Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Hudiedao (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=9409)

Gavin Nugent 27th March 2009 03:34 AM

Hudiedao
 
1 Attachment(s)
Some variations of the Dao and Hudiedao.

Questions and comments most welcome.

KuKulzA28 27th March 2009 04:27 AM

What was the Hu-die-dao's main application? Was it a civilian self-defense weapon? Obviously good weapons were hard for commoners and peasants to afford, so only a full-time martial artist (bodyguard, soldier, thug) might be able to afford it, or willing to invest so much in weapons. I have heard things like they are southerner's swords, that they were used by monks, and that they are defensive blades.... :shrug:

Gavin Nugent 27th March 2009 06:06 AM

Some very good questions
 
2 Attachment(s)
Some very good questions and to fully answer these some other learned collectors may wish to come in.

The form and function of the weapon enables it to be used in unison as an offence and a defence. in very tight/ confined situations.

From the historical images I have on file it appears in a number of cases that these were a very serious combat weapon though not military in nature.
They have been referred to as river pirate swords by many and although unknown to me as factual, it is very plausible that they were used in this way.
I say this because of the images I have are from Taipei in the hands of militia, the photos date to the 1850/60s with providence and Taiwan being water locked, it presents itself as possible though not limited too being used aboard boats/ships.

I have seen images of the shorter style used in civilian hands in street performances and I surmise that the shorter pair presented, although far thicker than modern equivalents could well have also been related to a form of Wing Chun Kungfu as we know it today.
It is fair to say only based on the photos I have seen, this is mostly a Southern weapon as they appear in images from Taipei mentioned above. There is also an image of Chinaman who immigrated to America available on the net somewhere (I can't put my finger on the link), who is using a pair of these, the article from memory may or may not indicate from where he came but if it does, it may also help establish firmer origins of these weapons.

These pieces I have here are heavy and very well made weapons, all thick in the spinal area, some being 3/8th of an inch some being 1/2 and inch. Lengths range from 16&1/2 to 24 inches long. All with distal taper, some with clipped hatchet points, others with penetrating needle points, most with large thick bronze/brass hooked guards, one with an iron guard.
They all feel very powerful and manageable in the hand and they are all very well forged and fabricated, most present a very nice fire like lamination in the steel, the longer iron guarded ones almost look horse tooth lamination to some degree though I have never cleaned any of these as yet.

One thing that has come to light whilst playing with these weapons it the effectiveness in tight narrow alleys, hallways or rooms, they manoeuvre well and confidence is greatly improved in these situations so they most likely saw a lot of use in the back streets and alleys of greater China and the USA too I would think.

Below are images from a couple of other angles.


regards

Gav

Gavin Nugent 29th March 2009 06:29 AM

Another image
 
1 Attachment(s)
Another image off the net of a Street performer in America circa 1900.

fearn 29th March 2009 03:16 PM

Neat pieces, and an excellent collection, FB. I'd like to know the size on these pieces, if you have a chance.

I know that the books on wing chun (one of the systems that uses the hudiedao) that they were thought to be monk's weapons, perhaps kept in riding boots. Personally, I put that in the same slot as capoeira being developed by slaves in the Brazilian plantations, but whatever.

Of more interest, I recall seeing paired korean swords that were used by female guards of the emperor's harem. The idea was that they were somewhat smaller (for women) and good in enclosed spaces.

I'm not arguing against your alley swords, but I wonder if they started in alleys, started as indoor weapons, or were just recognized as a good design that works well in confined spaces, whatever those are.

Best,

F

KuKulzA28 29th March 2009 03:19 PM

That's fascinating...

I have very little idea what Southern Chinese used weaponry-wise...
now I know Hu-die-dao are among them :D Thanks

It seems S.Chinese and the Hoklo people aren't ones whose martial arts and weaponry are spoken of often... but it is these people that spread to Taiwan and SE Asia. They brought their weapons, martial arts, blacksmithing skills, commerce, and ships to distant places. Why is kun-tao well-known down in the archipelago? Why was Taiwan's robber-hero a martial artist (according to legend)? Why did the Spanish fear the sino-populations in the Philippines even though the illustrious Chinese were very productive?

Gavin Nugent 1st April 2009 01:15 AM

Thank you
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Neat pieces, and an excellent collection, FB. I'd like to know the size on these pieces, if you have a chance.


Thanks Fearn,

Comments like that are always appreciated.

In time I will post the data you are interested in, it is just that at the moment I am short on time for as many posting as I would like too within this forum.
Please feel free to contact me via email for interim correspondence about these pieces, I check email daily.

Gav

KuKulzA28 22nd July 2009 03:30 AM

bumping this thread in case anyone can add more info about the Hu-die-dao and also Guang-dong and Hoklo weaponry/fighting :)

In USA, many of the "Tongs" (Chinese gangs) were known to use axes and "tommy-guns", would Hu-die-dao have been amongst their weapons?

M ELEY 22nd July 2009 04:14 AM

Thanks for bumping this thread, as I missed it the first time around. I have always been keenly interested in the so-called "river pirate swords". I am assuming that the curved guard could be used like a bien, to parry or even break an opponent's sword? The back alleys and tight tea-houses of China would seem to be the obvious reasoning for these smaller bladed swords that often fit into one scabbard. They would have made ideal "pirate" swords in that they could also be used in the tight confines of a ship without stabbing a fellow shipmate in battle or becoming intangled in the rigging. This was the exact same reason smaller cutlass and hangers went to sea in the Western navies and merchantmen.
Now I am NOT saying that I necessarily accept this as fact, but in more than one book on piracy circulating around, one can see one of these hu-die-daos (didn't know the name of it. Thanks, Gav) that was supposedly carried by one of Captain Kidd's crew. Of course, there was plenty of trading going on to support this. Likewise, pirates came from all walks of life (think of the whaling crews made up of Maori, Africans, Haitians, Polynesians, etc). Very interesting swords, none the less...

Gavin Nugent 22nd July 2009 05:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
bumping this thread in case anyone can add more info about the Hu-die-dao and also Guang-dong and Hoklo weaponry/fighting :)

In USA, many of the "Tongs" (Chinese gangs) were known to use axes and "tommy-guns", would Hu-die-dao have been amongst their weapons?



Most certainly,

There have been some good articles found in Harpers Weekly in the early 1900s that document this and other weapons of choice.

You will find some of these dao above and others within my gallery collection.
I still have several pairs to add and I may get to it this weekend if time is available, it has been a rough couple of weeks without a home PC.

Dimensions that Fearn asked for are within the text.

http://www.swordsantiqueweapons.com/archive.html

Gav

katana 22nd July 2009 10:15 PM

Interesting....I've only known these as 'butterfly knives' ....used in several forms of martial arts weapons training. I've seen them used in Wing Chun training sessions and would be devastating in confined areas.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke06luhv_nU


Regards David

fearn 22nd July 2009 11:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
Most certainly,

There have been some good articles found in Harpers Weekly in the early 1900s that document this and other weapons of choice.

You will find some of these dao above and others within my gallery collection.
I still have several pairs to add and I may get to it this weekend if time is available, it has been a rough couple of weeks without a home PC.

Dimensions that Fearn asked for are within the text.

http://www.swordsantiqueweapons.com/archive.html

Gav


Appreciate the numbers, Gav. They're neat blades.

Best,

F

Jim McDougall 23rd July 2009 12:48 AM

The 'butterfly knives' seem to have always been one of the more esoteric and intriguing Chinese weapons, probably from increased presence in China from the Taipai period, increased immigration of Chinese mid 19th century, and the Boxer Rebellion, and acquisition of these as souveniers.

It does not seem that authentic examples are often available, though the popularity of reproduction forms through interest in martial arts are often seen.

I believe these were primarily civilian weapons, used by martial artists and most definitely effective in the crowded city streets and dark alleys of southern China. Thier association with the 'river pirates' seems well placed as the focus of these well organized clans were profoundly present on the coastal areas of the south preying on junks as well as into the Yangtze River. It seems that they were quite present on Taiwan as well, as noted.
The hooked guard on these seems to derives from the sai, or trident like weapon, also a key martial arts weapon.
There are suggestions of military association due to the use of knuckleguard, and westernization of military in latter 19th century, but the guard is thought to have been intended more as a 'knuckleduster' and blades are often only sharpenened halfway.

I am not sure there was any significant presence of these as weapons used by the 'Tongs' in America. While these began as protective societies to protect against oppression of immigrant Chinese in rather unstable environments of American cities in those times, they later took on thier own enterprises, not always especially legal. These groups that had been known as Tongs (= hall, as in organized group) became a type of gangs, that by the early 20th century, many were known by the type of guns they carried.
The term 'hatchet man' came from the hit men who eliminated troublesome enemy figures. Weapons were of course not legally obtainable for these Chinese, and common utilitarian items such as axes were more likely used along with crudely fashioned traditional forms of knife or short swords.

It seems that in many forms of martial arts, the use of dual weapons is quite preferred, as it enables exaggerated and confounding movements that throw off the opponent. Knowing how fast these guys move, its hard enought to watch the moves of one arms let alone two! In India, the use of patas and katars by the Mahrattas uses windmill like slashing of two weapons is used.
The Boxers were well known for thier terrifying demonstrations used to demoralize the westerners there, using huge daos and certainly these paired knives.

Aboard the decks of a cramped ship, these manueverable weapons would be a deadly deterrent in a melee.

Absolutely fascinating pieces of Chinese history!!!

