Why bother with the "Long Pole"?

geezer

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In another thread, we got a good discussion going about the 6 1/2 point pole techniques of Wing Chun. But really, ever since firearms became reliable some centuries back, nobody wants to be lugging around a pike or pole-arm. In modern times, the long pole is pretty impractical for self defense. So why, in a practical system like Wing Chun, do we still study these techniques? What benefit do they really offer us?
 

bully

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Good for historical reasons? If we didnt train and let it die that would be a crying shame.

Could you not put it to practical use say with a pool cue? ;-)

Surely it must strengthen your wrists....a win win really.

I know where you are coming from Geezer, and the butterfly knives are the same i suppose. In Sifu Sean Rawcliffes book, he mentions that he had lots of conversations with Yip Chun about the role of the knives in modern society.

Beginners, like myself shouldnt bother with th epole of the knives. When we get to a certain level (maybe helping and doing some teaching) then perhaps it should be a gift to us for putting in so much time commitment to the system.

Cheers

Bully
 

Flying Crane

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Heavy weapons make you work hard, they help develop your stances and rooting, develop your strength, and develop your power deliverance and endurance. Whether or not the weapon itself still has relevance in modern society, for these other reasons alone they are worth training.
 

Xue Sheng

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Heavy weapons make you work hard, they help develop your stances and rooting, develop your strength, and develop your power deliverance and endurance. Whether or not the weapon itself still has relevance in modern society, for these other reasons alone they are worth training.

You know my Yang Sifu said pretty much the same thing and the Chen family says pretty much the same thing as well.
 

Flying Crane

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You know my Yang Sifu said pretty much the same thing and the Chen family says pretty much the same thing as well.

Personally, I think they are a viable option to weight training. And using heavy weapons actually does work out the whole body and develops total body strength in a way that, in my opinion, is more relevant and useful than weight lifting that targets specific muscle groups thru isolated movements that may not have much direct real-world relevance.
 

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This all really comes down to how well-versed you want to be and how deeply you want to devote yourself to the art. Taking the ego completely out of the equation then you are left with what is. The Dragon pole is a part of the art. Butterfly swords are part of the art. My particular view is if it is available then expose yourself to it completely.

Weapons were put in the art for a reason. I have experience in the Dragon pole in particular because I have completed the form. I already have 2 other pole forms in my Kempo background, a Chinese broadsword form, a Spear form, and a Japanese Sai form. What I can tell you of the significance of those is

The longer weapons (spear and staff) exercise and condition the muscles and flexibility of the back. They also develop a sensitivity that is similar to grabbing and controlling an opponent by grabbing them at the wrist and elbow or shoulder (imagine holding a persons arm the same way as you would hold the staff). The movements of the pole forms can be translated to throws, arm breaks, etc. when drilling this type of connection.

The Chinese broadsword (dao) exercises the muscles of the shoulder girdle (scapula, ball socket, trapezius, pectorals). The smooth cutting of the broadsword can be translated into throws, locks, strikes as well. Im sure you have seen forms where one hand wields the sword and sometimes, as a check, the other hand will support the blade on the spine edge. Now imagine an opponents arm in that two handed clutch instead of a sword. These type of techniques are also taught in Tai Chi Pushing hands and also come out in Wing Chun Chi Sao when using both arms and doing locks or Chin Na.

The Japanese Sai are unique in that the movements of flipping/flicking in and outward are really good for strengthening the forearm and grip. If you have ever grabbed a persons hand and applied the classic gooseneck lock, the Sai forms do this repeatedly. Very good Chin Na conditioning if you ask me.

The Jian (Chinese straight sword) conditions all of the muscles down the arm and along the wrist. So this obviously builds striking power as well.
As for the Butterfly swords they have a unique dynamic as well. Sifu has demonstrated battle techniques and referred to the movements as Jut-sao, Bong-sao etc. the same as he would in the hand forms and the energies are the same. I have not learned the swords as they are reserved for his masters (only two in Detroit that I know of for sure.)
Any useful form will have a science of footwork which teaches how to make the feet follow the hands. Weapons are no different. Bare handed or armedyour two feet carry you into the fray and out of it.

