Wooden sparring weapons

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

Wooden sparring weapons

Postby LaoDan on Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:51 pm

BruceP wrote:One of my nephews brought me a Canary wood board about 20 years ago and asked me to make him a fighting staff. While shaping the staff, I was amazed at how tough and dense canary wood is while exhibiting some pretty decent flexibility and harmonics/resonance. The leftover strips stood in a corner for several years before I got the notion to try making a bow with some of it. I'd built well over 100 bows before that, and have since made more than a dozen bows with canary in a few different configurations (laminated R/D. self, and laminated D-section longbows). I was unable to find any examples of canary ever being used as a bow wood before I started building with it, so I was flying blind in terms of design, draw-length, draw-weight, sectional dimensions, etc. Being that it takes me about fifty hours to make a bow, it really sucks and is heartbreaking when one fails, so there's lots of adrenaline, trepidation and belief in the unbelievable throughout the entire process. I experienced the same state while making my first bow out of padauk wood since I could find no examples of that wood being used for bows either.


* I know that a preferred wood for staffs is white wax wood, but there are also alternatives available (e.g., some people use rattan). I always thought that resilient woods used in the manufacture of bows would also substitute satisfactorily. For example, I have a ~10’ pole of white wax wood as well as one that I had made out of ash; both seem to work nicely for pole shaking practice. I was wondering what other woods may be satisfactory.

A related question is about woods for sparring weapons. While hickory is often used today, one of my teachers had a pair of jian made in Taiwan out of Tielimu (铁力木 or 'ironwood') which, unfortunately seems to be a somewhat generic name. I think that it grows in southern and western China (as well as Japan and Taiwan) and is possibly also known as the following: 赤皮青冈 chi pi qing gang [Also: 英文名 - English name Red Bark Oak, 學名 - scientific name Cyclobalanopsis gilva, 異名 - synonym name Quercus gilva; other common names: Stone Castanopisis, Red Ke, Red Leather Fagaceae, other Fagaceae species (e.g. C. glauca) may also be usable if C. gilva is not available]. If someone knows of other woods that are suitable for full-contact weapons sparring, please chime in. This wood was used for some of the less expensive of the classical Chinese furniture, as well as for pillars and architectural decorative materials in buildings, shipbuilding (steering head), vehicles (wheel, wagon, axle), farm tools, railroad ties, etc. Any help locating a possible source for this wood (new or used) would also be appreciated.

* Edited to remove the sentences explaining the context for the BruceP quote, in consideration of the following:
BruceP wrote:…as you mentioned it in your wooden weapons thread where you quote part of something I wrote here as a pretext to your 'question'. You could have just asked your question.
Last edited by LaoDan on Tue Sep 28, 2021 4:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
LaoDan
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Re: Wooden sparring weapons

Postby Finny on Tue Sep 14, 2021 3:41 pm

Ellis Amdur has a fantastic site on just this topic: https://www.zaimoku.org/

Hope that helps
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Re: Wooden sparring weapons

Postby LaoDan on Tue Sep 14, 2021 4:21 pm

Thanks, that is the type of information that I was looking for.
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Re: Wooden sparring weapons

Postby LaoDan on Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:48 pm

Here is another person’s experiences with various woods, in this case used for pole shaking training: http://www.chipellis.com/Writings/TAIJI%20STAFF.pdf
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