What a year. First the WT long pole exercises and form, and then...
Sifu Ralph Haenel of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver held the first Canadian seminar on the WT Bart Cham Dao (八斬刀, or Baat Jam Do I suppose), and boy oh boy, what can I say... well, nuthin'. Still scratching my head, but that was expected. Can't become a Master overnight.
Some believe that weapons training changes one's empty-hand methods, whereas others believe that it is a weapon form only and nothing else. I think it does change how we move our body and limbs, both physically and mentally. You have no choice in the matter. If you believe in choice, then believe that with any new skill/knowledge you obtain (in WT or anything else in life), try to compare and contrast it to things you already know.
Knives in one's hands
Not everyone knows how to punch or chop with the fist or hand, parry or wedge with the forearms, etc. When given a knife though, most people basically know what to do with it. From fileting a fish to chopping a watermelon, I think you get the idea. Granted, some do it more smoothly than others, of course.
Remember how even a fish can be a weapon with soft, sardine strikes?
Get to the "point" you say?
WT partner exercises with small knives/dowels
Enter the Bart Cham Dao (八斬刀). Well, at least one idea I have about it, from training briefly with it.
We've all done other training with some type of hand-held weapon, with it or against it.
1) If you can't quite get the movement of a strike e.g. fak-sau, try doing the same motion with a small plastic knife or wooden dowel in YOUR hand. Suddenly, the body and limb movements start to make sense;
2) If you find your legs stiffening up and not moving enough, give your PARTNER a small plastic knife. Suddenly, you are moving much more (perhaps too much), trying to evade any strike. Important Note: this is different training against an actual knife, which is actually very dangerous against anyone who truly knows how to use a small knife with short cuts/slashes. It's not that simple, and they don't attack like this.
Sorry, am I keeping you on the "edge" of your seat? Well, it's not really that exciting.
From swords to empty hands
Going back to Bart Cham Dao, we now have one sword in each hand. Ready to face other weapons. There is an intensity that is different while holding that sword. You feel more powerful. You are going forward more. You are holding your hands out further, rather than collapsing them putting you at risk of cutting yourself. You are moving your 7 WT joints. Links are made. Neurons are firing. Muscle memory develops.
Virtually all the movements from SNT, CK, and BT are all in the form.
Here's a thought: try doing the Bart Cham Dao form with the swords, and then with empty-hands. Do it as often as you do your long-pole exercises/form (cough, every day...)
Now, do your SNT, CK, and BT forms. Also, go back to your regular training. Are you now feeling more powerful, going forward more, with more intensity? Do your fists/hands/forearms actually feel as though they were the swords themselves?
Did it improve your overall performance?
Whatever you are learning in life, are you improving yourself?
Are you going to be a "cut" above the rest?