All best regards,
Jim

KuKulzA28 23rd July 2009 02:27 AM

Great input Jim! I would agree that their popularity is great, but I feel as if that's more to do with Wung Chun's popularity after Bruce Lee came on the scene, rather than they being popular in general. (Also, the quality of a lot of the unbalanced and stainless steel dao is questionable, as is the training of many Kung Fu schools, so I wouldn't be concerned about being jumped by a hu-die-dao wielding Wing Chun master). Dual weaponry has always been harder to manage than single, and as such would be the minority. No doubt other Chinese pirates, highwaymen, and fighters would use long-knives/shortswords but I doubt very many used the paired Hu-die-dao, as it is also a tradition that only the most trusted amongst the Southern Chinese martial arts were taught it. Then again, being skilled in fighting was a lot more prevalent then than now, and every village's leading Shifu/Sifu was likely to have quite a following, even if many of them are just local farmers looking to improve themselves and the village militia when they weren't out planting or harvesting. Still though, martial arts were generally not highly regarded, being the tool of the trade for bodyguards (protectors of the rich), thugs (harassers of the poor), and soldiers (rape & pillage & destruction). :shrug:

I think the same can be said about other less "popular" weapons. The da-dao may have existed in many local variants as a sort of machete, But the Da-dao we know today as the weapon wasn't very common in official imperial armies. Similar weapons we used bu these were often the two-handed sabers of the Palace Guard or the Miao Dao of the Iron troops and northern arquebusiers.... not exactly the da-dao we know of, though certainly a DA dao (BIG blade). Others like the hook swords and wind and fire wheels would have been rarer still. On top of all this, consider that the Emperor rarely wanted his subjects armed... often very few Chinese had a weapon - the closest thing they had was their rice-knife or a walking stick. The fact that mercenary/bodyguard companies were very prosperous in the Ching dynasty reveals that crime was rampant and the countryside dangerous. Not only did the bodyguards have to be good hand-to-hand combatants, they had to be skilled in geography, language, and be able to smoothly deal with bandits when the bandit-groups were too large. They also had "secret" weapons on them aside from their spear or sword, often a small cudgel, dagger, revolver, or 1911;) hey martial artists aren't stupid, and they get every edge they can get... except those who use chi-blasts and can catch bullets...:D

I sense I am beginning to go off-topic...

I wonder what exactly gave South China Sea pirates such a terrible reputation. Was it their relatively modernized navies of war junks? Their terrorizing of trade? Their superior knowledge of the waters? Or was it their actual fighting prowess? Was it how many guns and cannons they had bristling on their ships, or the prowess of their crews - who might be armed with anything from dao to butterfly swords to spears to arquebus...
Would these pirates be well-trained or just a motley crew of everything from an armed person, to a great fighter? Koxinga's forces were well-trained, but he was also more than just a local pirate-king...

Jim McDougall 23rd July 2009 03:28 AM

Thank you Kukulz, and for the wonderful response. Its great to have the insight you provide on this, as my information is based only on overview and various notes, so your perspective is outstanding.

I very much agree that the Emperor would not particularly like civilians having arms, as from what I understand the secret societies that sought to return to Ming or Han Chinese rule from the much despised Manchu power would be very much a threat. I have seen the pairs of these hu die shuang dao of abount 1850's to 60's stated of a 'security company' or to that effect.

I have often wondered about the so called 'scholars jian' and whether these individuals were permitted to have protection weapons in some sort of scholastic exception in cities.It would seem that in rural areas, there would be more latitude for local smiths to create weaponry such as the common village jians and other types of dao etc.

I have always had great admiration for martial arts in virtually all of the many disciplines, mostly for the brilliant control of the amazingly powerful skills that are tenaciously learned, and which also far exceed the more obvious physical applications.

I would classify the reputation of the 'River Pirates' as formidable rather than 'terrible'. From what I understand they often operated much as privateers in the sense of protecting from foreign intrusion, although it would be difficult to accurately classify the incredibly large spectrum of these organized clans in one category or another. As always, the term becomes essentially generically applied.

Its great to discuss more on these Chinese weapons as they are incredibly interesting, and not often covered in threads here. I have had various opportunities to collect notes and a few references, but it is good to be able to add to them with more accurate observations.

Thank you again!!!

All the best,
Jim

KuKulzA28 23rd July 2009 04:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Thank you Kukulz, and for the wonderful response. Its great to have the insight you provide on this, as my information is based only on overview and various notes, so your perspective is outstanding.

No. Thank you! I learn a lot from all this. My words come from what I have read here, in books, and heard from Chinese martial arts historians and teachers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I have often wondered about the so called 'scholars jian' and whether these individuals were permitted to have protection weapons in some sort of scholastic exception in cities.It would seem that in rural areas, there would be more latitude for local smiths to create weaponry such as the common village jians and other types of dao etc.

