Chinese Swords: An Ancient Tradition and Modern Training

· Via Media Publishing

About this ebook

The Chinese double-edged straight sword (jian), the “gentleman of weapons,” is the focus of this e-book. There are a growing number of people interested in this fascinating weapon, its history, and its use. For your convenience, this anthology assembles the best articles on this subject as published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

Chapters 1 and 2 were written by Dr. Richard Pegg, a scholar of Asian studies and art curator with over thirty years of studies in the martial arts. With sound academic and practical experience in swordsmanship, Dr. Pegg writes here on ancient Chinese bronze swords and also on the parallels of Chinese calligraphy and swordplay. The analysis and presentation of the calligraphic illustrations give insight into the physical execution of sword movement. These superb presentations provide a perspective that is useful for understanding the technical and historical significance of the sword arts in China.

In the next chapter, Tony Yang, Andy Lianto, and Robert Figler give an excellent overview of the fundamentals of training with the straight sword. This article outlines some of the most famous sword forms in history, Liu Yunqiao’s lineage, solo and two-person practice, as well as details on fundamental techniques and their combinations. For all intents and purposes, the practice and perfection of these fundamentals make one a master of the sword. Over 140 photos are used just in this chapter to illustrate the techniques.

Stephan Berwick’s chapter details the history and practice of a famous straight sword system, the Qingping (Green Duckweed). The study meshes Chinese- and English-sourced research and a revealing interview with Lu Junhai—the grandmaster of this unique sword system. The interview is conducted by America’s senior Qingping disciples, Reza Momenan and Hon Lee.

If you are a serious practitioner of the Chinese double-edged straight sword and have an interest in its history and techniques, you’ll enjoy each chapter included in this anthology. May it be a handy reference work for information as well as a source of inspiration for actual sword practice.

About the author

Stephan Berwick, M.A., has a Chinese martial arts background spanning over thirty years. Bow Sim Mark was his early mentor. He went on to work for martial arts Hong Kong film director Yuen Wo Ping (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix). Upon returning to the US, Mr. Berwick began intensive Chen taiji training under the celebrated Chen stylist Ren Guangyi, and also closely mentored by top members of taiji’s founding family, the Chens of Chenjiagou. Mr. Berwick holds an M.A. in international law from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University in cooperation with Harvard University.

Robert A. Figler, Ph.D., is an associate professor of management at the University of Akron and teaches courses in human resource management and international business. His area of international specialty is China and he has been involved in Chinese martial arts for over twenty-five years. He is a disciple of Tony Yang and trains primarily in baguazhang, bajiquan/piguazhang, and Chen-style taijiquan. 

Chris Hsu, Ph.D., is currently an assistant instructor at the Jow Ga Shaolin Institute, specializing in Yang taijiquan. He also recently worked as a Chinese interpreter, after spending twenty-three years at the Department of Defense as a human resources psychologist. Mr. Hsu holds a Ph.D. in industrial psychology from North Carolina State University.

Hon K. Lee, M.S., M.B.A., and dipl. acupuncture, is director of the Jow Ga Shaolin Institute. He first learned Jow Ga gongfu from Dean Chin and Hoy K. Lee in Washington, DC, and later trained with masters throughout the Far East. He is a Jow Ga disciple under Chan Mancheung, as well as a Mizong and Qingping sword disciple under Lu Junhai. He learned Cha-style weaponry from Chen Enyi, a senior disciple of the late Cha grandmaster Ma Jinbiao. He also practices traditional Chinese medicine and is owner of the Sports Edge Acupuncture Clinic in Herndon, Virginia. Mr. Lee is a former marine officer and foreign affairs specialist, holding an M.S. in national security strategy from the National War College, an M.B.A. from the NY Technical Institute, and a professional diploma in acupuncture.

Andy Lianto is a commercial photographer, filmmaker, and martial arts instructor. He has taken classes in filmmaking at New York University. He has competed nationally and won gold medals in bajiquan, piguazhang, and Praying Mantis, and is a disciple of Tony Yang.

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