Snake Crane Wing Chun : Three forms, Twin knives and One pole
Snake Crane Wing Chun Yung Kwok Wing Athletic Association
Update: 2012-06-25, by Wayne K.W. Yung
蛇鶴詠春 : 三拳雙刀一棍
Snake Crane Wing Chun: Three forms, twin knives and long pole.
「欲柔不欲強 欲順不欲逆 欲定不欲亂 欲聚不欲散」
Accordingly, Snake Crane Wing Chun began only a few techniques under way, that
TanSau 攤手(dispersing hand), BongSau 膀手(wing arm), FookSau 伏手(lying hand) and
YatGeeKuen 日字拳(vertical punch). It also abandons the traditional style of Shaolin Long
bridge and big stance, and based on the Internal style concept, with short bridge and narrow
stance, to develop a closed contact fighting techniques, leveraging the power of and fast way
to storm the enemy centerline. When under attack, based on softness to overcome hardness,
leveraging the power, the use of body movement and the use footwork to offset each other to
resolve the attacking, which can be used little power to subdue the rival, so that it makes
Snake and Crane Wing Chun having the four criteria to define as an Internal style martial arts:
Prefer Softness rather than Hardness
Prefer to Follow the direction of the attack rather than to Oppose the attack
Prefer Imperturbability rather than Trepidation
Prefer Concentration of power rather than Scattering
Later on, based on the concept of centerline, the above techniques are re-organized to develop
the first form “SiuLimTau 小念頭” for daily practice. It also applies to the Sticky hand
training. “SiuLimTau 小念頭” is mainly for defense, and using the concept “Keeping on the
centerline and make use of the centerline 守中用中” to oppose the enemy, so more passive.
To become a complete family of a style of martial arts, it needs to have defense, attacking
actively, and once in a worst situation, special techniques for surviving should be cope with.
Also, stances and steps should also be considered. Then the Snake Crane Wing Chun was
gradually and systematically developed with the ChumKiu and BiuJee..
In Snake Crane Wing Chun SiuLimTau, there is a six-seven-words-statements poem of the
"LimTau Song 念頭歌" with, and it is very rhymes. The whole poem describes the whole set
of the form and its origin from.
Whit crane plays around with water, and the snake returns the hole.
Flying snake rotates the head in nine ways to represent the palm techniques.
Snake and crane show off their best techniques and strength.
Crane feet step three times and the crane’s wing flips in four ways.
White crane folds the wings and flies to the sky.
Snake Crane Wing Chun is able to overcome the traitor (MaNinYee 馬寧兒) of
he Southern Shaolin.
The first five statement of the poem describes the whole set playing of the SiuLimTau, and
the last statement tells that the reason to develop the Snake Crane Wing Chun is to overcome
the Shaolin traitor, MaNingYee 馬寧兒.
TanSau 攤手(dispersing hand), BongSau 膀手(wing arm), FookSau 伏手(lying hand) and
YatGeeKuen 日字拳(vertical punch) are the major techniques of SiuLimTau 小念頭 in
Snake Crane Wing Chun, and also some practical techniques, such as TonKiu(吞橋swallow
bridge), HuenSau(圈手circle hand), ChanGen(撐掌palm support) and etc are also added.
All techniques are applied to the unique sticky hands training. That’s why the SiuLimTau 小
念頭 is so importance in Snake Crane Wing Chun. The playing of the SiuLimTau 小念頭
form is based on the stance “YeeGeeKimYenMa 二字拑羊馬”, firm and no-step movement.
The player stands firmly and hands movement are mainly on the centerline to react. From the
concept of the centerline of view, the player defends and react along the centerline. That’s
why it can be said to be passive.