Well, just because big emperor says no doesn't always mean no! There's always exceptions. Military families obviously are trained in and use weaponry. As I said before, thugs, bodyguards, and soldiers all had to have weapons. Village militia may have been supplied by the local armory or blacksmith, but some families had a family sword/spear, treasured and passed down.
The scholar sword can be compared to the fencing and dueling of European aristocrats... While many scholars and nobles of China were not fighters, some were accomplished warriors (have the wealth and time to devote) and obviously the sword was a sign of status as well as a weapon. The jian was considered the scholar's sword because it took more finesse and learning to become proficient. The saying is something like "10 days for fists, 100 days for dao, a lifetime for jian" - I probably got it wrong, but you get the idea. Empty hand techniques were much less emphasized compared to weaponry (though the body can be used in many ways, the versatility of which cannot be paralleled by weapons as we know it).

Some rich folks even devoted their lives to the martial arts. Fan Xu Dong, born in 1841, was pretty wealthy throughout his life and taught openly in Yantai, Shandong. Apparently, legend says he defeated a Russian Boxer at one point. Some say he defeated a roaming Samurai who was challenging and killing local martial artists. I guess he was quite the hero for martial artists of the time. Shandong was known for it's development of martial artists. The people were stereotypically tall and rude.

I know some rich Chinese today who teach martial arts. A guy in my local Chinatown teaches Hung Gar for very low cost. Granted he owns 10 restaurants or so, so he can afford to spend free time teaching. Whether or not the fighting application is present is debatable, I cannot attest to that since I have never been to his school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I would classify the reputation of the 'River Pirates' as formidable rather than 'terrible'. From what I understand they often operated much as privateers in the sense of protecting from foreign intrusion, although it would be difficult to accurately classify the incredibly large spectrum of these organized clans in one category or another. As always, the term becomes essentially generically applied.

I think I might need to do more reading on River Pirates. Would that be confined solely to mainland China? What of the Japanese/Chinese Wokou? What about Chinese pirates in the South China sea, terrorizing land from northern China down to Taiwan and the Philippines? The Philippines you say? Damn straight, and I got CITATION!
[pirate king Lin Tao/Limahong ] attacked Manila with sixty-two armed junks and some four-thousand warriors on November 29, 1574”
Wiley, Mark V. Filipino Martial Culture. Singapore: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing, 1996.
The Spanish were also concerned with Koxinga who was said to be contemplating the invasion of the Philippines after one of the Spanish sino-massacres. Perhaps if he did with his large fleet and armies, history would've turned out differently. The Philippines are a lot further from the Qing than Taiwan is. But that would make him further from Xiamen, his old base, and geographically, strategically, and logistically further from his goal of re-instating the Ming, which at one point became a lost cause.
The Chinese pirate-kings were a lot more progressive in their thinking. Trade. Guns. Colonies. Evolving warfare. Navy. Very fascinating how the southern Chinese folks conducted themselves, a very different flavor from the northerners.

But that gets to the heart of my question... what were this pirates like? What made them so fierce? They didn't have the same fanatical attitude and cultural incentives that the Moros had that made them so feared. They didn't simply raid and return home (or settle) like the Vikings did. Yet they were very powerful and some of them attempted to carve out kingdoms of their own. What made them like that? What were their main sources of man-power? What was their usual level of martial skill? Their weaponry? How common were Hu-die-dao? I would say it'd be a great weapon about sampans and junks, but were they common? Somehow I don't think so, but maybe they were...

Nathaniel 23rd July 2009 04:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Interesting....I've only known these as 'butterfly knives' ....used in several forms of martial arts weapons training. I've seen them used in Wing Chun training sessions and would be devastating in confined areas.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke06luhv_nU


Regards David



David, FYI another name in Chinese for these is:

Baat Cham Dao / Bat Chum Dao / Baat Jam Dao / Bart Cham Dao / Baat Jaam Dou = Eight-cutting knife


( Dao = knife and Jian = sword)

....I didn't see this term mentioned so I thought I would add it to the list :)

Jim McDougall 23rd July 2009 11:48 AM

Outstanding notes Kukulz, and thank you for the cited references, beautifully done. I like the observations on the scholars jian, which are well placed in perspective, and really help in understanding more of thier context. It is interesting when considered alongside the studies of fencing and advanced education of nobility and gentry in Europe etc. in more recent times.

Very good points and queries on the 'river pirates' and you are quite right about thier contact as far as the Philippines. I am not sure if the same perspective might be applied to the Chinese pirates as the more familiar European pirates of the 'Golden Age' of late 17th into early 18th century as far as motivation or skills in weaponry. I think there were of course varying degrees of application as previously noted, as piracy is a very broad topic which has been well known in most cultures from early times. Whether Vikings, Cossacks, Barbary Pirates, Privateers, Ladrones or various Asian 'river pirates', all had broadly interpreted lifestyles and probably a wide spectrum of participants.

I certainly dont believe that most pirates in the sense most familiar, were especially well trained in fighting or use of weapons. Most accounts of pirates I have known seem to suggest that pirates in most cases used all manner of ploys and intimidation in subduing thier prey, and would avoid targets that were excessively formidable. Naturally, there were groups or individuals who did become understandably seasoned and ruthless if they survived long enough to ply the 'trade' for a time.

