Saber/dao cloths

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby LaoDan on Wed May 29, 2019 12:44 pm

Here is an earlier film from 1909-1915 of a double saber/dao form using short cloths:

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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby marvin8 on Thu May 30, 2019 11:45 pm

LaoDan wrote:Thanks for that research Marvin. D_Glenn’s illustration from old paintings and pottery is also interesting since it may indicate the use of the cloth (on a straight-backed ring-pommel dao?) earlier than I had thought.

The following film clip from 1924-1927 shows a martial artist on Miao Feng Shan (Marvellous Peak Mountain), the site of a Daoist temple that was located on a hill about 25 miles northwest of Beijing, using the saber/dao cloth [from about 0:50-1:25], although the paired forms that follow do not use the saber/dao cloth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0fllCSebQQ

No. Using D_Glenn's searh terms, the illustration from old paintings and pottery indicate the use of the lanyard.

"刀彩" 历史上:
Chinese Cold Weapon on 2017-05-09 wrote:Image
Image

Having said that, experienced knife friends may have been able to guess that the rope hanging on the ring head is the hand rope, which is a very practical part, which is to prevent the sword from getting rid of the sword or the enemy to take the knife. We can find evidence on more ancient paintings and sculptures.

Image


刀彩、劍穗有什麼作用-壹讀:
China Cold Weapon on 2016/02/26 wrote:. . . However, the source of Jian Jian's ear, but found that its style changes very much from ancient to modern! It is basically a process of gradual evolution from rope to ear, from utility to decoration.

The role of the knife rope is first of all practical, followed by decoration. The practicability is mainly manifested in the fact that the knife rope is wound around the wrist during the battle, and the knife is prevented from flying out when slashing. This design with practicality as the main starting point has almost continued the entire ancient history of the entire cold weapon as the main weapon, regardless of Tang, Song, Ming and Qing, often seen in murals and statues.

The decorative effect of the knife rope is auxiliary. On the bricks of the Southern Dynasties, the long knives of the soldiers used to show the style of the streamers on the ring head. . . .

So far on the sword, the ear almost completely replaced the rope. Some martial arts enthusiasts have said that Jiansui is aggressive and can attack each other's eyes, which is very far-fetched. The effect of the sword ear is only turned into a decoration, and the long sword ear will become a burden when it is really confronted.

It's kind of "interesting." However, there is no evidence that dao cloths were explicitly taught to be "used in actual combat."

Teacher in middle appears to use dao cloth:

Image
Vintage Japanese Postcard. Circa 1920.


Image
The Han Dynasty army was generally equipped with the "ring knife."
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby LaoDan on Fri May 31, 2019 6:14 am

The Saber/dao cloths in the 1909-1915 film, the Japanese c. 1920 picture, and in the drawings from the 1932 book seem to be too short for anything other than decoration. Unless there is early evidence for other uses, I suspect that even the longer cloths are just decoration as well (although one could probably use them to wipe wet hands on rather than wiping sweaty or blood-soaked hands on one’s clothing), especially since the majority of early 20th century sources that depict saber/dao usage appear to lack the cloths entirely.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby oragami_itto on Fri May 31, 2019 7:42 am

Thinking a little more on this.

There are techniques to enhance leverage and grip using the ring on dao so equipped. It could be that some prefer to enhance those techniques by pulling on the cloth with a whole hand and full grip (or wrapping it around the wrist) vs pulling the ring with a finger or two. I'm not intimately familiar with Chinese style armor, and don't see a huge amount of gauntlet style hand armor, but it could also be so used more effectively than trying to stick a gauntleted finger through the ring.

On dao without rings it could serve the same purpose that the ring would, leverage enhancement.

In addition to wiping blood, lanyard, etc, sure, lots of handy things a cloth is good for. It's always good to know where your towel is.

It isn't really the kind of preference modern hobbyists are apt to explore and I think for most folks it's just a piece of visual flair for their performances.
Last edited by oragami_itto on Fri May 31, 2019 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby windwalker on Fri May 31, 2019 8:31 am

Shouldn't the question be what are ones uses or anyone's uses for the tassel or colth on the end of a weapon.

I am sure one could go back and find historical reasons for doing anything, but the main point I would think would be what function does it serve or have for ones own practice.

