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Thread: September / October 2008

  1. #1
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    September / October 2008

    Reads Pg. 10 column 2.

    Swords lack defense?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Say what?
    Simon McNeil
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  2. #2
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    Yes they do...

    In the fact that you don't want to really have anything slamming against your sword. it will dull your blade. Granted, the bottom couple of inches is what is primarily used to block, it is not meant to "block" but parry. That is why straight sword is the most revered of all weapons. The skill using it doesn't come from knowing how to use the sword, but how to move your body and use the sword as an extension of it.

    Here comes all the comments about how all weapons are extensions of your body, and I know this, but, we're talking about sword here.

    weapon to weapon (not person, or skill) compared to twin hooks... less defense.

    ex.) You can use the back of the twin hook to block. You can use the guard to block but it would be a complete noob tactic. but it's still there to protect the hands.

    you get the point.

  3. #3
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    Straight from the horse's mouth...

    Thanks for the comment SimonM. I really miss the reviews of each issue on this forum. We had that going pretty regularly for a spell, then it dropped off. Thanks for revitalizing it.

    I understand what Zi Zheng is saying. I've always questioned the architecture of the jian guard. Unlike western sword development which evolved from finger rings and knuckle guards to a coquille, the jian guard didn't evolve much at all. It's design does little to protect the hand. You have to rely mostly upon your parrying skill with the forte. I've always written that off to the burden of Chinese culture - 5000 years of orthodoxy.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #4
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    Part of the problem is that the article doesn't specify Jian; rather it says "medium-sized weapons such as the straight sword".

    And a basket-hilted straight sword has very strong defense. Furthermore the extra hooks and points on tiger hooks, although they can be advantageous, could also be used against the wielder if facing a skilled enough swordsman.

    The reason, in my opinion, that weapons like the tiger hooks remained peripheral is that for all their exotic flair they lack some of the practicality and applicability of simpler designs.

    Such as the straight sword, the sabre and the spear.
    Simon McNeil
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    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  5. #5
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    The cover article is a really entertaining story.
    Simon McNeil
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    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  6. #6
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    Glad you were entertained...

    ...and thanks again for the feedback.

    I felt jian was implied, but I appreciate your comment, SimonM. I personally feel that twin hooks were peripheral for several reasons. On a very basic level, they are hard to learn. I have a sharp pair from Dragon Well with absurdly long pommel spikes. One mistake with those and you'll slash your own wrists. If you work with sharps, you know exactly what I mean. On a practical level, they are hard to sheath. A simple sword can be contained in a scabbard. You have to have some weird scabbard for hooks and that would be hard to draw quickly. This makes it more of a battlefield weapon than a personal arm that you might carry around on a daily basis. One more reason is that they are harder to make.

    But still, hooks are really cool and a personal fav of mine. I wrote a short piece for our featured weapon on hooks back in our 2001 May/June issue: Kungfu's Deadly Twin Hooks
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    That is one of the things I take umbrage to in the tiger hooks article. The author states "straight swords... require a higher degree of skill".

    Considering the later statement of:

    "when fighting against long range weapons you have one technique that enables you to match distance for distance. You can hook the swords together and swing theem about you in a circle, resulting in eight to ten feet of striking range"

    I am of the opinion that the article tends to down-play the skill necessary to make use of this weapon, especially as described by the author.

    I would counter that using a straight sword effectively requires a lower degree of skill as it is a simpler and safer weapon to use but that the debth and breadth of straight swords techniques worldwide means that true mastery of the straight sword requires a greater degree of skill.

    As for twin hooks looking cool we are in agreement. They look neat.

    Still when push comes to shove give me a good old straight sword.
    Simon McNeil
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    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  8. #8
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    Well Simon...

    Look at the underlined words below.


    That is one of the things I take umbrage to in the tiger hooks article. The author states "straight swords... require a higher degree of skill".

    Considering the later statement of:

    "when fighting against long range weapons you have one technique that enables you to match distance for distance. You can hook the swords together and swing theem about you in a circle, resulting in eight to ten feet of striking range"

    I am of the opinion
    Your opinion is yours... I would appreciate you showing me where I "downplay" the skills necessary to wield them. I'm not lashing out or starting an argument, but once again... that is your opinion, not my intention.
    that the article tends to down-play the skill necessary to make use of this weapon, especially as described by the author.Please explain how, in the example you cited above about joining and swinging them, I downplayed them... "especially as described by the author".

    I would counter that using a straight sword effectively requires a lower degree of skill as it is a simpler and safer weapon to use but that the debth and breadth of straight swords techniques worldwide means that true mastery of the straight sword requires a greater degree of skill.