Back on the development of "ChumKiu 尋橋”, it looks for the opponent’s bridge 橋手(hands)
built on the initiative, and then make a quick attack. The main use of BongSau 膀手 is for
protection. It is used to protect the player himself/herself and to look for opponent’s body
bridge hand, and it is mainly for active attack. The form can be divided in two parts of the
static and dynamic. The first half is static and no next-step move. The main virtue of agility,
in the left side, in the right side and in the front of the bridge, is to find opponent’s hand. The
turning around the body is mainly based on the use of GuyGinMa（機剪馬side stance) to
turn. In the dynamic part, the GuyGinMa starts to step and move, and mainly to take the
initiative step with the actual situation and have a solid foot moving forward (Gait of
GuyGinMa 機剪步). Using BongSau 膀手 in ChumKiu 尋橋is for protection and looks for
the opponent’s bridge arm. Whether in static or dynamic, it looks for the three times. The
first and second ones pretend nothing to meet, so there is no attack techniques followed. The
third one pretends to get the opponent bridge of hand and makes immediate attack. Then the
group portfolio is complete. From the concept of the centerline of view, it is to find the
bridge of the opponents, and the centerline to centerline concept is built. In Snake Crane
Wing Chun, it terms "Toward the opponent and chasing the opponent’s centerline 朝面追中"
GuyGinMa 機剪馬 the name of the stance is from its rotation, turning the soles of the feet in
parallel, such as the angle of the ancient carpenter's measuring tools "machine cut 機剪". By
making two crossbars nailed in two straight woods, when crossbars are pulled relatively, the
two parallel straight woods will turn in the same direction. As the crossbars are about to pull
repeatedly forward and backward, the parallel ones will be relatively turning left and right.
The toes of feet becomes, like this “machine cut 機剪” tool, parallel to the left or right all the
time when it is precisely move, so named GuyGinMa 機剪馬(“machine cut 機剪” stance).
In BiuJee 標指,most techniques refer to the area to be more vicious, such as mainly elbow
techniques, neck attacks, knee attacks and etc, because it is used for survival. The opponent’s
centerline is not toward, but the player’s centerline is faced toward on by the opponent.
That’s why the techniques applied must be quick and heavy, more wild and fierce. It is also
used to adjust and to look toward the opponent’s centerline, unsparing attack in severe way to
re-beat opponent weaknesses. From the concept of the centerline, it seems loss of the
opponent’s centerline and the player’s centerline is looked toward on by the opponent. It
tries to snatch the opportunity and make the centerlines of both toward each other for
Since the fire of the Southern Shaolin, the monks escape to different areas in the country.
Some fled to Lingnan 嶺南 area (GuongDong 廣東), and the Snake Crane Wing Chun spread
to Lingnan Red Boat 嶺南紅船 at this moment. However, the Snake Crane Wing Chun itself
does not have any weapons, so it makes the Lingnan butterfly knives 嶺南蝴蝶刀
improvement. Narrow the blades, and only the blade’s tips are open sharply. Then apply the
Snake Crane Wing Chun techniques to the knives, as the two hands extension, but with
special stances and steps. Finally, it named "YeeGeKimYamDuMingDao 二字拑羊奪命刀”
or "DuMingShunDao 奪命雙刀". The knives are usually hid in the long sleeves becoming
"sleeve knives 袖裏刀" (in Qing dynasty, the cloth was very big enough) and make the usage
Snake Crane Wing Chun compared to the Lingnan butterfly knives 嶺南蝴蝶刀, the blades
are quite narrow to hide easily inside the long sleeves.
Lingnan butterfly knives 嶺南蝴蝶刀 relatively wide blade, not easy hidden in the sleeves
In the Qing Dynasty, big clothes robes is wide sleeves, pole sleeves and easily hidden in a
"sleeve knives 袖裏刀", of course, not like the man wearing the T-Shirt now.
Boating scull 搖櫓
Snake Crane Wing Chun's scull-like "Long Pole" was developed from the boating scull 搖櫓,
weighs almost twelve to twenty catties. While the scullers had any disputes with others, they
used the scull as a weapon to fight. Later, on the shore, the pedals of the scull have been
removed, as a big thick stick. Simple pole techniques are applied to make the Snake Crane
Wing Chun's Long Pole techniques. From the old photo below, it can be found that the Long
Pole is thicker than the normal sticks from other families. Also, it is held on the pole head
(the thin side), not the pole end (the thick side), and it is very heavy enough and not easy to
lift up. There are only six and a half techniques applied to it, with a simple stance and small
steps movement on the boat.
Snake Crane Wing Chun's scull-like Long Pole (from thin to thick).
Young age of Master Law Chiu Wing 羅昭榮 in 1950s