One of the difference between getting hit by a fist and a pole is that you can probably take a few punches but not a thrusting hit or a sudden tap from a pole. This was the main point I wanted to make to my student, X, when revising last week’s movements.
There are tricks we can use when being hit by hands to soften the blows. But they wouldn’t work when being hit by a pole.
To avoid getting hit by an unforgiving pole strike it is important to understand how to be precise in moving when using the pole. Otherwise, we will expose our body to strikes.
Of course, if you do pole fighting against friends who don’t really know how to use a pole then you can get away with murder. However, if you ever try against a pole expert you will be struck very fast and very hard.
To this end the learning of weaponry in our Tai Chi is not merely focused on learning how to play a form and that’s it. Knowing how to apply, how to change, what is right and what is wrong can mean the difference between getting hit and not getting hit.
In this respect, I was lucky to have been tutored by the late Master Cheong Fook of the Ngok Gar Kuen system. Master Cheong was an expert in the Lee family pole which had been absorbed into the Ngok Gar syllabus. The method of the pole which I learned from Master Cheong emphasized using small circular movements and swift changes to prevail in an exchange. Below is a photo of Master Cheong teaching me the pole; this was taken when he was near to ninety years old.
To Master Tai Chi Today it would help to learn the use of weapons as they teach us something that we may not learn if we just stick to the use of hands for combat. Not to mention that pole fighting can be fun; just watch the pole fight sequence from the classic Sammo Hung movie, Pedicab Driver.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today at the link here.