Choy Lee Fut weapons are divided into several categories. These are long range, mid range and close range. This is further subdivided into hard, soft, heavy, light, flexible, double and combinations of weapons.
Weapons that fall into the first category are poles, spears, gwan dao, rake, fork, buddhist type weapons and special type forks or (pa). Amongst the pole category are the single headed pole (dan tau gwan), double headed pole (seung tau gwan), monkey pole (hou gwan), level eyebrow pole (chai mee gwan) as well as several others like the flag pole (dai hung kee gwan).
This category also includes several types of spears such as the shadow spear (ying cheung), double headed spear (seung tau cheung), snake hand spear (seer sou cheung), hooked spear. Other long range weapons are the various types of “big knives” or “dai dao”. Some of these are the gwan dao, nine ring gwan do(gou wan dai dao), choy bak dao, 7 star knife(chut sing dao), big knife (dai dao) and pu dao.
Several farmers’ type implements also fall into this category. Some of these are 9 teeth rake (gau gna pa), iron hoe (cho tau), fork or trident (pa). As well as the above, several ‘fork’ type weapons (pa) are also in this category. These include the heavenly combat fork (fong tien jeun) and golden fork (gum gong pa). This group also includes some buddhist type implements such as the copper hammer (hoong chui) and the lions ball (se kau). The founder of choy lee fut chan heung also hand a special variation which combined a lot of the above weapons called the nine dragon fork (gou lung pa).
Mid range weapons in choy lee fut consist of the following:- the darn dao, finger sword(sou ji dao), waist sword(yiu dao), horse sword (ma dao). These are but a few of the mid range weapons which also include the ‘swords’ or gim. Chinese generally classified a dan dao type weapon as a knife rather than a sword as generally accepted in the european terminology as a knife only had one cutting edge. Swords (gim) on the other hand had two cutting edges.
Swords were further subdivided in the choy lee fut system into ‘hard’ (gnarng) or soft (yuen) categories. ‘Hard’ swords are ‘green dragon sword’(ching lung gim), tamo gim ( bodhidharma sword). An example of the ‘soft’ sword is the plum blossom sword (moi fa gim).
Other ‘mid range’ weapons are the bench (wang tau daang), ‘butterfly hooks also commonly known as tiger hooks (wu sou ngau), ‘hammers’ (le chui), a weapon called the “gaan” and axes (bu tau).
Short or close range weapons include the fan (fei lung sen) and daggers.
Amongst the flexible weapons in the choy lee fut system are the 9 section whip (gau ji pen), rope dart (fei tao), 3 section soft whip (sarm ji yuen pen). Flexible weapons such as the 9 section whip, was made up of 9 steel links with a pointed barb on one end. This would enable its user to overcome an opponent by whipping the weapon forward, then quickly retracting it for multiple strikes.
Double weapons include broadsword (seung darn dao), double gim (seung gim), double hammers (seung lui chui), double axes (seung bu tau), double hooks (wu sou ngau), double 9 section whips (gau ji pen), double dish shields (seung dip pai) and double tiger head shields fu tau pai).
Another special weapon in choy lee fut is the throwing knives.
First category weapons such as the pole group are also divided into single headed (dan tau) and double headed (seung tau), hard and soft. The single headed pole generally referred to is usually tapered, whereas the double headed pole in choy lee fut has a parallel shaft.
The reason why the pole is the first weapon taught in the choy lee fut system, apart from the legacy of famous shaolin pole techniques, is that the student must first strengthen up the wrist and forearm and train all techniques developing power utilising the various ‘horse stance’. If the wrists are not ‘conditioned’, there will be no power to utilise the techniques at more advanced levels of weapons training. Also most of the later Choy Lee Fut “pole” type weapons, such as the spear, gwan dao, etc., have techniques based on the fundamental pole techniques. The pole can be utilised as a single headed weapon or a double headed weapon. Spear techniques are also derived from the pole. In choy lee fut all spear forms are really called spear poles. Whereas the pole is generally regarded as a ‘hard’ (yang) weapon, the spear is ‘soft’ (yin). Movements with the spear are executed with ‘yin’ power. This is power that is developed by very fast movements akin to a bullet i.e. high velocity generates power. Even though the spear, is basically a pole with a sharp barb on one end, it also uses the single and double headed techniques from the fundamental pole.
