Butterfly knives - a question

Xue Sheng

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I was wondering how well would the Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Knives transfer to stick fighting. Although I own a set of Butterfly Knives I have never trained them, or stick fighting for that matter, but I was just watching a few videos of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives form and it got me thinking.

Note: I do not plan on trying to adapt anything, I was just wondering since carrying around a set of Butterfly knives would likely get you into a whole lot more trouble than carrying a short stick. I have thought about much this same thing as it applies to the Taiji Dao and Jian.
 

KamonGuy2

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I was wondering how well would the Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Knives transfer to stick fighting. Although I own a set of Butterfly Knives I have never trained them, or stick fighting for that matter, but I was just watching a few videos of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives form and it got me thinking.

Note: I do not plan on trying to adapt anything, I was just wondering since carrying around a set of Butterfly knives would likely get you into a whole lot more trouble than carrying a short stick. I have thought about much this same thing as it applies to the Taiji Dao and Jian.

Nice question!
You will actually find that a lot of chun schools incorperate escrima into their schools with varying success. Ive trained (and fairly well versed) in escrima and find that some of the principles are very similar

Escrima does tend to do bigger motions with the sticks, but the more talented guys would certainly be able to translate some of the motions across. You have to remember that a lot of the knife form / knife work involves stabbing the blades which wouldnt work with sticks

There is also a lot of use of the knives handles which also wouldnt translate across

It would be cool to see it done well though - especially by someone like Dan Inosanto who knows wing chun as well as escrima
 

Vajramusti

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I was wondering how well would the Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Knives transfer to stick fighting. Although I own a set of Butterfly Knives I have never trained them, or stick fighting for that matter, but I was just watching a few videos of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives form and it got me thinking.
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The bot jam do training can really help with wielding sticks without learning escrima IMO

joy chaudhuri
 

yak sao

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I remember a WC practicioner named Terrence Yip who taught short sticks as an adaptation of the knives. He had a series of videos out, I never saw them so I am in no way endorsing their quality or credibility.
 

geezer

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I was wondering how well would the Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Knives transfer to stick fighting. Although I own a set of Butterfly Knives I have never trained them, or stick fighting for that matter, but I was just watching a few videos of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives form and it got me thinking.
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The bot jam do training can really help with wielding sticks without learning escrima IMO

joy chaudhuri

On the other hand, escrima is really fun to practice and you will learn practical stick self-defense immediately.

In Many WC systems the Bart Cham Dao are held back for many years. Correct me if I'm wrong, Joy, but I believe that Sifu Augustine Fong makes them available sooner. My old Sifu made students wait at least ten years or until acheiving "Master's level" to learn them... and then he'd charge very high fees. Honestly, I've only learned a part of his version of the form. But then again, in spite of my time in the art, I'm not a "master" yet. Oh well.
 

geezer

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Xue-- a couple of additional, random thoughts. Learning short-blade technique like Bart Cham Dao doesn't translate perfectly to a heavier, "percussive", or impact weapon like a stick or baston. Furthermore the BCD technique is built very particularly on WC basics and would not be as useful for someone with a more general CMA background.

Another thought. Have you noticed how different the various WC versions of the knife sets are? Sometimes they are not even remotely the same. Bill Cheung's Bart Cham Dao antics, for example, are entirely unique! Even the design of the Bart Cham Dao themselves varies greatly. For example the beautiful knives pictured in your link are quite unsuitable for the form we do in my lineage. They are too long, too massive, and the wrong shape for the techniques we do. My point is not to promote one lineage over another but rather to point out that it's really tough to give a broad-based answer to your question that applies to all, or even most, WC lineages.
 

mook jong man

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My master used to do demos using sticks in place of the knives for safety .
One of the senior instructors would be wearing a motorcycle helmet and would attack him with a broom stick or whatever.

I was very impressed with the speed and economy of movement used to counter the attacks , and the sound of the sticks hitting the helmet sounded like a drum solo or something.

Years later when I trained in Doce Pares stickfighting for a while I couldn't really come to grips with how flowery some of the movements were in comparison to the Wing Chun method.

Most of the moves would translate pretty well to sticks I imagine , except the piercing and cutting actions , also you haven't got the advantage of a hand guard and that little bit at the top that can be used to trap the opponents blade.

Theoretically speaking you should be able to pick up common objects and use them in roughly the same manner as the knives and the pole , eg two sticks or a pool cue.

But to be able to use the weapons effectively you also have to have the pre requisite training in the empty hand forms.
Wrists that have not been strengthened by years of Sil Lum Tao training will quickly have the weapons knocked out of their hands or will not be able to withstand the impact of a heavy weapon as you try to deflect.

