Whilst Sparring (semi to full-contact fighting, usually with pads and head-guards) is an important part of training in the martial arts, it is by no means a compulsory or even a regular part of classes. Wing Chun usually places a greater emphasis on ‘Chi Sau’.
Chi Sau is a method of training the sensitivity of the hands and arms to feel an opponents intentions before the eyes can see them. Such training can, over time, enable a practitioner to effortlessly neutralise an opponents attack whilst simultaneously initiating a counter-attack. A person who is highly skilled in Chi Sau can effectively use it to control an opponent by clever manipulation of their reflexes.
My master has described Chi Sau as the bridge between the forms (set training routines) and fighting.
Sparring is, of course, very useful for ensuring that students don’t freeze or panic in a real fight situation and that is just one of the reasons it is recommended that students try it at some stage in their training.
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