Long Pole (Luk Dim Boon Gwan)
Wing Chun's Long Pole or in Cantonese Luk Dim Boon Gwan, which means "six-and-a-half point pole" and refers to the six-and-a-half techniques within the form. The Pole itself is about eight feet long and thus complements the Wing Chun short-sword method. Long Pole includes basic horse and bow stances as well as backward "bracing" and even cat stances. Hence, the Long Pole retains much of its original Shaolin essence. Pole fighting has become somewhat impractical with the modern warfare. However, strength improvement and greater coordination remain ideal goals' making the Wing Chun Long Pole a valuable training method even today.
Long Pole, is a wooden pole ranging from 8 to 13 feet in length. It is usually referred to by the name of its form, Luk Dim Boon Kwun, or ‘Six and a Half Point Pole’, and is known as ‘Dragon Pole’ by some other Wing Chun branches. This form was never finished and so only contains six and a half points.
After learning the three empty hand forms and the wooden dummy, you have completed the basics of the system. However, it is important to progress to the future on to the Long Pole (Luk Dim Boon Gwan) and hone the power of your skills, and learn the use of the Long Pole.
In the Long Pole form you discover a lot of power and arm locks. It is a very short form but a very hard form which contains low gravity as well as straight and curved motions. It is a very enjoyable and fantastic form. In this regard long pole training can be associated as well with strength development.
Wing Chun Long Pole employs a "four-gate" defensive theory. Divided at the waist, two upper "gates" and two lower "gates" represent offensive and defensive positions. This concept is based on the centreline theory, which concludes that maintaining the "inside line" is most favourable.
In combat, the ready position is often the side or cat stance. When holding the pole, the hands generally remain about shoulder-width apart, but may change with the application of certain techniques. The left rear hand is considered the controlling or manager hand, and remains at the end of the pole. The front hand is the "power point" and usually directs the force of a technique.
When in use, the Long Pole (Luk Dim Boon Kwun) adheres closely to the user's body. The elbows should remain close or inward as well. Indeed, in many techniques, one part of the pole should be in contact with the body, thereby offering support to the movement. This is called the "supporting point" and usually indicates the hip or shoulder, etc. Hence, the body and even stances brace the force of many pole techniques. Wrist snap and waist twisting are also vital in applying long pole techniques, allowing the practitioner to literally drill the Pole into the opponent. Throat, neck, hands and toes are most the prime targets for many Pole techniques. Partner exercises include the "sticky-pole" drill, disengaging from an attack is accomplished by circling either clockwise or counter clockwise but the smaller the circle is the better it is. Quite often, "circling" and "chasing" are combined to effectively close the gap on the opponent.
Generally, the long pole is employed while facing toward the right. However, the set may be performed on both sides, thus developing the body equally.
Six-and-a-half techniques or "points" of the Long Pole set are: