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Old 27th July 2009, 10:00 AM   #31
KuKulzA28
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Thanks M ELEY and Jim!
I am actually a little surprised this thread has continued on in good discussion.
It's a good thing, all too often there's a discussion and then no one replies any more.

The parallels you guys draw between piracy, double-lives, and martial skills in China with other cultures is pretty interesting. This double-lives aspect was one that I was not aware of so I must thank you two for bringing it up and elaborating on it.

As for the connection between that and bodyguards, well it makes sense that while on the job, a Hau You Biao Ju guard would be upstanding and hold true to his mission (in order to get paid)... but it would be all too easy to allow bandits (with whom he has guanshi) to overwhelm the convoy, or perhaps he himself could do it as the travelers needed bodyguards in the first place... or perhaps bandits were also partially "seasonal"? I remember reading once that mercenaries in Europe often resorted to banditry when not in the service of a lord (during war). Perhaps the same can be said of some soldiers and martial artists. Not all of them settled back into farming or sought refuge in monasteries to quietly deal with the psychological shock of war... I'm sure some decided to go for easier targets while without a job. Gotta "feed the kids and pay the bills" somehow?
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Old 9th August 2009, 12:56 PM   #32
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Hi Everyone I live in Hong Kong, where Wing Chun is everywhere. Interestingly, I've had a hard time locating a good quality pair of baat jam do (8 cut knives) here. Anyone have any suggestions on where to get a really good pair of usable ones? I know Cold Steel make some, but I'd rather get some from China (for less, ideally).
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Old 10th August 2009, 12:26 AM   #33
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Convergence of threads?
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=10103

I was going to suggest commissioning a pair from a local smith, if you happen to be in an area where there are local smiths.
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Old 10th August 2009, 12:29 AM   #34
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Their wares are good, but expensive. I'm not sure if I am allowed to link to a website.. they say no linking to live auction but I've linked to an antique vendor and got "strike 2"... so I will PM you harimauhk
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Old 10th August 2009, 01:12 AM   #35
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I just realized something...

Many Wing Chun schools of martial arts emphasize that the Bat Jam Dao are taught only after everything else has been accomplished. While it seems a trend in Chinese martial arts to train the unarmed combat before the armed, fighting was often done with weapons, fist-fight when no weapons were present. So did most of the Hu-die-dao or baat-jam-dao users use them without expert training? It seems unlikely that the knowledge of their use should be held as such a secret by a few great masters and their toughest disciples, where river pirates and their seasonal sea-side kin should be the more common users of such blades.

Perhaps we should look to other martial arts that were more widespread? It seems Wing Chun was relatively unknown until more "recently". Hung Ga? They have a set called 子母雙刀... which I take as "male-female double knife". I have heard of Southern Mantis practitioners using bat jam dao, but I don't know enough about that style to comment.

Maybe the "river-pirates" only had rudimentary training in baat jam dao use? Surely they weren't looking to fight well-armed fighters, their goals was easy loot from easy prey.

Also, perhaps the hu-die-dao itself was more rare and specialized, but there were knives, daggers, and shortswords with the general look of a single-hand hu-die-dao... perhaps those were used like the big bowie knives of the American Southerners... part bushwhacker, part weapon...?


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Old 10th August 2009, 10:39 AM   #36
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Great run guys, I have been a little preoccupied of late to activley participate.

With regards to the martial arts question KuKulzA28 has asked above, just a small note from talks I have had with individuals who do train with these knives, the larger/longer ones pictured do not fit into the true Wing Chun form as some parts of the form would actually have you cut yourself with these longer swords, so in true essence of the arts as they are known today, some exampes do not seem to interface with history of old and their applications in days of old....I hope I makle sense it has been a long two days...

