LARGE SABER TECHNIQUES FOR THE ARMY

軍中大刀術
LARGE SABER TECHNIQUES FOR THE ARMY
順德黃漢勛編述
by Huang Hanxun [Wong Honfan] of Shunde
山東蓬萊羅光玉老師授
as taught by Luo Guangyu of Penglai, Shandong
演式者:黃漢超
postures performed by Huang Hanchao
攝影者:黃子英
photographed by Huang Ziying
校對者:韋漢生
text proofread by Wei Hansheng
[published 1955]

[translation by Paul Brennan, April, 2018]

軍中大刀術
Large Saber Techniques for the Army
黃漢勋署
– calligraphy by Huang Hanxun


PREFACE

斬馬刀者乃大鋒短柄而利於戰陣中之步兵武器,專砍馬蹄者,馬上兵將遇之而畏,固古戰場上之慣用兵械也。
曩自(古北)(喜峯)及(淞滬)以至(七七)(八一三)之戰役,吾國軍事當局鑑於新武器及機械俱落敵後,然以民族獨立生存而戰實義無反顧矣,於是乃以血肉組成長城,以維護我五千年文化歷史,我古代武器乃得及鋒而試,初試鋒刃即使敵望而生畏,所謂大和魂,武士道之精神,乃挫落千丈,嗣此即引起軍事當道之注意,尋且廣聘個中能手普及訓練師干,一時有風起雲湧之勢,吾師羅先生亦將范公秘技改編而成為簡單化,實用化之近代軍中大刀術,民二十七年秋「華僑歸國服務團」歸國經港,特走訪羅氏,願留港習此備用,先師亦慨然允之,後該團頗活躍於各戰區,因此羅氏大刀術之名乃不脛而遍走各地矣。今漢特編成冊本以廣流傳,及供有心人之研討,工拙固不計,祗求依法編釋耳!若對團體學校之訓練尤得器械健身之宏效,固不必上陣交鋒已也。因述之如上以為序焉。
The “horse-slashing saber”, which had a long blade and a short handle, was a useful weapon for infantry troops, designed for cleaving off the hooves of horses. Cavalry troops were struck with fear when they encountered it, and so it became a common weapon on ancient battlefields.
  From battles like “Gubei” and “Xifeng” [Gubeikou Pass and Xifengkou Pass, during the Defense of the Great Wall (Jan–May, 1933)], as well as “Song Hu” [Battle of Shanghai (Aug–Nov, 1937)], to events such as “Seven Seven” [i.e. July 7, 1937 – Marco Polo Bridge Incident] and “Eight Thirteen” [i.e. Aug 13, 1937 – Second Shanghai Incident], our nation’s military authorities noticed that we were far behind the enemy in terms of modern weapons and machinery, but that our people’s only chance was nevertheless to stubbornly fight on. Therefore they had to rely on flesh and blood to fortify the Great Wall and defend our five thousand years of culture and history. Our ancient weapons were thus right tools at the right time. The very first cuts from those sharp blades struck terror into the enemy, plunging his spirit of “Yamato-damashii” or “Bushido” into a deep chasm. This caused our military leaders to give these weapons attention and they sought widely for experts to spread instruction throughout the army, an addition to training which rapidly became very popular.
  My teacher Luo [Guangyu] took the secret skills of his teacher Fan [Xudong] and adapted them to construct this simple set, making an even more practical large saber set for the modern army. In the autumn of 1938, the Overseas Chinese Return-to-Enlist Corps were returning to the mainland. While passing through Hong Kong, they paid a special visit to Master Luo, wanting to stay for a time in Hong Kong to train in these skills. Luo generously consented to teach them, and then afterward they had to hurry off to their respective combat zones. Because of this, the fame of Luo’s large saber art quickly spread everywhere.
  Now I have specially made this volume to spread this art even more widely and share it with those who have a desire to study it. To do this, I have ignored my own low level of skill at it, seeking only to explain these methods as faithfully as possible. If it is used for drilling large groups in schools, this is a greatly effective tool for developing physical fitness, though you will not actually be required to go into battle! I have recounted the information above merely to give some background to the set.

刀之説明
DIMENSIONS OF THE SABER

長度:由刀盤至刀鋒尖端,計長者二十寸,短者十八寸。
Length of the blade: From hilt to tip, it is as long as twenty inches or as short as eighteen inches.

濶度:上端:鋒與背計三寸。中段:二寸五分。下端:近刀盤處,一寸七分。
Width of the blade: From edge to back, the upper section is three inches, the middle section is two and a half inches, and the lower section near the hilt is one and seven tenths inches.

鋒薄而利,背厚四分,取其堅硬也。
The edge is very thin and sharp, whereas the back of the blade is a two fifths of an inch thick and is very hard.

盤:週圍計達十一寸,邊緣高二分。
The hilt has a circumference of eleven inches, and the height of its edge is about a fifth of an inch.

柄:長而微曲,直徑計長九寸五分。粗圍三寸二分。
The handle is long and somewhat curved, with a length of nine and a half inches, and a circumference of roughly three and a fifth inches.

如以人作計算則捧刀立正時刀鋒僅及肩部為最適合,逾此則或有矮人而善用長械,高人而喜用短械者是例外矣。
To determine if a saber is the right size for you, when you are in the position of standing at attention holding the saber, ideally the tip should reach to shoulder level. If it reaches farther than this, it will be like a long weapon for a short person, [and if does not reach that far,] it will be like a short weapon for a tall person. There are always exceptions to the standard.

