The Northern Shaolin Kwan Dao form is, of course, awesome! This Kwan Dao form is very practical but it goes way beyond practical to be very athletic and dramatic!
This form does contain your normal hacks, whacks, and chops. But it also contains a great many spinning and twirling moves. These moves test your wrist and hand strength and develop it. This training adds a lot of power to your grasping and seizing techniques. They also develop your ability to control the balance point and the momentum of the weapon. If you can find where it balances and then keep the momentum spinning without losing control suddenly it takes a whole lot less effort. This is actually very cool and very fun. When you get a Kwan Dao spinning really fast you do need to be careful because it is not pleasant if it gets out of control.
This form has very lively footwork including a tornado kick and butterfly kick! Putting a tornado Kick in a Kwan Dao form is sort of crazy given the weight of the Kwan Dao. However, putting in a Butterfly kick is definitely crazy. This is the only Kwan Dao form I have ever seen with a butterfly kick. The funny thing is if you really throw the Kwan Dao in the just the right direction as you leap into the butterfly kick it sort of pulls you into it. Then the weight and momentum of the Kwan Dao helps you do a pretty nice butterfly kick. Immediately after you land you step into a crane stance and this is really a test of your ability to control the momentum of the Kwan Dao.
Kwan Dao should be studied after learning both a staff form and a spear form. The Kwan Dao builds on those weapons techniques. Learning a staff form and spear form will also help to develop your arm and wrist strength. This preparation will help to prevent you from injuring your wrists or dropping the Kwan Dao on yourself.
The whole idea of a Kwan Dao is to be heavy. Using a light weight Kwan Dao just misses the point totally. You should choose a weapon with some weight to it. If you are a smaller person or you are still developing your arm strength it might be OK to start with a lighter Kwan Dao. For an adult male 8 lbs. is a good starting place. The Kwan Dao used in all of the photos is 13 lbs.