Chi Sao or “Sticky Hands” is described by Yip Chun as the bridge that links forms and the practice of hand techniques to free fighting. An important foundation of Wing Chun, students participate early on in their training in Chi Sao. Wing Chun students use Chi Sao to compare and judge each other’s skill and ability in Wing Chun. Chi Sao is a training process, exercise, and practical application to test one’s ability and knowledge. It is not a process of winning or losing (like sparring), rather, a means for the student to explore themselves in the application of their knowledge of Wing Chun techniques.
Compare the following videos. One show the application of techniques in an instructional setting. The other is a live exercise, where each student is flowing freely in order to strike. The goal is to “be like water”.