古今之稱刀考
EXAMINING ANCIENT & MODERN VIEWS OF THE SABER

古之稱刀有五行,即金,木,水,火,土。進而別以,天,地,君,臣,師。
及至民國以後又更易為,天,地,國,親,師。
不論前者,後者俱逃不出(五)數。
茲根據少林眞傳所載及先師所言,是將刀平放作計則為刃之上端,即刀尖處是為「天」線。向下之刃鋒為「地」線。朝上之刀背為「君」線。護手之刀盤為「臣」線。柄之末端為「師」線。
Ancient people said that the saber has the five elements – metal, wood, water, fire, and earth – which was then extended to mean the sky and the ground, the sovereign and the subject, and the soldier. Once the Republic was established, “sovereign and subject” were changed to “the nation and the family”. Regardless of the former or latter interpretation, in either case the count is still five.
  According to what is written in Authentic Shaolin Teachings [by Fan Xudong], as well as what has been said by my teacher, when you hold out the saber, holding it level in front of you, the top section of the tip of the blade corresponds to the sky, the edge facing downward corresponds to the ground, the back facing upward corresponds to the sovereign [or nation], the hilt guarding your hand corresponds to the subject [or family], and the handle all the way to its end point corresponds to the soldier.

軍中大刀術名稱
NAMES OF THE POSTURES

第一式:捧刀中平式
Posture 1: HOLDING THE SABER, STANDING STABLY
第二式:四平舉刀式
Posture 2: FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, RAISING THE SABER
第三式:登山斬倭顱
Posture 3: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第四式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 4: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第五式:扑腿橫斬馬
Posture 5: REACHING LEG, SLASHING ACROSS AT THE HORSE
第六式:竄跳橫斬馬
Posture 6: EVASIVE HOP, SLASHING ACROSS AT THE HORSE
第七式:跨虎雙舉刀
Posture 7: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, BOTH HANDS RAISING THE SABER
第八式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 8: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第九式:旋轉坐盤刀
Posture 9: CIRCLING CHOP IN A SITTING TWISTED STANCE
第十式:纏繞斬倭顱
Posture 10: COILING AROUND, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第十一式:漏刀攔腰斬
Posture 11: WITHDRAWING SABER, SLASHING TO THE WAIST
第十二式:竄跳迎頭砍
Posture 12: EVASIVE HOP, CLEAVING STRAIGHT AHEAD
第十三式:竄跳迎頭砍
Posture 13: EVASIVE HOP, CLEAVING STRAIGHT AHEAD
第十四式:斜步舉刀式
Posture 14: DIAGONAL STEP, RAISING THE SABER
第十五式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 15: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第十六式:旋轉往上挑
Posture 16: TURNING OVER TO CARRY UPWARD
第十七式:反身坐盤刀
Posture 17: TURNING AROUND TO CHOP IN A SITTING TWISTED STANCE
第十八式:纏繞大轉勢
Posture 18: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE
第十九式:纔繞大轉勢
Posture 19: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE
第二十式:撤步迎頭斬
Posture 20: WITHDRAWING STEP, CHOPPING STRAIGHT AHEAD
第二十一式:挑刀蹤步劈
Posture 21: CARRYING SABER, LEAP & CHOP
第二十二式:挑刀蹤步劈
Posture 22: CARRYING SABER, LEAP & CHOP
第二十三式:跨虎橫撥刀
Posture 23: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, DEFLECTING ACROSS
第二十四式:反刀斬倭顱
Posture 24: REVERSE-SABER CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第二十五式:纏繞攔腰斬
Posture 25: COILING AROUND, SLASHING TO THE WAIST
第二十六式:斜步舉刀式
Posture 26: DIAGONAL STEP, RAISING THE SABER
第二十七式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 27: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD
第二十八式:纏繞大轉勢
Posture 28: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE
第二十九式:纏繞大轉勢
Posture 29: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE
第三十式:撤步迎頭砍
Posture 30: WITHDRAWING STEP, CLEAVING STRAIGHT AHEAD
第三十一式:四平舉刀式
Posture 31: FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, RAISING THE SABER
第三十二式:收刀四平式
Posture 32: WITHDRAWING THE SABER, FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE

半匝試刀式 出匝看刀式
Photos demonstrating unsheathing the saber halfway and fully in order to examine it:

古之嗜武者多有所好於「寶刀」「寶劍」之習染,凡有良好寶劍之類俱把玩至不忍釋手者,當其小試其鋒刃時輒持鞘徐徐抽出察驗,俾判其刀種之良劣,余今效之者,實無異有東施效顰之誚,然旨在提倡吾國古武術,固無暇計此矣。
其全刀抽出察看者其意類於試刀,惟余之不厭求詳者,實寓有另一意思也。
一可使刀之寬長尺度得一全輪廓。
二可使鞘與刀之比量得一正確表示,實非看「寶刀」擺姿勢,徒作(奴婢扮夫人)之作態也。
Ancient people who were addicted to martial arts were often obsessed with “precious sabers” and “precious swords”. There were always those who loved their precious swords so much that once they held them, they could not bear to let them go. When they took a look at a blade, they held the scabbard and slowly drew out the weapon to examine it, in order to judge whether or not the saber was of good quality. As I perform this in these photos, it is a pale imitation of the way they did it, but as I am busy with promoting our nation’s ancient martial arts, I do not really have the time to be too finicky about how this looks.
  The purpose of drawing out a saber fully is to examine it, but just to be clear, I have another intention here: 1. to give a sense of the length and width of the saber, and 2. to show a standard of measure between saber and scabbard. And so I am not really demonstrating a posture of swinging around a “precious saber”, which would just be a pretentious posing (like the maidservant dressing up as the madam).

持刀者:黃漢超 持棍者:黃漢勛
[Three demonstration photos] with Huang Hanchao holding the saber, Huang Hanxun holding the staff:

上圖:遇對方用長械殺落時即以逆刀反劏而上。
1. When an opponent uses a long weapon to smash down at me, I turn my saber over and go upward with a reverse slicing action [similar to Posture 16]:

中圖:對方用械橫掃我下路,我當以坐盤低攔式橫殺之。
2. The opponent then uses his weapon to sweep across to my lower body, so I use a low slashing in a sitting twisted stance to smash it aside [similar to Postures 5 and 6, though using a different stance]:

下圖:演式者之十字橫刀式。
3. The performer demonstrates CROSS-SHAPED POSTURE WITH THE SABER HORIZONTAL [As nothing resembling this occurs in the set, and would be an unlikely maneuver on the battlefield, this is perhaps intended as an example of posing.]:

第一式:捧刀中平式
Posture 1: HOLDING THE SABER, STANDING STABLY

說明
Explanation:
假定我擇西方作起點,是面南背北,左東右西而立正,右掌貼身直垂,右手虎口向下緊握近刀盤處,上刀鋒貼近於肩外,勿使搖動不定,否則易使自己有觸刀之弊矣,全身蓄勢目注前方使精神得以集中,以俟刀勢之展開也。
If you stand in the western part of the practice space to begin this boxing set, then you are facing to the south, the north behind you, the east to your left, the west to your right. Stand at attention with your right palm hanging down close to your body, your right [left] tiger’s mouth facing downward due to the hand tightly grasping near the saber hilt. The saber tip is close to the outside of your [left] shoulder, but do not allow it to sway around, or you may easily cut yourself. Your whole body is storing power, your gaze forward. Concentrate spirit in readiness to perform the saber techniques. [See photo 1:]

第二式:四平舉刀式
Posture 2: FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, RAISING THE SABER

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先退左脚半步,右脚一拉俾成右跨虎步,右手向刀盤一握以替代左手之位置,而左手則緣刀柄向下而持末端,刀尖向上一舉,刀鋒向外東方,以右臂平線為合度,如第二圖。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your left foot retreats a half step, then your right foot pulls back to make a right sitting-tiger stance, as your right hand grabs the saber near the hilt, switching places with your left hand, which goes downward to hold the end of the saber handle, and the saber tip goes upward with a raising action, the saber edge facing outward to the east. Your right arm should be level. See photo 2:

功用
Application:
彼以長械如槍棍之類迎頭殺落,我即雙手舉刀向上一挑,斯乃中心之刀法,使來械滑落左右,來勢雖兇猛異常,至此亦落空矣。且可籍其落空而予以反擊,是彼造成有利之機會與我,非强而可行也,知乎此方足以言用械之奧妙矣。
An opponent uses a long weapon such as a spear or staff to smash down onto my head, so I use both hands to raise the saber upward with a carrying action, which is a core saber method, causing his weapon to slide off to either side. Even if his incoming force is extremely fierce, this technique will make it land on nothing, giving me the chance to counterattack. Thus because his action ends up causing me to have the advantage, I can act without having to struggle. From understanding just this one technique, you will know the profound usefulness of this weapon.

第三式:登山斬倭顱
Posture 3: MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING STANCE, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,右脚踏前以成右登山式,同時將刀向前畧斜往左北方殺出,亦以右臂平為合式,如第三圖。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot steps forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as you send the saber slashing forward and slightly to the left, i.e. north. Your right arm should again be level. See photo 3:

功用
Application:
假如彼械為我上式斜落右方,我即進馬以近彼方,順刀斜撇其項部,此乃沿械削入之法也,勢速而致於要害為法之上乘也。蓋械長易佔優勢,惟鋒端為人所過則反見其弊矣,我刀旣卸落之,當以最迅速之法突入,勿輕失克敵致果之良機也。
If in the previous technique the opponent’s weapon falls to my right, I advance to get closer to him, hurling my saber diagonally at his neck with an action of scraping along his weapon. This is a rapid movement and is the best technique for causing injury. It is easy for a long weapon to occupy the superior position, but when a sharp blade comes into play, the opponent will discover he has been wounded. Once my saber has made him miss, I should use the quickest means of getting in and not lightly let a good opportunity to defeat the opponent pass by.

第四式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 4: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提起左後脚,再以刀背返後下方撥歸,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you while using the back of the saber to deflect downward and to the rear. See photo 4a:

再乘蹺起後脚之便全身躍前以成右登山步,刀再自下後方向前上方斜斜撇出,如「第四圖定式」。
Then go along with the momentum from lifting your foot by jumping forward with your whole body to make a right mountain-climbing stance, the saber going upward and hurling out diagonally forward. See photo 4b:

功用
Application:
彼以低樁沉械法向我膝部點落,我即以往後拖刀法消去來勢,再食其上路空虛之勢,用躍進法反刀向上再劈彼項部焉。
The opponent gets into a low stance, sinking his weapon, and stabs downward to my knee, so I send my saber to the rear with a dragging action to dispel his incoming force, then take advantage of the opening to his upper body by leaping forward, rolling my saber upward, and chopping to his neck.

第五式:扑腿橫斬馬
Posture 5: REACHING LEG, SLASHING ACROSS AT THE HORSE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先化右登山步為右扑腿,刀自上北方沿腿上削落往後南方力撇,如「第五圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, shift to a right reaching-leg stance as the saber goes from above in the north and forcefully swings downward to the south, cutting above and parallel with your leg. See photo 5:

功用
Application:
彼方側首避我劈項之刀我疾即漏刀揮殺其前鋒馬,使其有顧此失彼之危也。斯即射人先射馬,打人先打手之意,彼雖乘馬與我作戰,惟苟能予以創傷其脚部,其害尤甚於斬其乘騎也,抑亦為斬馬刀之本色,故時刻不忘傷害下之路也。
The opponent ducks his head away to evade saber chopping to his neck, so I quickly withdraw my saber and swing it down to slash to his front leg, causing him to be in the predicament of having too many things to deal with at once. This is the concept of “to shoot a man, first shoot his horse” [from the poem “Forward to the Frontier” by Du Fu] and similar to the notion of “to strike a man, first strike his hand”. Although the enemy may be riding a horse into battle against me, if I can injure its leg, this can do even more damage than slashing at its rider. This was the whole point of the “horse-slashing saber”, therefore keep in mind at all times the potential for injuring the opponent’s lower body.

第六式:竄跳橫斬馬
Posture 6: EVASIVE HOP, SLASHING ACROSS AT THE HORSE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提右脚如獨立式狀,將刀向上舉,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift your right foot as though making a one-legged stance, the saber raising up. See photo 6a:

再往後西方蹤身而返,約有步半之距離再成右扑腿式,刀由上斟斜撇過大腿之上,刀鋒向後南方着力,如「第六圖定式」。
Then your body leaps away about a half stride to the west to again make a right reaching-leg stance as the saber pours down from above with a diagonal swinging action over your leg, the saber tip moving toward the south behind you and expressing strength. See photo 6b:

功用
Application:
彼漏過我刀,即再擊我低躺之膝部,我乃提腿避之,再躍跳返身以刀劈向彼械,使毋再生變化也。
The opponent dodges my saber and then attacks below to my knee, so I lift my leg to evade it, leap my body away, and use my saber to chop at his weapon, causing him to not attempt such a maneuver again.

