Wing Chun Chi Sao

What is Chi Sao

Chi Sao  or “sticking hands” is a term for the principle and drills used for the development of automatic reflexes upon contact and the idea of “sticking” to the opponent (also known as “sensitivity training”). In reality, the intention is not to “stick” to your opponent at all costs, but rather to protect your centerline while simultaneously attacking your opponent’s centerline.

In Wing Chun, this is practiced by two practitioners maintaining contact with each other’s forearms while executing techniques, thereby training each other to sense changes in body mechanics, pressure, momentum and “feel”. The increased sensitivity gained from this drill helps a practitioner attack and counter an opponent’s movements precisely, quickly, and with appropriate techniques.

DAN CHI SAO (One arm Chi Sao)

Chi Sao drills begin with one-armed sets called Dan Chi Sao which help the novice student to get the feel of the exercise; each practitioner uses one hand from the same side as they face each other. Chi Sao is a sensitivity drill to train and obtain specific responses and should not be confused with actual sparring or fighting though it can be practiced or expressed in a combat form.

POON SAO (Two armed Chi Sao)

Once a beginner student has attained the basic level of sensitivity through routines in each single arm, they can develop their sensitivity further by combining both arms. A student would normally learn to isolate one arm at a time so to not make the exercise difficult in the future, however this does not mean a student cannot learn two arms before one.

Two arm Chi Sao begins with the Poon Sao Roll, a sequence of the Bong Sao, Tarn Sao and Fook Sao in order to allow the arms to make shapes from the pressure applied by their training partner, these shapes are common for deflection and allows the Wing Chun student to focus both arms onto the centerline/centre point of the opponent.

Once the Poon Sao roll has been developed the student will then be given set routines to practice, these routines are directly related to the combative elements of the Wing Chun System that can be found on our Wing Chun Fighting Programmes page.


Wing Chun Chi Sao Routines are not fixed; there is no rule governing that this is the correct way to do Wing Chun, as long as the student is learning to apply the Theories, Principles and Mottos of the Wing Chun System then your training method is individual.

As a dedicated Wing Chun Organisation we must however give our students a method to train the material that is being taught to them in order to learn the Theories, Principles and Mottos and in the subject of Chi Sao this is done through routines drawn from our knowledge of the subject, as you progress in the Art of Wing Chun you are free to make up your own routines if you wish to improve and develop a shortfall that you have in your personal Wing Chun System.

CHI GERK (Sticking with the Legs)

We can apply the same methodology in the Wing Chun system when contact is made with the legs as with Chi Sao for the arms, learning to make contact with the opponents legs and maintaining that contact is called Chi Gerk (gerk – leg). Similarly to Chi Sao we apply training routines taken from our Fighting Programme No 9 (Counter Kicking) and work through the routines to develop the muscle memory.

Chi Sao is known as the glue of Wing Chun and many mistakenly believe Chi Sao only involves rolling their arms, this is incorrect and you should be looking for the theories of Wing Chun within the Chi Sao elements, these come from your Forms; SNT – defend in a straight line, Chum Kiu – defend on the diagonal line, Bui Tze – attack once your Centre line has been taken, and Wooden Dummy – restart your attack once you have clashed with the opponent.

All of this and more can be found in the sequences of routines in the subject of Chi Sao.


Although commonly known to be the art of sticking at the wrist the subject of Chi Sao is far greater than just this; for those wishing to attain their master qualification, sticking with the complete body is an important factor of applying Wing Chun – sticking with the shoulder, elbows, hips, knees and more can all be learnt.


Wing Chun Forms are your dictionary of shapes, a reference point for the student to refer back to when they place there arm or leg in the wrong place when applying themselves.

Wing Chun Chi Sao is the glue of Wing Chun, a routine/Set sequence of movements taken from the Wing Chun Fighting programmes to build a reflex reaction into the student to bring your Wing Chun System alive at a time that you do not wish to think about it.

Wing Chun Fighting Programmes, 12 fighting programmes for the student to learn in order to understand all of the possibilities of being attacked, how, when and what will be coming there way drawn from the 6 ranges of combat.

Wing Chun Punches, the only Martial Art to punch with a Vertical Fist due to the application of the Theory of Wing Chun, the shortest and most direct route and how to generate short range power quickly.

Wing Chun Foot Work, Dynamic responsive foot work taken from the 12 fighting programmes whilst applying the Theory of Wing Chun in a given situation, if you do not need to move then DO NOT move!

Wing Chun Theory (This is What Wing Chun Is!) a set of Theories, Principles and Motos, Not a technique or a movement that has been taught, If you understand this then you understand Wing Chun.