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
For readers, if you know or teach one or more Kwan dao sets, there’s a long survey about the weapon at http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsKwanDao.html – click the text with the yellow background above the image. I will publish tallies – probably in late autumn.
A couple more weapon surveys coming – forks and some specialty sabers to start.
For readers, if you know or teach one or more Pu dao sets, there’s a long survey about the weapon at http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/WeaponsPuDao.html – click the text with the yellow background above the image. I will publish tallies – probably in late autumn.
A couple more weapon surveys coming – Kwan dao, forks, and some specialty sabers to start.
- Two-person hand sparring form
- Two-person staff (eyebrow height staff) sparring – staff versus staff
- Kwan dao versus spear
- Broadsword (saber) versus spear
- Empty hand versus double daggers
- Three-section staff versus spear
From left to right – (1) a two piece kwan dao – the steel handle unscrews and separates to make packing easier; (2) Reclining Crescent style kwan dao; (3) three point-two edge; (4) so-called wushu kwan dao – lighter and shorter with flexible blade; (5) nine-ring pu dao bought from Brendan Lai’s store years ago; (6) eagle kwan dao; (7) Green Dragon style also bought from Brendan Lai’s store years ago; and (8) elephant kwan dao
We are trying to determine the state of the art when it comes to Kwan Daos. If you teach the weapon, practice the weapon or own a weapon and are letting it stand around in a rack, we’d love an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A. do you teach the weapon? If so, what style?
Over the years we have taught General Chai’s (*) Long Handled Knife from Hung Gar (more properly a pu dao set, we think) and Spring Autumn Big Knife from Northern Shaolin. Currently, we teach the set from Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan. We have seen a set from Zhaobao style Tai Chi Chuan. We have yet to find any recording or even rumors of anyone teaching a kwan dao set from Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. As far as we know, the weapon is not part of any other Tai Chi Chuan styles.
There are five weapons in the Choy Li Fut arsenal:
Blocking Gate Long Handled Broadsword (Lan Moon Jaai Dai Do) 攔門寨大刀
General Kwan’s Long Handle Broadsword (Kwan Do) 関刀
General Choy’s Long Handle Broadsword (Choy Yeung Do) 蔡陽刀
Nine-Ring Long-Handled Broadsword (Gau Wan Dai Do) 九環大刀
Seven Star Long-Handled Knive (Chat Sing Tiu) 七星銚
I recall seeing a Praying Mantis sifu do a Pu Dao set at least 8 years ago – perhaps even more. But I never could learn his name, or the set’s name.
if anyone teaches something else, we’d love to hear about it
*= this pays homage to a different hero, General Chai Yang of the Han Dynasty
B. how long is the weapon? does it have a metal spike on one tip?
C. how much does the weapon weigh
D. stiff or flexible blade
E. do you do anything like sanding or refinishing the wood or the metal?
F. one piece or two (the metal handle unscrews into two pieces)
G. what sort of bag do you use to transport it?
Two modest-sized statues of General Kwan with his fabled ‘knife’
The large statue is in Guan Yu Park in Jingzhou (population about 5.6 million people; in southern Hubei Province, China). It is 58 meters (190 ft) tall, weighs over 1,300 tons, and contains over 4,000 strips of bronze. It was designed by Han Meilin, famed for his work on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There is an 8,000 square meters museum inside it. General Kwan lived during China’s Three Kingdoms period (180 to 280 AD). The weapon shown here weighs 136 tons.
Normally, we are all in favor of increasing the concurrency of our software – how many parallel threads it is doing at the same time. Typically, a reasonable rule of thumb is two times the number of cores plus 2. For a quad core chip that means 10 threads. If Intel Hyper-Threading is available on a quad core chip we push the work to 18 threads. When things are going well significant savings are realized in clock time: if it takes 18 minutes for one thread to finish a set amount of work it might take 2 minutes for 18 threads to do the work in parallel.
However, when it comes to having live students get kwan daos, less is better. There’s way too much noise and confusion when 16 students are fetching long weapons. We are experimenting with four groups of four students each. A little slower, but safer.