第七式:跨虎雙舉刀
Posture 7: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, BOTH HANDS RAISING THE SABER

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先拉起右脚以成右跨虎步,刀由橫下削法轉為朝上向:如「第七圖定式。」
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot pulls back to make a right sitting-tiger stance as the saber arcs from below to be pointing upward. See photo 7:

功用
Application:
彼以長械如槍棍之類迎頭殺落,我即雙手舉刀向上一挑,斯乃中心之刀法,使來械滑落左右,來勢雖兇猛異常,至此亦落空矣,且可籍其落空而予以反擊,是彼造成有利之機會與我,非强而可行也,知乎此方足以言用械之奧妙矣。
An opponent uses a long weapon such as a spear or staff to smash down onto my head, so I use both hands to raise the saber upward with a carrying action, which is a core saber method, causing his weapon to slide off to either side. Even if his incoming force is extremely fierce, this technique will make it land on nothing, giving me the chance to counterattack. Thus because his action ends up causing me to have the advantage, I can act without having to struggle. From understanding just this one technique, you will know the profound usefulness of this weapon.

第八式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 8: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提起左後脚,再以刀背返後下方撥歸,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you while using the back of the saber to deflect downward and to the rear. See photo 8a:

再乘蹺起後脚之便全身躍前以成右登山步,刀再自下後方向前上方斜斜撇出,如「第四圖定式」。
Then go along with the momentum from lifting your foot by jumping forward with your whole body to make a right mountain-climbing stance, the saber going upward and hurling out diagonally forward. See photo 8b:

功用
Application:
彼以低樁沉械法向我膝部點落,我即以往後拖刀法消去來勢,再食其上路空虛之勢,用躍進法反刀向上再劈彼項部焉。
The opponent gets into a low stance, sinking his weapon, and stabs downward to my knee, so I send my saber to the rear with a dragging action to dispel his incoming force, then take advantage of the opening to his upper body by leaping forward, rolling my saber upward, and chopping to his neck.

第九式:旋轉坐盤刀
Posture 9: CIRCLING CHOP IN A SITTING TWISTED STANCE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先原步不變,將高勢之刀反向下撩,使刀鋒向下朝,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, the saber turns over with a low raising cut, causing the saber tip to be facing downward. See photo 9a:

再將左脚自後偸前以成坐盤步,刀則由背往後方圈去,圈至手盡為止,再由上反劈而落,如「第九圖定式」。
Then your left foot goes forward from behind with a stealth step to make a sitting twisted stance, the saber circling out from behind your back until your hands are reaching out fully, chopping downward from above. See photo 9b:

功用
Application:
彼以械向我下部搶入,我即反刀背掠去來械,再偸入半步轉下刀為上刀迎頭劈之,旋轉然後劈刀者,乃寓有招之即打之雙重作用,旋轉而坐盤其勢乃順,坐盤而斬之是取其速也。
The opponent’s weapon sneaks an attack to my lower body, so I turn over my saber, using its back to swipe aside his weapon, then make a stealth step to come a half step forward while arcing my saber upward to chop to his head. This circling chop contains the effect of being twice as heavy as a normal chop. Going into a sitting twisted stance while doing this improves the flow of the technique and also increases its speed.

第十式:纒繞斬倭顱
Posture 10: COILING AROUND, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,原步不變,將刀往後貼於左肩,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, send the saber behind you to be near your left shoulder. See photo 10a:

再循左轉,成一圈形步法,再上右脚以成右登山式,刀再由貼於肩部者向前斜斜劈去,如「第十圖定式」。
Then continue by spinning around to the left, making a complete circle with your stance, your right foot then going forward to make a right mountain-climbing stance as the saber chops out diagonally forward from your shoulder area. See photo 10b:

功用
Application:
纏繞者乃用資保護自身上部之刀法也,且可循此謀求對方之弱點,當發覺時更可籍此攻得彼之空隙也。
“Coiling” is a way to protect your own upper body which can then also follow through to reach a vulnerable area on the opponent, and so when you notice a gap in the midst of doing this technique, you can build upon this action in order to attack it.

第十一式:漏刀攔腰斬
Posture 11: WITHDRAWING SABER, SLASHING TO THE WAIST

說明
Explanation:
循上式,左右脚不變原來位置,祗將右脚一曲便可成為騎馬式,刀則由面前兜半圈形平刀殺過右後方,如「第十一圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, with your feet not leaving their location, you only need to bend your right [left] leg to make a horse-riding stance, the saber going from in front of you, arcing a half circle to go out level, slashing to the right rear. See photo 11:

功用
Application:
彼擬以械來招迎我斬項之刀,我俟其貼近時迅即漏刀橫殺其腰部,此攔腰斬法為刀法中之難招者也,抑亦為棍怕中平,刀怕擱腰具有同等之威脅,如不善於解此者,莫不為所砍殺矣,致力於此者幸留意焉。
The opponent tries to use his weapon to intercept my saber heading to his neck, so I wait for him to press in close, then quickly withdraw my saber and slash across to his waist. Among the saber techniques, the slashing to the waist is one of the more difficult to defend against. A saber slashing to the waist is a threat equal to a staff [spear] attacking to the center. Those who fail to understand this will end up being cut to pieces. For those who dedicate themselves to this art, I hope you will give this point attention.

