Wing Chun’s Chi Sao partner exercise gives practitioners the potential to control exchanges based only on feel. Paired with the unbalancing powers of Tai Chi, these possibilities are expanded.

Tui Sao (also known as “push hands”) is the partner exercise from Tai Chi where coordination between the hands and feet play a crucial role. In contrast to Chi Sao, these hand techniques apply pressure through a standard opposing-guard position and use active forward force from a mobile stance.

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Similarities and differences

Attacking intent differs between the styles. Both push forward and develop arm sensitivity to “feel” and react to forces. Whilst Chi Sao aims to split the centreline, Tui Sao seeks to push, collapse and destabilise opponents. Once achieved, the reflex is to never allow recovery from being off balance, continuing to press and attack.

Defensive reflexes are honed differently. In single-hand practice, the guard positions activate different reflexes. Whereas Chi Sao promotes an inward deflection using the inside of the Fook Sao arm, Tui Sao takes a more regulation approach to bridging the opponent’s guard. It makes crossed-hand contact, as would be the case in most squaring up situations, with the outer forearm making the contact. Once pressure is applied, Tui Sao trains a very natural outwards deflection reflex when clashing against a stronger opponent. It can also utilise the waist rotation to “roll away” the incoming forces.

When defences are pushed beyond just arm movements, requiring footwork to defend, there is another difference. Chi Sao’s forward-stepping attack requires a circular pivot from the defender. Tui Sao’s defence is the reverse. It retains straight-line footwork to escape, combined with circular hand movements to deflect.

Power generation is from the stance in both practices. Chi Sao emphasises a static training position, sinking the weight and utilising strength gained from long periods of Sil Lum Tao practice. Wing Chun’s short, sharp hand techniques draw instant power from this firm base. Tui Sao uses a more mobile stance that transitions forward and back with the feet planted. It presses forward into a front stance to attack and retreats to a back stance when defending. Practitioners can apply great strength onto their opponent’s guard with these flowing, well-coordinated attacks. In the case of double-hand Tui Sao, the hands are used to push, which can also translate into high-impact palm strikes.


Both Chi Sao and Tui Sao seek to contact the guard and develop sensitivity through the arms to ‘read’ and react to forces. Tui Sao introduces more contact points, including the hands and emphasises a natural opposing-guard position. Like Yiu Shun (covered in part 1) it also brings the full potential of stance power into play, with forward (attacking) and backward (defensive) movements coordinated carefully with the hand work.

Our use of Tui Sao comes from Grandmaster Wu who sought the soft hands of his master Lam Yiu Gwai. Wu integrated Tui Sao into his Lung Ying program after learning from Yang Chengfu 杨澄甫 and his eldest son Yang Sau Chung 杨守中.

See also

Article: Written by R Zandbergs. Created from Barry Pang’s seminars.
Video: Filmed and edited by R Zandbergs
Main photo: Barry Pang demonstrating with Scott Peterson (2022)

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