    Let's scroll up and look at what you said "I said" in the bold type and then come back down and look at what you said (in the bold). Isn't that what I said? ...and the article wasn't on Jian... it was on twin hooks so, i chose not to go off topic and word it the way you did. Which I disagree with in one way. As is with any weapon, respect and caution should always be evident. I don't know how much safer a 30-32" razor blade is. If you're gonna compare weapon to weapon, then don't compare a bendable non-sharpened spring steel jian to combat steel sharpened twin hooks and make it like the sword's safer. They're equally as dangerous. The twin hooks require greater skill in the fact that the wielder needs to have fairly decent coordination since you're using two weapons. I'm not trying to be a Richard here Simon.

    As for twin hooks looking cool we are in agreement. They look neat.

    Still when push comes to shove give me a good old straight sword.

    Umbrage is a pretty harsh word... you must be an excellent swordsman to take such offence.

  9. #9
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    Suggesting that I am referring to a blunted spring-steel wushu jian and comparing it to a sharpened combat steel tiger hook is an inaccurate comment. Unless sparring I use sharp, combat steel blades exclusively for my practice. For sparring I generally use a shinai.

    I am uncertain what you mean when you say you are "not trying to be a Richard".

    As far as the downplaying comment it is based on the fact that you, early on, refer to the tiger hooks as requiring less skill to use than straight swords and then make reference to highly advanced techniques for the tiger hooks. Perhaps I misinterpreted your intent in doing so.

    As for my sword skill... within my kwoon I'm about #3 for sword skill. I have had little chance to practice outside of my kwoon, yet, but am working on getting opportunities to test myself. I didn't meet any kung fu players in my little corner of Shanxi who were my equal in fencing while I was in China but I didn't look that hard. I'd consider myself a relatively experienced amateur.
    Simon McNeil
    ___________________________________________

    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  10. #10
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    Awesome!!

    Should you ever find your way to the states, or if I find my way to Canada, we should meet up. I studied fencing as well. Would be nice to spar with someone who has a similar approach to things. What's another name for Richard... begins with a "D".

    I'm not downplaying the skill. But in all reality, the over the head swing is not really that difficult, or high level. It just looks fancier than most other moves. I think flowering with them, or doing figure 8's is more dangerous and requires way more skill. (I think Gene might back me up on that one...??) I'm not assuming you have used them or not, but I'm going to say that when joining and spinning them you have a lot of control because they are a fixed weapon and not flexible like a 3 sectional or a chain whip. You can control how fast you swing them and can guide them to your hand with relative ease. When they connect, they're joined pretty solid. I'll make a youtube vid If I have to. All in all, not downplaying. I think you really just misinterpreted what I was saying.

    No hard feelings on my part and I am being sincere about the sparring. I don't get the chance hardly at all.

    until we meet...

    cheers...

  11. #11
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    I didn't get that 'Richard' comment either - thanks for clarifying

    Clearly hooks are unique. You find swords in every culture - it's a universal - but there's almost nothing like Chinese hooks. There's an Indian hooked weapon, and some might argue that some single-bladed war axes were similar in intention, but hooks remain remarkably special. In that sense, I would argue hooks require more skill because they are more specialized. But on the other hand, mastery of any weapon is a challenge. To say that hooks are harder than sword would be equivalent to saying that xylophone is harder than piano. On a simple level, sure, there's more difficulty. It's more difficult to become competent with something so specialized. But on a deeper level, the path to mastery is difficult from any approach.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
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    I'm always down for some sword play. Give me a shout if you are coming to Canada. I'm in the middle of a massive job hunt and will likely be moving to the west coast before the end of the year so I'm not doing any USA trips any time soon.
    Simon McNeil
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    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  13. #13
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    Sounds good...

    I definitely will.

    Good luck with the job hunt.

  14. #14
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    Back OT

    Our cover story is now live. So is the original interview.

    Old School Street Fighter: Master Hoy Lee, the Father of American Jow Gar

    And the bonus (just for the e-zine)
    Hoy K. Lee Interview 3/24/2008
    Gene Ching
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  15. #15
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    Nice article! Here in Grand Rapids we have Sam Chan's school. Sifu Chan learned Jow Ga under Si-Kung Lee Ngou during his youth at the Hong Kong Jow Ga school. Under Si-Kung Lee Ngou, Sifu Chan studied Jow Ga Kung Fu, Jow family Lion Dance, and traditional chinese medicine.
    "The true meaning of a given movement in a form is not its application, but rather the unlimited potential of the mind to provide muscular and skeletal support for that movement." Gregory Fong

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