contact range eye
sensitivty and the ability to read your opponent
is most important.
5 Methods of Combat
These methods are a way to describe what
stages you go through in a confrontation. All
methods are inter-related and interchangeable
due to the last component of Adjustment.
The ideal is to end the fight in the same beat
as it starts. Your opponent attacks or initiates
aggression and you immediately recognize the
threat (bai jong) and in the same phase as you
are intercepting you are also breaking their
structure and knocking them out.
Assuming Structure (Bai Jong)
This is where you ready your body and mind for
the situation at hand. If you have good awareness
you should be able to read the cues leading
up to a confrontation. Should you fail to ready
yourself conciously, your training should make
you assume the "ready mode" as soon
as the altercation starts.
As I wrote earlier, when you choose to intercept
depends on the timing involved. The following
describe the different timings used in interception.
Entry on preparation - the opponent is about
to launch an attack.
Entry on development - the attack is on its
Entry on extension - the attack has reached
its intended point of impact.
Entry on withdrawal - the attack is on its
Entry on response check - the opponent is assessing
the results of his attack.
This is the key elment to gain the upper hand
and control your opponent. Anything that delays
the opponents reaction time can be considered
breaking structure, either mentally or physically.
Just as offsetting your opponents center of
gravity is a good way to break his physical
structure, scaring, intimidating or ridiculing
him can break his mental structure and make
him freeze or become tense.
Keeping the opponent off structure, smothering
him with attacks and constantly slowing his
reaction time is the point of chasing.
If something goes wrong you will need to go
back and get into the fight again. This can
mean re-assuming your own structure or re-intercept
the opponent. Even if nothing has gone wrong
the principle of adjustment is always present
as your sensitivity guides you in dealing with
As you can see now the picture is starting
to come together.
We have the Sum Fa or methodology of the system
to give us the concepts of application. We have
our tools that give us a means to translate
these methods into physical application. Our
body structure is the engine that drives these
tools. We have the principles of the system
that tells us how to use these tools most efficiently.
By developing timing, good positioning and sensitivity
we can use all of the above in an everchanging
enviornment and against a resisting opponent,
and lastly, the five methods of combat gives
us a layout of our tactical goals. What else
do you need?