Anyone here work in a butcher shop, or watch butchers doing their work cutting the meat. Most that I've seen all have some type of cloth, apron, for wiping their hands or blade during, or after their work.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx4IjQN_W7w

notice the lanyard attached.
In the clip he talks about the sword developing a film / stain, on it after test cutting

Maybe having a cloth attached to it would enable one to clean / oil as needed....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PQiaurIiDM
Last edited by windwalker on Fri May 31, 2019 9:18 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Bao on Fri May 31, 2019 9:21 am

Anyone here work in a butcher shop, or watch butchers doing their work cutting the meat. Most that I've seen all have some type of cloth, apron, for wiping their hands or blade during, or after their work.


Yes, this is probably the most obvious answer, to bring a cloth to wipe your weapon between all of the killings. Wars are messy. But still, why attach it to the handle? Guess you can put it there so you won't forget to bring it with you... :P
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby windwalker on Fri May 31, 2019 9:30 am

Bao wrote:
Anyone here work in a butcher shop, or watch butchers doing their work cutting the meat. Most that I've seen all have some type of cloth, apron, for wiping their hands or blade during, or after their work.


Yes, this is probably the most obvious answer, to bring a cloth to wipe your weapon between all of the killings. Wars are messy. But still, why attach it to the handle? Guess you can put it there so you won't forget to bring it with you... :P



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Xw8Fg4Dwg
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby marvin8 on Fri May 31, 2019 10:08 am

Bao wrote:
windwalker wrote:Anyone here work in a butcher shop, or watch butchers doing their work cutting the meat. Most that I've seen all have some type of cloth, apron, for wiping their hands or blade during, or after their work.


Yes, this is probably the most obvious answer, to bring a cloth to wipe your weapon between all of the killings. Wars are messy. But still, why attach it to the handle? Guess you can put it there so you won't forget to bring it with you... :P

. . . however, the opponent may not forget to grab it. Dead pigs and fish don't hit back or grab dao cloths. One may want to leave the dao cloth in their pocket for later cleaning, as the people did in those cutting videos. :)

Excerpt from "The Sword Structure:"
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming on July 20, 2015 wrote:The Tassel (Jian Sui, 劍繐). Many swords in use today have a tassel hanging from the hilt to enhance its appearance. Generally, this tassel has no martial usefulness for the jian. However, there are some swords with long tassels (chang sui jian, 長繐劍), where the tassel is designed to attack the opponent's eyes.

Historically, the scholar's sword, the dancing sword, and the decorative sword usually had a tassel, and the martial sword almost never did. The reasons for not using a tassel are as follows: first, the tassel changes the balance of the sword, making it harder to handle; second, it can become entangled in the sword arm, distracting the sword fighter; third, the opponent can grab the tassel and gain control of the sword.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Ron Panunto on Fri May 31, 2019 1:43 pm

I was told that they dipped the jian sword tassel in a sticky resin, and then sprinkled ground glass on the tassel, and it was used to attack the opponents face and eyes. I was also told that the dao scarf was to wipe the blood from the saber and your hands.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby marvin8 on Fri May 31, 2019 3:23 pm

LaoDan wrote:The Saber/dao cloths in the 1909-1915 film, the Japanese c. 1920 picture, and in the drawings from the 1932 book seem to be too short for anything other than decoration. Unless there is early evidence for other uses, I suspect that even the longer cloths are just decoration as well (although one could probably use them to wipe wet hands on rather than wiping sweaty or blood-soaked hands on one’s clothing), especially since the majority of early 20th century sources that depict saber/dao usage appear to lack the cloths entirely.

Chinese martial arts evolved over thousands of years. Limited military (e.g., cavalry, infantry) use of dao cloths in old paintings and pottery doesn't necessarily indicate they were not used effectively in other ways by civilians, competitors, sword dancers, rebels, etc.

Excerpts from Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century:
Peter A. Lorge on February 2, 2017 wrote:The Han Dynasty Hundred Events (百戲) and Martial Arts

In addition to the singing and dancing performances, the Hundred Events could also include archery and contests of strength. These latter martial practices had formerly been part of local and court ceremonies, or parts of military training. Visiting non-Han envoys could therefore view the Hundred Events performances staged in their honor in a number of ways. First, was simple entertainment value. The Hundred Events was popular even among ordinary Chinese. When Han emperor Wudi held a wrestling competition in the spring of 112 BCE at the capital, it was said that people came from a hundred miles around to watch it. Similarly, the population of the capital came to watch a wrestling competition three years later. The party atmosphere for foreign envoys was no doubt helped by the “pools of wine and forests of meat” that accompanied the Hundred Events. A visit to the Han court allowed the emperor to display the wealth, culture, and power of his empire and to provide an attractive reward for envoys who cooperated with his wishes. . . .

