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chi sao

The meeting points of bone and skin. Our minute analysis of forward pressures, cross pressures, vulnerabilities. There is a very special satisfaction that comes with hitting your opponent’s chest with a palm strike, but I know that this only comes with the security of practice.

I love knowing that this programming has been carried down through generations of people standing around, placing their arms at awkward angles. The different types of hand positions slowly formed over decades and across continents.

One of the things I struggle with the most is the pivot between bong sao and tan sao. You do not retract your arm. You keep the same 135 degree angle. You must pivot and maintain forward intention. The pivot point is where your arm connects with your opponent’s. Programming responses to difference types of pressures through repetition.

No large movements, only exactly what you need. Overextension and dramatic motions are the kinds of things that get you off balance. If you flail away from a punch, then you are propelled too far in the other direction. You can then be pushed or pulled down.