The staff is one of the most characteristic kung fu weapons and probably one of the oldest weapons used by humans in wars and tribal fights because it was very easy to find. A tree branch could be used as a weapon and it could also be used in daily life as a tool to move stones and other objects, as a tool to carry other things, as a support for walking…… etc.
The use of the staff is dependent on the characteristics of the staff itself. According to its length the staff can be considered as a long weapon. The staff can have different lengths with reference to the person using it, from the floor to his shoulder, to his nose, to his eyebrow, to the fontanelle “bai hui”. It can also be as tall as the person with his arm up to the sky, up to his elbow, wrist, tips of his fingers and it can sometimes have over three meters long.
Its use is not only conditioned by its length but also by its thickness, shape, weight, stiffness and material (wood or metal).
There are other type of staffs whose length is up to the sternum ( xiphoidal apophysis) and others are shorter: canes, walking sticks, etc. These staffs are considered as short weapons.
Kung fu weapons: THE STAFF (GWUN 棍)
José L. MELERO
Depending on the use given to the staff in the combat, there are two general ways of holding the staff. On the one hand, staffs can be used as “double-ended staffs”, that is to say, when the two ends of the staff are used to attack and defend and on the other hand, staffs can be used as “single-ended staffs”.
The double-ended staff is effective in short distances as its attacking and defensive movements are very smooth in comparison with the single-ended staff whose range is longer but its movements are less smooth. There are staffs that can be used in both single and double-ended ways. In this case, the fighter needs a greater skill as he has to know a wide variety of different techniques and movements. Furthermore, since the single-ended staff is grabbed in a different way depending upon whether it is used with strength movements or precision-impact movements, this type of staffs makes possible to attack very fast from different positions and angles. Regarding this, the ways the staff is grabbed are different but compatible and they give the advanced fighter very peculiar dynamics in the Choy Lee Fut system.
The practice of the staff helps the fighter to develop a sense of the space around him because the staff is a weapon that can be moved in all directions. This is different from other weapons more frequently used in wars such as the spear which is used with straight movements.
Each movement must be done with a particular objective and a specific use. There aren’t any useless movements as all of them have a real fighting purpose. Every single movement has a reason and a purpose.
To get the deepest essence of its use, the staff needs of a peculiar and complex method of “Ji Ben Gwun” (Basic training) and of “Gwun Fang” (applications). Without this, every single staff form would lack of a deep structure. For instance, techniques such as “Pow Gwun” and “Pit Gwun” which are necessary to transmit vibratory strength to the end of the staff, or “Cheung Gwun” and “Sot Gwun” which develop strong blows and pressures. In this way a complete variety of basic and essential techniques are trained for each staff.
SEONG CAP THAN GWUN “Single and double-ended staff”
MUI FA CHEONG GWUN “ Plum bossom staff”
JUO YEO DA GWUN “Left-right crushing staff”
CHAI MEI GWUN “Eyebrows level staff”
SEONG TEO BIN GUAI GWUN “Shoulder double-ended staff”
DAI HUNG KAI GWUN “Big red flag staff”
YOR YAO CHI DA GWUN “Left-right staff”
JUO YEO SUP SAM CHEONG GWUN ”Left-right thirteen lunges staff”
HANG ZE GWUN “Pilgrim staff”
GAM GWUN PANG “Warrior monks staff”
DAN TEO PUN LUNG GWUN “Coiling dragon single-ended staff”
SEONG TEO CHIN LUNG GWUN “coiling dragon double-ended staff”
SEONG LUNG GAB HEI GWUN “Double dragon staff”
CHEO SARD BACK GWUA GWUN “Pa Kwa staff”
CHI HUNG GWUN “Male-female staff”
NG HANG GWUN “Five elements staff”
HU GWUN "Monkey staff”
JUO YEO CHE LAN GWUN “Left-right blocking staff”
FU MEI GWUN “Tiger’s tail staff”
In order to get a better understanding and effectiveness, apart from training the basic techniques and forms in single person sets, the techniques and applications are also trained in two or more people sets. Therefore, there are forms for two, three and four people ( staff versus another staff or other weapons) as well as staff forms for dummies “Jong Kwan”.
SAP BAK DIM YIN Y YANG GWUN “Eighteen Yin and Yang pressing techniques Staff Form”
SAP BAK DIM YIN Y YANG GWUN DOI BAAT GWA GWUN CHAG “Eighteen Yin and Yang staff vs. Pa Kwa staff”
SEONG BAB DAN GWUN DOI DAI HUNG KEI GWUN “Double-ended staff vs. Big red flag”
SIU KEI GWUN DOI CHE LAN GWUN CHAG “Small flag staff vs. Small staff”
FU MEI GWUN DOI CHACK KIU DUNG CHAG “Tiger’s tail staff vs. Horse bench”
BIN GUAI GWUN DOI SEONG FU TAM PAI “Shoulder staff vs. Double tiger’s head shields”
GWUM GONG BA DOI SEONG TUNG GAN CHAG “Buddha’s warrior guard staff vs. Double copper mallets”
GAM GWUN PANG DOI CHACK WU DIP SEUNG DO “Warrior monks staff vs. Butterfly knives”
DAN JI FEI DOU DOI HANG ZE GWUN “Single - edged sword vs. Pilgrim staff”
CHIN LUNG GWUN DOI CHEU SARD BAAT GWA GWUN “Twining dragon staff vs. Pa Kwa staff”
NG HANG GWUN DOI CHACK HU GWUN CHAG “Five elements staff vs. Monkey staff”
GWUM GONG PANG DOI SEONG FU TEO PAI “Buddha’s warrior guard staff vs. Two tiger’s head shields (three people)”
DAHN DOU, YING CHEUNG, GWAN DOU DOI HU GWUN “Sword, spear and General Gwan halberd vs. Monkey staff (four people)”
MUI FA GWUN JONG “Plum blossom staff dummy”
The Gwun training is important for the development and study of other weapons, especially long weapons, as it makes easier the learning and understanding of them. In addition, it provides a very positive work for the bones and muscles which at the same time also strengthens the tendons of arms and shoulders as well as back and legs. Needless to say, all this improves in a great way the psychomotor coordination, the respiratory capacity and endurance.
“BIG RED FLAG STAFF”