Chum Kiu form helps to develop mobility , balance and enables you to move your body as a co-ordinated unit.
This is needed so that you can cover ground fast and attack , because the knives are a relatively short weapon compared to other types of weapons.
Its also worth noting that a lot of the movements in Chum Kiu are identical to the knife movements.

Bil Gee teaches you to generate force from the body , out to the arms and then into the weapons with what we call " Elbow Force ".

It takes quite a long time training in the empty hand forms to develop the Wing Chun stance , the stance is the source of our power generation for empty hand fighting and the same goes for weapons.
In our lineage the knives are the last stage in learning Wing Chun.

In closing you could probably copy the techniques easily enough , but it would remain debatable as to whether you would be effective in generating power or overcoming heavy force .
Because you haven't had the background in the Wing Chun empty hand forms which contain the exercises in preparation for handling the weapons at a later stage.
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

What my experience has shown, and the way I have been taught, is that if you have biomechanicaly sound movements for martial purposes with empty hands, anything in your hands is deadly.

Of course, practice to get used to the range of the weapon would be advantageous, yet with mastery of the body you can pick up a blade, a stick, a pool cue, a fork, a spoon, a cell phone, used gym sock, a bottle, a chair, a car, another person, a shoe...

anything, and you have extra advantage in martial or comedic applications.

In case you're wondering, I've used or seen used all the items I mentioned... and many more.

Xue Sheng, the answer to your question is, "it depends".

I have several convictions and conclusions about fencing (i.e. weapons training and fighting) which I will not discussed here unless asked, as to keep things on topic.

I will say this.

applications for stick, knife, club, baton, etc. can be different, yet the underlying body control plays a big part in using them effectively... which is something you can get with correct empty hand training.

Hope that helps.
 

geezer

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I have several convictions and conclusions about fencing (i.e. weapons training and fighting) which I will not discussed here unless asked, as to keep things on topic...

OK, so your conclusions are "off-topic". No fair just leaving us hanging like that. Why not start a new thread on this topic and finish your thoughts, Profe!
 

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I was wondering how well would the Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Knives transfer to stick fighting. Although I own a set of Butterfly Knives I have never trained them, or stick fighting for that matter, but I was just watching a few videos of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives form and it got me thinking.

Note: I do not plan on trying to adapt anything, I was just wondering since carrying around a set of Butterfly knives would likely get you into a whole lot more trouble than carrying a short stick. I have thought about much this same thing as it applies to the Taiji Dao and Jian.

Most of the slashing motions that I have seen of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives are too short to translate to impact weapons. The translation of impact weapons like sticks is much more similar to the motions of the dao, at least that is what two of my students who have experience in the dao from Hung Gar and (? something else, can't remember) have told me.
 

Vajramusti

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Most of the slashing motions that I have seen of the Wing Chun Butterfly knives are too short to translate to impact weapons. The translation of impact weapons like sticks is much more similar to the motions of the dao, at least that is what two of my students who have experience in the dao from Hung Gar and (? something else, can't remember) have told me.
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Depends on who gas taught what to whom. Senor Geezer is correct-Augustine Fong Sifu does not hold back knowledge from his students. I was introduced to good bot jam do work many years ago- and you can develop "short Power" with sticks from good bjd work and experience.

joy chaudhuri
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

Geezer, upon thinking of making a topic about this, I pondered the effects of such an idea... and my thought experiment revealed that it could be taken as flamebait and could start a flame war, troll bait, etc.

The question of this topic is answered by "it depends". Wing Chun has butterfly knives (less than 12 inch blades), and not butterfly swords (about 15 to 18 inch blades or more). Also the WC blades are thinner with much less mass.

Obviously, this change in category of mass and length has significant impact on the tactics and strategies involved.

For example... if I have 2 baat cham dao against a 6 1/2 pt. pole, would I use the tactics practiced traditionally?

No. I would probably throw one and close the gap to neutralize the effective range of the pole (possibly grabbing and pulling on the pole with my now free hand) and then poke at the hands of the pole wielder and do as my objectives dictate.

Also, what sane person is going to attack unarmed a guy with 2 kung fu looking knives (or any knife, for that matter) on his hands? If the weapons are readily seen the person with the knives just stab and slashes a bit an it is done... something that is so rare as to be statistically non existent...

If one has a knife and the other doesn't, normally it is attempted murder. And the attack is to be as stealthily delivered as possible, since the point is to assassinate easily, not having someone resist.

If both are armed and want to go at it, it becomes fencing.

Thus the question is... what is the purpose of training using drills that develop certain skills that have limited scope of application, compared to other drills and skills that have wider use, are simpler, and go better with the principles of the philosophy of Wing Chun?

As said by some warrior of the past... Do nothing that is no useful.

Anyway, if my reasoning has fault, please let me know specifically how so, so I may experiment and reach conclusion.

Hope that helps.

