Thursday, February 25, 2021

Wudang Sword Grip by Scott Rodell


Wudang Sword Grip

"The Classic Manual “Fundamentals of the Wudang Sword Method (武當劍法大要),” records the correct sword grip as: “The grip technique is for the thumb to reach between the third and fourth finger to make the grip. The forefinger and little finger usually are loose, the center of the palm shaped like it can hold something. When striking or thrusting (with this grip) the sword has lively, profound skill far beyond that with the dead grip, but training this (grip) requires a long time.”* 

Those who follow the way of the sword today have two choices. The first, to follow the teaching recorded by accomplished masters of the past, teacher such as Li Jinglin (李景林). Or, if one feels his or her skill equal to or exceeds these past masters, evolve something new. For myself, I prefer to follow the path of past masters to the very best of my abilities. Given that these teachers lived in a time when they and others actually engaged in lethal, bladed combat where their lives were at stake, it seems wise to follow their tuition. To think ourselves wiser seems sheer folly and arrogance. 


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Chinese Emperor's Personal Sword


"Straight Sword with Marks "No. 1 of the Earth Category" and "Emerging from Clouds"

"The wooden sheath is covered with red-stained shark skin and decorated with auspicious emblems in openwork. On the face of the blade a four-character reign mark of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-179) is inlaid in official script (lishu), and on the reverse is inlaid "No. 1 of the Earth Category" (Dizi yihao) and "Emerging from Clouds" (Chuyun). According to the Archive on Handicrafts at the Imperial Workshops (Zaobanchu huoji dang), thirty daggers and thirty swords for the emperor were produced from 1748 to 1757 in the Imperial Workshops (Zaoban chu). Dexterously forged, these weapons are for collection rather than for use. Swords made during the Qianlong reign were inventoried and stored in three categories: Heaven (tian), Earth (di) and Man (ren). As the label attached to the hilt states, this sword was the first in the "Earth" category."

Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: steel blade, gilt-iron fittings, wooden sheath covered with red-stained shark skin
Date: undated
Dimensions: length: 100 cm, width: 9 cm


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Chinese Swords and Swordsmanship: Late Qing Jian

 Chinese Swords and Swordsmanship: Late Qing Jian

"This video looks at a typical late Qing Jian, a type that was made into the early Chinese Republic and is often seen in photos in manuals published during that period, including Taiji Sword by Chen Weiming. Judging from the number of jian of his form encountered today, it appear a fair large number of these were forged. This is perhaps why many today think this is typical Jian. While is a common form of late Qing Jian, is quite a departure from Jian of just 50 to 100 years earlier. This example has a blade length of 31 1/2”, 80 cm. And it is heavy, 2 lb 3 oz, 992 g. The guard is also wider than was typical for earlier Jian. It also has a wooden scabbard that is clad in metal. A feature that is extremely rare for Chinese swords. This feature is most likely a European influence as Chinese was importing European style military sabers for the New Army based in Tianjin and these had metal scabbards. In video this Rodell laoshi discusses why these late Jian differ from earlier examples as well as how it handles from the practitioner’s point of view." 

To learn more about Chinese Swordsmanship, please see:​