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Bart Cham Do
wing chun kung fu masters

Butterfly Knives

The Bart Cham Do are considered the highest point in wing chun training.  There are number of reasons why. 


Firstly, in Chinese matial arts arts hand skills are taught before weapons skills.


Secondly, the true character of a person should be understood before entrusting skills that can easily lead to the death of another person. 


Thirdly, the form and application needs a thorough understanding of the empty hand forms and wooden dummy and are a natural extension of those skills.

The butterfly knives are really short broadswords, and the colloquial term for the knives derives from the way in which they are displayed when hung upon a wall.Sinking Block known as Jum Do

The hilt is rounded to protect the fingers and to allow for a strange spinning of the weapon which allows one to strike and block at very close range. The rounded hilt and hand protector can also be used to strike with, the same principle as a knuckle-duster!

Reminiscent of the pole, the knives are designed with a careful imbalance on weight distribution. The knives are top heavy (pole is bottom heavy) in order that they are dangerous even when not sharp, rather like using a hammer. This weight distribution is very demanding on the wrists and forearms of the practitioner and is of further use in the development of powerful guards (bridges/kui sau) and strikes. Many swords in use in Europe in the 15th & 16th century in Europe were not used simply to cut but instead to break bones. The average soldier would often use his sword to chop firewood resulting in a blunter sword but the weight of a cutlass for example could still incapacitate an opponent.

A trapping move from the pole.The knives are heavy and training in the techniques works the wrist and forearm very well.  Some practitioners practice with lighter aluminium blades but Master Sinclair found that they warp when in use. We do have a supply of excellent quality wooden Bart Cham Do, ideal for speed training.

The knives are also specifically left or right handed, they cannot be used in the wrong hand to their true potential. The grip on the knives is rounded on the palmer said and flat of the finger side, using the same design as a modern snooker cue. This prevents the knives slipping easily in sweaty hands and ensures it is more difficult to lose the weapon when blocking or striking, a disastrous result in armed combat!

The knives have their own form which is divided into eight sections.  The form starts very simply and becomes increasingly more elaborate.  Whilst, the principles are sound, the changing of grip is dangerously risky and allows the practitioner a chance to accidentally drop his knife or for the opponent to knock it from him. Therefore, in basic weapon training it could be considered that there are fundamental weaknesses in this area.

However, the vast majority of the form is functional and practical, and the knife techniques are mostly only minor adjustments to the hand shapes.  They can therefore, easily be adapted to sticks or even single knife fighting.  It is for this reason that many wing chun practitioners can excel in Kali and escrima as there are many resemblance's in the applications, although any person specialising in An upward cut, difficult to area  will obviously be more adept.

The major change in the application of the knife form is in the footwork.  There has to be a greater understanding of the risks to the legs from opponents with poles, knives or spears and the like.  Therefore, much more emphasis is placed on blocking with the knives below waist level.  In empty hand fighting we may judge a low technique aimed at us as less risky and counter with a high strike.  With the knives you could both die in such a gamble and therefore the gamble is not taken.

The knives form is divided into eight sections and covers defence against both long and short weapons. The footwork is contradictory to many previously taught techniques but this is to protect the inner leg against spear attack.


Grandmaster Ip Chun, a truly unselfish teacher.




The UKWCKFA is recognised by

Ip Man Martial Art Athletic Assoc (Hong Kong)

Ving Tsun Athleltic Assoc (Hong Kong)

World Wing Chun Union (Hong Kong)

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