Shísān Gān 十三杆 – 13 Long Pole – Part 1
In Chinese Martial Arts we have many kinds of weapons. The most common are the Jiàn 劍 – Sword, Dāo 刀 – Knife (Broadsword), Gùn 棍 – Staff, Qiāng 枪 – Spear (the spear and a gun is the same in Chinese, perhaps because the spear is used to shoot as well). There are many unusual weapons as well like the Wing Chun Baat Jáam Dōu 八斬刀 – Eight Chopping Knives and the Guān Dāo 關刀 – Big Broad Sword named after Guan Yu 關羽(also called the Chūn Qiū Dà Dāo 春秋大刀 – Spring and Autumn Big Sword). One of the most unusual is the long pole. Two of the styles of Kung Fu I study have the long pole. Wing Chun 詠春拳 has the Lùhk Dím Bun Gwan 六點半棍 – Six and Half Point Pole, which is eight to twelve feet long. Chén Shì Tàijíquán 陈式太极拳 – Chén Style Tàijíquán has the Shísān Gān 十三杆 – 13 Long Pole. Today we are going to talk about the Shísān Gān 十三杆. This pole is three meters long and is made from Bái Là Gān 白臘杆 – White Wax Pole. Most Chinese staffs, poles and spears are made from this type of wood.
The Shísān Gān 十三杆 has 13 techniques. Why 13? This is because Tàijíquán like to use the number 13 as this comes from Bāguà 八卦 – Eight Situations and Wǔxíng 五行 – Five Elements. This means directions and all the elements around the world with those five elements.