White Box Testing


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In quality assurance, especially in electronics and software, white box testing involves testing the internal processes as opposed to black box testing which would test external functionality.

Currently, in the racks there are 51 weapons that are more than 20 inches long and less than 49 inches long. The 20 inches is the length of a standard cardboard carton of which we have dozens.  There are lots of 26 inch long wooden batons that have their own cartons because the boxes they were mailed in have been saved.  There’s something of a gap between 44 inch long weapons like the shinai and the Zhan Ma Dao (horse chopping saber) and 54 inch weapons like the Bagua saber as well as the butterfly wing and sun moon spear. When weapons like sword and saber are taught in class I felt it would be easiest to haul sixteen sword or 16 sabers or both in one container. I could not find a plastic container long enough and I had some surplus lumber around. At least in California forty-eight inches is a common measure for  pre-cut wood, so that was also an influence. So I started by assembling a pile of tools, some accessories (screws, sandpaper and paint) and five 1″ x 12″ x 48″ boards with one 1/4″ x 24″ x 48″ sheet of “oak” plywood and one piece of 1″ x 6″ x  40″ “whitewood”.

First thing was to glue the two worst boards together to form the base. Then the 1″ x 6″ was cut in half to form two reinforcing cleats. That’s Gorilla Glue on the cleats – soon to be turned over.




Longer pole


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I believe these photos are authentic images of the formidable Chen Fa Ke


All I have for him are dates of 1887 – 1957. If anyone knows days and months I would be obliged. Be aware that there are a number of faked photos.

According to legend he practiced groups of 10 repetitions at least three times per day. I have not heard anyone say whether this was all Lao Jia 1, all Xin Jia 1 or some combination. Likewise, I am am unclear if he included Cannon Fist (Lao Jia 2), Xin Jia 2 or weapons. Page 219 of Chen style Taijiquan (ISBN 962-238-016-6; compiled by Feng Zhiqiang and Feng Dabiao; published in 1984) mentions that in addition to sometimes doing “100 reps a day he practiced with a wooden staff about four meters long (slightly more than 13 feet) and fifteen centimeters (6 inches) thick”.

That is not a pole – that is a tree 

The Colors of Dragons


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The font Zhongyi Songti (中易宋体), known by some as its English name SimSun. If anyone can shed some light on why synonyms are used and how translation of colors could be improved I would be grateful.

green, blue, black, verdant, blue-green

Used in Chen style set and movement number (from the Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei books) saber 3, 15 – translated as blue; sword 4,7,9,18; spear 10; kwan dao 21; long pole 1; lao jia 17 and xin jia 17.



Xin Jia (2) 34, 35; cannon fist 25; long pole 12; spear 15



spear 63



sword 22

spear 32


black (bear) in double sword

blue, bluish-green

blue, cold, green, vast



Long Pole, Long Tassels, Long Point


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No one I know of in the martial arts woodworking community is set up to make
10′ staffs from other woods like oak or hickory. I gather that keeping the weapon
light enough to be be speedy means tapering it, and that not all woods can resist
breaking or splintering when the end is whipped around. Whether a stainless steel shaft would need to be tapered is an interesting question.

My cameraperson says using a small (6″) spear point with short (8″) red horsehair tassel on a long staff does not photograph very well. She feels I should try a spear point like the one shown below..



I found this on http://www.martial-way.com in Hong Kong. The overall length is 40 cm (15.75 inches) and the blade length is 28 cm (11 inches). The cost is $76 AND they will engrave your name and drill a hole if requested. Weight is 550 grams (19.4 ounces).

They have horsehair spear tassels in at least 4 colors (red, brown, black and white) and four sizes

  •      S : 9.8in * 4.3in, 0.88oz (25cm * 11cm, 25g) – $9
  •      M : 13.8in * 4.5in, 1oz (35cm * 11.5cm, 30g) – $10.30
  •      L :  15in * 4.5in, 1.6oz (38cm * 11.5cm, 45g ,denser than the size M) – $13.50
  •      XL : 17.7in * 4.5in, 1.9oz (45cm * 11.5cm, 55g) – $14.80

Stay tuned.







