The Cleaving Staff
The 'fight ending'
of the simple staff is the cleaving chop.
See our two person set on youtube!
Wukung prepares to chop a demon dressed as a
fair maiden. A modern illustration from the
famous novel Xi You Ji
(西遊記) / Journey to the West.
Sun Wukung acted as bodyguard to Monk Tang
on his journey to India to fetch Buddhist
Demons and monsters pursued Monk Tang for the
purpose of eating his flesh and extending their
life by thousands of years.
Almost every chapter of the book ends in a
terrible battle where Sun Wukung attempts to
'chop demons into meat patties!'
Six Harmony Staff
Pi / the cleaving maneuver from
an early Qing Dynasty manual on White
Eye Brow Staff.
Not only does Sun Wukung depend on this
technique for routing monsters, but the cleaving method is
also the most
important technique of Six Harmony Staff. A form
of over 100 moves it seems to go longer than the
cardio abilities of the normal practitioner!
The unique aspect of this staff form is that the
becomes a two person set to teach the students the
methods of attack and defense. Within the two person set
both practitioners repeatedly set up to cleave
each other with the long end of their stick or
to smash each other with the short end.
two person drill can be performed as a single long form or
broken up into short practice pieces to train individual
segments of techniques. Below is a short
practice piece in pictorial explanations.
of the staff
slender end of the staff is
called 'gun' (rhymes with win) or gun tou / staff head, and the heavy side
is called 'ba' / handle.
In this style of
staff method the 'ba' is held by the right hand and is
used for the short attacks such as smashing and
piercing. The 'gun tou' is held by the left hand and used for the long range attacks
such as stabbing, spinning, swinging and striking.
The solo form
A short section of the form first shown as a solo
Right gai ba / cover with the handle.
Use the handle to smash down on the opponent's head or
This is also the same posture for cuo ba-poke with the
The following four pictures describe pi / cleave. Using the staff head to
pass outside the right knee and cleave to the earth.
'Lun' / rolling outside the right knee. The move just
before the cleave.
is complete and the cleave is performed with a
jump in the air. The jump helps to avoid the
'Pi' cleaving to the ground. The staff and feet all come
to the ground together.
'Pi' seen from the opposite side.
The Staff in Nashville
In early December of 2008 I had the great fortune to be
invited to the
Nashville Peng Lai school. During the cold winter
weather we trained this staff form outdoors from sun up
to sun down with pauses in between for our favorite warm
up drinks; yerbe mate and green tea.
At the end of practice Justin and Jojo volunteered to
take part in the following pictorial explanation.
For Two People
Jojo on the left and Justin on the right. Jojo follows
the moves of the solo form above.
Both Jojo and Justin come in for the attack with 'gai
ba.' The attack and defense is the same move.
Justin shifts over to Jojo's outer gate and strikes with
'jian' / to cut. This strike is applied to the knee
joint, but for safety we hit the calf.
Jojo immediately raises his front foot out of the way as
he swings the staff down to defend. This motion is 'lun.'
As he does this move he must leap up into the air.
here he lands in the hill climbing stance. In
the picture above it is shown as the one leg
squatting stance (pu tui).
Cleaving to the top
of Justin's head.
Justin defends with 'tuo gun' / the supporting staff. One of the few movements of our staff
method that is defense only.
The quickest way to attack is to stab Jojo with the
staff end, a method usually reserved for spear. In this case Justin will attack with the
more powerful gai ba technique...
Within the Shaolin book of staff (late Ming Dynasty) this block is called 'ti
gun' / raising the staff.
Not In The Set
The following series of moves is
repeated five times through out the form yet does not
appear in the solo form.
Justin takes advantage of Jojo's waste of power and
applies gai ba to the side of Jojo's head.
Left foot right hand is called au bu gai ba / oblique
step cover with the handle.
defense of gai ba is also 'gai ba.' Jojo defends
from Justin's attack to the head with au bu gai
swings his stick handle down to Jojo's knee.
Notice how low he tilts his head.
target is to strike Justin's head again.
goes high and one goes low.
can avoid getting hit if Jojo can get his leg
out of the way in time. He must do a speedy but
unusual jump. The picture shown here is just
before he leaves the ground.
His strike to
Justin's head loses most of its power, but in
training it is required to actually make contact
with Justin's back.
as Jojo has finished his leap Justin attacks
with cuo ba / poke the handle.
This is aimed
at Jojo's head or neck.
defends with cuo ba.
From here Justin is free
to start over from the beginning of the drill.
The attack and defense of Six Harmony Staff are often the same or similar
you see 'gai ba' as an attack and 'gai ba' as a defense.
Most of the moves used for defense are exactly the same
as the move used for attack.
Like the cleaving of Mantis Boxing it is often a
matter of who gets there first and the responsibility of
the attacker and defender to adopt to the changing
More staff articles with Sun Wukung
Staff Of the Great Sage
Staff article about me learning the
two man set
The Method of