Early Drawings of Martial Arts Forks

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As the 16th century came to a close the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) was struggling to survive. Mongol raiders under the Altan Khan (1507-1582) had attacked China several times – they even burned parts of Beijing in 1550.  At the same time China’s coastline was under attack by pirates alleged to be Japanese. Qi Ji Guang was assigned responsibility for the defense of Zhejiang in 1555. He published two versions of the Jixiao Xinshu, his commentaries on military tactics. The first version was printed in 1561 and had 18 chapters. Qi was forced to retire some years later and published a revised version with 14 chapters in 1584. Here is one of the drawings of a squad-sized (5 or 10 men) tactical unit that would be arrayed in a formation known as a Mandarin Duck. Note the forks

Ten_Soldier_Squad_with_Forks

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The Trident and Forks surveys are ready

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For the trident survey go to either the trident page from the Weapons page

OR

the Surveys page from the presentations and surveys page.

 

For the forks survey go to either the forks page from the Weapons page

OR

the Surveys page from the presentations and surveys page.

Mandarin ducks

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Scientific name: Aix galericulata – related to the North American wood duck

MandarinDucks

The male (above right) changes plumage and more closely resembles the female when not in his courting colors.

In Chinese known as yuanyang (simplified: 鸳鸯; traditional: 鴛鴦; pinyin: yuān yāng), and often used as a symbol of  conjugal affection and fidelity.

But there is a weapon (from Bagua Zhang, I think) that is used in pairs and sold by WLE.com (Product ID W552)

MandarinDuckKnives

 

 

 

from Vincent Lynch of China’s Living Treasures

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“YouTube has changed their monetization policy and as a result we won’t be able to continue to stream full length videos until we meet the new requirements, which demand that a partner must have over 1000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. We have the sufficient subscribers, but our watch time is below the threshold. We just started this year to upload the series for low cost streaming and haven’t even finished the complete upload of the series. Unfortunately, this means we’ll have to take down the complete instructional videos offered, when the monetization is removed. When we meet YouTube thresholds of watch time, we will be able to post the series again and resume streaming.

As a reward for being a channel subscriber to the China’s Living Treasures series and in attempt to increase our total watch time, we are offering the complete 120 min. award winning documentary, Volume One – Kung Fu Diplomacy for free viewing. In August of 1985, a representative group of American martial artists were invited to the Peoples Republic of China by the Beijing Wu Shu Team, the most prestigious wushu team in the world. In an effort to promote cultural exchange through the martial arts, under the leadership of team captain, Professor Wally Jay and co-captain Al Dacascos, they traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, and the Shaolin temple in Henan Province, the original birth place of the martial arts, as emissaries of cultural exchange performing their skills for their hosts and observing demonstrations by the greatest masters living in China. Please feel to forward the link to your subscribers, friends and share on social media, if you think they would be interested. The URL to view the documentary is:

Thank you for your support and enjoy the film.

Addtionally, if you have any friends that are curious about taijiquan, the following URL has a free short ten video series on the first section of the Yang taijiquan 108 movement long suitable for beginners or seniors:

Please feel free to share these links on social media.”

The Sky is Burning – again

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I had gotten all dressed (even shaved extra close!) and set out about 40 weapons. Some were short weapons hose-clamped to staffs, and the rest were the usual suspects – a varied collection of staffs, spears, halberds and other long weapons. Even a 3 meter waxwood staff that is a delight to haul around indoors (it is affectionately known as “lamp knocker”) and often a challenge to get through a doorway. So I wasn’t really paying all that much attention to the environment. I wanted to get the shooting done before the evening breeze became audible. 
When my crack camera operator said, “There’s an orange tinge to the sky. Do you want to stay with the gray muslin outfit or switch to white silks?” I simply replied, “Let’s shoot!”
One of the first weapons was a Kwan dao (halberd) with a steel shaft and dragon-shaped blade collar. It is HEAVY. Of course, it took three takes before the cinematographer gave a thumbs up. At one point I had clipped an overhanging Peruvian pepper tree with the Kwan dao blade which got me a dusting of leaves and pepper berries. I had to brush the debris off with a towel and re-comb my hair before take #2. A world-class star video subject would have had an assistant to do this … Just sayin’
Something seemed a bit odd but I wanted to press on for fear of changes to sunlight, wind or even just camera battery limit.  Then it was time for  the video with the 3 meter staff. I looked upward (checking tree clearance) and took a deep breath. And another. I asked,”Does anyone smell smoke?” After various sniffings and snufflings everyone said yes, but that it was faint.
After another set or two it was, as Yogi Berra said, “Deja vu all over again”. We’d been there before. Yes indeed, another Northern California fire (or two).
Films of the modified weapons (usually a blade clamped to a staff) are at
http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsSaber18.html and films or unmodified weapons are at

Never a Dull Moment

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I find my own short-handled Zhan Ma Dao (leftmost image) to be heavy and slow. Of course, once it gets on target it is very difficult to parry, and would likely deliver a lot of damage. I am not altogether sure what use the spur (about two-thirds of the way up the blade on the inside edge) is. One conjecture is that on a lunge it serves to keep the blade from penetrating too far and getting entangled the enemy’s ribs and other hindrances. Obviously, not all blades are made with them. Given the weight challenges and balance problems I suspected that the Zhan Ma Dao really needed to have a long handle in the manner of a Kwan Dao or Pu Dao.

On quite another mission I stumbled across two variants of a long-handled Zhan Ma Dao on the everythingwushu website (images on the right above). Further searches at everythingwushu looking for a keyword on zhanmadao produced 10 weapons so I have added some new webpages starting at http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsSaber09.html

 

The Elusive Ghost Head Saber

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For readers, if you know or teach a set for the Ghost Head saber, there’s a medium-length survey about the weapon at http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsSaber.html – click the text with the yellow background above the image. I will publish tallies – probably in late autumn.

A survey about the Goose Wing saber is coming soon. Probably a survey about forks after that.

Starring a Fork!

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A frame from the 1971 movie The Ghost Sword starring Chiang Nan (left). Note the Youtube link to this scene [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkK9qzcjMjg ]. The two-tined fork is one of two weapons being wielded by the same opponent – he is also holding the short handled double crescents halberd (immediately to the right of and slightly behind the fork) in his right hand. Sadly, neither the holder, halberd nor the fork distinguish themselves in the skirmish. Now if the movie had been named The Ghost Fork

As far as I know, Chiang Nan is still alive (95! – so he was 48 at the time of the filming) although he has not been active as an actor, director or producer in many years (1981).

Fork_Halberd_Movie