Hockey helmets for long pole


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There are at least three types


I personally find the full face shields (about $55) to be uncomfortably warm. They are usually worn in addition to a full helmet.


Hybrid face shields (about $65) are also usually worn with a full helmet. Then we have the full cage style helmet (about $50)



Then question with all three types is making sure the thin tip of the long pole cannot get through any of the larger openings. We have not had any clever (or dumb) ideas about how to determine what the student thinks about wearing the helmet or how the student feels about seeing through the cage or face shield.


Hockey equipment for long pole


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There are easily one hundred variations on the sport collectively known today as hockey. Some of these pastimes appear to be almost as old as the use of long poles by infantry fighting in China.


Games like field hockey and ice hockey have been played in a recognizable, contemporary mode since the late 19th century, but we can assert that modern hockey is distinguished by the use of tape. In fact, of two types of tape.

Hockey_tape About $3 per roll from Hockey Monkey(www.hockeymonkey.com) – look under sticks. We currently are experimenting with taping the top six inches or so of the long pole and favor the clear tape (furthest left) as least visually confusing for the camera and students and least likely to leave scuff marks on the floor.

Long pole teaching videos for sale


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From Plum Publications (www.plumpub.com). Note that there are three sections of the web site – one for DVDs, one for books and one for VCDs

  1. DVD #11126 Wu Dang Dragon Gate Spear (well, I could not resist including this – there is a little bit of long pole, but the spear is the star of the show)
  2. DVD#24222 with the late Master Ma Hong (1927 – 2013) has Chen Family Style and also includes the famous Tai Chi Wheel material
  3. DVD#24246 with Master Han YiLing has the Cloud Demon style of Liuhe pole
  4. DVD #24347 Hung Gar Long Pole – 9 Point 13 Spear with Lam Yan (sometimes known as Lin Xin). Make sure to read the comments about playability and subtitles.


In Master Jack Yan’s translations of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s books volume V has the Chen Family style 13 Movements Long Pole as well as two person drills for long pole versus long pole and long pole versus flail (two section staff)


  1. VCD#712 Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan with Chen Qing-Zhou. Two sets: saber  and  long pole
  2. VCD#1763 Chen Family style 13 Movements Long Pole with Chen Zi Qiang who is the son of Chen Xiaoxing and nephew of Chen Xiaowang, 


Kung Fu Direct has the following videos:

  1. DV1020 – Master Li Shu Dong himself teaching Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan Thirteen Movement Long Pole
  2.  No059 – Chen Style Tai Chi Pole 陈氏太极梢杆
  3.  No087 -13 Movements Chen Style Long Pole


Tai Chi Long Poles


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More from Kung Fu Direct (see previous posts for address, two carbon fiber composite staffs and several traditional normal-length staffs)


Lengths of 108″, 120″ and 130″. $100, $105 and $110 respectively. I will try to obtain tapers and weights.

Nice photo, by the way. Due to its length and color, the long pole is not the easiest subject for a portrait, and is even more challenging to film in a movie.  In the Chen Family Style Long Pole 13 Movements set there are a fair number of times in the set that the tip of the staff impacts the ground. Not recommended for steel spear points – or their colorful fringes.  Anyone who films or even practices outdoors here in California has learned two words: foxtails and mud. So if the swords or spears or whatever have tassels or fringes you really need to keep them comfortably off the ground. I admit, the brightly colored tassels look good – until you have to clean debris off them. When we filmed at Black Diamond Regional Park even with very little weapon to ground contact I had to keep switching sword tassels because of all the foxtails. We called it wringing the mop.
Because of the length and the fact that many moves are done at full extension the tip of the staff might be 12 or 13 feet from your body. This makes it challenging to keep the person and the weapon in the frame even when the camera-person knows what is going on.  While the wooden pole does not reflect much light (unlike, say a saber) many cameras struggle to keep the pole looking sharp and crisp as it moves from light sky above to golden grass below. It is not always simple during a multi-year drought to find a place where the lawn is watered frequently and is dry enough to film on. Besides avoiding problems with intense light and heat during the middle of the day,  filming early or late usually has the advantage that the sky is bluer.

Coming next: long pole videos from different martial arts and some comments on extra long spear tassels