Several other kinds of martial arts were also regularly demonstrated in the Hundred Events and other public performances. These arts, particularly those involving weapons, were practical military skills that transferred well into the realm of sport or entertainment. The separate arts of using each different weapon were variously grouped together, reflecting different ideas of the martial arts themselves. Similarly, unarmed fighting skills were differentiated. Boxing, which also included kicking and all manner of unarmed striking, was clearly separated from wrestling. There were the “Five Weapons” 五兵: sword, spear, long sword, (ji) halberd, and staff (though another text defines the Five Weapons as bow and crossbow, halberd, shield, sword and long sword, and armor).24 Archery remained of paramount importance both in war and competition, as well as tripod lifting and the other pure strength exercises. . . .

Martial Arts Performances

Displays of martial arts were widespread in China during the Song Dynasty, as they had been in earlier times. These exhibitions were done in the court and in more public venues as before, and also as more regular urban entertainments. Court performances were used for political and entertainment purposes, just as the Han Hundred Events and wrestling exhibitions were in the past. . .

An indication of the variety of martial arts performed is contained in an account that lists the numbers and kinds of performers at one time: forty-four wrestlers (jiaodi 角抵), nine “grand” wrestlers 喬相撲, seven “female wind” 女颭 (the exact meaning of this term is unclear, but it appears to refer to female combatants of some kind), two staff men, two hard strikers 打碥, six weight lifters, and a number of other martial arts performers including those in bow and crossbow archery. . . .

As these practices spread and were repeated, different troupes of performers would have developed their own particular systems of performance martial arts. Over time they would have taught new performers in the group their established repertoire. There were certainly regional differences in nomenclature with respect to the martial arts. Boxing went under an enormous variety of names, all of which, as far as we can tell, included kicking and sometimes throwing. Wrestling continued to maintain a similarly bewildering variety of names as well. At the very least, then, there were likely differences of practice in some respect among these differently designated martial arts. Particular elaborations handed down from a known or imagined person or place would have taken on the structure of a “school” named for its origin.


Another use of dao cloth, on the right:

Image
Cantonese Opera Performers in San Francisco, circa 1900. Chinese Opera and Popular entertainment has been linked to the martial arts since at least the Song dynasty. Even in the Han dynasty military performances were a central part of the “Hundred Events.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby klonk on Fri May 31, 2019 3:52 pm

As y'all know, I look for parallels between Eastern and Western fencing. I am influenced by Aldo Nadi's idea that there is only one true fencing. I am not sure he was right, but if you look at swordsmanship that way, similar ideas pop up all the time.

Image

In the West, we have the sword knot, which began as a loop of cord or braid to aid sword retention by wrapping it around your wrist, but later became simply something for dress occasions. It did not prove all that valuable for combat and many battles were fought without it, but it looks nice on parade.

https://www.wyedeanstores.com/blog/what ... t-used-for
Last edited by klonk on Fri May 31, 2019 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby marvin8 on Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:25 am

Subitai wrote:Not really much to add for me after the all the answers already... but I figured i'd throw this vid in:

The Final Master Fight Scene - Bart Jam Do " Ally fight vs single knife and cloth "

https://youtu.be/a88A_1PSZ1s?t=130

Here are a couple clips (normal/slow) of the guy using the dao cloth.

Image

Image
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby oragami_itto on Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:02 pm

marvin8 wrote:
Subitai wrote:Not really much to add for me after the all the answers already... but I figured i'd throw this vid in:

The Final Master Fight Scene - Bart Jam Do " Ally fight vs single knife and cloth "

https://youtu.be/a88A_1PSZ1s?t=130

Here are a couple clips (normal/slow) of the guy using the dao cloth.

Image

Image


That's pretty much exactly what I was describing earlier, run through the ring to enhance ring leverage techniques. Nice to see it in action. :D
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:36 pm

That's what I described way near the beginning of the thread... -argh-

According to my Master, that is one of the most important uses of the Daocai, but one which is often overlooked. That film was interesting in that it showed a lot of cool techniques that are quite rare these days.
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Re: Saber/dao cloths

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:02 pm

The Japanese samurais just did an quick powerful little swing with their sword and off the enemies blood went, or a sharp little knock on the sword handle with the other hand also had the same effect. No cleaners napkins where in need 8-)
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