Along with the first few stances, kicks, single step movements and San Shou, new students begin to learn escape techniques as their introduction to Chin Na. As a beginner, these movements are essential to be able to break away from someone who is trying to control you with a strong grab. Escaping a bad situation is most often the right decision for someone who has not yet learned how to effectively defend him or herself. The escape techniques are excellent for making that happen and students should not discount the importance of perfecting those movements.
What new students don’t realize is how these “beginner” escape techniques become the first piece of some advanced techniques they’ll learn in the future. They usually see higher rank using sticky hands to attack their partner’s joints and hear the smack of their partner wincing in pain. They think “Why escape, if I can simply use sticky hands to lock them in and inflict as much damage as necessary?” They want to skip past learning escape techniques and onto things that make someone hurt immediately. It’s understandable to think that, but there is a reason for everything in our training.
Kung fu training is cumulative. Much like with learning math, kung fu skills build on each other. It’s quite hard to do trigonometry without a solid base of geometry and hard to do geometry without basic arithmetic. Without strong foundations, more complicated techniques simply won’t work. By building a solid foundation of escape techniques, you will eventually learn how to successfully follow the escape with a technique that often reattaches to the opponent in a more advantageous position for you. This reattachment is usually followed by a vicious joint attack. Additionally, many escape techniques put the opponent in an ideal position for a pretty forceful strike. Like the rest of our kung fu, Chin Na is supposed to flow from one technique to the next. So learn the escape techniques well and their will be more to follow in time.