Juan Mercado

P.S. I train weapons once a week or every 2 weeks. This includes firearms, blades, batons and impact weapons, fencing for fun with similar or different weapons, and every once in a while, kung fu weapons. I prioritize time in order of what is most probable and requires more training. You do the math.
 

KamonGuy2

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Greetings.

Geezer, upon thinking of making a topic about this, I pondered the effects of such an idea... and my thought experiment revealed that it could be taken as flamebait and could start a flame war, troll bait, etc.

The question of this topic is answered by "it depends". Wing Chun has butterfly knives (less than 12 inch blades), and not butterfly swords (about 15 to 18 inch blades or more). Also the WC blades are thinner with much less mass.

Obviously, this change in category of mass and length has significant impact on the tactics and strategies involved.

For example... if I have 2 baat cham dao against a 6 1/2 pt. pole, would I use the tactics practiced traditionally?

No. I would probably throw one and close the gap to neutralize the effective range of the pole (possibly grabbing and pulling on the pole with my now free hand) and then poke at the hands of the pole wielder and do as my objectives dictate.

Also, what sane person is going to attack unarmed a guy with 2 kung fu looking knives (or any knife, for that matter) on his hands? If the weapons are readily seen the person with the knives just stab and slashes a bit an it is done... something that is so rare as to be statistically non existent...

If one has a knife and the other doesn't, normally it is attempted murder. And the attack is to be as stealthily delivered as possible, since the point is to assassinate easily, not having someone resist.

If both are armed and want to go at it, it becomes fencing.

Thus the question is... what is the purpose of training using drills that develop certain skills that have limited scope of application, compared to other drills and skills that have wider use, are simpler, and go better with the principles of the philosophy of Wing Chun?

As said by some warrior of the past... Do nothing that is no useful.

Anyway, if my reasoning has fault, please let me know specifically how so, so I may experiment and reach conclusion.

Hope that helps.

Juan Mercado

P.S. I train weapons once a week or every 2 weeks. This includes firearms, blades, batons and impact weapons, fencing for fun with similar or different weapons, and every once in a while, kung fu weapons. I prioritize time in order of what is most probable and requires more training. You do the math.

Professor, I am not sure how you do baat chum do, but everything we do in the knife form is easily applicable. Most of the Kamon guys train poles of different lengths (Kevin Chan trains with a six foot pole) and this does not affect the usefulness of the techniques in the knife form

You are spot on that it is rare that you will be carrying around knives like that in the street, but that is not really what the knife form is teaching. Just in the same way that you will never fight a wooden dummy!!

I have two sets of butterfly knives at home which are easily accessible if an intruder entered my home..........
 

mook jong man

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From what I understand , a lot of the techniques amd exercises in the knife form seem to be directly formulated to negate the range advantage and mass of the Pole.

You have the numerous Huen Do movements in the knife form to strengthen the wrists.

The blades are thin so as to cut down on weight and aid in the speed of their use so that they are fast in attack , but this requires that most of the deflections have to be two handed to have increased structural integrity at the point of impact from a heavy weapon like a Pole.

You see this in the Bong Do movement with pivoting , same principle as for empty hands , the force of the impact from the Pole is spread over the area of both knives not just taken on one point which would be hard blocking and not in keeping with Wing Chun concepts.

But you still have the need for strong wrists , good timing and correct pivoting so as the structure does not collapse on impact.

Also the Knife form concentrates heavily on mobility , with the use of a lot of long steps in the half squat position .
These enable you to rapidly cover a lot of distance quickly which is crucial against a weapon such as the Pole.

But having said all that , there is still a place for a bit of Guerilla warfare and thinking outside the box.

Something like throwing a handfull of coins etc at the attacker to distract him for a moment as you close in to attack or similarly blinding his eyes with a torch at night etc can be very useful strategies and might be enough to tip the odds in your favour against an armed attacker.
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

I have little time now, yet I will express the following:

The BCD form, contains sets of movements that can have many applications. The martial applications depends on the training used by the instructor. So even with the same form, many different applications and drills are used by different groups.

My point, which I mentioned was a bit off topic, is about the amount of time training the drills for certain applications and time prioritization of training.

Again, the form is a vehicle for training, yet it really depends on the knowledge of the teacher to be a useful teaching tool.

More later.
 

Poor Uke

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I dont think the version of BCD that I learnt translates that well at all to stick fighting but is REALLY good against sticks!!!
 

profesormental

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Poor Uke;

I'm sure also that your instructor and you have trained extensively against the sticks with the form, drilling special exercises. Hence it works pretty well.

I'm sure I can use the form for any kind of fighting, yet it is not the form itself, but my use of the form as a vehicle for training different fencing and fighting situations. That way, the BCD can be very effective weapons.

There are of course, other considerations that make it non priority to do so extensively.
 
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