How do we bridge the gap between Chi Sao and actual fighting? In Chi Sao, both arms are connected or bridged. In a fight, however, we’re seeking a bridge, but typically will never bridge both arms simultaneous and stay there as in Chi Sao. At best, we can bridge one arm and only for a split second, while the opponent prepares to blast us with his unbridged free hand. Wing Chun trains for the bridging of the arms, but what do we do with the unknown? How do we handle both arms simultaneous with only a bridge with one?
Using the Pak Sao against a jab example, you see the problem is not the jab or the extended arm because we’ve formed a bridge with the Pak to that arm. There is a connection and we know where it is. The problem is always the unbridged arm or hand. This is the hand that we have to rely on our sight to see and determine where it is going. Or, we rely on the feel of the fight, if our opponent has a tendency to throw a jab then cross, we know what to expect. However, no one can predict with certainty his/her opponent’s next attack. Either way, for a Wing Chun fighter, it is always better to have a connection or bridge to the opponent. So, how can we form this bridge? No opponent will extend both his hands at the same time and do Chi Sao with you in a real fight. Likely he will only extend one hand at a time, so what kind of bridge can you form with only one connection?
In Dan Chi Sao, we are only using one connection or bridge. Even in Dan Chi Sao, it is very difficult to hit each other as both arms are bridged and neither person can get past the other’s defense. The reason is because both parties are evenly positioned and equal. However, what if you were to step to the outside angle to where you are facing your opponent’s centerline, but he is not facing yours? Would it be easier to hit him? Of course, because you’re now in an advantageous position. It would also be harder for him to hit you. This is a result of simply changing the angle of attack. What about when you add a second hand as in a real fight?
In Wing Chun, we have a principle called “one hand controlling two.” What is this really talking about? In reality, it is only a three quarters true statement because it only accounts from 3 of the 4 arms in a 1-on-1 fight assuming each fighter has 2 arms. The idea is one hand controls two of your opponent’s hand while you hit him with your other hand. How do we do this in a fight? Try whatever you like, but the only way you can control both your opponent’s arms is with a superior position. This mean you must angle to the outside of your opponent’s arms. Angling to the outside means both of your opponent’s arms are to one side of you.
Typically in a fight, both your arms and your opponent’s arms are roughly along the same line of attack and your feet are lined up with each other to go toe-to-toe. However, if you can move your feet and body where your opponent is slightly to the right or left of you then you have a better angle. Preferably, you want to move outside your opponent’s lead arm as this is the closest and easiest side to move outside of. You will have more leverage applying your trapping techniques like Pak Sao from an outside angle.
Why is this important? Because a Wing Chun fighter wants to position him/herself in such a way as to hit and not get hit. Yes, you can square up with your opponent and go toe-to-toe. You can trade punches and see who hit harder or more often, but why go through the trouble if there is an easier way? During UFC 1, Royce Gracie followed the same principle. Why fight standing up if it’s easier to put him on his back? Our principle is why fight toe-to-toe, when it is easier to take an angle where I can trap and hit without getting hit?
The Gracies controlled their opponent’s structure by putting them on the ground. We control our opponent’s structure while standing and taking a superior position at an angle. What moving at an angle allows you to do is get better leverage when trapping and hitting. This allows you to control your opponent structure and more importantly, indirectly control the unbridged hand that we were worried about. The idea is to take the unbridged hand out of the equation.
This concludes part 2. Thank you for reading and I pray this article has been helpful to you in some way.
Wishing you happiness and peace of mind.
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