第十二式:竄跳迎頭砍
Posture 12: EVASIVE HOP, CLEAVING STRAIGHT AHEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提右脚,再將刀往後提起,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift your right foot, lifting the saber behind you. See photo 12a:

再乘提步之勢跳往後西方約一步之遠仍為右登山式,刀自上方向前面正中砍落,如「第十二圖定式。
Then go along with the momentum from lifting your foot by hopping back, retreating about a full stride to the west, and again make a right mountain-climbing stance as the saber cleaves downward directly in front of you from above. See photo 12b:

功用
Application:
彼架去我攔腰法之後,隨即向我下路點進,我乃提步閃之,竄跳返身而用刀砍落其來械也。
After the opponent blocks away my slash to his waist, he immediately stabs forward to my lower body, so I lift my foot to evade it and hop away, then turn back toward him using my saber to cleave downward to his incoming weapon.

第十三式:竄跳迎頭砍
Posture 13: EVASIVE HOP, CLEAVING STRAIGHT AHEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式先提右脚,再將刀往後提起,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift your right foot, lifting the saber behind you. See photo 13a:

再乘提步之勢跳往後,西方約一步之遠仍為右登山式,刀自上方向前面正中砍落,如「第十三圖定式」。
Then go along with the momentum from lifting your foot by jumping back, retreating about a full stride to the west, and again make a right mountain-climbing stance as the saber cleaves downward directly in front of you from above. See photo 13b:

功用
Application:
彼架去我攔腰法之後,隨即向我下路點進,我乃提步閃之,竄跳返身而用刀砍落其來械也。
After the opponent blocks away my slash to his waist, he immediately stabs forward to my lower body, so I lift my foot to evade it and hop away, then turn back toward him using my saber to cleave downward to his incoming weapon.

第十四式:斜步舉刀式
Posture 14: DIAGONAL STEP, RAISING THE SABER

說明
Explanation:
循上式,右脚自東方轉過南方以成右跨虎步,刀亦由東隨步轉南,自下向上挑起,如「十四圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot arcs across to the south from the east to make a right sitting-tiger stance, the saber at the same time arcing to the south from the east and carrying upward from below. See photo 14:

功用
Application:
當我連續作竄跳式時彼忽走我斜右方,以長械從頂殺下,我立即以挑刀作分式穿之,由正面相對而轉為斜方攻擊,若無穩捷之法應敵當易陷於危殆之境,步隨刀轉,使對方無隙可乘,若刀隨步轉則予敵以空間之便矣。
When I have not yet completed the technique continuing from the evasive hop, if the opponent suddenly evades to my right and is using a long weapon to smash down onto my head, I immediately use a carrying action to send it off to the side, piercing through his line of attack, turning a direct attack into an angled attack. Without both stability and agility, you will easily fall into a perilous situation. If your step is following your saber, it will prevent the opponent from having a gap to take advantage of, but if instead your saber is following your step, you will be giving him an opening to exploit.

第十五式:蹤步斬倭顱
Posture 15: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提左後脚,刀用背撥歸後方,如「過渡式」,
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you while using the back of the saber to deflect to the rear. See photo 15a:

再蹤身直跳往正南方,約有一步之遙乃再成右登山步,自斜劈前上方,如「第十五圖定式」。
Then your body leaps forward about a full stride to the south to again make a right mountain-climbing stance, the saber going upward and chopping diagonally forward. See photo 15b:

功用
Application:
彼以低樁沉械法向我膝部點落,我即以往後拖刀法消去來勢,再食其上路空虛之勢,用躍進法反刀向上再劈彼項部焉。
The opponent gets into a low stance, sinking his weapon, and stabs downward to my knee, so I send my saber to the rear with a dragging action to dispel his incoming force, then take advantage of the opening to his upper body by leaping forward, rolling my saber upward, and chopping to his neck.

第十六式:旋轉往上挑
Posture 16: TURNING OVER TO CARRY UPWARD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先將原步不變,祗將刀反向後舉,鋒向後方如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, first only send the saber raising to the rear, the tip pointing toward the rear. See photo 16a:

再將左脚自後方偸前以成坐盤步,刀由後上方轉盡歸後,再從下逆劏上,至平為止如「第十六圖定式」。
Then your left foot goes forward from behind with a stealth step to make a sitting twisted stance, the saber going farther back and then going upward from below with a reverse slicing action, stopping when level. See photo 16b:

功用
Application:
彼欲以械來攔我劈項之勢,我即轉為反手逆劏直撩其襠下,逆劏者亦為刀法中之毒着,若非事先予以逆劏之便利,彼當不易以施展矣。
The opponent wants to send in his weapon to block my chop to his neck, so I turn over my hand and do a reverse slicing cut, raising to his crotch. “Reverse slicing” is one of the crueler techniques in the saber art, and unless you are set up with a good opportunity to do this, an opponent will not easily let you get away with it.

第十七式:反身坐盤刀
Posture 17: TURNING AROUND TO CHOP IN A SITTING TWISTED STANCE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,原步往後北方一擰仍成坐盤步,刀由逆劏而隨步劈過北方,如「第十七圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, twist your stance around to the north to make another sitting twisted stance, the saber going along with this movement by chopping to the north. See photo 17:

功用
Application:
彼乘我方注意於前南方之時,突自我後擊進,我為迅速其勢起見,亦不俟轉身易勢而步隨刀轉迎頭殺落,斯乃迅雷不及掩耳之法也。抑亦使彼難覓防禦對策,而為我所乘,用械者貴能神速,於此益證斯言不繆矣。
An opponent takes advantage of the moment that my attention is toward the south by suddenly advancing to attack me from behind. Quickly noticing this, I do not wait until I have turned around to change to a new posture, but instead let my feet follow along with my saber as I spin into a downward slash to his head. This is a situation of “the thunderclap gives no chance to cover one’s ears”, causing him to have difficulty finding a way to defend against it and giving me opportunity to follow up with another attack. Those who wield weapons emphasize being able to move with amazing speed, thus validating that these words are not exaggerations.

第十八:式纒繞大勢轉
Posture 18: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,原步不變,刀先轉過左方貼於肘肩之間如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, the saber first goes across to the left to come near the area between your elbow and shoulder. See photo 18a:

再循左方轉動,全身抽起,當凌空時即轉為騎馬式,刀從左方伸出而平劈往東方,「如第十八圖定式」。
Then spin around to the left with your whole body leaping into the air, and make a horse-riding stance, the saber chopping across to the left to reach toward the east. See photo 18b:

功用
Application:
當多數敵人圍繞我四面八方時,我先將刀貼身者是先求自護,全身凌空抽起而更以橫刀劈殺者是對包圍者施行反擊也。
When there are many opponents encircling me, I first bring my saber close to my body to shield myself, then leap into the air while chopping across to counterattack my surrounding attackers.

