Bart Cham Dao
The Bart Cham Dao or eight cutting knives (Dao refers to a single edged blade) is usually the final form taught to a Wing Chun Student. Ip Man only taught a hand full of students this form in his entire life. Ip Man learned the form off of Leung Bik.
The form has 8 sections. Many people mistakenly believe this is where the forms name comes from. However the eight actually refers to the number of different angles the blade cuts through whist performing the techniques in the form. Hence the name “eight cutting blade”.
Obviously the form teaches the Wing Chun student how to use a pair of Butterfly Dao (knives/swords). Butterfly knives are often confused with Bulls Ears swords. They look very similar however the difference in the handle of the weapon will dramatically reduce the functionality of a Bulls Ear sword compared to a pair Butterfly Knives.
Initially a student may ask “Although it may be fun to learn and nice from traditional perspective, why should I learn the Bart Cham Dao in this day and age? I am never going to use it in the practical sense.” So what else does learning the Bart Cham Dao help with?
Perhaps most importantly it reinforces the underlying Wing Chun principles seen in the other hand forms, for instance economy of motion, deflection etc. It will also teach the practitioner a new type of stepping that can be used in certain situations. Furthermore as an added bonus learning the Bart Cham Dao will drastically improve wrist strength if trained properly and regularly.
Before the Bart Cham Dao can be learned it is very important to have a solid grasp of all the other hand forms first. This is because, amongst other things, the stepping in the Bart Cham Dao is not effective without the stepping from the second and third hand forms (Chum Kiu and Biu Gee). The system is designed to grow from the Sil Lim Tao to Bart Cham Dao and it os not wise to try and miss (or rush).