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Old 10th August 2009, 12:32 PM   #37
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That's intriguing...

we were many different schools of bat-jam-dao use? Perhaps the longer variants demanded a shortsword-like approach where-as the smaller ones demanded a double big-knife approach. I have been watching baat jam dao forms on YouTube, and I think the Wing Chun and Hung Gar blades must have been short to allow for spinning the blades for momentum within very close-quarters. And yet, there's examples of blades longer than that, but equally effective looking...
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Old 10th August 2009, 03:56 PM   #38
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Actually, I think one of the big issues with a bat-jam-dao is whether you can use the tip or not. For example, wing chun has some thrusts, but the commercially available butterfly swords are built so that the tip isn't in line with the hilt, making a thrust less efficient.

Given what Gav has shown (and what I've seen elswhere) there's a whole family of these blades, and some are more optimized for chopping, some for stabbing, some for both.

It's important to remember that, especially in later generations of a kung fu school, the moves being taught might not be optimal for the blades being used. The thrusts I mentioned above are but one of a great many examples. In other words, don't assume that the form of a school is perfectly aligned with the blades they currently use to demonstrate that form.

Best,

F
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Old 10th August 2009, 04:24 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
Actually, I think one of the big issues with a bat-jam-dao is whether you can use the tip or not. For example, wing chun has some thrusts, but the commercially available butterfly swords are built so that the tip isn't in line with the hilt, making a thrust less efficient.

Given what Gav has shown (and what I've seen elswhere) there's a whole family of these blades, and some are more optimized for chopping, some for stabbing, some for both.

It's important to remember that, especially in later generations of a kung fu school, the moves being taught might not be optimal for the blades being used. The thrusts I mentioned above are but one of a great many examples. In other words, don't assume that the form of a school is perfectly aligned with the blades they currently use to demonstrate that form.

Not meaning to deviate from the topic.... but perhaps that has most to do with two broad factors?

Those being:
1. Fewer and fewer traditional weapons being made and used
2. More and more Chinese martial arts becoming stagnant and falling into dis-use
^- (hence lacking the constant refinement of application and fighting skills)


I mean if few people are allowed to carry 14" blades, very few people make baat-jam-dao, the martial arts behind it haven't been applied and fought with for the past few generations, and it takes quite a bit of training to become wickedly proficient ...it seems inevitable that training will decrease, use of said weapons will decrease, and PROPER use and training of the said blades will diminish.... since there is no need for it. Forms will take on flashy and out-of-place movements, inappropriate weapons used, techniques rarely applied in real combat...
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Old 10th August 2009, 05:12 PM   #40
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Hi Kukulz,

This is true to a very large extent. Some martial artists distinguish between "dead" and "live" lineages on this basis. I don't think it's a new phenomenon either, nor do I think it's a one-way street. A great example of this is the western martial arts movement, which is researching Medieval and Renaissance fighting methods by getting replica weapons and armor, researching the old books, and experimenting until they get something that works. While I won't argue that the current reconstructionists are as good as the knights of old, I think that, to some large degree, fighting is fighting, and if you've learned how to fight in any style, it's possible to expand that knowledge to cover other styles.

What I'm looking at in this thread is how to figure out the different forms of bat-jam-dao, and more importantly, if you're planning on using well-made ones for a particular form, how to get the blades you need. That's a slightly different question, and I think it's best accomplished by looking at your needs, and then finding a blade with the shape to accomplish those needs.

Best,

F
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Old 10th August 2009, 06:14 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
This is true to a very large extent. Some martial artists distinguish between "dead" and "live" lineages on this basis. I don't think it's a new phenomenon either, nor do I think it's a one-way street. A great example of this is the western martial arts movement, which is researching Medieval and Renaissance fighting methods by getting replica weapons and armor, researching the old books, and experimenting until they get something that works. While I won't argue that the current reconstructionists are as good as the knights of old, I think that, to some large degree, fighting is fighting, and if you've learned how to fight in any style, it's possible to expand that knowledge to cover other styles.

