The Hand Rod of the Tai Chi Ruler system is little seen and little known to the public. It is a different system of Tai Chi that is said to descend from a royal family in China.
Master Leong Lin Heng learned it from a master in Hong Kong and taught it as part of a Chi Kung routine. Below is a picture of Master Leong teaching Tai Chi Ruler in a park in Ipoh in the late 90s :-
As you can see in the picture above Tai Chi Ruler seems to be for old folks, another airy fairy, chi-gungy, exercise. However, Tai Chi Ruler is in fact a combat art.
Some of the things we learned seemed simple, like a one movement kinda Chi Kung exercise. Its martial application seemed absent. But don’t let the looks fool you. For example, take a look at this two men Hand Rod exercise as demonstrated by Master Leong’s grand teacher.
At first glance it looks like a cooperative push hands type of exercise using a tool. But then it doesn’t make sense. OK, maybe using a tool of a longer length can make you more sensitive. Maybe.
Or maybe its a tool to extend your awareness. I like this better. But no.
This is what I think is the real reason for training the Hand Rod (OK, so I cheated by using a broom here but a rod is a rod………. ) :-
There! Was that what you suspect the Hand Rod to be too?
Looking back at it now the method should have been obvious but only with the benefit of hindsight. I have long suspected this after reading this portion of the very first book I have of the Tai Chi Ruler system :-
However, as they say with time comes skill. So it is only with practice, reflection and insight that the secret purpose of the Hand Rod revealed itself.