Three months ago (before I started this blog and also one of the reasons why I started this blog), my kungfu brother Yuen Loong started learning a new weapon form (the spear). I had a Chi Sau (sticky hands) session just a day before and on the day itself before he started practicing on the weapon again. Without knowing what I was going into, I asked for another chi sau session, and BOY WAS I SURPRISED! His energy and focus was different and much stronger even though he seemed relaxed! I had to be more careful or I would be thrown off (Usually I'm the one who throws people off!). And the only thing different before and after was the weapon's training he did with sifu. It was a revelation.
This reminded me of some other incidents I had doing chi sau with Chee Hoong who is one of my kungfu friends 3 or 4 years ago. He said my hands that day felt heavier and stronger than usual even though I seemed relaxed and as sensitive as usual. So he didn't feel like I was pushing beyond my limit. The truth was, I had just learnt the Kwan Tou (General Kwan's Big Knife) Form and practicing it a lot to ensure muscle memory.
I had another experience with my another kungfu brother of mine (Ah Tak). I didn't see him for a few months and when I met him again, as is usual with me, I ask for chi sau exchange. I was again surprised. He has lost his sensitivity and became hard and almost stiff. He had more power than before though. He told me he has just finished learning a staff form called Ng Long Pa Kua Kwan from another school (Shaolin if I can recalled properly). His energy and hand power has become more Shaolin than Wing Chun.
My best friend Zaf Abbas also made an interesting comment. He has just started the Yong Mui Pang (staff) and he found out that his footwork was a mess. So he worked on it and got better and the form is slowly beginning to smooth out. I noticed something then. His footwork for the empty hand forms were improving also and he could start and finish his forms at the same starting point and his footwork was a lot smoother. His Chun Ging also improved.
Based on the above points, I believe weapon forms are useful for improving our empty hands techniques and forms. They take us to a whole new level of proficiency. We might not be able to use the same weapons in a fight per say, but the benefits extend far more than what understand currently. So, DON'T THROW THOSE WEAPON FORMS AWAY, PLEASE!!! Practice them and reap the benefits!