Even the heavy weapons such as the gou wan dai dao and kwan dao (9 ring type kwan dao) utilises pole techniques. These weapons also have a large knife blade which can be used to cut, slash, hack and stab. As with the primary forms in Choy Lee Fut such as 5 wheel horse (ng lun ma) and 5 wheel fist ( ng lun choy), the principles found in these two fundamental forms are also used in weapons training. 5 wheel horse trains the student to move in a linear direction before moving to more circular movements later on in 5 wheel fist (ng lun choy).
The principles are also passed on to weapons levels i.e linear to circular. For example the first weapon taught in the Choy Lee Fut weapons system, single and double headed pole (seung gaap dan tau gwan), teaches the practitioner linear (single headed pole) techniques, then progresses to circular (double headed pole) techniques. This basic weapon also utilises the bakgwa techniques of the choy lee fut system i.e. 8 directions. This is a fundamental principle of all Choy Lee Fut techniques whether training ‘empty hand sets’ or using weapons. There are about fourteen different pole/spear forms underlying the importance of the Shaolin pole.
Mid range weapons such as the ‘darn dao’ or sabre also use the bakgwa techniques in the Choy Lee Fut system. the ‘darn dao uses more elbow, shoulder movements to slash, cut, slice and hack whereas the gim is more refined in that mainly wrist movements are used. These techniques initiating from the wrist are used to allow the gim to penetrate vital organs and accurately pinpoint pressure points to overcome the opponent.
Most mid range weapons in Choy Lee Fut embody techniques from either the ‘darn dao’ or the ‘gim’. Included in this category is a weapon called the ‘gaan’.When using this weapon, techniques are called upon from many of Choy Lee Fut’s other weapons such as the ‘darn dao’, ‘gim’ and short pole (chai mee gwan or monkey pole).
Close range weapons such as the fan originated from the scholastic class within china. This group of people were more “learned and gentlemanly like’ so did not want to appear in public bearing arms. But underneath the exterior, a person knowing how to use a fan properly, could utilise this seemingly unnoticed implement to devastating effect. Fans sometime had hidden or sharpened ends which were razor like sharp and could be used to attack the pressure points on a body. The sharp end of a closed fan could also strike vital areas such as the solar-plexus, throat, stomach, top of the head, and around the groin area. When opened with the speed of a cobra spitting venom, the egdes or fan blades could slice open areas such as the throat or face. Other areas vulnerable to attack were the temples, back of the knees as well as the side of the throat. A closed fan could also be used to trap an opponents limbs, by using kau or hook techniques. In choy lee fut the fan is also used as a prelude to learning the gim as both weapons utilise techniques that originate from the wrist.
Daggers is another close range weapon that is used as a double weapon. Most techniques involving daggers benefit from the fact, that one hand is used to parry while the other is used to attack.
The weapons forms covered in the basic curriculum are:
- Seung Gaap Dun Gwan – single and doubleheaded pole
- Moi Fa Dan Dao – plum blossom broadsword
- Ying Cheung – shadow spear
- Chai Mei Gwan – level eyebrow pole
- Gum Gong Pang – golden buddha’s cudgel
- Gou Wan Dai Dao – nine ring big knife
- Swui Sou Sen – breaking hand fan
- Ching Loong Gim – green dragon sword
- Wu Dip Dao – double butterfly knives \ Lin Wan Seung Dao – continous circular double broadswords
- Sup Baat Yum Yeung Gwan Chag – 18 yin yang two man pole
Other weapons forms are also taught during the curriculum.