Chu Gar Talking Hands
Kong Sao or Doc Sao
Two ways have developed to compare kungfu styles this century in Hong Kong. The first is called "doc sao"and is such that it does not cause harm or discomfort to the parties involved. It is done by word of mouth and by "boxing" gestures. By word of mouth one party describes the finer points of a certain movement and with slow motion actions stops short of causing pain even though a blow may connect to the target.
This method is the gentlemens way to compare styles as the outcome would be to determine whose kungfu skill was of the highest order by simply relying on words.
A second method called "kong sao" (talking hands) is a genunine test of kungfu between two practitioners. In this method the "hands do all the talking". Kong sao is not a recent creation and in olden times was known as "comparing the hands and feet."
Kong sao differs from the "doc sao" method in that kong sao is a true fist fight and injury does happen. In the late fifties and early 1960's secret kong sao matches became very popular in Hong Kong. Usually the purpose of kong sao is the that one style attempts mastery over another style or one instructor desires to defeat another instructor.
Although, personal ego and ambition are evidenced in most kong sao matches, these type of real kungfu fights are also used to settle legitimate disputes that cannot be settled by word of mouth among kungfu men.
As a method of comparing and testing kungfu skills, kong sao bouts are also an effective method of exchanging ideas and refining one's art.
The ways of kong sao bouts vary. There are fights with the presence of a referee or those without. Those bouts with a referee are usually safer and less brutal. Among those without a referee there are very few "draw" matches and one person is usually defeated squarely.
Many times a crowd of onlookers ensures that "death" does not occur and occassionally the crowd will call for a match to stop in which case a draw is called so that both sides may later re-tell their own particular version of the match.
As martial art it seems kong sao matches are necessary and useful to refine ones skill and art even though it may seem primitive to the uninitiated. And although disputes should be solved peacefully among kungfu men, when they cannot be solved by words, one may "kong sao" - let the hands do the talking.
Photo: Brothers Chiu Sifu and Kong
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