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Weapons

This category contains 55 posts

A Sword’s Story

      What is it?     The first question seems straight forward.  This sword was purchased at auction a few years ago.  It is a short saber, often called a duandao by martial artists. Its blade is just under 18 inches (46 cm) long, and its tang (broken at the end where the … Continue reading

Villains, Guns and Humor: Giving Texture to the Early 19th Century Chinese Martial Arts

      Any traveler can attest that detours come in two forms.  They all take a little longer, and most offer nothing but delay.  Others can lead to fascinating discoveries.  These often come in the form of local sandwich shops frequented by hipsters or a scenic overlook. This same principle applies regardless of whether … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (43): Chinese Amazons and the “Weapons of the Forefathers”

Wonder Woman with a Dadao     In China the realm of social violence, and the martial arts in particular, has been male dominated.  That does not mean that women never became a part of such activities.  After all, they played an increasingly high profile role in the martial realm from the early 1920s onward.  … Continue reading

An Updated and Revised Social History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Swords)

  In January of 2013 I posted an essay titled “A Social and Visual History of the Hudiedao (Butterfly Sword) in the Southern Chinese Martial Arts.” As a student of Wing Chun I have always been fascinated by these weapons, and as a researcher in the field of martial arts studies I have been equally curious … Continue reading

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies

  “The lightsaber has become an important touchstone, both within the films and within our culture…They serve as a source of identification and identity.  They are the ultimate commodity: a nonexistent object whose replicas sell for hundreds of dollars.  This is not bad for something that defies the laws of physics and cannot and does … Continue reading

Reflections on the Long Pole: History, Technique and Embodiment

      A New Pole   I had been meaning to get a new “long pole” (or Luk Dim Boon Kwan) for a while.  As the name implies, these are somewhat unwieldly training tools and (unless you own a truck) they do not travel well.  In my experience most poles simply “live” in the … Continue reading

Lost Embodied Knowledge: Experimenting with Historical European Martial Arts out of Books by Daniel Jaquet

      Greetings!   If all has gone according to plan, I am now back in the United States and recovering after my recent trip to Germany.  As such, I would like to share with you another keynote addresses from this summer’s Martial Arts Studies conference in Cardiff as I work on on my … Continue reading

Through a Lens Darkly (40): Butterfly Swords and Tong Wars in North America

    The Yin and the Yang of the Hudiedao Earlier this year I had the opportunity to participate in a day-long seminar on the Wing Chun swords taught by Sifu John Crescione. This was a great experience that provided many students with an introduction to this iconic weapon. Such events, by necessity, tend to … Continue reading

Feeling the Rhythm in Lion Dancing, the Wooden Dummy and Lightsaber Combat

      A Tricky Step   Darth Nihilus* was grinning as he stripped off his fencing helmet and strode over to the open section of floor where I, and one of his more senior students, had been working on Shii-cho, the first of the seven classical forms of lightsaber combat.  He had agreed to … Continue reading

Hunting a Tiger with a Kukri

  The reader will probably notice that whatever may be their form, there is a nameless something which designates the country in which they were produced.  No matter whether the weapon has belonged to a rich or a poor man, whether it be plain wood and iron, or studded with jewels and inlaid with gold, … Continue reading

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