Luk Dim Boon Kwun
Luk Dim Boon Kwun or the six and a half point pole techniques are generally taught as the first of the weapons forms. The form only has six different techniques which are repeated in various directions and the half technique of dropping the pole. Therefore it is much easier to learn than the Bart Cham Dao which has well over 100 techniques.
The pole itself is around 9 foot, (one and a half times the height of the practitioner is a general rule). It is tapered at one end thinner at the top than the base). Throughout the form the practitioner only holds the base. This is quite a big difference to other pole based styles which tend to use both ends of the weapon to spin and lash out in various directions. Because of its large size it is quite cumbersome to handle and it is thought the weapon was mainly for use on the battle field rather than one on one fighting. Theory has it the pole is for the first impact and the butterfly knives are for close fighting. Hence the half technique of dropping the pole is very important all be it a relatively easy process.
The form will help the practitioner gain strength in both the legs and arms. This is because a traditional horse stance is used for most of the form putting extra pressure on the legs. Also being around 9 foot in length the practitioner will require reasonable amount of upper body strength just to hold it out straight let along train with it for long hours. The form will also help improve coordination and it will help understand the principles of Wing Chun better. For instance being a centimetre off of the centreline with your guard would be hard to notice, however at the end of the 9 foot pole it becomes obvious. Therefore training the pole will help the practitioner identify subtle mistakes in his technique which applies to both empty hand and weapon techniques.
Bart Cham Dao
The Bart Cham Dao or eight cutting knives is usually the final form taught to a Wing Chun Student. Ip Man only taught a hand full of students this form in his entire life. Ip Man learned the form off of Leung Bik.
The form has 8 sections. Many people mistakenly believe this is where the forms name comes from. However the eight actually refers to the number of different angles the blade cuts through whilst performing the techniques in the form, hence the name ‘eight cutting blade’.
Butterfly knives are often confused with Bulls Ears swords. They look very similar however the difference in the handle of the weapon will dramatically reduce the functionality of a Bulls Ear sword compared to a pair Butterfly Knives.
Initially a student may ask Although it may be fun to learn and nice from traditional perspective, why should I learn the Bart Cham Dao in this day and age? I am never going to use it in the practical sense. So what else does learning the Bart Cham Dao help with?
Perhaps most importantly it reinforces the underlying Wing Chun principles seen in the other hand forms, for instance economy of motion, deflection etc. It will also teach the practitioner a new type of stepping that can be used in certain situations it will drastically improve wrist strength if trained properly and regularly.
Before the Bart Cham Dao can be learned it is very important to have a solid grasp of all the other hand forms first. This is because, amongst other things, the stepping in the Bart Cham Dao is not effective without the stepping from the second and third hand forms (Chum Kiu and Biu Gee). The system is designed to grow from the Siu Lim Tao to Bart Cham Dao and it is not wise to try and miss (or rush).