True that. I think the great resurgence in Western martial arts, from navaja-fighting to sword-on-sword action, is admirable. Methodically combining fighting skills with old master-at-arms manuals and testing seems to be a great way to work out the techniques and fighting style of the old European battlefields and alleyways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearn
What I'm looking at in this thread is how to figure out the different forms of bat-jam-dao, and more importantly, if you're planning on using well-made ones for a particular form, how to get the blades you need. That's a slightly different question, and I think it's best accomplished by looking at your needs, and then finding a blade with the shape to accomplish those needs.

My advice for that is to outline the main principles of baat-jam-dao use... Things to keep in mind are close-quarters, closing distance, both hands involved, simultaneous offense-defense, etc. After the main principles have been established, categorize between stabber, chopper, and both. I think interviewing several Hung Gar or Wing Chun practitioners who have been taught the baat jam dao form-set and techniques will help greatly. But be wary when you do because anyone can watch youtube videos and imitate the forms. Fighting skill, or even correctly performed sets, requires more than just that.

Studying this aspect of martial arts can be hard, breaking it down like this... but I wish you the best of luck. I am deeply in something else right now, or I too would be keen on figuring it out. The Hu-die-dao are very interesting Chinese weapons for sure!
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Old 10th August 2009, 08:46 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
That's intriguing...

I think the Wing Chun and Hung Gar blades must have been short to allow for spinning the blades for momentum within very close-quarters.


My TaiChi master also spent decades perfecting the fighting application of the Southern Style Praying Mantis.
He explaned many years ago that the traditional fighting knives of his art were short double edged knives with a knuckle guard and a small spike to the base. They were gripped as daggers are with the blades facing down in the hand to facilitate that hooked wrist application found in the style.
I was given a demonstration with two pieces of dowl. I was the attacker and ever so fluently the application dealt to me would have severed viens and arteries in my forearms, arms and neck and each strike to me drew me deeper in to the application.
So effective is a weapon such as these with knuckle guards that one well trained in them could clear a room will ease.
From the description of the knives given and noting they were always pairs I can not help with this it maybe where the WWI trench knives originated?
I think the same can be said for the Hudiedao, very effective, what ever the length, different applications but the same effect...your disabled or dead.


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Old 11th August 2009, 02:20 AM   #43
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The double-dagger fighting style of Chinese seems somewhat unique... using daggers with leaf-shaped blades, points directed downwards... however I believe the reason why it was not the most emphasized weapon was because spears and swords were just as common in street fights and have much more range and power than small daggers. Knives were back-up weapons, last-ditch weapons, or assassination weapons... I think the term is "secret" weapons.

Wasn't Fairbairn-Sykes dagger based off the thugs' daggers he saw in Shanghai?
Whether documented or not, the Imperialism in Asia led to a lot of cross-cultural exchange, perhaps the knuckle-dagger was inspired off Chinese daggers... maybe off Bichwa... or perhaps just an evolution of the knuckle-duster... just as the end-spikes and/or blades on the bagh nakh were developed to enhance it's versatility (and some bichwa had loops and claws attahced to do the same from the other end).
I feel as though there is a lot of Chinese weaponry upon which light can be shed... the close-quarters weapons and training of them seems much less known compared to the four main Chinese weapons of the battlefield (qiang/spear, gwun/staff, dao/saber, jian/sword)... which don't seem to include what was very prolific - crossbows, bows, and arquebus none of which I've seen being used against me or another....
From a martial artist's stand-point, some of these more obscure Chinese close-quarters fighting weaponry would be most useful today, where the big weapons are often illegal to carry, making the handgun, knife, and club the more common weapons... The same can be said about Indian close-quarters weapons (of which less is known outside of India) like bichwa, bagh nakh, and katar which seemed to have been overshadowed (in terms of emphasis and glory) by khanda, tulwar, spear, and pata...

Thanks for continuing this discussion with me.
I can say for sure that I'm learning quite a bit here!
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Old 11th August 2009, 10:47 AM   #44
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A friend of mine who practises Wing Chun here says Baat Jam Do should integrate seamlessly with the standard forms practiced empty handed and simply become an extension of the body, which would make shorter bladed weapons more maneuverable and natural IMO.

