Doing the forms or patterns is a basic training that teaches us to move our body, legs and hands in a purposeful defensive and or strking way. Only when we have a minmimum level of mastery of the strokes, then we can learn and practise self-defence in the most effective way. Without that, it will be quite futile to do self-defencex as we may have more questions than answers. We will start to realize that we cannot use the technique and moves in the way it is intended for.
In Northern Shaolin Chuen Fa, the pole is the basic weapon that we have to learn. Pole training develops power in both arms and legs, and also agi;ity. It needs many years of training before we can even hold the pole correctly and strike with it! Functionality and speed of each stroke require multiple repetitive practice before we can monouevre the pole with precision.