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Old 7th October 2008, 12:09 AM   #1
Queequeg
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Default Chinese Smoking Pipe/Cudgel

I was just watching a Shaw Brothers film the other day in which an old kung fu master uses a rather oversized (three foot?) smoking pipe as a weapon. I think this type of weapon is called a "Tie Yan Dou".

The name "Tie Yan Dou" translates into "iron smoking pipe", whereas the one in the pics and video below is made of wood and brass, with perhaps an ivory mouthpiece. Still, it's big- about a yard long and maybe 1 1/4" thick. And if it's made of some heavy ironwood, it could certainly pack a wallop.

I'm fascinated by innocuous-looking weapons: canes, sashes/sarongs, etc, and a pipe like this.. well, isn't exactly inconspicuous, but one doesn't usually think it's a weapon at first glance.

Has anyone run into examples of these pipes before? Google image searches seem rather limited.

Screenshots

Smoking:


In the hand (better shot):


Strike/block:


Hooking:


Video:
04:39 and 05:17 are the first appearances of this pipe, if you want to fast forward:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss1fXNgVgtg

Post 'em if you got 'em.
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Old 7th October 2008, 03:43 AM   #2
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I have seen this sort of pipe for sale in "antique" shops in Asia. Not likely to be really old I don't think, although when asked the general reply is something along the lines of "Oh yes velly old, velly rare! Give you good price!" The style though, is certainly like the originals portrayed in old photos of Chinese gentlemen.
In a similar vein, I have 2 Opium pipes from the north of Thailand which both have a concealed dagger, which I suggest was not just there for show!
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Old 7th October 2008, 02:52 PM   #3
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In Samurai culture the Kiseru saw dual use as a pipe and weapon; Why not the Chinese also ?
Daggers may also be found hidden in Japanese examples but they are not common .
A Google image search using kiseru will show a lot of Japanese examples .


Paging Rich ..................
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Last edited by Rick : 7th October 2008 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 7th October 2008, 04:44 PM   #4
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What a brilliant thread! I love these obscure concealed weapons.
Excellent work gentlemen! I shall watch this one with interest.

Regards
Gene
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Old 7th October 2008, 06:52 PM   #5
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Cool

The following should not be considered fact :

From what I understand during the time (Edo, Meiji ??) when the Samurai were forbidden to carry swords the kiseru was a substitute weapon, and we're not talking concealed blades here .
Some were quite long, others were normal sized : mine would have filled the fist quite nicely .

Now I know you're thinking to yourself:"Okay, but can it cut a machine gun barrel ?? "

I wonder if there are 'forms' for pipe fighting ...?

Last edited by Rick : 7th October 2008 at 07:04 PM. Reason: For clarity
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Old 7th October 2008, 11:10 PM   #6
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I have seen rather long and thick smoking pipes for sale at a Chinese weapons dealers a few years ago, they where made of iron and overly robust, looking more like a Chinese mace than anything else, and he sold them as "concealed" weapons. I imagine they can be very efficient in a fight, and more so if you are good with swords and sabers.

I was reminded of that the other day when, at an auction, I saw some big opium pipes, and they struck me as really over sized and very thick and heavy, good enough for blunt trauma. The opium den of the late Qing dynasty may have been a not so safe place, particularly for a well dressed gentleman, and one with a woozy head... so they may come in handy there.

Quote:
I wonder if there are 'forms' for pipe fighting ...?

There is a form for chop stick fighting here... not bad at all, its in the Xinyi Chuan tradition. On the some video, there is an elderly gentleman doing nice short saber / Dao form, that would fit well into the concept of of pipe fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfwL...feature=related

The chop stick form is in the end, but the other stuff is interesting to, if you like CMA. The little boy in the very beginning does some Xinyi Qigong moves that are for generating energy, nice.

I do a double stick form that is originally a double dao form, now using two 80-90 centimeter long red oak staffs, and that works well the other way around, doing it as double dao form. I have done it often with with dao down to 50 centimeters, and two big heavy pipes would fit right into it just as well you block with one and hit with the other
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Old 9th October 2008, 05:28 PM   #7
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Rick,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
I wonder if there are 'forms' for pipe fighting ...?


