Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by wingerjim, Mar 15, 2017.
Tapered or not
Long weapons | Product Categories | Little Raven
^Bought a lot of wasters from them, and they've all been top notch.
I'm telling you man go to Home Depot and get one 7-8 feet. It's not tapered and it's not fancy wood but it does the job. If you want something heavier get a pipe instead. This is significantly cheaper. No sense paying $300 for a big stick.
If you are talking about a piece of typical pine or fir closet doweling, don't plan on using for anything other than the form and conditioning. In DTE class (Direct Torres Escrima) I saw coach Martin hit a pole like that with a short snap with a good hardwood pole and about a foot of the end of the Home Depot pine pole sheared off and flew across the room like a bullet to embed itself in the drywall opposite.
Yep, if you do any contact drills get a good hardwood pole. Heck, once you get proficient, You might even break a pine pole just doing the form! You might be able to find some decent oak molding at home Depot though. That would hold up better.
I have several we use for the form and for some of the exercises as a building block. The closet dowels are lighter than the real poles and do ok with some light tapping but break up when the going gets a bit rougher.
I noticed you didn't mention size in your question, Wingerjim.. I'd think that would matter? Personally, I think length does matter in a 'true' long pole. The question, 'at what point is a pole considered "Long"', has been a bone of contention for many decades.
I saw that someone here mentioned 7? as a 'long pole' [I think it was of Chinese origin] but to me, that's more of a 'long bo'.. not long enough for good power training. Then again, if a pole is too long, shipping can triple.. plus it becomes difficult to find a place to put it. Anyway, I wondered if that mattered?
According to a number of references I have - the pole can be between 6 and 13 feet in length, though the techniques are usable on a pole or stick as short as 4 feet.
One reference has a good working length as being as high overhead as you can reach standing with one hand without getting up on your toes. Another has it at nine feet.
Longer poles will be heavier and the leverage different, meaning better for developing specific strength or its internal analogues. Shorter poles are better for speed, sparring, and use indoors - I once took out a fluorescent light while practising with a longer pole in the kwoon, about two minutes before class was due to start. Glass and powder everywhere.
You probably want to train with a variety of poles, since the chief advantage of practising it these days for self defence is arguably adapting it to improvised weapons - brooms, garden tools, etc.
It would be challenging getting a 13 foot pole on a train or bus, or in a taxi, or going most populated places on foot for that matter.
I have a couple of good quality hardwood bo's I practice with. They do the job. If I got an expensive tapered job with the canonical brass ferrule I'd want to treat it as a display object and be afraid of damaging it in training. My instructor has one but it's on display and not used for practice.
"You should not have a favourite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well. You should not copy others, but use weapons which you can handle properly. It is bad for commanders and troopers to have likes and dislikes. These are things you must learn thoroughly." - Miyamoto Mushashi.
4'? When discussing the pole in a 'Wing Chun' application, the majority of those well versed in this subject agree that 8' would be a minimum length for its purpose. The 'standing and reaching up' concept you mention, is recent, and western. Please remember, Ip man was 5' tall and a few documented accounts have him playing with a pole 13' in length, the maximum length you mentioned. [Imagine his strength?]
Because of the atypical Wing Chun movements and stance within the form, the most popular oral argument is that the pole was introduced by a Hung gar master in exchange for Wing Chun training. If true, there's no telling how long that original HG pole was, but also remember, long poles were used by the Opera troupe to navigate the waterways, and no doubt, these [variable size] poles were adopted.. eventually a particular length becoming adopted by individual lineages?
Because of its size, many have disregarded this section of training.. considering it a useless weapon. Its main purpose today, however, is not for use as a weapon, but to develop power training.. with some insistent on its providing 'internal' properties. There is a saying in Hong Kong, regarding the pole.. "Yut chun chang; Yut chun kang", meaning "One inch longer-One inch stronger".. which is why I initially said, 'size matters'. This is true in power training, but, as I also mentioned, in shipping as well.
In a dialog I was having a couple years ago with Aaron, over at Ewingchun, I mentioned 13' poles. He informed me that once the container [tube] reaches 10', anything longer and the shipping rates triple. This is why many poles, although called 10', when shipped are around 9'8, and this is why such an elevated price on these long poles. Size really does matter, in both cases. Hope this helps.
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