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Ouyang Jianwen talking about Liu Dian Ban Pole(Six-and-a-Half Pole) PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 06 June 2007
Ouyang Jianwen talking about Liu Dian Ban Pole(Six-and-a-Half Pole)
   The Wing Chun Pole Form, known also as the Six and a Half Points Pole Form, stands out from the legendary Ng Long Bai Qua Gwun, the Large and the Small Red Poles, and the like, in that it consists of rather few pre-determined moves. Naturally, this gives most martial arts enthusiasts, and even some Wing Chun Kuen practitioners, a false impression of crudeness and inadequacy. However, in the writer's opinion, the eliberate simplicity reflects precisely the driving principles of Wing Chun. Such is a view that was established on the Wing Chun Combat Theory promulgated by the writer's teacher the late Wong Shun Leung, an Ip Man disciple.
     One observes that techniques of all kinds tend to go through various phases in its development from nascence to maturity. The course is often influenced by contemporaries according to their own experiences and interpretations, until the time when one or more major figures consolidate it for posterity. The final masterpiece is never the fruit of one individual in a single place at any one time. The early Wing Chun Pole Form must have been different from that of today's, perhaps the most noticeable being the form's general simplification over time to the present day's Six and a Half Points Pole Form.
     The driving principles of Wing Chun, in the writer's mind, are succinctness, directness and effectiveness. These three principles are in fact three aspects of a single requirement of any combat rapidity. In a fierce combat between two antagonists or rival groups, one or two moves in split second often mean life or death. Accomplished Kung-fu practitioners therefore generally favour the use of techniques which are swift, deadly and flexible, and which take the shortest and most direct route while coveting the maximum area. This is true with Wing Chun Kuen, since Wing Chun Kuen is always about actual combat. In other words, when we ask whether or not a particular move is good, we are indeed trying to determine its practicality. The same argument applies to the Wing Chun Pole Form, which retains only seven generic moves over generations of refinement along this line.
    In addition to the theories of attack and defence, objective influences such as the weapon's formation process and materials employed often also affect the characteristics of the moves. The Wing Chun Pole is made to be asymmetrical at the two ends, with a narrower tip (or head) and a thicker butt (or tail), hence a form characterised as single-headed. With only seven moves, Ip Man Wing Chun's Pole Form is an example of practical succinctness. This is the form the writer practises.
    However, there are three moves which are frequently used in one-to-one exercises (commonly known as Sticking Poles or Tse Gwun) but are excluded from the Form. This separation remains unexplained as yet. Even within the same Ip Man Wing Chun discipline, the names of the seven moves and the moves themselves, though largely unified, do vary somewhat from individual to individual. This is probably the result of diverse interpretations. Nevertheless, the following is a brief description of the pole moves according to the writer' s mentor Wong Shun Leung:
     1. Pole Thrust (Tsurn Gwun): Similar to Spear Thrust (Tsat Tsurn) and Pole Stab (Dung Gwun). It is further divided into:
    a) Dragon Thrust (Fong Lung Tsum), and
    b) Level Thrust (Ping Tsurn), which itself can be an Upper Level Thrust when used with an uptight stance, or a Lower Level Thrust with a lowered stance.
    2. Double Pole Spread (Leung Yee): Also known as Pole Spread (Tan Gwun). Applied in defence as well as attack in three different ways.
    Similar to Spear Parry (Lan Tsum Sai).
    3. Pole Choke (Kum Gwun): Analogous to the Choke Hand in Wing Chun Kuen in terms of effect and requirement. Applied in two ways. Similar to Spear Grab (La Tsurn Sai).
    4. Flowing Water (Lau Sui): Similar to Dragon-tail Strike (Chong Lung Bei Mei Sai). Applied in two ways.
    5. Pole Block (Lan Gwun): The pole being pushed forward horizontally by both arms, the gait moving forward simultaneously Applied in two ways.
    6. Pole Circle (Huen Gwun): The pole drawing a circular motion with both arms moving anti-clockwise towards the body, the gait moving forward simultaneously. Applied in two ways.
     7. Pole Diagonal (Tse Tsurn): With the exception of this move, the above six are generally known as the Six Points. Each of the six is a complete move in itself, whereas this seventh is used in between any of the others in order to effect a sudden change in action. Hence the half point in "Six and a Half Points Pole Form".
     Ip Man Wing Chun stresses that prior to beginning to practise the Pole Form one must first practise for the strength (Kung) required in the properly handling of the pole, being a topic meriting further discussion. The writer now looks forward to sharing more with our readers on another occasion soon.


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