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In Module 4 we will go into the topic of Sao Chui. We begin our study of Sao Chui with the study of four topics.
a) 3-star forearm conditioning
This is a basic arm conditioning exercise. You can practice it solo by hitting your arm against a tree that can flex or a padded post.
I did not make any video on forearm conditioning but I found two videos that show exactly what I have in mind. The first video is a monk performing the conditioning as a solo exercise.
The second video shows the same exercise but practiced with a partner. When you do it with a partner take it nice and easy with lighter taps until your arm has been conditioned. After this you can try going faster and harder.
Some masters actually like to test a visitor’s skill by inviting them to knock arms. The first time I met one of my Wing Chun masters, a old man in his late 80s, he invited him to do this conditioning drill with him. That was his way of seeing if I have some basics such as power in the arms as well as a conditioned arm.
If you want to use Sao Chui the 3-star forearm conditioning is a drill that you must practice. Otherwise, if your Sao Chui is blocked hard you may not be able to take the pain.
Also, a well conditioned Sao Chui will allow you to deliver your strike more confidently, knowing that it will hurt your opponent’s arm if he tries to block it. I remember an ex-Pok Khek practitioner telling me about his full-contact tournament experience.
In this tournament he went against another Pok Khek player. When the whistle sounded to fight his opponent rushed up to him and delivered a chopping forearm strike. So this person quickly raised his arm to block the chopping forearm strike.
After making contact with his block he jumped back. Then he signaled to the referee that he was throwing in the towel. Apparently, the impact of the chopping forearm strike was so powerful that it caused his arm to turn blue black and became swollen.
b) Introduction to Sao Chui
Sao Chui is Pok Khek’s favorite KO strike because of the power it can deliver. The Sao Chui can be delivered using the fist or forearm. My preference is to use the forearm; in this instance the radius bone.
Our Sao Chui comes from Buk Sing Choy Li Fut, a renowned Southern style of Chinese martial arts that our founder, Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei, was a master of. A friend sent me the link to the clip below after reading my initial post about BajiLite.
At 0:33 to 0:37 there is an excellent example of what we call a Gwa Chui followed by the Sao Chui. You can see what a fierce and powerful technique Sao Chui is as demonstrated by Master Wong Kwai Cheung who is a high level master of Buk Sing Choy Li Fut.
When we first learn the Sao Chui we can use the Leung Yi Bo. This is because there are some useful lessons we can learn here particularly how to deliver a powerful strike.
At a later stage we would use the circle stepping to apply the Sao Chui instead. This particular method of using the Sao Chui is my favorite because it can allow for swift entry to strike the opponent – an example is shown below :-
I pulled the strike and shortened my arm so that my student would not move back, allowing me to use him as a standing post to demonstrate the circle stepping. Just before the clip is cut off you can see how I have walked behind him. This is a favorite method of Master Leong for getting behind you before you even have the chance to react.
c) Power in Sao Chui
To generate power in Sao Chui follow the procedures below :-
Step (1) – preparatory posture; the body is closed up and winded like a spring
Step (2) – initiate the Sao Chui by changing the right fist to open palm, bring it up in preparation to sweep out. At the same time, begin to lower your left hand to the side of your body
Step (3) – right hand continues to sweep towards your right side. The left arm is nearly straightened and by the side of the body. Open up the body at the same time
Step (4) – lower your right hand as if sweeping aside an obstacle. Begin to shift your weight to the right leg. Raise up your left arm whilst opening up the body a bit more
Step (5) – as the body weight is transferring to the right leg begin to bring the right hand back to the side of your face. The left arm is now raise above your head in preparation to strike down forcefully
Step (6) – plant your right foot strongly on the ground and torque your waist, turning it to the right to close your body and bring the left arm downward diagonally in an accelerated sweep. The right hand comes up to protect the face. Repeat exercise for the other side
d) Sao Chui in-situ
The video below shows how Sao Chui can be practiced as a solo exercise. Both left and right Sao Chui are shown.
When practicing Sao Chui once you are familiar with how to swing the striking arm you should pay attention to the other secondary arm. This is because the secondary arm has the important role of clearing and opening up the opponent’s space for you to deliver your Sao Chui.