第十九式:纒繞大轉勢
Posture 19: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先將刀由前轉後貼於左肩部,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first send the saber arcing behind you to be near your left shoulder. See photo 19a:

再凌空抽起全身由面對北方者,轉而面對南方,仍為騎馬式,刀隨身轉,伸前撇出,如「第十九圖定式」。
Then jump into the air, your body turning from facing to the north to be facing to the south, again making a horse-riding stance, the saber going along with the turning of your body by swinging out forward. See photo 19b:

功用
Application:
當多數敵人圍繞我四面八方時,我先將刀貼身者是先求自護,全身凌空抽起而更以橫刀劈殺者是對包圍者施行反擊也,與上定具有左右前後,互相連繫之作用者也。
When there are many opponents encircling me, I first bring my saber close to my body to shield myself, then leap into the air while chopping across to counterattack my surrounding attackers. This posture links with the previous posture, and you thereby cover all directions – left and right, front and back.

第二十式:撤步迎頭砍
Posture 20: WITHDRAWING STEP, CHOPPING STRAIGHT AHEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,左脚從後撤退一步以成右登山式,刀由平撇轉而往後東方,自上直劈而落,如「第二十圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot retreats a step to make a right mountain-climbing stance as your saber arcs behind you to the east, chopping down from above. See photo 20:

功用
Application:
彼架去我攔腰法之後,隨即向我中下路點進,我乃退步躱之,竄跳返身而用刀砍落其來械也。
After the opponent blocks away my slash to his waist, he immediately stabs forward to my middle or lower body, so I retreat a step to evade it and hop away, then turn back toward him using my saber to cleave downward to his incoming weapon.

第二十一式:挑刀蹤步劈
Posture 21: CARRYING SABER, LEAP & CHOP

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提起左後脚,刀微微向上朝起,如「過渡式」,
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you, the saber slightly lifting to be pointing upward. See photo 21a:

再蹤身跳前約有一步,刀則自上直砍而落,如「第二十一圖定式」。
Then your body leaps forward about a full stride [to again make a right mountain-climbing stance], the saber cleaving downward from above. See photo 21b:

功用
Application:
彼械迎頭打我,我即用過渡式之刀往上向後挑開來械進而順勢直劈其顱,一挑一劈其勢至順,而用力亦易,且在躍進中其砍殺之銳有如大江之水順流而下,縱欲架攔亦為勢所不許矣。
The opponent’s weapon strikes straight at me, so I send my saber upward and to the rear to carry aside his weapon, then advance and chop straight to his head. With this technique of carrying continuing into chopping, it is already easy to express power. Add to that the leaping advance and the movement becomes like the downstream surge of water in a great river. He will want to block, but the nature of this technique will not let him.

第二十二式:挑刀蹤步劈
Posture 22: CARRYING SABER, LEAP & CHOP

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提起左後脚,刀微微向後朝起,如「過渡式,
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you, the saber slightly lifting to be pointing upward. See photo 22a:

再蹤身跳前約有一步之遙,仍為右登山步,刀則自上直砍而落,如「第二十一圖定式」。
Then your body leaps forward about a full stride to again make a right mountain-climbing stance, the saber cleaving downward from above. See photo 22b:

功用
Application:
彼械迎頭打我,我即用過渡式之刀往上向後掛開來械,再乘躍進之勢,直劈其顱,一挑一劈其勢至順,而發力亦易,且在躍進中其砍殺之銳,有如大江之水順流而下,縱欲架攔亦為勢所不許矣,其法與上式為相連者。
The opponent’s weapon strikes straight at me, so I send my saber upward and to the rear to hang aside his weapon, then leap forward and chop straight to his head. With this technique of carrying continuing into chopping, it is already easy to express power. Add to that the leaping advance and the movement becomes like the downstream surge of water in a great river. He will want block, but the nature of this technique will not let him. (This posture and the previous posture are linked together as a single flow.)

第二十三式:跨虎橫撥刀
Posture 23: SITTING-TIGER STANCE, DEFLECTING ACROSS

說明
Explanation:
循上式,將前脚拉起以成右跨虎步,刀則橫撥而歸向北方,如「二十三圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, pull in your front foot to make a right sitting-tiger stance, the saber deflecting across inward to the north. See photo 23:

功用
Application:
彼漏過吾械,即自我左方攻入,我先化登山為跨虎者是求遠離也,再以刀撥歸左方者則是將來械消去也。來械旣已消去,而吾所感受之威脅亦除,趁其勢,而順其械,使我有從容展開有利之攻擊矣。
The opponent evades my weapon and then attacks from my left, so I switch to a sitting-tiger stance to create some distance and use my saber to deflect inward to the left, sending away his weapon. Once I feel this threat has been removed, I could take advantage of the momentum and move further along with his weapon, thereby giving myself both more room to maneuver in the next moment and better targets to attack.

第二十四式:反刀斬倭顱
Posture 24: REVERSE-SABER CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,原步不變,先將刀向頭頂橫攔,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, first send the saber blocking across toward your own head. See photo 24a:

再右前脚進左後脚以成左登山式,刀自頭上橫過左後方再轉過右前方平殺而出,刀鋒平過南方,如「第二十四圖定式』。
Then your right foot advances, followed by your left foot, making a left mountain-climbing stance, as the saber goes over your head across to the left rear and then arcs across with a slash to the forward right, the saber tip level as it passes through toward the south. See photo 24b:

功用
Application:
彼械為我所撥,乃轉過我右後方攻來,我先以刀橫掠之,再轉馬易勢,反刀橫劈其項部焉。
Once I have deflected the opponent’s weapon, he shifts around to attack from my right rear, so I first send my saber across to swipe it aside, then switch my stance and roll my saber over to chop across to his neck.

