Sil Lum Hung Kuen Jor Tow

This weapon will be familiar to anyone who does a bit of weeding in the garden as it is the Farmers Hoe.

This is a very flexible weapon in that it has a blade and a pole with which to block and attack. The shape of the head means it can also hook and strike and is quite a formidable weapon in the right hands for such an unassuming looking tool.

The form starts with the farmer with the hoe on his shoulder coming home from work in the fields he stops to wipe the sweat from his brow and looks up at the setting sun. Then he is attacked by bandits he quickly dispatches them and then carries on home, a simple farmer with his everyday tool.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Cum Na Sao Training

This is very important in Sil Lum Hung Kuen and also Chu Gar Kuen though the training is a little different.

The first exercise was using a 25kg barbell plate and stepping into bow and arrow stance whilst pushing the hands forward holding the weight.

Next using the same weight and a partner, standing back to back pass the weight around to each other.

The third exercise was using a normal house brick, throw upwards and catch with alternate hands whilst sitting in horse stance.

Fourth exercise was again using the house brick, put the brick in front of left foot whilst in a bow and arrow stance pick up with right hand then place in front of right foot then repeat exercise with left hand continue till Sifu said stop.

Fifth exercise using 50 bamboo chopsticks or garden cane bound together, twist forwards and backwards.

Sixth exercise, use an 8 foot pole have the pole in front of you whilst in horse stance turn to bow and arrow stance performing an uppercut movement with the pole then straighten arm and lower slowly so tip touches first repeat then on opposite sides.

Seventh exercise using same pole sit in horse stance opposite your training partner, then you both turn in opposite directions into bow and arrow stance trying to keep your grip and trying to avoid the pole turning.

Cum Na Sao is a system in its own right and after these exercises there are techniques to be practiced in seizing and grabbing, then a form called 72 Cum Na Sao.

I have avoided giving the amount of repetitions, as Sifu just left you to it and you did whatever he gave you till he said stop! If you stopped or gave up he would not show you any more. So it is important to remember that when training that way, is not for everyone and it was under his supervision and control so he could stop you if you were in any difficulty. Also herbal liniment was applied after training and this might not be available, this training was very traditional and needed 100% commitment to complete.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Sei Mun Gwan (4 Gate Pole)

It took me three months to just learn the beginning of this set, Chu Sifu needed it to be fast and precise and each day I saw the look of disappointment that I could not do it as fast or precise as he wanted.

Then one day it clicked and I learned the rest of the form in a day, I perfected it in a few weeks and this form became the basic pole set of the system.

After the opening which is a complicated block and counter, the form moves in four directions and attacks the four gates of the opponents body with thrusting and striking movements.

The basic training for this pole form.

Included bouncing the pole off the ground and retreating while it did a 180° flip re-catching the pole and sitting in cat stance. We also have strength exercises to help with finger and wrist strength and dynamic tension exercises against a wooden dummy.

An excellent form for any level to learn and get the benefits.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Fut Dao (Buddha Knife)

This weapon is one of the first to be learned, but it has two forms both bearing the same name one a little more difficult than the other.

The name comes from the hand configuration which is predominantly held at the chest height with open palm as a traditional Shaolin salute.

Both forms involve all the basic striking and blocking but as this weapon is a hacking type it has some spinning and jumping techniques to add power to strike.

Within the forms there are also kicking techniques coupled with twirling the Dao and also rolling and cutting low.

This weapon was mainly used against a long range weapon like a spear or pole but we also practiced close range techniques.

Control was one of the main training exercises you would twirl the Dao then attack a dummy and stop the Dao an inch from the dummy. Eventually you could control the weapon, as the idea was being able to change the angle quickly if your attack was blocked at full speed and power. I also learned the Chu Gar Dao, completely different from the two forms I learned in Sil Lum Hung Kuen. The training was also different with more emphasis on close range and manipulating the Dao at soft targets on the body, instead of hacking them and cutting and blocking at the same time.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Baat Charm Dao (8 Cutting Knives)

These are some of my favourite weapons in the system and the forms are difficult in having jumping and rolling techniques. The knives themselves are much like the ones commonly seen in Wing Chun, but the guard is a rolled bar not square which makes it easier to reverse the knives.

There are two forms to be learned the first is relatively easy jumping and blocking in four direction performing the cutting as well. The second is more difficult in that it has rolling techniques as well has jumping techniques.

This is a very flexible weapon and because of the length can change height and direction quickly enabling the practitioner to defend against multiple opponents.

Within the system there is also a two man set involving the knives against the pole. Myself and John Farrell performed this many times, it is a very fast set and the pole is used double ended which is a real test of speed to defend and counter against.

We performed the set for Lama Yeshe Losal the Abbot of Samye Linge temple who told us he could see our energy in colours spiraling as we performed the moves it was a great experience.

The Baat Charm Dao can also be called mother and son knives and that is their traditional name within Hung Gar, but for us they were 8 Cutting Knives.

Sil Lum Hung Kuen Dai Pa (Big Fork)

Within the system this is a formidable weapon, it is approximately 7 feet long and weighs between 30 and 40 pounds it was not a weapon I chose to learn but it was what Chu Sifu thought would be best for me as I was a big guy back then and I think he gave it me to develop the attributes of stable fast footwork with power.

I am so pleased he decided to teach me this weapon I grew to love it but it was as with everything in the system difficult and very hard work.

First I was taught the basic movements pressing, uplifting, sweeping, thrusting, twisting and striking with reverse of the Pa. This was done in a straight line involving horse stance, bow and arrow stance and twisted stance turning and repeating until Chu Sifu said enough. This was repeated daily and after about 6 months I felt the Pa was not heavy and I could control it without it controlling me.

Over the next five years I was taught two forms each about 12 moves long which eventually linked into one form. The moves were what I had been practicing but in a set of movements with some additional flourishes and designed so I could perform it when needed at events and Chinese New Year.

As well as the basic movements there are exercises designed to strengthen the grip and forearms.

Some of you might think that learning an archaic weapon such as this is not relevant to today’s world of Martial Arts, but to keep alive a tradition and also to develop the strength and skill this weapon bestows was well worth the effort.