Mookto is to VIKOGA, what the Sword is to TaiChi, the Crescent Knife is to Pakua, the Bokken is to Aikido, and Rattan Sticks to Kali.
Our Mookto is derived from the WingChun 8 Hacking Knifeform, as passed down by the legendary Great Master Yip Man Sifu. Through research, study and years of teaching, we have concluded that the Vikoga Mookto is ideal for long term learning and mastering of the WingChun Kungfu system.
The main purpose of the Mookto is to enhance the WingChun skills of the practitioner and to reinforce the intricacies, rules and efficacies associated with mastering these skills. This will develop the power associated with this system. Mookto is the Cantonese term for Wooden Knife; and it is a pair of wooden Butterfly Knives. Classical WingChun practitioners usually carry and train with these knives.
Regular and correct Mookto training develops and refines the combative spirit of the practitioner. It cultivates timing, footwork and relative body angulation. It also enhances essential body structure and truss, to equip the practitioner to fight effectively in a real life situation, when dealing with adversaries empty handed.
Nowadays, students of Vikoga learn Mookto right from the outset to ensure correct development of the desired martial elements mentioned above. Such introduction and timing of weapon training can also be found in other arts such as AIKIDO, where students learn the Bokken right from the outset to achieve similar aims.
In years gone by, such weapon training was usually relegated to the latter years of a student’s martial journey. This is most probably due to fears (founded or otherwise) that such training would fall into the wrong hands and be utilised for other than correct moral reasons. It may well be for such reasons that (we suspect) the late Great Master Yip Man Sifu, did not readily teach the Knife. In his time, the 50’s and 60’s, China and Hong Kong saw a prevalence of the criminal underworld where inter-gang rivalries and feuds were often resolved via weaponised brawls, usually with knives and machetes such as the water-melon machete (Sai Gwa To).
In such an environment, the concern about teaching the knife (Mookto) was that potentially, it could be quickly adopted and applied to the Sai Gwa To, thereby enabling those with malicious intent to cause greater harm. This is very understandable.
Fast forward to the 21st century. We believe it is now safe and in fact sound for students to learn the weapon system at the very outset, to ensure the cultivation of the correct habits.
SPECIFICATIONS OF THE MOOKTO
The Mookto is an updated wooden replica of the traditional metallic WingChun knifes. Realistically, of course, the Mookto will continue to improve in specifications and quality over time, as more and more people take up and master it. At this stage, we recommend using the densest and most pliable wood to make your Mookto. Bear in mind, that the Mookto is your lifelong and regular WingChun training tool. More experienced and senior practitioners will eventually also use a heavier metallic training knife (known as Leen Kung To) to develop power. This should then be a supplementary activity. You should never give up your essential Mookto training, and should continue to benefit from its ongoing discipline for as long as your training continues.
The Mookto has the following progressive phases:
1. Learning the movements of the form
2. To Tai Sun Knife leading the body
3. Sun Tai To Body leading the Knife
4. To Sun Hup Yut Knife Body as one
Mookto starts with using the Bart Jaam To (8 Hacking Knife) form, and has the following progressive phases.
1. Learning the Movements of the form 2. To Tai Sun (Knife leading the body) 3. Sun Tai To (Body leading the Knife) 4. To Sun Hup Yut (Knife Body as one)
Mookto students also practise sub movement sets with partners. Mookto requires practitioners to exhale loudly to coordinate their strikes and stabs to their practice partners. This is in fact the same as the kiai generally exhibited by Japanese and other stylists with their training. To train up the spirit, weapon training should be realistic, very confronting and challenging. It is not a mere physical exercise nor is it just an artistic expression. Weapon training by its lethal nature, requires you to tap into your inner courage to fully benefit from the training. The desired outcome is the optimal competency to protect yourself, your loved ones, or others deserving of your help.
Real life combat, particularly those with potential mortal implications, is neither peaceful, predictable nor quiet. Ditto even for ordinary neighbourhood skirmishes without weapons.
“The practitioner will almost always position and apply the Mookto to cut into the enemy from the side. This means you do NOT place the Mookto or its force along your sagittal plane (the much misunderstood centre line)”.
Mookto, together with other training, prepares you to deal with circumstances of such nature.
MOOKTO FORM CHARACTERISTICS
Mookto practice derives mainly from the ubiquitous WingChun system knifeform. Certain characteristics are unchanged. They are: 1. The Mookto (a pair) point relatively in a forward CONVERGENT (like the Chinese 8 character) structure and hack similarly, to maximize momentum.
2. The Mookto involves the blade-back, the flat of the weapon, as well as the hand guard & back-end stump to contact and hit the enemy and the attacking weapon(s). In fact, the Mookto’s pointy sharp end and the cutting edge do NOT come in until very late into the action. This is consistent with it being a Siu To (Small Knife).
3. The practitioner will almost always position, structure and apply the Mookto to cut into the enemy from the side. This means you do NOT place the Mookto or its force along your sagittal plane (the much misunderstood centre line). Again consistent with the application of a Siu To.
4. The practitioner uses a zigzag footwork (7-star footwork) so as to flank into and blindside the enemy, with practically all actions. This will avoid a direct clashing with a stronger opponent using a longer and stronger weapon. 5. Mookto actions divide the moving body into 2 levels – upper and lower, unlike in an unarmed combat application where there is a distinct 3 level division. 6. The Mookto pair will work as closely and as often with each other as possible in all actions. They very often triangulate into a crossing structure to shield the practitioner, and trap, or redirect the opponent’s attacks. This again is the strategy of a smaller and weaker weapon against bigger and tougher ones.
Competent long-term Mookto practice will cultivate the spirit of the “to” in the practitioner. Unlike some other forms of weapon training, where you can train up a coarse and quite often brutal nature in yourself, the Mookto is ideal for nurturing a more refined and strategic combative persona in you. The Small Knife cannot be too brash or bold, yet it must be up to the task of dealing with the longer and tougher weapons, and come out on top. This is the underlying dynamic of the Mookto. It is the way of the weaker against the apparently stronger. We can say, that is the way of WingChun. Ω