My personal philosophy is to at some point have a Staff, Spear, Broadsword, and Straight sword form. These are the four fundamental Chinese weapons. Learn these and you have the foundation for them all. So far I still have a straight sword to learn.

Lastly I say this our benefactors of this art have never seemed to be men of wasteful thinking. Wing Chun is a noble and effective art. If we are to be the stewards of this knowledge then we owe it to the masters before us and to ourselves to see it preserved completely. If its worth doing its worth doing right.


Love, Peace & Chitlin' Grease
 

Flying Crane

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I have not learned the swords as they are reserved for his masters (only two in Detroit that I know of for sure.)

Question: why are these reserved for those at master level? Seems to me they ought to be part of the journey for everyone above a beginner level student, certainly for dedicated students who are well below master level. Just my opinion.
 

Xue Sheng

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Personally, I think they are a viable option to weight training. And using heavy weapons actually does work out the whole body and develops total body strength in a way that, in my opinion, is more relevant and useful than weight lifting that targets specific muscle groups thru isolated movements that may not have much direct real-world relevance.

That is pretty much how the Chen family sees it I believe. It is much better for teaching things like getting upper and lower to work together that weight training, although I did recently read an article on weight training and taiji that was rather interesting and from either the Chen family or one of their students. But this is stuff of another post.
 

graychuan

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Question: why are these reserved for those at master level? Seems to me they ought to be part of the journey for everyone above a beginner level student, certainly for dedicated students who are well below master level. Just my opinion.


We get the pole below master level. There should be a reward for those who excel. Rewarding the few motivates the many.Trying to please everyone gets us into trouble. Just our opinion. :)
 

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If you can move a 9ft (or longer as I saw on video from one of the wing chun organization conferences in Hong Kong, dude used a 12ft. pole, wow) pole while maintaining your root and balance, then a broom handle, mop, cane or pool stick would be like moving a tooth pick. From a historical perspective - IMO I love the idea of actually knowing a system as it's own individual art form and keeping/passing on to the next generation.
 

mook jong man

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The way i see it the principles of the pole can be applied to objects that are similar to the pole .

For example , if i pick up a baseball bat i'm not going to start swinging at my opponent with big committed swings that give him a chance to evade and eventually counter me.

I am going to attack in a side on stance where i can use the full length of the bat , and step in with my whole body weight and thrust the butt end of the bat into his face .
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

I agree with Flying Crane and graychuan.

In an earlier post, where the relevance of WC weapons was considered, I wrote taht since before there wasn't weight training, the drills and the weapon forms were a kind of resistance training.

Do biu kwun (thusting pole) and pull back to "suspended" stance into a tie kwun (lifting pole) 20 times explosively. Then do bong kwun to a jut kwun several times explosively.

The form I have has only a few movements... yet practice it 20 times and then do partner drills and notice the difference.

Also, the drills with the pole against weapons will increase your speed for closing the gap, since you will be motivated (that pole hurts!).

Again, notice now that the craze in fitness circles is to do exercises that load the body in strange ways and to keep control of the body in such situations...

WC weapon training fits that description, specially the long pole. The knives is another story, with a similar twist.

There is more to it though...

Hope that helps.

Juan M. Mercado
 

KamonGuy2

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First of all the pole is awesome to watch and good to have something 'different' as part of the system

Practically you can employ the pole techniques using quite a few day to day objects - pool cue has been mentioned.
But how about a chair? If you train it right, you can use a chair in simliar fashion to the pole.
Broom handle?

The pole form helps develop incredible explosive power to help you with your striking (when you don't have weapons)

The Romans used to train their soldiers using a very heavy and cumbersome sword for sword fighting. This trained their arms and movement so that when they came to the real thing and used lighter metal swords they were faster and stronger

I know in recent times some federations have exchanged the pole for escrima, but I think it is a great topic to study and my personal fave.
 
