My own thinking is that he included the Pole Form as a counter-point to his empty hand system, to establish context.


Why is there a long-range tool in a close quarter combat system?

Is it truly part of the Wing Chun System?

If so. Where does the Long Pole fit into the Wing Chun system?

Is it still relevant?

Was it ever relevant?

If we look at the historical record as to why “Empty Hand” fighting styles appeared, it is not as is often indicated that an autocratic regime banned the carrying and use of weapons, although this has happened on several occasions through history.

Early empty hand systems were developed to assist a warrior that had for some reason become unarmed to firstly protect themselves, then secondly stay in the fight by defeating and then taking an enemies weapon.

The armed and unarmed systems would be complementary but not necessarily integrated, or even remotely connected.

Jujutsu was the empty hand fighting style developed for Samurai Warriors that had been knocked off or fell off their Horse or found themselves unarmed in a nasty situation.

These days nobody seriously considers the Katana and the Wakizashi to be Jujutsu weapons but there was a time when Kenjutsu and Jujutsu walked hand in hand.

If we consider the situation in Southern China in the early to mid-1800s, when Wing Chun as we now know it was formalised by Dr Leung Jan, it was in the grip of the most vicious civil war our planet has witnessed.

The Taiping or Red Turban Rebellion.

As late in history as this was many of the rebel soldiers still fought with Spears or some kind of Pole Weapon, it is easy to imagine that these fighters would welcome a simple and effective hand fighting style.

But why would Dr Leung Jan add the Long Pole to his new system?

The Knives I can almost understand, they connect to the empty hands work on certain levels, but the Pole needs to be forced to even look like it belongs.

It is estimated that as many as 30, Million people died in the Taiping Rebellion, many would have been local rebel militia armed with Poles and Knives going up against trained soldiers with muskets.

Dr Leung Jan must have been aware of the impracticality of the Pole as a weapon.

We will never know.

My own thinking is that he included the Pole Form as a counter-point to his empty hand system, to establish context.

If the Wing Chun weapons were ever genuine fighting weapons or not is a mute question, in our time and our society using a weapon, even for self-defence is illegal and likely to make matters much worse.

The most important attribute for a Martial Artist to develop is not speed, it is not power, it is not balance or co-ordination it is HONESTY.

So let’s be honest, if we seriously need a weapon are we going to choose a Pole?

If we did choose a Pole would we choose a Pole that was tapered?

And if we chose a tapered Pole would we choose to hit the Bad Guy with the thin end?

A Pole can be looked at as a very long Baseball Bat, which end of a Baseball Bat would you use and why?




We can however still benefit from the Knives and Pole by paying close attention to the footwork and the challenges the Forms bring to staying in balance and remaining in a neutral state while working with loaded arms.




Bake in the U.K. during the 1970s I had friends that were involved in historical re-enactment activities, during most of this time I moved from ‘city to city’ because of my work and these groups gave me a touchstone to quickly make new friends.

Especially the Sealed Knot group the I became acquainted with from spending 3 years in Windsor.

Many were active soldiers and many did martial arts as well so it also helped me find training partners.

Although the training I did with these re-enactment groups was 100% theatrical, a bit like the Red Boat Opera, their desire to be as correct as possible meant that there was a premium placed on doing things that were accurate to how things were done at that period.

A time capsule.

As non-combative as this was, it was clear how deadly some of these techniques would have been, how weapons that may appear clumsy, like a Pike, in the right hands became unstoppable.

The Pike is a formidable weapon and a very real weapon.

The Lok Dim Boon Quan is a “Dancing Stick”.

But it teaches a great dance.

Turn the music up.





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