There are plenty of training baat jam do available here, and lots of sharp ones too, but the quality is pretty iffy which is why I'm looking elsewhere. The ones available on the local market go for about $75 US. I'm not looking to pay $850 US for quality ones though. I might actually get the Cold Steel ones since they are good value and Cold Steel do make good quality knives.
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Old 11th August 2009, 02:24 PM   #45
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It's interesting that Wing Chun aims to have the close-quarters weapons flow seamlessly from empty hand technique... because many Filipino martial arts say that their knife-techniques should flow easily into empty-hand moves... Approaching similar goals from different training standpoints?

But again, to my previous question:
Did the "river-pirates" have formal training in their use?
I've given this some thought so I'll share them... If the 'river-pirates' can be divided up into two types, seasonal and full-time, then it opens up even more possibilities. If they are seasonal like their seaside kin, then it seems likely that when the harvest is done or the great catches of the season complete (migratory fish schools), there is enough down-time for piracy. Well, in that case, it is likely that those villagers had some sort of "village kung fu" for the purpose of defending their lands and boats. That, and the more determined individuals could perhaps train harder in martial arts during the productive season and then "ply their trade" during the piracy-season. Perhaps? The other side of it is a full-time criminal, who, with his band of pirates, hides out along the riverbanks and in small, near impenetrable places and comes out to raid and pillage. So what do pirates do in their down-time? Practice fighting? Go back to their "normal" lives? Become merchants or smugglers (as some 'pirates' were both)? Eat, drink, smoke, and make love with captured or paid women?

If the services of a martial artist were to be at the pirates' disposal, that could point us in a direction. I know in Taiwan, many martial arts teachers had (maybe still have) connections with local gangs. The same could/can be said about Chinatowns in the USA. However I don't know how far back this 'tradition' goes... and also if it was a widespread practice or just an individual choice.

It is known that locals and pirates coexisted in many cases - perhaps pirates from one hometown enjoedd protection there and support, and perhaps they helped "redistribute" (forcefully) the wealth in the region. According to Tonio Andrade's How Taiwan Became Chinese, the village that later became Tainan was originally a small hamlet made up of fishermen and pirates. If you were a pirate who was friendly with a local village, perhaps the shifu-criminal training relationship could then develop? Perhaps in a river-and-sea environment, these pirates were the combination of smuggler, merchant, pirate, and militia for the seaside and riverside villages of Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan - and not always seen in a bad way by the locals?

Chances are there were no hard-fast rules, and some were the equivalent of a village raiding party, some the militia, some just seasonal pirates with whom some villages had some friendliness, and some the rulers of the region...

Just some thoughts

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Old 11th August 2009, 03:53 PM   #46
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Hi Kukulz,

I think we can break the question down into a couple of parts.

1. Was there a "river pirate kung fu?" I'd guess probably not, at least in the sense of having a structured school with long sets and a lineage. While I'm quite sure they trained together, the thing is, on a boat, there isn't much room. That limits the kinds of things you can do with any weapon, which negates the need for a training school. I'd guess that a lot of the pirate's blade work was sort of like the Nepalis and their khukuris. They're always using their blades for whatever is needed, so they're naturally adapt at basic combat (i.e. they can hit whatever they swing at, because they use their blades daily for all sorts of things, and that gives them a high level of basic practice).

2. A lot of riverside villages would have had a resident martial artist to help train the village/clan militia (this was the situation in China for centuries), and I'm sure some of those people trained pirates. Possibly, some of those martial artists were current or former pirates themselves. I'd also bet that there was a lot of communication between the pirates and the martial artists, and they'd talk about what did and didn't work in various situations, possibly even train together. As I noted above, I don't think it quite rose to the level of a pirate kung fu school though.

