Yeung Ga Ng Long Baat Gwa Gwan, the Eight Trigrams Pole of the Fifth Brother of the Yeung Family, was created by Yeung Ng Long in Jiu Sung dynasty.1
Ng Long followed his father to fight against the Kithan. However, they were cheated by a devilish partner Pun Yan Mei. Ng Long was defeated and fled to the mountain Ngtoi, where he became a monk. There he changed the spear techniques of his family into the pole techniques. The spear techniques of the Yeung family were very famous. Although the applications between the spear and pole were different, the main techniques were more or less the same.
Why are the pole techniques named Eight Trigrams Pole? The pole techniques were created in accordance to the spirit of Taai Gik, that is the combination of yin and yang. Taai Gik produces two appearances (phenomena). These two appearances then produce four images (forms). The four images in turn produce eight trigrams (Baat Gwa), which then change into sixty-four pole techniques (movements).
The sixty-four pole techniques of the eight trigrams are as follows: first attack into four directions, then attack to the four corners, with eight movements into each direction of attack.
My uncle, Lam Sai Wing, added 6,5-pole techniques to this. The 6,5-pole techniques were famous among the Chinese opera groups. These techniques originated from the Siulam monastery and then spread among the Chinese opera groups. Thus, in total there are seventy-and-a-half pole techniques.2
The techniques include: big and small Taai Gik (circles), left and right Taai Gik, two appearances, four images, carrying big and small stars, left and right carrying railing, lowering the stance to seal the windpipe, jumping stance to mark the dragon, four heads big pole, dropping money, golden rooster standing on one leg, poisonous snake fighting the fog, measuring the sky and unfolding the dragon flag.
The set also contains the following pole techniques: yin pole, yang pole, horizontal pole, reverse pole, straight pole, sideways pole, crossing the pole and hanging the pole. The footwork includes the following steps and stances: unicorn step, fish tail feet, jumping stance, kneeling stance, marking stance, hiding stance, hanging stance (cat stance), horizontal stance (horse stance), meridian stance (bow and arrow stance). The body movements include: normal position, side position, facing the sky, facing the ground and bending the body.
Lastly, there are 14 important keywords:3
- 圈 hyun: to circle
- 點 dim: to dot, to point
- 搶 cheung: to thrust
- 割 got: to cut (block down)
- 抽 chau: to draw out
- 冚 kam: to cover
- 挑 tiu: to shoulder
- 撥 but: to push something sideways
- 彈 daan: to rebound, to pluck (a string instrument), to pull loose
- 掣 jai: to push out
- 標 biu: to mark (long thrust)
- 壓 aat: to push down
- 敲 haau: to tap, to hit from above
- 擊 gik: to hit side wards (pushing out)
The pole techniques can be used for long and short range. In addition, both ends of the pole can be used. The many attacks are frequently repeated. As these pole techniques were taught by a famous sifu, they must be good techniques. However, the student has to practice hard and regularly to be able to apply his own power through the pole. The pole is solid and can be used for circling, dotting, pulling something loose and for cutting. On the other hand, if the student does not practice hard, the pole techniques will be “empty” movements only; thus, not practical at all.
1960 – 1279 AD (Song dynasty in Mandarin, during the reign of emperor Zhao)
2To get this number of techniques all repeats are not counted (e.g. a serie of 3 times dim/daan is counted as 1 only); the 6.5-pole technique is the part of the set where the left hand is used in front.
3The keywords are only translated literally, as can be found in dictionaries. Since the keywords are old Cantonese metaphorical concepts, the translations may not cover the original principle completely.
Translated by K. van ‘t Slot, © 2009.