- Tiger and Crane sparring form, which is an extension of the Tiger and Crane form
- Four Gates hand sparring form
- Fifth Son Eight Trigrams Staff sparring form – long staff against long staff
- Long Staff versus double Butterfly Swords
- Empty hands versus double Butterfly Swords
We are trying to determine the state of the art when it comes to Kwan Daos. If you teach the weapon, practice the weapon or own a weapon and are letting it stand around in a rack, we’d love an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A. do you teach the weapon? If so, what style?
Over the years we have taught General Chai’s (*) Long Handled Knife from Hung Gar (more properly a pu dao set, we think) and Spring Autumn Big Knife from Northern Shaolin. Currently, we teach the set from Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan. We have seen a set from Zhaobao style Tai Chi Chuan. We have yet to find any recording or even rumors of anyone teaching a kwan dao set from Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. As far as we know, the weapon is not part of any other Tai Chi Chuan styles.
There are five weapons in the Choy Li Fut arsenal:
Blocking Gate Long Handled Broadsword (Lan Moon Jaai Dai Do) 攔門寨大刀
General Kwan’s Long Handle Broadsword (Kwan Do) 関刀
General Choy’s Long Handle Broadsword (Choy Yeung Do) 蔡陽刀
Nine-Ring Long-Handled Broadsword (Gau Wan Dai Do) 九環大刀
Seven Star Long-Handled Knive (Chat Sing Tiu) 七星銚
I recall seeing a Praying Mantis sifu do a Pu Dao set at least 8 years ago – perhaps even more. But I never could learn his name, or the set’s name.
if anyone teaches something else, we’d love to hear about it
*= this pays homage to a different hero, General Chai Yang of the Han Dynasty
B. how long is the weapon? does it have a metal spike on one tip?
C. how much does the weapon weigh
D. stiff or flexible blade
E. do you do anything like sanding or refinishing the wood or the metal?
F. one piece or two (the metal handle unscrews into two pieces)
G. what sort of bag do you use to transport it?
Cheb Qing-Zhou, Chen Family stylec, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, Chen Zhenglei, flail, Han YiLing, Hung Gar, Jack Yan, Lam Yan, Lin Xin, Liuhe, long pole, Ma Hong, saber, spear, tai chi chuan, Wu Dang Dragon Gate
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
- 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)
- DVD#24222 with the late Master Ma Hong (1927 – 2013) has Chen Family Style and also includes the famous Tai Chi Wheel material
- DVD#24246 with Master Han YiLing has the Cloud Demon style of Liuhe pole
- 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)
- VCD#712 Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan with Chen Qing-Zhou. Two sets: saber and long pole
- 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:
- DV1020 – Master Li Shu Dong himself teaching Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan Thirteen Movement Long Pole
- No059 – Chen Style Tai Chi Pole 陈氏太极梢杆
- No087 -13 Movements Chen Style Long Pole
butterfly knife, butterfly sabers, Chen style, Chen Zhenglei, Drunken Master, flail, Hung Gar, Jack Yan, Jackie Chan, lau gar, Lau Kar Leung, long pole, Shaw Brothers, spear, sword, tai chi chuan, tassel, waxwood
Chen style Tai Chi Chuan has a set called Long Pole 13 movements which features a tapered waxwood (Ligustrum lucidum, sometimes known as Glossy Privet, Chinese Privet or Broad-leaf Privet) staff about 3 meters long. The same staff is used in a set called Lau Gar in Hung Gar style [teaching DVD by Grandmaster Wing Lam http://www.wle.com/products/LauGarLongStaff.html] To confuse matters a bit, Lau Gar can also be a southeastern Chinese style from Guangxi province near Vietnam. In that case Lau Gar is written differently (but sounds the same) and means Lau Family fist. That Lau Gar is a lot more popular in Britain than here in the US. Even more confusing, there is an unarmed set in Hung Gar called Lau Gar [teaching DVD by Grandmaster Wing Lam at http://www.wle.com/products/VHG02.html]. I have not done it for years and years, but back in the 70s it was made popular by the famous master Lau Kar Leung, director and star of many great martial arts movies for Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. There is a lot of Lau Kar Leung’s choreography (so the art is revved up a bit for the movies) in Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master films.
Chen style Long Pole 13 is a comparatively short set: as one might expect, only 13 movements. According to written tradition (one example is page 179 of volume V of Jack Yan’s translation of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s books), one can add a spear point and a typical (for spears) red horsehair fringe or tassel around the point. As an opponent you are supposed to be distracted by the red color and dismayed that the fringe is red from being soaked in the blood of my enemies. That is, unless it is the student’s own blood from making mistakes.
There are two collections of Chen Family style schemes based on long pole: two persons, where both have long poles AND two persons where one has a long pole and one has a flail (two section staff). Quite by chance, I once saw two very capable Wing Chun students in Florida decades ago perform a set featuring double butterfly sabers versus single long pole. Grandmaster Wing Lam has a teaching DVD of the Hung Gar version of this set [http://www.wle.com/products/VHG33.html]. I have never seen or even heard rumors of long pole versus single sword or versus single sword with shield.