Best,

F
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Old 12th August 2009, 01:15 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
It's interesting that Wing Chun aims to have the close-quarters weapons flow seamlessly from empty hand technique... because many Filipino martial arts say that their knife-techniques should flow easily into empty-hand moves... Approaching similar goals from different training standpoints?

But again, to my previous question:
Did the "river-pirates" have formal training in their use?
I've given this some thought so I'll share them... If the 'river-pirates' can be divided up into two types, seasonal and full-time, then it opens up even more possibilities. If they are seasonal like their seaside kin, then it seems likely that when the harvest is done or the great catches of the season complete (migratory fish schools), there is enough down-time for piracy. Well, in that case, it is likely that those villagers had some sort of "village kung fu" for the purpose of defending their lands and boats. That, and the more determined individuals could perhaps train harder in martial arts during the productive season and then "ply their trade" during the piracy-season. Perhaps? The other side of it is a full-time criminal, who, with his band of pirates, hides out along the riverbanks and in small, near impenetrable places and comes out to raid and pillage. So what do pirates do in their down-time? Practice fighting? Go back to their "normal" lives? Become merchants or smugglers (as some 'pirates' were both)? Eat, drink, smoke, and make love with captured or paid women?

If the services of a martial artist were to be at the pirates' disposal, that could point us in a direction. I know in Taiwan, many martial arts teachers had (maybe still have) connections with local gangs. The same could/can be said about Chinatowns in the USA. However I don't know how far back this 'tradition' goes... and also if it was a widespread practice or just an individual choice.

It is known that locals and pirates coexisted in many cases - perhaps pirates from one hometown enjoedd protection there and support, and perhaps they helped "redistribute" (forcefully) the wealth in the region. According to Tonio Andrade's How Taiwan Became Chinese, the village that later became Tainan was originally a small hamlet made up of fishermen and pirates. If you were a pirate who was friendly with a local village, perhaps the shifu-criminal training relationship could then develop? Perhaps in a river-and-sea environment, these pirates were the combination of smuggler, merchant, pirate, and militia for the seaside and riverside villages of Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan - and not always seen in a bad way by the locals?

Chances are there were no hard-fast rules, and some were the equivalent of a village raiding party, some the militia, some just seasonal pirates with whom some villages had some friendliness, and some the rulers of the region...

Just some thoughts


In silat Minangkabau, we too are taught to make any weapon work with our kudas and techniques, and it has been interesting to me to see just how well it works. I have tried silat with everything from US police PR-24s (tonfa) to tjabang (sais) to my Thai sword, and they can all be integrated quite well with a little practice.

From what I know of Chinese culture, having grown up around it, organized crime has always been part of life and here in HK, the triads are everywhere--even some police officers are sworn triads, and the entertainment business is one big racket. Bruce Lee himself was connected with the triads. I'm sure there must have been pirates with martial art training, so there might well have been a few baat jam do on pirate ships along China's coastline.

Just looked through this book (http://books.google.com.hk/books?id...page&q=&f=false) and there is no mention of baat jam do, but who knows?
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Old 13th August 2009, 05:21 AM   #48
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Thanks for the simple break-down fearn! Great resource harimaukh.

The part about the pirates' weapons and arsenal was very cool.
Makes me wanna make some of those weapons, if I could....
I could sure put some Chinese pirate stink bombs to good use


So I guess the level of training was uneven and informal... some had more, some had less... some were seasonal... others were full-time pirates with deep connections on the coasts and inland.... all depended on your guan shi... networking as we call it today
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Old 22nd September 2009, 11:31 PM   #49
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Default For your enjoyment

For your enjoyment.

I enjoy old kungfu movies, all one sided in this movie as is NOT the case in real life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KS1...feature=related

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Old 23rd September 2009, 03:45 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
For your enjoyment.

