I am currently discussing tai-chi with my friend in Hong Kong… I have placed a bet with him that if I can convince him the classical applications of tai-chi have merit he must buy dim sum, if I fail I will buy the dim sum. No small wager, both of us can EAT.

I won’t defend Chinese Martial Arts at this point, the fact is CMA has been sold, prostituted many times over the years and the damage to its image is, rightly or wrongly, irreparable.

Anyway I need to be careful writing about CMA.

If I continue down this line I may inflame some peoples sense of self : “I am a CMA practitoner and I believe you are WRONG” and in so doing they can snort a line of ego dust having given themselves the dirty little high of making themselves “right” by making someone else wrong. And I dont want to provide hungry little souls with that opportunity.

So, I will drop  defending or even discussing “CMA” for now.

But “Chi Sau” and energy drills, sensitivity drills… why would I value them?

Isn’t “street fighting” all about hitting harder, faster, firster and meaner than the other guy. In some senses “yes” and in some, not at all.

Ah blessed dogma… my karma ran over your dogma

“Every dogma has its day”

Anthony Burgess

(author of “A Clockwork Orange”)

I mean ultimately we will all get older and we will have to rely less on the attributes that are the dominion of younger people and more in intelligence, cunning and “savvy”.

In cantonese, young thugs, would -be triads, are referred to as “goo wak jai” meaning literally “cunning boys.” This attribute of being “cunning” having “savvy” and knowing your territory inside out is not one that practitoners of self protection often seek.

But they do seek to be more confident and to be better able to fight. If you want confidence and fighting ability, seek to be “goo wak” and know your territory.

Chi Sau, allows you to get to know that territory: the human body in a combative state. Get to know it, get intimate with human movement and the human body the way a masseur is, a physiologist, a therapist, a doctor.

Get intimate, get knowledgeable.

Another Chinese idea: knowing how to heal people as the yin yang opposite to learning how to break them.

Chi Sau ,or if you are “stuck” on the associations your overactive mind spews out of white people in silk pyjamas making nimrods of themselves in the name of “Kung Fu”, just think of “combative sensitivity drills” allow your body, not your brain so much, but your body to think, to “talk”.

And you want it to be “fluent” ideally. Knowing “just enough to get by” is the CLASSIC combative paradigm, that has also been prostituted, just like CMA has been, in the modern “Reality Based Self Defense” (blluuurgh, i just threw up a little bit in my mouth!) marketplace: LEARN TO KILL A MAN IN 2 MINUTES WITH YOUR BARE ELBOWS BY ABSORBING PURE MARTIAL SKILL THROUGH YOUR EYES BY WATCHING THIS DVD WHILST EATING ICE CREAM- “just like the matrix”

(I didnt make up that “just like the matrix” bit, that is from real sales copy, the people who wrote it? yeah they chow down on satans sausage and are going to a lake of fire for all eternity)

Profit and Quality make poor bedfellows in many ways … its really mixing your agendas to try and make money (which means giving people what they WANT) with trying to deliver quality training (which means giving people what they NEED, but dont really want because its not sexy or easy or quick, can be boring, painful and take a long time…ewww, sucks… change the channel.)

I say “Do Chi Sau”

Sorry, do “combative sensitivty drills”… because

it allows you to be more “goo wak” and you want to be a “goo wak jai” dont you?

if you want to learn to fight, you must have savvy, you must know how to move, how your opponent will move, you must teach your body to “think”, to “talk” to “read”… such that you can close your eyes put your hand on your partners chest and know solely through the info coming through your palm  “what his intention is” – dun, dun, DUUUUN!  (cue kung fu film music and zoom in close up)

sounds spooky, but its not at all, you can feel, what he wants to attack you with and where,  remember the hand is faster than the eye, if you can make contact and “sense their intention” – isnt this a useful skill? surely?

I’m advocating a traditional martial arts skill set and training tool? what? I thought this was street fight secrets?

I say: learn to do it.

If you aren’t a secret agent learning rudimentary hand to hand combat before being dropped behind enemy lines (heres a clue, if you are reading this, you aren’t… just in case you were confused) then you have more than 48 hours to study, you have the rest of your life to enjoy your training and to allow your training to develop you as a person, hollistically and organically.

Learn this skillset.

Then you can wear silk pyjamas and do blind folded chi sau too… and make everyone call you “sifu”.

Who knows… they might even buy you dim sum.

(for more info on the chi sau/sensitivity/ shot placement drills I like to do , its all covered step by step in  the “core concepts” 3 dvd set available now on special half price offer from http://www.streetfightsecrets.com)