第二十五式:纒繞攔腰斬
Posture 25: COILING AROUND, SLASHING TO THE WAIST

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先進右脚以成騎馬式,刀貼於背部,然後隨步轉前,再向前平殺而出,如「第二十五圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot advances to make a horse-riding stance, the saber going [to the left,] close to your back, and then going along with your step by arcing forward with a level slashing. See photo 25:

功用
Application:
彼坐馬側首躱避我刀,我即進馬,刀自背後伸前攔腰斬之。或多人圍繞吾於垓心,我乃四面受敵矣,若不以先纏繞本身,勢必為衆所乘,我先求能掩護全身,然後全身旋轉,覓機突圍,斯為置諸於死後然後求生之法也。
The opponent lowers his stance and ducks his head away in order to evade my saber, so I advance and reach out my saber from behind my back with a slash to his waist. Or suppose there are many opponents encircling me in the midst of battle and I am exposed to attack from all sides. Unless I first coil around my body, they will all surge in upon me. So I first seek to be able to shield my whole body, and then I would be able spin around looking for a chance to break out of their encirclement. Such a situation is called “death is here and life is over there”.

第二十六式:斜步舉刀式
Posture 26: DIAGONAL STEP, RAISING THE SABER

說明
Explanation:
上式,先將右前脚移往正北方以成右跨虎之勢,刀從下向北舉起,如「第二十六圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, first your right foot shifts to the north to make a right sitting-tiger stance, the saber raising toward the north from below. See photo 26:

功用
Application:
當我連續作纏繞法時,彼忽走我斜左方,以長械從頂殺下,我立即以挑刀作分勢穿之,由正面相對而轉為斜方攻擊,若無穩捷之法應敵當易陷於危殆之境,步隨刀轉,使對方無隙可乘,若刀隨步轉則予敵以空間之便矣。
When I have not yet completed the technique continuing from coiling the saber, if the opponent suddenly evades to my left and is using a long weapon to smash down onto my head, I immediately use a carrying action to send it off to the side, piercing through his line of attack, turning a direct attack into an angled attack. Without both stability and agility, you will easily fall into a perilous situation. If your step is following your saber, it will prevent the opponent from having a gap to take advantage of, but if instead your saber is following your step, you will be giving him an opening to exploit.

第二十七式 跨步斬倭顱
Posture 27: LEAPING STEP, CUTTING OFF A JAPANESE HEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先提起左後脚,刀背往後拖返,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, first lift up your left foot behind you while using the back of the saber to drag to the rear. See photo 27a:

再蹤身直往以成右登山式,刀斜向前左方劈去,如「第二十七圖定式」。
Then your body leaps to the [north] to make a right mountain-climbing stance, the saber going diagonally forward with a chop to the left. See photo 27b:

功用
Application:
彼以低樁沉械法向我膝部點落,我即以往後拖刀法消去來勢,再食其上路空虛之勢,用躍進法反刀向上再劈彼項部焉。
The opponent gets into a low stance, sinking his weapon, and stabs downward to my knee, so I send my saber to the rear with a dragging action to dispel his incoming force, then take advantage of the opening to his upper body by leaping forward, rolling my saber upward, and chopping to his neck.

第二十八式:纒繞大轉勢
Posture 28: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,先原步不變,將刀橫過左方,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, first the saber goes across to the left. See photo 28a:

再將左脚自後方倒進一步,以成面北背南之騎馬式,刀自背後劈向北方,如「二十八圖定式」。
Then your left foot shifts from behind you [and your right foot] advances a step to make a north-facing horse-riding stance, the saber chopping to the north [east] from behind your back. See photo 28b:

功用
Application:
當多數人圍繞我四面八方時,我先將刀貼身者是先求自護,全身凌空抽起而更以橫刀劈殺者是對包圍者施行反擊也。
When there are many opponents encircling me, I first bring my saber close to my body to shield myself, then leap into the air while chopping across to counterattack my surrounding attackers.

第二十九式:纒繞大轉勢
Posture 29: COILING AROUND IN A LARGE CIRCLE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,原步不變,先將刀橫過過左肩部,如「過渡式」
Continuing from the previous posture, with your stance not changing, first send your saber across, passing your left shoulder. See photo 29a:

再進右脚往西方,再成騎馬式,刀自背後伸前平殺往西方,如「二十九圖定式」。
Then your right foot advances to the west to make another horse-riding stance as your saber goes from behind you and extends forward with a level slash to the west. See photo 29b:

功用
Application:
當多數敵人圍繞我四面八方時,我先將刀貼身者是先求自護,全身凌空抽起而更以橫劈殺者是對包圍者施行反擊,與上式是具有左右前後,互相連繫之作用者也。
When there are many opponents encircling me, I first bring my saber close to my body to shield myself, then leap into the air while chopping across to counterattack my surrounding attackers. This posture links with the previous posture, and you thereby cover all directions – left and right, front and back.

第三十式:撤步迎頭砍
Posture 30: WITHDRAWING STEP, CHOPPING STRAIGHT AHEAD

說明
Explanation:
循上式,右脚從後方撤退一步,以成登山式,刀則順勢,劈落東方,如「第三十圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right [left] foot retreats a step to make a mountain-climbing stance, the saber going along with the movement by chopping down to the east. See photo 30:

功用
Application:
彼架去我攔腰法之後,隨即向我下路點進,我乃提步閃之,而用刀砍落其來械也。
After the opponent blocks away my slash to his waist, he immediately stabs forward to my lower body, so I lift my foot to evade it and use my saber to cleave downward to his incoming weapon.

第三十一式:四平舉刀式
Posture 31: FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE, RAISING THE SABER

說明
Explanation:
循上式,將右脚拉後,以成右跨虎步,同時將刀更向上朝起,如「第三十一圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot pulls back, making a right sitting-tiger stance, as the saber lifts to be pointing upward. See photo 31:

功用
Application:
彼以長械如槍棍之類迎頭殺落,我即雙手舉刀向上一挑,斯乃中心之刀法,使來械滑落左右,來勢雖兇猛異常,至此亦落空矣,且可藉其落空而予以反擊,是彼造成有利之機會與我,非强而可行也,知乎此方足以言用械之奧妙也。
An opponent uses a long weapon such as a spear or staff to smash down onto my head, so I use both hands to raise the saber upward with a carrying action, which is a core saber method, causing his weapon to slide off to either side. Even if his incoming force is extremely fierce, this technique will make it land on nothing, giving me the chance to counterattack. Thus because his action ends up causing me to have the advantage, I can act without having to struggle. From understanding just this one technique, you will know the profound usefulness of this weapon.