I enjoy old kungfu movies, all one sided in this movie as is NOT the case in real life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KS1...feature=related

Gav

HAHAHA I remember that one A good laugh for sure
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Old 13th November 2009, 03:31 AM   #51
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Good people,

I took these images last week for a Russian journalist. I thought some readers would appreciate seeing the images within these pages for reference too.

Regards

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Old 15th November 2009, 02:41 PM   #52
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I have only seen a few examples in person, but I have the feeling that the shorter fat blade late Qing (post 1850) hudiedao were rarely if ever pattern welded, and have somewhat basic handles with the carving if any, done just to improve the grip using a soft wood. These seem to have been copied in style by the later Republican pieces and modern examples.

The narrow blade hudiedao all are pattern welded, often with finely carved hardwood handles. Large single hudiedao are seen in period artwork of late Qing tigermen, and other regular soldiers, though they were never a regulation weapon.

I had a long discussion with a martial artist by the name of Martin Watts who studies Fujian white crane kung-fu. He had traveled to Wing Tsun village to learn the style only to find them practicing white crane. This makes sense in that southern white crane was supposedly the origin of wing tsun. So Martin wanted to learn a double dao style and asked the local blacksmith to make him a set. The blacksmith came back with the narrow blade style of hudiedao.

My thought is that either kind of blade could be used by martial artists, but that the two styles represented class differences.
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Old 16th November 2009, 12:35 AM   #53
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Default G'day Josh

My observations based on these pieces at hand and that of photographic imagery I have from the 1860s would be;

The longer ones either broad or narrow were more commonly found in the mid 1800s and exhibited various styles of pattern welding as you note. The wood mostly appears to be rosewood a good strong reliable timber that looks stunning when carved in any manner.

The old rusty shorter ones presented, if ever restored, will I am sure also show a pattern welded blade, these things are massively heavy for their size and very thick, quite consistant with the longer versions in manufacturing features.

The other short pair are on loan, are very light but equally as capable, they show a very clear inserted edge. Also after many attempts at bringing a pattern out are now starting to show a couple of good long pattern lines and I am pretty sure more will pop over time. These to me date in the first quarter of the 20th century.

I'd love to see the artwork with the tiger men and the single large dao.
I have a short heavy early dao pictured in the inital postings that I have seen as referenced as being used with a shield. I'll put a better image of it up for show soon.

I do not know if these styles are seperated by class based on peasant militaria images I have but with the quality of the hilt carvings one would think it is certainly plausible.

I'd be interested to see the longer ones demonstrated in the arts but to date I have not seen such applications.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Old 17th November 2009, 07:10 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
My TaiChi master also spent decades perfecting the fighting application of the Southern Style Praying Mantis.

snip...

Gav

Gavin, was reading through this and saw the reference to Southern Praying Mantis. I have not seen many people reference Southern Mantis, usually it's Northern Praying Mantis. I studied a Southern Praying Mantis system called Kwong Sai Jook Lum Praying Mantis Kung Fu. My Sifu was a direct student of Master Gin Foon Mark, which ment we had the opportunity to study with the Master on many occasions. Is this the system your teacher studied?
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Old 17th November 2009, 08:21 PM   #55
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Default Your question.

Hi,

The style you ask of is from memory Chow Gar Tong Long.

Thanks

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Old 17th August 2010, 02:59 AM   #56
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Out of curiosity, but not willing to start a new thread (and bumping a good one), are there Chinese names for the different Hu-dieh-dao / bat jaam do?

Needle tips, hatchet points, fat blades.... single blade, double blades... ?

Or are they all called Hu-dieh-dao?
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Old 2nd October 2015, 08:33 AM   #57
Gavin Nugent
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Default The Hudiedao and others.

This article and all others Ben has written are worth book marking.
Ben is well versed on the Kukri and Chinese martial studies.

Specifically relating to the Hudiedao; http://chinesemartialstudies.com/20...e-martial-arts/

The source, Ben's wonderful and very well written site with some interesting perspectives...its well worth digging through the archives too.
http://chinesemartialstudies.com/

Gavin
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