Hot jello and octopi.

Posted Fri Oct 28, 2005, 20:07 PM by Tracy

I’ve been doing a lot of ch’i sao lately with Sifu. Ch’i sao is kind of hard to explain. It means “sticky hands.” Described simply, it’s the practice of staying with another person, physically and/or energetically. We practice it by touching forearms. At the most basic level, one person moves and the other merely follows, maintaining physical contact.

At an advanced level, ch’i sao is give-and-take as each person tries to take the other off their base.

Like a lot of people, I tend to go very yang, reacting to force with force. Sifu has been working with me to bring more yin, yielding to force to move into a superior position.

Be like hot jello, he says, filling the mold.

Last night when we were doing ch’i sao I imagined myself as an octopus, moving into the empty spaces.

Whatever works, Sifu says.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.