In Chinese traditional Kung-fu weapons, the cudgel is one of the most important apparatuses. It is popular, especially in the countryside where people are fond of playing martial arts. There are various kinds of cudgels. And the following three are the most common----Dan Tou Cudgel, Shuang Tou Cudgel and Shuang Jia Tan Cudgel.
I have been practicing and using Dan Tou Cudgel. I learnt it from Mr. Bai Chang, master of Wing Chun Quan, living in the Luochun Town of Nanhai District in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, China. My teacher has mentioned, "The cudgel play I learnt was passed on by a monk living in Bai Yun Mountain. And many people have learnt the cudgel play throughout the Nanhai District."
The key point to manage the Eight-Trigram Cudgel play is practice. Teacher said, at the very beginning, the trainees should find a bamboo stick and cut it to the length as long as the standard Dan Tou Cudgel. Then one should fix an iron stick into the bamboo stick to make it heavy enough. Using the stick can practice one's power of waist, shoulders, arms, wrists and the stances. And the trainees should concentrate on the methods of Quan(circling), Qiang(pricking), Chou(removing), Tan(plucking), Ge(cutting), Dian(pointing). The following article will introduce some methods for emphasis
1.Quan(circling) The method is similar to the Twining Cudgel. It is said that the circle should be described as small as, possible. However, I think the essential point is to make the small circle with force instead of the circle formally at a small size. For instance, the circle should be able to dissolve the opponent's movement ("Hua") and take the chance to attack him immediately ("Tun"). Take playing bow for example, when we are play ing bow we make intense and use the pulling force of the bow to release the great power. Similarly, the method should be used to attack the opponent as soon as his attack is dissolved under your circle.
2. Qiang(pricking) The method asks for the power focusing on the end point of the cudgel. And the player should prick while winding the cudgel. One should make sure the force, direction, functioning point are all concentrated on the ending point. What I learn requires playing the cudgel by winding. Unlike other schools, the closer part to the end of the cudgel should be held. The end of cudgel should be raised at the same height of the opponent's chest. The method of "Qiang" must contain twining and winding as well, otherwise the cudgel will be easily swung away. Playing "Qiang" means "Hua" by winding or describing circle. On the other hand, the method is used to explore the way of opponent's movement. When I reach out the cudgel, others will come and take my attack. But thanks to the "Hua" function of my method, I can launch "Tun" and attack him further. So it includes attack and defense. With the method, I can take advantage of acting after attacking the vital point in advance. My first action is just the bait. With the awareness of other's intention by carrying out the "Qiang", I can adopt the according solutions to reach the superior position, such as seizing opportunity to attack or dissolve their next movement or commence a final attack because of my retaining force inside the "Qiang, "especially when the opponent is slower or less powerful than me.
3. Chou(removing), Tan(plucking) "Chou" and "Tan" value practice highly. They are powerful in defense. To manage them well, one should use his waist properly and integrate the cudgel and himself. That means one should control the cudgel as perfectly as your body. While the cudgel is touching others, you needn't withdraw but carry out next movement to attack. Both "Chou" and "Tan" can form the attack. "Chou" is to dissolve others attack instead of pushing away other's cudgel. And the purpose of "Chou" is to "Tan" and take the hard attack to win or even hurt the opponent.
4.Dian(pointing) "Dian" is usually used to attack the lower half of the body. It emphasizes practice and accuracy. When "Dian" is used, power should reach the end of the cudgel with vital energy, and the movement must be stable, accurate and resolute. The method is also taken to explore others way without the withdrawal intention. It is suitable for fighting in close distance. One can make a powerful attack on an perfect target.
The stances of Eight-Trigram Cudgel play are similar to those of Nan School. The common stances are Gong Stance, Ma Stance and Qilin Stance. They have a long history basing on Zhi Wu Ma, Diao Ma and the "Ren Zhi Dan B ian Ma."
The Eight-Trigram Cudgel play I learn has one section, whose requirement is similar to those of Nan School, emphasizing "Quan” (circling)and "Dian"(pointing).