9 Dragon Trident (Gau Lung Cha)
King of All Weapons
Traditionally, the spear is known as the "king of long weapons." The spear earned this title in the old days of mounted warfare in China, when it and some of its offshoots were the soldier's most important weapons. However, there's another Chinese weapon that, due to its unusual design and large variety of effective techniques against all types of weapons and opponents, may deserve the title "King of all weapons." This exceptional weapon is called a Nine-Dragon Trident (Gau Lung Chah).
In China, the dragon is the spiritual king of all animals and was considered a royal animal. Often the dragon represented the Emperor and his court. The number nine, being the largest single number, also has a mystical significance in China. Therefore, it is not unusual to combine the number nine with the spiritual dragon to come up with something bearing supernatural power and talent, such as the nine-dragon trident. The trident, sometimes called Tiger Fork, dates back to the days when wild tigers ranged throughout China, often terrorizing villages. Professional hunters tracked these renegade animals armed only with tridents. In its simplest form, the trident was a heavy long weapon, with a large metal head shaped somewhat like a wide, flat pitchfork. An implement, it was most commonly used to kill large game, such as tigers. Tridents were the perfect weapon for use against aggressive animals. They bore three pronged points, with the center prong being the longest, which were used to stab the prey and pin it helplessly to the ground. Against human opponents, tridents were valuable for snaring weapons and ripping them out of their owner's hands, disarming them before the trident's final stab. Although the regular trident was originally an implement weapon, designed first for use by hunters, the nine-dragon trident was never intended to be an implement. It was devised strictly to be a martial arts weapon and a formidable weapon it was.
At the present, there are only two nine-dragon tridents in existence, one in Hong Kong and one in the United States with Doc-Fai Wong. Wong received his nine-dragon trident in 1979 when he was awarded the one-on-one knowledge and honor of carrying on that weapon's history. Chan Heung's original weapon was lost in China sometime during the last several decades. The original nine-dragon trident is classified as a long heavy weapon. It is six feet long and weighs about 20 pounds. It has a tip or head shaped like a conventional trident (three points, the center point straight like a spearing the metal blades of the trident down and the outer points curved). Below the trident tip are four sets of double hooks with sharp cutting edges running their length, these four hooks are at right angles to one another. Each hook represents a dragon. According to Wong, the hooks were used for snaring and disarming the enemy's weapon, as well as for striking him.
Known as a prestigious weapon, its techniques have been handed down exclusively to fourth-generation Hong Kong Choy Li Fut Grandmaster Wong Gong. Wong Gong learned his Choy Li Fut from the system's original headquarters in King Mui Village, Kwantung, China, where he was the eldest disciple of King Mui Village's senior Choy Li Fut instructor. Wong Gong in turn gave its secrets to only one student, his own eldest disciple—San Francisco Choy Li Fut instructor Doc-Fai Wong, who is now president of the Choy Li Fut Plum Blossom International Federation.
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Published on: 2004-01-13