There is quite a spectrum of conditioning drills across the Chinese martial arts:
- Iron Arm focuses on toughening the forearms for blocking and striking
- Iron Fingers focuses on toughening the fingers for gripping, ripping and penetrating
- Iron Fist focuses on toughening the knuckles and things near them for punching
- Iron Leg focuses on toughening the foot, heel, shin and knee for kicks
- Iron Vest focuses on toughening the ribs and lower abdomen font and back against blows. If someone knows of a variant that toughens collarbones, shoulders or hip bones I’d be grateful to hear about it.
- Iron Palm focuses on toughening an open hand to deliver block, strikes and chops. In In systems from the arts of Hung Gar and Northern Shaolin systems there is also a emphasis on gripping with the hand.
In the Iron Palm disciplines that I am familiar with one dit da jow is used all the way through. This is a Shao Yang activator – selected herbs are steeped in an alcohol like rice wine or vodka and used to provide heat to increase circulation to the hands. The idea is to increase the velocity and amount of blood moving to reduce bruising and speed up conditioning of skin, blood vessels and fascia. I am not clear if there is an intent to dampen neural transmissions.
In the other conditioning regimes mentioned above use of a ‘hot’ jow like dit da jow is frequently seen in the first stages of training. For the other regimes there are several distinctive schemes but a reasonable generalization is the second stage conditions tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, while the third stage conditions the bones and bone marrow.
I made an interesting discovery the other day. I volunteer with the local Food Bank. Part of that involves working at produce distributions where usually seven vegetables and fruits are given out to about 150 people in a hour. So a “customer” might get 6 oranges, a head of cabbage, 7 apples, four or five potatoes, a bag of carrots and a couple onions. There’s a fair amount of shuttling between the tables and the truck. It is not uncommon to have to scramble up to reach oranges, for example, stored in the top bin of the truck six feet off the ground. Due to a misspent youth I do NOT have the world’s best knees, and hot asphalt is hardly the best surface for them. In fact, they were both particularly sore last night.
In a lot of the “external” Chinese martial arts like Hung Gar and Shaolin advanced students often have the opportunity to do Iron Palm training. As I recall, Tong Bei also has Iron Palm, although I know nothing of the details. Probably other arts as well. Iron Palm involves striking canvas bags of mung beans, then gravel and finally steel shot. Eventually, one can break ice and bricks (well, really paving stones). A part of the training involves soaking your hands in a liniment often called Dit Da Jow. I had always assumed Dit Da Jow (and a cousin named Si Sou Fang) were strictly for hands and forearms. So, with no expectations, I rubbed some on my knees. A couple minutes later – no pain. I’ve emailed my old Iron Palm teacher (who will doubtless tell me I should have studied more Traditional Chinese Medicine and this would have been obvious) and have passed the discovery along a martial arts grapevine that I belong to.
Pictured below is a Dragon Claw ring. These are usually made of metal with an inside diameter of 4.5 inches and an outside diameter of 6 inches. They are just over 2.5 pounds each.
They are used to strengthen one’s grip – the spread fingers (see below) are used to grip the ring and then you lift it to shoulder level. It is a bit more honest to lift one on each arm at the same time.
I am informed that over time minute particles of brass will be rubbed off and absorbed into the skin, reinforcing the fingertips (or forearms if the other rings are used) to make them stronger and heavier. Trace amounts of raw brass are even used in many Dit Da Jow formulas. By comparison, steel is believed to be toxic when absorbed by the skin, and chrome plating flakes off, causing the risk of cutting the skin.
A common use for smaller (3/4 inch inside diameter; 4.75 inch outside diameter) rings is to wear on the wrists while practicing sets, blocks and punches. The ring shown below weighs 1.35 pounds which does not sound like much until you are several minutes into a vigorous Hung Gar set or are doing 1,000 punches. I am not altogether sure what happens if you block an incoming punch while you are wearing rings. If you still have enough speed to intercept the enemy punch I’d imagine his forearm will be painful.
The rings described are for experienced students. The medium-sized versions are 1.15 pounds with 3.25 inch inside diameter and 4.375 inch outside diameter. The limiting factors are being able to get your hand through the rings and not having the rings slip off when you punch or block.
According to Grandmaster Wing Lam “when you strike with real power and speed, the rings make a distinctive sharp clang that any genuine master will recognize as true kung fu skill”.
Cemetubes come in 48″ high pieces with diameters ranging from 8″ to 30″.
That suggests cut one tube in 4 pieces – once along the horizontal axis to produce two 24″ long tubes and then twice along the vertical axis to produce four half cylinders. Then add straps and handles and cut out a v-shaped piece to produce twin Hung Gar shields. As far as we can tell, just the two colors.
Both available from http://www.wle.com
1. Dan-Dao-Dep or “Rattan Shield and Single Broadsword technique” was used by infantry soldiers against cavalry in battles on ancient China. As the Dan-Dao-Dep technique is very difficult to be countered with ordinary weapons, some kung fu experts found that only the Tai-Pa (trident) techniques could effectively deal with a Dan-Dao-Dep attack.
The Leung Ting Company of Hong Kong(Grandmaster Leung Ting is on the left) ) is still selling this recording – checking to see if it is still only on VHS or if there is a DVD version
2. From Hung Gar – why bother with a shield and a bladed weapon when you can use TWO shields (see http://www.wle.com/products/VHG30.html)