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geezer

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First of all the pole is awesome to watch and good to have something 'different' as part of the system...
I know in recent times some federations have exchanged the pole for escrima, but I think it is a great topic to study and my personal fave.

In the WT Associations that come fome the Yip Man-Leung Ting lineage, the pole was sort of a "prestige" weapon reserved for people of instructor rank or higher (equivalent to 2nd degree Blackbelt or above). Bart-cham-dao is held back until "master" level (5th degree and above). I believe that is one reason why some of these groups (EWTO and EBMAS) have linked up with Escrima associations. That way their intermediate to advanced students can also enjoy some practical weapons training.

As for myself, I now belong to the NWTO branch of WT which is not linked to any Escrima organization. I just study eskrima because I love it. BTW, Professor Juan, our long pole set also consists of very few movements. It's much simpler and less repetitive than the 108 movement set in my old book on Eddie Chong's pole form by Bob McKee. So, like you advised, we tend to repeat the whole thing numerous times when we train it. Boy, what a work out! I agree with all of you who noted the unique form of strength and coordination training offered by this weapon which definitely translates to the empty-handed movements as well.
 

martyg

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Just thought I'd weigh in -

The two weapons most commonly seen in wing chun (and I say most commonly, because there are families with more) are (in the way I learned and teach) there for more than just face value. I.E. they teach a lot more than just a pair of knives and a pole, and are certainly not invalid in today's world with a deeper context understood.

Those particular weapons can teach the concepts and principles to use a wide variance of weapons (long and short, hard and soft). They also work back in to your open hand and evolve your "engine" as well, both in conceptual and physical. That's the reason they're taught towards the end (at least the way I teach), because they're part of an overall finishing process. I've never bought in to the "because its a gem of a secret" policy used by some.
 

KamonGuy2

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In the WT Associations that come fome the Yip Man-Leung Ting lineage, the pole was sort of a "prestige" weapon reserved for people of instructor rank or higher (equivalent to 2nd degree Blackbelt or above). Bart-cham-dao is held back until "master" level (5th degree and above). I believe that is one reason why some of these groups (EWTO and EBMAS) have linked up with Escrima associations. That way their intermediate to advanced students can also enjoy some practical weapons training.

We do a similar thing in Kamon. It is only Master Chan that is allowed to teach the pole, dummy and knives to students
I know some instructors in Kamon teach their students secretly, but in order to learn it fully they have to go through Sifu

The dummy form is part of the grading system for Black sash. After that the weapons are looked at and mastered

I've done the pole, knife and dummy but haven't mastered the knives or dummy.

I feel its important not to rush the weapon forms as they are better suited for students who have got to senior rank than pure beginners
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

What I decided to do is to teach short repetitive drills with the weapons as auxiliary training, then after my students learn the Fist Method, start piecing them together and getting to the weapon form itself. I also teach escrima, so we get functional weapons training too...

In the Bart Cham Dao, if you don't have correct structure, you will muscle the movements, get tired and/or be off balance. the extra load and the movements help correct and strengthen the Wing Chun structure. The same happens with the pole.

That is why it is taught at the end, since the structure should be taught first as to cements that. Sloppy practice of a dance isn't that much effective...

Hope that helps.

Juan M. Mercado
 

Yoshiyahu

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Well some reasons for training the Long pole or Short swords is this. If you are in street fight an find a stick or tree branch some of the strength and skill you retained from the Pole form can be unleashed through your stick.
Also if your outside your home and some comes to you with a knife or baseball bat trying to attack you have an Nine foot pole could be useful.

I had a friend who use to carry his nunchuks with him every where he went. Also with the short swords. If you have them in your home. An someone breaks in to your home. Your gun may be in lock box but the swords may be right on the wall. So grab them an cut into the intruder. Some thieves are stupid an break into people homes with just a Knife instead of gun. Plus the short swords can be concealed alot easier.

But along with that I also suggest training with regular rambo knives machetes as if you would the short swords. Also try the Short Sword techniques with other types of knives. This will give you a variety of applications with other weapons.
 
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