- 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 email@example.com
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.
ax, bagua saber, butterfly wing, flail, Gold coin spade, halberd, horse blocking knife, kwan dao, long pole, long sword, Miao Dao saber, monk's spade, nine point rake, pu dao, spear, sun moon spear, trident, wolf tooth mace
While the painting of the white box is going on I have been thinking about what to use as a liner. Among the candidates are blankets, towels, sheets, cardboard and bubble-wrap. The goals are to minimize dings and dents in the weapons, not add too much more weight, and be quick and cheap to replace.
I may build two similar-sized experimental boxes – one out of PVC and one out of wire mesh. I have not found a cart big enough – 12″ or more higher, 24″ wide and 48″ long.
Next up at some point would be one or two boxes for long weapons – probably one box for weapons 48 to 72 inches long and one box for weapons longer than 72 inches. I have 20 of the former: 11 are staffs plus a bagua big saber, a Miao Dao saber, a flail, a long sword, a spear, a gold coin spade, and three hybrid weapons (butterfly wing, sun moon spear, horse blocking knife). I have 17 of the latter: eight are kwan daos; a nine-point rake, trident, a halberd, a long-handled ax, a pu dao, a wolf tooth mace, a gold coin snake spade, a monk’s spade, and a lau gar long pole.
In reply to a question of mine about transporting martial arts weapons Sifu David Chang kindly pointed out that
- Anyone who lacks a squire still hauls weapons around – whether to class or to a tournament – in a bag hefted under the arm or sometimes slung on a shoulder.
- I had mentioned I was carrying several short (26″) sticks, double sabers with a scabbard, double swords with a scabbard and a two piece kwan dao. With one hand. They were in a weapons bag with a poor handle and balance problems. The other hand was busy with a suit bag (24″ wide x 42″ high with a loooong zipper) containing silks and shoes and a few oddments. I would have gladly engaged anyone with a golf cart in mortal combat – especially after it turned out the BART escalators were out of service at Embarcadero. The idea of hauling weapons on a folding golf cart with wheels has a lot to be said for it. Especially if the weapons look like golf clubs.
- A student of his was flying to a tournament and decided to bring his weapons. The ticket agent asked what was in the bag. The student replied, “Weapons”. Confiscation and confusion ensued. A better reply is “Stage props“.
- I am still not sure how Mark Salzman in Iron and Silk got the long sword given to him by Pan Qingfu out of China
A survey of the defensive and counteroffensive possibilities for various weapons from the Single Whip pose. To be accurate, the Chen Family style batons set does NOT have a movement exactly like Single Whip – instead of being horizontal the left baton is vertical. On the other hand, so as to speak, a movement resembling Single Whip with the Kwan Dao in the right hand alone is done six times in the Kwan Dao set. We were looking for the ability to (1) defend against two enemy attacks – one downward from your left against your head and left shoulder and one inward from your right against the knee and (2) the ability to counterattack primarily with the weapon in your right hand.
Summary coming in the next blog entry
Photos and comments starting at http://www.silverwolfwushu.com/SingleWhip01.html
Fr normal daily classes a student would want to select a canonical performance by a grandmaster. Were a master, perhaps from another martial art, coming to teach a special seminar practicing using that material wuld be indicated.
The picture is from whatever video is set as the student’s default broadcast. In this case, a very old but exemplary movie of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang doing the kwan dao set. The three listboxes across the bottom allow on to select a different art, style and broadcast video. The default can be changed by clicking the Update philleme. Clicking the Play philleme would just play this video only. Clicking the Camera philleme allows one to choose which camera is view. The preference would be a camera filming the student.
Another reply from Russell Suthern:
I made the 1st batch as an R & D experiment to test different approaches. Then we had a shield making contest. Everyone made a shield and prizes were awarded for design, functionality etc.
You certainly do need a very precise shape of shield with a quite shallow curvature for rolls, or you do get tangled up in it.
I have never shot an arrow at a rattan shield, but have fired test arrows at a few of our shields. We discovered that straight-on hits were more likely to penetrate, whereas if the shield was angled, they tended to bounce off. Occasionally however, an arrow would pierce what we considered to be a really strong shield quite deeply, so there is an element of chance. I’d never risk firing an arrow at a student holding a shield, unless it was the blunt, padded style arrows they use in battle reconstructions. (We are looking into buying a bunch of these to test.)
I believe the usual style of archery combat was to fire the first volley upwards (clout archery style) so the enemy would be forced to lift their shields up, then fire a volley straight forwards as they would be exposed.
As for long weapons against shields, usually they would have a hook on the blade (you can still see this on Kwandaos, Pu daos, bill hooks and halberds.) This hook would be used to catch the shield and pull it down, so your comrades could then get to the enemy with their own spear or whatever.
We are not too precious about our shields, they were made to be used, after all. For most of my combat gear/weapons I have one good example for display, which never gets used, only admired, then another old beat up (but still much loved!) example, which gets to do all the hard work!