I practice pekiti-tirsia kali. I could use that pipe in the picutres I posted to do any of these movements, assuming the construction were strong enough.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKhFlVGNlv8&feature=user
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Old 9th October 2008, 05:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klas Larsson
I have seen rather long and thick smoking pipes for sale at a Chinese weapons dealers a few years ago, they where made of iron and overly robust, looking more like a Chinese mace than anything else, and he sold them as "concealed" weapons. I imagine they can be very efficient in a fight, and more so if you are good with swords and sabers.

I was reminded of that the other day when, at an auction, I saw some big opium pipes, and they struck me as really over sized and very thick and heavy, good enough for blunt trauma. The opium den of the late Qing dynasty may have been a not so safe place, particularly for a well dressed gentleman, and one with a woozy head... so they may come in handy there.


There is a form for chop stick fighting here... not bad at all, its in the Xinyi Chuan tradition. On the some video, there is an elderly gentleman doing nice short saber / Dao form, that would fit well into the concept of of pipe fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfwL...feature=related

The chop stick form is in the end, but the other stuff is interesting to, if you like CMA. The little boy in the very beginning does some Xinyi Qigong moves that are for generating energy, nice.

I do a double stick form that is originally a double dao form, now using two 80-90 centimeter long red oak staffs, and that works well the other way around, doing it as double dao form. I have done it often with with dao down to 50 centimeters, and two big heavy pipes would fit right into it just as well you block with one and hit with the other


Klas,

Neat stuff on the chopsticks! I agree that these things were purposely designed as cudgels, to be used in the dangerous opium dens and the neighborhoods around them. I don't think they just became bigger over the years because of, say, fashion, like the ruff collar did in Europe. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruff_(clothing) )
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Old 10th October 2008, 11:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
I practice pekiti-tirsia kali. I could use that pipe in the picutres I posted to do any of these movements, assuming the construction were strong enough.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKhFlVGNlv8&feature=user


Oh yes, I forgot about the Kali, that fits very well to pipe wielding
I have heard from practitioners of Kali sticks that they originate from Chinese saber / dao forms, that the local Chinese populations used. I like those small efficient moves of Kali. The old man in the Xinyi video I link to really looks a bit Kali to me, small moves compared to my own dao forms with big sweeping, huge circling moves, usually for longer swords. But once you can use a sword, you always can replace it with other long objects if they got enough weight. And jian forms can utilize an umbrella to stab and parry, but hitting wont do much good (bad?)...
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Old 11th October 2008, 01:00 AM   #10
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Very esoteric topic!!!! and most interesting examples of weapons curiosa.

The Chinese opium den is almost cliche' in romantic literature and narrative, and these pipes are fascinating. I had not heard of them used as weapons, but as presented here, completely understandable. It seems that when it comes right down to it, nearly anything can become a 'weapon of opportunity', noting the martial art using fans as one example.

The weaponry of the ascetic fakirs in India seem to have remarkable similarity in concept, with the dagger concealed in one form of pipe shown here.

While noting the combination use of the Chinese pipe, I could not resist thinking of the Native American 'peace pipe' tomahawk. These Plains Indian items had the poll of the axe head in the form of a small pipe bowl, and these were highly symbolic in ceremony, and as a tool and weapon.
From what I understand, the 'tomahawk' (Algonquin, -tamahak) form of the 'calumet' (Fr.=reed) peace pipe, did not present until post contact.

Whenever these interesting socio-anthropological features are brought together in discussion noting similarity, it is fascinating to consider the dynamics of cross cultural influences.

......'ere!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 17th October 2008, 06:28 PM   #11
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There is a story that the founder of my style of kungfu met an old opium addict sitting against a wall smoking a long pipe. They got to talking, and the old man asked for a friendly sparring match. This was a bit unusual as the grand master was a well known expert. The story goes that every time the grand master entered, the old man hit him with the pipe. The old man didn't even stand up. At the end, the grand master had not been able to make the old man move, and the grand masterís arms were covered with small burns from the hot pipe.

Most stories like this are apocryphal, but this is the only one I have ever heard where the grand master does not win. I think there is a good probability it is true with little embellishment.
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