With this being the case, I would imagine that such weapons as the hu die shuang dao were probably seen occasionally among river pirates, much as all manner of weaponry would have been. While piracy is often romanticized and associated with heroic or patriotic tales, in truth it is largely a social phenomenon which obviously entreated a wide assortment of miscreants and misfits from all walks of life. Certainly the criminal element prevailed, as well as those who had somehow come from failed positions even from upper classes.
With these wide degrees of pedigree, I would say equally wide degree of skills, education, character and ideals, or lack of, would have existed together, but the ultimate goal would have been largely the same...survival.

Nathaniel, thank you for adding the additional terms. While trying to learn more on these topics, it really helps to build a sort of glossary, as the terms often get confusing.

All very best regards,
Jim

KuKulzA28 23rd July 2009 12:26 PM

I see. Perhaps the pirate-kings were no different from the bandit-kings on land (in essence), both drew the desperate, whether good fighters or not, and both needed open lawless territory to maneuver in. Thus the frontiers of the Empire and the Sea were great places. However, I would think that bandits rarely got away with amassing as large numbers as the Chinese pirates did...
It would probably be impossible to know, but did some pirate kings have a state-style rule over their crew and subjects? Or was it just everyone for themselves, and the king was just the most ruthless and influential of them all, feared enough to be obeyed? Or was it a system of patron/client, the pirates would obey the pirate-king's orders so long as the king provided for them well-enough and demonstrated peerless tactics/courage/benevolence/legitimacy/ruthlessness etc. - a buccaneer's version of the mandate of heaven I suppose...?

Jim McDougall 23rd July 2009 03:38 PM

It seems most of what we know of these pirate entities comes from romanticized and sensationalized literature or narratives, and I honestly cannot claim to having read much of this. However, what I have presumed is based on notes, research and discussions over the years, and simply considering the kinds of embellishments that typically become emplaced in tales of these figures.
I think it would take focused and in depth research on specific regions and pirate groups to really understand what sort of hierarchy or organization they might have used, there always had to be a command figure, and that person would need to maintain respect most of all. Whether accomplished through fear, benevolence or any means, leadership was essential. I have always been surprised at the very sensibly represented codes of the European pirates, which were remarkably considered actual democracies of a form.
It seems quite a paradox to have such standards applied to basically an outlaw enterprise, but gives an example of how many of these groups probably organized.

Getting back to the orginal topic, the 'butterfly knives', much as the diverse strata of members of the pirate groups, were likely present in incidental cases.

All best regards,
Jim

fearn 23rd July 2009 04:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
Then again, being skilled in fighting was a lot more prevalent then than now, and every village's leading Shifu/Sifu was likely to have quite a following, even if many of them are just local farmers looking to improve themselves and the village militia when they weren't out planting or harvesting. Still though, martial arts were generally not highly regarded, being the tool of the trade for bodyguards (protectors of the rich), thugs (harassers of the poor), and soldiers (rape & pillage & destruction). :shrug:
(SNIP)
I think the same can be said about other less "popular" weapons. The da-dao may have existed in many local variants as a sort of machete, But the Da-dao we know today as the weapon wasn't very common in official imperial armies. Similar weapons we used bu these were often the two-handed sabers of the Palace Guard or the Miao Dao of the Iron troops and northern arquebusiers.... not exactly the da-dao we know of, though certainly a DA dao (BIG blade). Others like the hook swords and wind and fire wheels would have been rarer still. On top of all this, consider that the Emperor rarely wanted his subjects armed... often very few Chinese had a weapon - the closest thing they had was their rice-knife or a walking stick. The fact that mercenary/bodyguard companies were very prosperous in the Ching dynasty reveals that crime was rampant and the countryside dangerous. Not only did the bodyguards have to be good hand-to-hand combatants, they had to be skilled in geography, language, and be able to smoothly deal with bandits when the bandit-groups were too large.


Actually, the farmer's martial arts were (and probably are) quite diverse in China, and most of them aren't practiced outside the country. As someone who practiced one pointed out, there's not a lot of difference between living in a temple and learning a martial art, and living in an isolated farming village and learning a martial art. Both are spartan conditions with lots of manual labor, and the relative lack of distractions (as would be found in a big city) means that the sifu can take up large blocks of time for training his better students, there being little else to do. He could also control their diet and other aspects of their lives to favor martial development.

Don't forget that Chen-style tai chi was a village martial art. The Chen village made its money growing and shipping medicinal herbs, and even before they developed tai chi, they had their own martial art for protecting their shipments from bandits.

As for weapons, we've all seen those village swords that Josh has. Beyond that, the village arts often use farm equipment (hoes, rakes, etc), along with staffs of varying lengths, and more conventional spears, jian, and dao.

