Wing Chun Kung Fu Weapons
Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu Arsenal consists of two predominate Weapons. Butterfly Swords and Dragon Pole. There are two types of Dragon Pole used in the Wing Chun System. Six and a Half Point and three and a Half Point Dragon Pole. Six and a Half Point can be Pole is usually over Nine feet long, whereas the Three and a Half Point Dragon Pole is much shorter, around six feet long. Traditional Wing Chun employs the Three and a Half Point Dragon Pole. Butterfly Swords only differ slightly in design and different Wing Chun Systems have developed different Forms. Dragon Pole Forms will also differ between the different Wing Chun Systems.
Wing Chun Kung Fu Dragon Pole
The Pole dates back as far as 3000BC. The pole was used in hunting as well as fighting. With the discovery of bronze and iron the staff and pole were modified into weapons such as spears and choppers.
The staff was very popular amongst the monks of Shaolin. The Shaolin Monks used the pole to help Emperor Sung establish the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD). During the Ching Dynasty (1644 – 1911), the Monks also used the Pole to defend themselves against the Manchu siege of the Shaolin Temple.
There were many forms of staff and pole, but the most feared and efficient was the “six and half point” Dragon Pole, originated by Shaolin Abbot Jee Shin. The Pole descended through three generations of the Jee Shin‘s family to Wong Wah Bo and was then reunited back to the Wing Chun System.
As Wong was not interested in learning Traditional Wing Chun, Leung Bok Chau challenged him to a fight. Butterfly Swords against Dragon Pole. The Dragon Pole was no match for the Swords and as a consequence Wong was defeated and then eagerly became a Practitioner of Wing Chun Kung Fu, thus introducing the Dragon Pole into the Wing Chun System.
Wing Chun Kung Fu Butterfly Swords
In 1644 when the Manchus invaded China, the use of the Butterfly Swords changed dramatically. Butterfly Swords and Dart Knives were the main weapons employed by the Revolutionaries. In their endeavor to repel the Manchus, the Butterfly Swords became the most effective and deadly weapon of all, due to their emphasis on coordinating two swords, training the eyes at close range, wrist and footwork strengthening, utilizing the efficiency of wing chun footwork and developing close range skills.
Predominately, a southern Chinese weapon, due to its short length and various uses, it differed from the swords of northern China. In the North, kicking techniques were employed with the Sword. In southern China, close range double handed coordination was emphasized.
The Butterfly Swords are used in a similar fashion to wing chun’s empty hand techniques. Defences may vary depending the types of weapons the owner is countering. For instance, you may use the cutting edge against the Pole but not against a Sword due to the risk of blade damage.
Wing Chun Bat Jarm Dao or eight slash sword form, deals with the defence of many types of weapons. The construction of the Swords allows for rotation from inside the body at close range. The guards prevent your fingers and knuckles from injury and the hook assists in capture and trapping of your Opponents weapons. Just as the distance in wing chun’s empty hand techniques are very close so are the techniques from the wing chun butterfly swords.
The attacks from the short wing chun butterfly swords were predominately to the wrists, elbows. knees and ankles. The reason for this was to maim the opponent rather than kill, since the swords originated from the Shaolin Temple and most attacks occurred when the Monks were travelling around China spreading their Philosophies.
Sifu Garry and Sifu Linda from Wing Chun Kung Fu in Greensborough Melbourne conduct several wing chun seminars covering wing chun weapons forms and wing chun techniques, during the year at their wing chun school in Greensborough.