Chi-gerk

Wing Tsun's Sticking-legs Training

Introduction

Chi-gerk, or Sticking-legs, is the lower-body equivalent of the upper body’s Chi-sau training. While most lineages train Chi-sau in one form or another, not all will train in Chi-gerk. I have found, however, that Chi-gerk is an essential skill that can make a great deal of difference when working with someone skilled in Chi-sau.

Chi-gerk is first experienced by way of various strength and conditioning drills, somewhat similar in nature to Chi-dan-sau and the learning found when beginning arm training. A great deal of strength and conditioning is experienced prior to continuing. You would think that because the legs are so much stronger than the arms, Chi-gerk would be easier to learn than Chi-sau. In general, however, the reverse is true.

Because the legs are stronger, they are usually more prone to exhaustion vs. being relaxed. And because we are so preoccupied with upper body movements, many will usually not place the emphasis required in the lower body until the Chi-gerk curriculum is introduced.

Those that do will always find that their Chi-gerk training, when combined with Chi-sau, is quite superior to a practitioner that has never trained it.

Chi-gerk Primer Drill

Before beginning the actual Chi-gerk training, it is recommended to complete a series of strength and stance-specific drills in order to increase leg strength, stamina and body structure. Two of these drills are demonstrated here.

Primer Drill #1

1a. Chi-gerk Primer Drill #1

The practitioner on the right is in Jup-gerk and pressing to the outside, while the practitioner on the left is in Bong-gerk and pressing to the inside. Both have their arms extended and are helping not lose their balance so as to assist in creating leg strength.

Primer Drill #1

1b. Chi-gerk Primer Drill #1

Doing the same drill but on the other side. It is important to work both legs equally and from both the inside and outside.

Primer Drill #2

2. Chi-gerk Primer Drill #2

In this example, the same drills are repeated but now the practitioners change positions. It is important to ensure that each partner gets the most training as possible from both positions and from both sides.

Section 1

At the AWCA, there are four primary Chi-gerk basic phases. These basic phases must be competent before the softer Chi-gerk sections are learned. Rather than literal Chi-gerk (where contact is made and, through that contact, a response is initiated), these first four sections strengthen the legs and provide for more footwork options.

Once they are competent, the true Chi-gerk curriculum is then introduced. Generally, however, this is not trained until the Biu-Tze is introduced.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack

1. Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack

As the attacker begins to execute a kick, the kick is defended with Jeet-gerk.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack

2. Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack
(continued)

Immediately changing legs, the defender initiates Bong-gerk.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack

3. Chi-gerk Section 1 Attack
(continued)

Feeling the weight of the attacker shift, the defender drives in with a low Wang-chang-gerk to the support leg and take him down.

Section 1 defense.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense

1. Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense

The opponents square off.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense

2. Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense
(continued)

As the attacker attempts to jam the defender’s lead leg, the defender initiates Jup-gerk to slightly press outward.

Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense

3. Chi-gerk Section 1 Defense
(continued)

Jup-gerk feels the shift in weight and drives in with Jeet-gerk to the attacker’s support leg.

After a practitioner has completed the Chum-Kiu, he/she will be introduced to the four primary Chi-gerk pre-training drills. These drills are trained heavily until the legs are very strong, yet also very responsive to changes in the opponent’s lower body. The drills are continued until a practitioner begins the Biu-Tze form, at which time the actual Chi-gerk curriculum itself is introduced.

Drills & Applications

Prior to working with softer applications of Chi-gerk (which is really what Chi-gerk is all about), we first develop as much strength as possible so that the legs flow smoothly. A variety of drills helps to accomplish this, but two basic actions that we also employ are Bong-gerk and Jup-gerk.

Bong-gerk

1. Bong-gerk
Wing-leg

As the opponents approach each other…

Bong-gerk

2. Bong-gerk
(continued)

… the opponent on the left begins a kick. The defender on the right initiates Bong-gerk to the upper thigh to redirect the kick. It is not a collision-type of movement; rather, it is a meet-and-press action.

Bong-gerk

3. Bong-gerk
(continued)

With the kick redirected off the line, Bong-gerk immediately transitions to Jeet-gerk to jam the opponent’s weight-bearing leg.

From the other side, Bong-gerk would look like this.

Bong-gerk

1. Bong-gerk

As the opponent's square off...

Bong-gerk

2. Bong-gerk
(continued)

… the opponent on the left begins a kick. The defender on the right initiates Bong-gerk to the upper thigh to redirect the kick. It is not a collision-type of movement; rather, it is a meet-and-press action.

Bong-gerk

3. Bong-gerk
(continued)

With the kick redirected off the line, Bong-gerk immediately transitions to Jeet-gerk to jam the opponent’s weight-bearing leg.

Also trained with Bong-gerk is Jup-gerk, or Outward-leg. Whereas Bong-gerk taught us to re-direct an attack across the centerline (as with Bong-sau), Jup-gerk is similar to Tan-sau in that we are re-directing the attack to the outside. Some will call this movement Tan-gerk, but Tan means Palm Up. Therefore, the term is actually Jup-gerk.

Jup-gerk

1. Jup-gerk
Outward-leg

As the opponent's square off...

Jup-gerk

2. Jup-gerk
(continued)

… the attacker initiates a roundhouse kick. Stepping into the kick slightly and re-directing the force to the outside via Jup-gerk…

Jup-gerk

3. Jup-gerk
(continued)

… the defender initiates Jeet-gerk to the attacker’s support leg while simultaneously punching.

Concepts & Theories

Just as we use Chi-sau to determine a response to our opponent’s upper body attack, we use Chi-gerk to determine a response to the opponent’s lower body attack. This is a logical and efficient means of fighting for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is logic.

If an opponent punches at our head, we would not defend with a kick. Likewise, if the opponent kicks at our legs, we would not bend over to defend with our arms. Instead, the limbs defend themselves, regardless of the attack. Naturally this does not apply to tactics, since yes, if an opponent punches to our head, we can drive a kick in since the leg is longer than the arm and will usually reach the target before the opponent’s punch reaches us. Therefore, this disrupts his original attack and takes us from a position of defense to one of attack.

However, the initial premise here is about individuality and “what defends what.” Where Chi-gerk is concerned is that because we prefer a tight, close-in method, we cannot even see the legs or what is happening. Therefore, teaching the legs to respond to what they feel is extremely important to this close-quarters type of method.

For More Information...

Chi-gerk is a topic of great interest for many, but rarely do you see it explored outside of a school itself. If you want to learn more about Chi-gerk and what it can do for your training, then Volume 3: Chi-sau is where you want to be.

Including strength training, sections 1-4 of the Chi-gerk attack phase, sections 1-4 of the Chi-gerk defense phase, and how these elements play a role in competent fighting, Volume 3: Chi-sau’s Chi-gerk training phase will answer your questions.

This in-depth video-illustrated workbook takes you through the basics of Chi-gerk training and teaches how to incorporate the concepts into your sparring and fighting. It is not a know-all, end-all examination, but it does give you the basics of what to start with and how to use it. It is also an excellent companion guide to the overall Chi-sau and Lap-sau curriculums that are included with Volume 3.

Volume 3: Chi-sau
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