Anyway, this is getting off topic, but it's worth remembering that in the last ~500 years before the Cultural Revolution, the state didn't do a lot for rural security. The peasants weren't all defenseless during that time, although the best martial artists were generally found in the big cities, where they could make more money.

Best,

F

Rick 23rd July 2009 05:17 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Well, just for a little sensationalism . :D

Jim McDougall 24th July 2009 01:28 AM

Outstanding, that is...sensational!! illustrations Rick :) Thank you!

Great information Fearn, and you are spot on concerning martial artists and security. I found some great information that might give us more insight into the use of these butterfly knives.

In "Chinese Martial Arts Training" , Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo, 2005, pp.137-141, there is interesting discussion on these private security companies from about 1800-1900, who employed martial artists.

Apparantly c.1800, one of the early and most prominant firms was named 'Hau You Biao Ju' (meeting friends guard service) and gained notoriety as it was owned by Li Lian Ying who was interestingly head eunuch of Empress Dowager.
As this service developed, it seems every province had one or more private security companies for personal, residence or convoy protection. It is noted that the 'hu yuan' was a bodyguard for residential service, while the 'zou biao' guarded convoys or goods.
Apparantly in the case of convoys etc. the triangular guidon or pennant of the security company was displayed to warn predators off, or at least ostensibly so.
It seems that much as often was the case of with Masonry, the bonds of brotherhood transcend business or political allegiances, and martial artists of like groups in many cases knew each other and trained together. In many instances the guards would contact potential adversaries in advance to establish guanxi, or diplomatic relations. It would seem these arrangements may have taken interesting turns at times, and perhaps there were instances of intrigue?

In any case, one of the martial arts weapons often used by these martial artists were these types of butterfly knives. In cases where ‘open’ weapons were used (spears, halberds, sabers) the triangular banners were displayed. On more covert matters, ‘secret’ weapons such as batons, chain whips and these types of knives were used, with no banner shown.

According to Thom Richardson in “China and Central Asia” ( paper in “Swords and Hilt Weapons”, ed. M.Coe, 1989, p.182), these type of paired weapons either swords or knives, seem to have come into use at the end of the 17th century. It is noted that most of the collected examples of these were made around the first half on the 19th century.
As noted in earlier post, I have seen examples of these with security firm markings from about 1860’s. These butterfly or paired weapons, along with swords with short, heavy blades were favored in the southern regions in crowded city streets.

It is known that interaction between martial artists and river pirates were relatively commonplace, and pirates were inclined to ‘confiscate’ weapons, along with anything they thought worthwhile, so this would account for instances of their use among them.

Best regards,
Jim

Nathaniel 24th July 2009 02:45 AM

Here is an interesting link on BJD (Baat Jam Dao) I think you will enjoy.........

http://wcats.com/BJD/AboutWCBJD.php

M ELEY 24th July 2009 04:11 AM

I am away from my books, but if I had to postulate on why the Chinese pirates were seen as such villians, I would point to several established points.
#1. These pirates preyed upon all shipping, even among those of thier own people. As such, they were seen as a direct challege to the government itself. #2. When the piracy of Europeans was in its heyday, there were an estimated 2000 scalawags in the Carribean. When the pirates were especially active in the South China Sea (as they still are today!) in the early 19th century, they had huge numbers pirates and junks to swarm down on their targets. Actually, from most of my readings, they don't seem as particularly more awful to their victems than any other pirate at the time. If they were unfortunate enough to be captured, it would cost them their heads (perhaps not as gruesome as a dangling hanging like the Western pirates). If I might conjecture yet one more possibility of why they created such derision-
When the "pirate king" was eventually killed in battle, his WIFE took over the pirate hordes and ruled with an iron fist. In China at the time, women were seen as quiet, subserviant types, not the leaders of whole navies! This must have shook the very foundation of the establishment at the time. Yes, I know the Empress Dowager would soon follow on the heels of this powerful woman, but she was far more subtle in her movements, hiding behind a child king.

Jim McDougall 24th July 2009 08:16 PM

Speaking of scalawags!!!! :) I knew this topic would draw ye in , Cap'n Mark!
and that ye would be lurking in these waters,

Excellent and well put points, as to be expected with your knowledge of these subjects, and I'm always glad to see you come in.
As well noted, I also dont think there were set rules or guidelines (no matter what the Pirates of the Caribbean take is) for pirates as far as treatment of prisoners or any of these matters, and more than any precise description of thier activities, habits, appearances, use of weapons or any other form of consistancy.



While we are trying to establish whether these hu dei shuang dao butterfly knives were known among river pirates, it would seem best to consider that they probably were in the same incidental degree that most weapons forms would have been known. River pirates, from what I understand, engaged in 'protection' arrangements, which of course would not have been that far removed from security, such as body guards etc. as previously discussed. It would not be hard to imagine that martial artists would enter into many avenues of plying thier trade.

