Facing and Chasing One’s Shadow
Chu Shong Tin
Sticking Hands (Chi Sau) is the main exercise in practising the fighting techniques of Wing Chun. When practising sticking hands, instructors always mention about facing one's shadow (Chiu Ying), chasing one's shadow (Jui Ying) and pointing towards the centre line (Gee Ng Sien). These are the main points in fighting techniques that have been passed down from successive generations.
But, no matter whether the fight is between humans or animals and when the fight is between a pair, it is natural to prepare oneself by facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line. These are the natural instincts in preparing for a fight and should not form the main points in fighting even though they have been passed on from generations. Whether it contains any hidden meanings, it should be worthy for us to research and discuss.
Wing Chun emphasises on facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line but the explanation for these words is not as simple as the literal meaning of these sayings. Actually, these words hide the skill of using the mind force in a practical application which will develop the automatic self-defence and attack together with a effective counter-attacking technique. It also speeds up the reflexes and become the best way to develop the subconscious power in fighting. Therefore, facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line together with the motivation and infusion of mind force will combine to form the profound fighting techniques of Wing Chun.
If one wants to understand this type of fighting techniques, firstly, he has to understand the purposes of the Wing Chun Forms and then analyses the reasons for it.
From the position of the stance of Siu Nim Tau, the legs are pointing towards the centre which also make the toes and the knees do the same. This is the basic position for the legs to face towards the opponent and the movements of Tan Sau, Bong Sau and Fook Sau are also pointing towards the centre. The coordination of the shapes of the arms and legs together will make the whole body to form a solid triangle pointing towards the centre. The front point of this solid triangle together with the forward movement of the body will become the cohesive point of the body mass. Using this shape and point to contact with the opponent will create the abilities to crack in, break through and thrust open. This means controlling the "Noi Mun" (Means: the hands are within the inner area closer to the centre) of the opponent and will destroy his defence and put him into a disadvantage position by opening up his central area.
By further analysing the relationship between facing one's shadow, chasing one's shadow and pointing towards the centre line, they all function under the same reason. Facing one's shadow: it means to face the opponent directly in front. Chasing one's shadow: when the opponent is moving either left or right, one has to chase towards the direction where the opponent is moving to so he can focus at the centre line of the opponent again. This is why it is named as chasing one's shadow. Gee Ng Sien means centre line and it is a representation of time as used by the Chinese. Gee represents the middle of night time. Ng represents the middle of day time. (The meaning of Gee Ng Sien can be used very broadly. It can be used by the study of Fung Shiu. In geography, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn is also called as Gee Ng Sien.) It just another word for centre line.
If one can control the skills of facing the opponent, chasing the opponent and pointing towards the centre line, generally, he can achieve the following reactions:
Accumulate the strength of the whole body mass;
The limbs are in the condition that is ready to fight just like the arrow is in the bow ready to fire;
Conceal the abilities to absorb the external pressure and to bounce back the incoming force; and
Develop the faculties for automatic defence and attack.
As facing the opponent, chasing the opponent, pointing towards the centre line can develop the above-mentioned skills which also contains the hidden profound power of Wing Chun, I find this difficult in expressing and explaining it in black and white. For this reason, it is necessary for me to demonstrate in the course so you can feel the power personally.