Wing Chun Forms/Lum Dim Bok Quan
The Wing Chun long pole form teaches the use of distance weapons.
Wing Chun is mainly an empty-handed fighting style but its concepts can be applied to weapons use as well. The long pole is used to teach application of Wing Chun concepts at a distance.
Because the single long pole is much less versatile than a pair of hands, there are not many movements to learn. The form is therefore very short.
- This form is so short, it has only one section.
- Orientation is a little different for the Lum Dim Bok Quan than for the other forms. North is still toward your opponent; the difference is that you start out facing West and your body is Northwest for most of the form.
- Begin by standing at loose attention, facing West, pole vertical along right side. Lift pole with right hand so the base is in right armpit and right arm is fully extended along the length. Place left hand on base of pole and move arms so left hand is in front of left hip, right hand is to the North, and the tip of the pole is at eye level to the North. At the same time, come up on left leg into a cat stance facing North.
- Tip: The left hand grips near the end of the pole but does not cover the end. If you thrust forward into something hard and the pole stops abruptly, you will hurt your hand if it covers the end.
- Jut Quan (downward block), Tok Quan (upward block), and then a forward thrust (Biu Quan) to the North while stepping into a deep horse stance. Return.
- Tip: Lift up the rear hand before thrusting forward. This moves the pole in a straight line toward the opponent and is harder to parry. The "natural" way, lifting and thrusting at the same time, has the pole at an upward angle as it comes in, with the tip dropping toward the target. This can be parried fairly easily with Tan and Jut Quan if the poles are in contact because the opponent will feel the change in motion. A dropping thrust can also be blocked if the opponent gets his pole under the attacking pole at a slight angle; even with poor timing this hard block can work.
- Tip: Most of the power comes from the rear leg and from dropping your body forward. Get more power and distance by twisting your torso to face the target.
- Tan Quan (block to right) to NE, turning body and moving right foot to match. Slide the right thumb up along the pole, rather than wrapped around the pole, during the block. Thumb wraps around again once the block is complete. Jut Quan, Tok Quan, Biu Quan. Return to North-facing position.
- Tip: Moving the thumb in this step is demonstration of a technique. You do not always move your thumb when doing Tan Quan.
- Application: Move your thumb out of the way if your opponent's pole is sliding down toward your hand.
- Application: Another counter to a sliding attack at your leading hand is to Huen Quan your pole over and around the attacking pole. You will need to practice enough to have sensitivity through the pole in order to respond fast enough to do this.
- Application: A third way to avoid a sliding attack along your pole is to step back quickly to get your hand out of range. With luck your opponent will chase your hand and over-commit to the attack, leaving himself open to a counterattack. You will have to be fast on your feet for either the retreat or the counterattack to work.
- Application: Conversely, take the opportunity to attack your opponent's hand. The leading hand is a tempting target because it's closer than your opponent's body. This often means that you can strike at the hand without fully committing to a deep horse thrusting attack.
- Pak Quan (block to left) to NW, turning body and moving right foot to match. Jut Quan, Tok Quan, Biu Quan. Return to North-oriented position by looping the pole down, right, up, and left, ending in the ready position (Huen Quan).
- Jut Quan, Tok Quan, Biu Quan as before, except that this move ends with the thrust and deep horse stance. Do not recover to cat stance.
- Arc arms forward (to West) and up, so right palm is facing you and left palm is facing away. The tip of the pole should not move, so the pole is now angled downward. Jab sharply to North and slightly downward.
- Application: Get past opponent's pole or other obstruction.
- Bring arms down, back to cat stance and ready position. Return to starting position, facing West.
- A solid pole is a dangerous weapon. Unless you use training poles with padded or flexible ends, your practice weapon is the same as your fighting weapon. Do not practice with a partner until you have gotten a feel for the pole and have practiced enough to know where the tip will be when you drop into the deep horse stance.
- Practice lots of Battle Punches to build leg strength. Drop into a deep horse stance and face to one side. Bring your fists up into a classic boxing pose. Step forward with your lead foot and punch with one hand. Bring your rear foot forward and punch with the other hand. Repeat until you run out of room, then move backward, facing the same direction. Practice moving forward and back. Practice facing either left or right. Practice both combinations of left hand/right foot and left hand/left foot.
- After you've built up strength, train with a heavier pole than you expect to use in competition or a fight. I use a 10' iron pipe.
- Practice with a variety of long objects. Unless you're training for a competition with fixed-length poles, you need to be able to use any piece of junk near you in a fight. Use straight poles of different lengths from 6' to 15'. Use a section of straight ladder. Practice with completely rigid poles and with poles that flex. Use poles with something on the end, such as a mop head. Also make sure to practice against an opponent using a variety of poles.
- Learn to work distance by practicing against opponents with longer or shorter poles, or with short weapons such as Ba Chun Do.
- Get a feel for the end of your pole by attacking a soft target. Hang a towel from a clothes line, step back, and execute a straight thrust against it. You'll want a soft target because many of your first several attacks will go long. Even a short adult will have four feet of travel from ready position to full extension.
- After you know where the end of the pole will go in a thrust, continue to practice on soft targets. As with punching, your attack should go past the surface of the target.
- Practice aim by striking at patterns on your target or by clipping a paper plate to your towel. You can also hang a small tire from a line. The opening should be 6-12 inches, depending on your skill. (You'll use this tire in a later training exercise.)
- After your aim and distance are good, work on timing by setting a target to moving. If you are using a tire hanging by a line, just swing it from side to side. You should be able to thrust the pole through the hole even if the tire is rotating a bit.
The tip of the pole moves a long way from its rest position when you are in cat stance to fully extended at the end of a strike. Take advantage of this reach when going against someone who isn't used to this style of pole fighting. In a sparring match you should be able to get a couple of points before he catches on. In a fight you should be able to fully defeat at least one opponent. You can increase the travel distance, and the surprise factor, by holding your rear hand further back than your hip.
- Leg Power. Most of the power in your attacks and blocks comes from your legs and torso. This is somewhat true with empty-handed techniques, but is much more so with the long pole. Moreover, when sparring or fighting with the pole, you will need to be very quick on your feet to keep your opponents at the proper distance.
- Sensitivity is still important. When your pole is in contact with your opponent's, you can feel and respond to attacks as they are launched. Sensitivity is more difficult than with bare hands but is even more important. An unblocked strike from a long pole is much more dangerous than even Bil Jie empty hand strikes.