Naturally, as colonial presence became more prevalent in these Chinese regions, the interpretations of travellers, embellished narratives and romanticized fiction made note of the use of such frightening weapons in martial arts demonstrations. The huge bladed oxtail type daos, and large chopper type weapons were all grouped collectively in these interpretations as 'execution swords', probably from a number of cases where they were seen used in this manner. Thus does not mean that every oxtail dao was an executioners sword, nor the chopper type bladed weapons.

Not at all surprising about the 'pirate king' being succeeded by his wife!!
who was probably running the whole show anyway :) Trust me, I have exwives who would terrify the the most ruthless pirates, and easily pound them into submission:)

All best regards,
Jim

M ELEY 25th July 2009 12:25 AM

LOL, Jim! :D :D :D
Blood-thirsty pirates and ex-wives...a simile if I ever saw one- :eek:

KuKulzA28 26th July 2009 11:37 PM

I'm away for 4 days and look at all this! Nice stuff, cool pictures!
Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Actually, the farmer's martial arts were (and probably are) quite diverse in China, and most of them aren't practiced outside the country. As someone who practiced one pointed out, there's not a lot of difference between living in a temple and learning a martial art, and living in an isolated farming village and learning a martial art. Both are spartan conditions with lots of manual labor, and the relative lack of distractions (as would be found in a big city) means that the sifu can take up large blocks of time for training his better students, there being little else to do. He could also control their diet and other aspects of their lives to favor martial development.

Don't forget that Chen-style tai chi was a village martial art. The Chen village made its money growing and shipping medicinal herbs, and even before they developed tai chi, they had their own martial art for protecting their shipments from bandits.

As for weapons, we've all seen those village swords that Josh has. Beyond that, the village arts often use farm equipment (hoes, rakes, etc), along with staffs of varying lengths, and more conventional spears, jian, and dao.

Anyway, this is getting off topic, but it's worth remembering that in the last ~500 years before the Cultural Revolution, the state didn't do a lot for rural security. The peasants weren't all defenseless during that time, although the best martial artists were generally found in the big cities, where they could make more money.

Best,

F


I agree. I am not saying that that villagers did not have martial arts nor that weren't diverse. I was saying that martial arts was not highly regarded in Chinese values. Obviously the values aren't concrete and many seem hypocritical or over idealistic compared to the more mundane and ubiquitous Chinese values of loving money and face, and fearing death. Also the values are often coming from the mouths of high society, those who can afford to not be tough, who can afford to not serve in the village militia, who can afford to debate about Confucian and Tao values while living in relative luxury. To have to exert yourself physically was, in some ways, considered lower-class. These are just generalizations, there were wealthy martial artists.

Chen Tai Ji was a "village martial art", and Tai Ji (Supreme Ultimate Boxing) was a very very effective one. You've got to have something if you're going name your art something that cocky! :D The stand-up grappling and close-quarters fighting exhibited in Tai Ji is amazing. Even more amazing is how diluted and commercialized Tai Ji has become, turning it into a peaceful, slow-meditation style of exercise for those in all walks of life - maybe helpful for many folks, but definitely not a supreme and ultimate form of fighting. The Yang family, at least in certain generation was known for really stream-lining and improving the martial arts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In "Chinese Martial Arts Training" , Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo, 2005, pp.137-141, there is interesting discussion on these private security companies from about 1800-1900, who employed martial artists.

Apparantly c.1800, one of the early and most prominant firms was named 'Hau You Biao Ju' (meeting friends guard service) and gained notoriety as it was owned by Li Lian Ying who was interestingly head eunuch of Empress Dowager.
As this service developed, it seems every province had one or more private security companies for personal, residence or convoy protection. It is noted that the 'hu yuan' was a bodyguard for residential service, while the 'zou biao' guarded convoys or goods.
Apparantly in the case of convoys etc. the triangular guidon or pennant of the security company was displayed to warn predators off, or at least ostensibly so.
It seems that much as often was the case of with Masonry, the bonds of brotherhood transcend business or political allegiances, and martial artists of like groups in many cases knew each other and trained together. In many instances the guards would contact potential adversaries in advance to establish guanxi, or diplomatic relations. It would seem these arrangements may have taken interesting turns at times, and perhaps there were instances of intrigue?

In any case, one of the martial arts weapons often used by these martial artists were these types of butterfly knives. In cases where ‘open’ weapons were used (spears, halberds, sabers) the triangular banners were displayed. On more covert matters, ‘secret’ weapons such as batons, chain whips and these types of knives were used, with no banner shown.

According to Thom Richardson in “China and Central Asia” ( paper in “Swords and Hilt Weapons”, ed. M.Coe, 1989, p.182), these type of paired weapons either swords or knives, seem to have come into use at the end of the 17th century. It is noted that most of the collected examples of these were made around the first half on the 19th century.
As noted in earlier post, I have seen examples of these with security firm markings from about 1860’s. These butterfly or paired weapons, along with swords with short, heavy blades were favored in the southern regions in crowded city streets.

