I had my heart rate monitor with me today. During the segments that consisted of only hand techniques (like punching, high sword, etc.), the monitor said approximately 104. However, when the legs got involved (ball kick, knees, and what have you), I got up to 140. This gives me something to aim for when I test out my wing chun routine, which I will do either on my next rest day OR in place of Kenpo the next time around.
Also, tonight at wing chun class Sifu showed me the opening moves of the pole form. A lot of people I know are anxious to learn the butterfly swords form (mainly because being taught it means you are at a very high skill level), but I have always been more excited over the pole form. Why? Because it’s the only one whose place in the system I can’t figure out. Sil lum tao consists of the basic horse stance and the most frequent hand motions. Chum kiu teaches you how to put your pivot into your attacks, not to mention you learn how to kick and step. Biu jee is full of “desperation” tactics for when you lose control of the centerline. The wooden dummy form take what you learned from sil lum tao and chum kiu and shows you how to apply them to another physical presence. As far as weapons go, the butterfly swords are an obvious fit for the style because they are a close-range weapon.
So where does the pole form fit into such a combat system? First of all, the pole is a LONG-range weapon. Second, the stances are deep, the kind you are more likely to see in a karate class. Third, it uses only one side of the body whereas all the other forms use BOTH sides.
I first learned the pole form WAY back in 2002, but I never thought about the significance of it back then. Now I am approaching it from a much more mature point of view: I’m paying attention to the meaning behind the techniques, not just the techniques themselves. Hopefully, this knowledge will make me a better wing chun practitioner than someone who just goes through the motions.