I have that "Chinese Training Manual" book, a very good read and eye-opening for sure.:) I'm glad you expanded on my comment on Security Companies and your own discovery of the Security Co. mark on the blade. Very nice.
It really makes me wonder... how come so many different martial arts styles have similar weapon forms? And the answer seems to have a couple of answers. Weapons are meant to work a certain way, thus techniques cannot differ by much. But, one can always train it, record techniques (forms), and use it better... so why the striking similarity (often same form and name)? Why is the 5th Son or 5th Brother staff so popular? Not only as a weapon, but why is the same form found in many styles? Perhaps it is because of the guan-shi between martial arts societies that helped them share techniques and weaponry. But then you ask, wasn't fighting between schools and styles common? Why would they share? Well it would be hard to learn techniques while they are being used on you. It would also be hard to learn a form from a hostile person since people don't fight choreographed, they fight with the techniques displayed in the forms. Thus it seems unlikely that the forms were learned on the battlefield or deathmatch but from sharing or "stealing" of forms and techniques.

So I thank you for bringin' it up Jim, I hadn't thought of it myself...

Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
I am away from my books, but if I had to postulate on why the Chinese pirates were seen as such villians, I would point to several established points.
#1. These pirates preyed upon all shipping, even among those of thier own people. As such, they were seen as a direct challege to the government itself. #2. When the piracy of Europeans was in its heyday, there were an estimated 2000 scalawags in the Carribean. When the pirates were especially active in the South China Sea (as they still are today!) in the early 19th century, they had huge numbers pirates and junks to swarm down on their targets. Actually, from most of my readings, they don't seem as particularly more awful to their victems than any other pirate at the time. If they were unfortunate enough to be captured, it would cost them their heads (perhaps not as gruesome as a dangling hanging like the Western pirates). If I might conjecture yet one more possibility of why they created such derision-
When the "pirate king" was eventually killed in battle, his WIFE took over the pirate hordes and ruled with an iron fist. In China at the time, women were seen as quiet, subserviant types, not the leaders of whole navies! This must have shook the very foundation of the establishment at the time. Yes, I know the Empress Dowager would soon follow on the heels of this powerful woman, but she was far more subtle in her movements, hiding behind a child king.
Very fascinating. I would agree that Chinese pirates tended to swarm their targets and not fight it out ship vs. ship, but then again, one would be stupid to ignore the strategic advantage conferred by superior numbers.

Would it be safe to assume that the pirate-life appealed to many Chinese as an escape from traditional life? As a pirate, one did not have to till the land. As a pirate, one's place was dictated by personal ability and guile, not necessarily class. As a pirate, a martial artist could potentially profit a lot more than his thug, soldier, and bodyguard brethren. As a pirate, you had the heroes of the Marsh to look up to (and other wuxia characters), swashbuckling anti-government freedom fighters...

Still, it is amazing the resources and power that the pirate-rulers commanded. While we need to be careful not to over-estimate them, they were powerful in their own waters for sure.

M ELEY 27th July 2009 12:02 AM

Pirate life "appeal"
 
As always, I'm away from my books at work and can't be exact with the following statement, but as I remember, many Chinese pirates were fascinating in that they were "seasonal". That is to say, during the good fishing season, many (but not all) of these pirates lead perfectly ordinary and typical lives. It was during the off-season that these men (and women) turned to a life of crime, putting up their nets and donning their hudiedao.
For that matter, this isn't unheard of in other pirate traditions. The timber workers of the Compache region of Central America would cut trees during the season and in the off-season (sorry, can't recall if this is the monsoon season, winter season, or ??), they would go a-pirating in the Spanish Main. This tradition was very well-founded. On a more sinister note, the thugis of India lead normal lives, but snuck off during the night to assassinate and muder for money. Most didn't even let their families know of their secret lives, but I digress.

Jim McDougall 27th July 2009 05:29 AM

Thanks very much for the detailed and very kind response Kukulz. Its always great when we get these kinds of well thought out discussions going and really get into understanding the often multifaceted dynamics of these subcultures and the fascinating disciplines of martial arts.

I agree with Mark in noting that many of these piratical in style groups definitely did often lead double lives, I think the same has applied to Cossacks, Vikings and probably very many other historically colorful groups.
A digression certainly worthy of note, and it would seem that martial artists employed as security guards or bodyguards in off times certainly might have engaged in other 'activities'. Thier possession of weapons not otherwise permitted to the average citizen because of thier profession would be easily explained.

It would seem that varying schools and disciplines of martial arts might have different characteristic secrets, and certainly many of these martial artists trained in the same style, which probably was another good reason for guan shi. It seems that in the American Wild West, gunfighters who were well established and essentially equally paired, tended to basically avoid each other, in particular any conflict. I would consider this form of 'detente' a kind of frontier guan shi, and perhaps preliminary contact was to prevent such situations.

All best regards,
Jim


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