第三十二式:收刀四平式
Posture 32: WITHDRAWING THE SABER, FOUR-LEVEL POSTURE

說明
Explanation:
循上式,將右跨虎脚拍齊於左脚以成立正之勢,左手先離刀柄,易(虎口)向上者為向下,右手繼離開刀柄,而以左手替代之,再使刀貼於身傍垂下,右手化為掌,由下圈上,橫攔於頂上,如「第三二十圖定式」。
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot stomps down next to your left foot, making a posture of standing at attention. Your left hand first lets go of the saber handle to switch its tiger’s mouth from facing upward to be facing downward, then your right hand lets go of the saber handle as your left hand takes its place. Then send the saber near the side of your body, hanging down, your right hand changing to a palm and circling upward from below to block higher than your head with the hand sideways. See photo 32:

至此則全刀已完,如是屬於表演者則將右手垂下,使左右手皆垂下,然後鞠躬為禮,便算完成一切矣。
This posture completes the whole set. If you are doing the set as a performance, continue by lowering your right hand so that both hands are hanging down and then bow ceremoniously, thereby bringing the set to a full conclusion.

– – –

[Included below is a related piece from Huang’s Notes on the Mantis Boxing Art (1951).]

漫談大刀隊
ON THE LARGE SABER UNITS

古式武器而見於近代戰場者,始於廿九軍宋哲元將軍,時宋部駐與古北口於日敵作殊死戰,宋鑒於敵强我弱,難得均衡之勢,思一顯古代雄風以挫强敵,乃廣徵名師担任授以特製之大刀,準備旣妥於雪夜摸進敵營,矮奴不虞有此竟被殺戳殆盡,嗣此中華武術震驚中外,淞滬戰起蔣蔡又仿之致用,頗奏膺功,日敵於衝鋒陷陣之間,一見刀光氣燄為奪,初則以鋼軟甲護頸部,繼則以東洋劍術相抗衡,然東洋雖以劍術自鳴為當代之雄,但與刀相抗亦無便宜之佔,蓋刀短而厚利於貼身相搏之際,劍長而薄,肉搏之間,頗嫌其不適於施用,且刀劍相碰長薄者當非短厚之實用,於是東洋自誇武士道之英雄,亦向吾中華武術俯首稱臣矣,自經此役之後,至抗戰軍興,中國軍隊多聘武術敎練担任訓練大刀之術,一則可作强身之運動,再則人負一刀於生死危難之俄頃又多一武器護身,時李白主桂省軍事乃廣徵名師負此責任,先由王軍長贊斌聘得同門學兄林伯叟、潘洪昌、于樂江、鄒喜功等,繼由王於李白前推荐羅老師出任總敎練,羅師怙靜成性弗願膺此,但林潘于鄒等以急於需用大刀術,乃懇請羅師傳授,羅師曰前人本無此術遺授,但淞滬之戰,余迫於急用,乃將斬馬刀之古法,在一夜之間,編成今之大刀術,余今亦以此授汝等而已,同時精武前輩盧君煒昌倡議,集合廣州各武師編大刀術一套,取名聯合大刀術,以余觀點而論聯合大刀頗嫌其繁複,難練,羅師所編出自一人心思,參以古法,精純而簡,全取實用法則,頗合訓練於軍人所需,時南洋抗敵義勇救國團歸國服役,道經香島特邀請羅師演解此術,後竟延期歸國,趕速學習斯法,計祗一週便告成功,該團臨別贈羅師錦旗一面,聊酬義務辛勞之意,近世科學昌明一顆之彈動輒可致數十萬人之死命,吾人生斯亂世寧不可怕哉。
The sight of ancient kinds of weapons being used on modern battlefields began with General Song Zheyuan of the 29th Corps [during the Defense of the Great Wall, Jan–May, 1933]. Song’s troops were positioned at the Gubeikou Pass [Xifengkou Pass], where they resisted the Japanese and were resolved to fight to the last man.
  Song recognized that the enemy was strong and our forces were weak, and that it would be hard to fix the balance. After contemplating the problem, he realized that the old-fashioned idea of using a strong wind to defeat a powerful enemy was the way ahead. He then sought widely for famous masters to give instruction in the use of specially manufactured large sabers. Thus prepared, his troops crept into enemy encampments on a snowy night [Mar 11]. Those Japs had never anticipated such a situation and were almost wiped out. Because of this incident, Chinese martial arts astonished the nation and the world.
  In the Battle of Shanghai [Aug–Nov, 1937], Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] and Cai Bingyan imitated this strategy to great effect. When their troops charged the Japanese, just the sight of the flashing blades and the fury that swung them demoralized the enemy. Though at first the fortitude of the enemy troops softened and they hid their heads, they then wielded their Japanese swords to contend against the sabers. But although the Japanese had proclaimed their sword art to be the best of its time, they could no longer so easily maintain that position when opposing these sabers. This is because our sabers are short and thick, ideal for fighting at close quarters, whereas their swords are long and thin, not as suitable for such a tight range. When sabers and swords clash, long and thin is not as practical as short and thick. Therefore Japan’s boasting about its heroic Bushido switched to bowing in submission to our Chinese martial arts.
  With this battle done, the War had begun [1937–1945], and subsequently the Chinese army often employed martial arts instructors to train the troops in large saber techniques. For one thing, it was an exercise for strengthening the body. For another, a man who carried a saber on his back into perilous situations had a ready means of defending himself. The military in Guangxi Province was at that time presided over by Li Zongren and Bai Chongxi, who sought extensively for teachers to take on this duty. First the corps commander Wang Zanbin engaged his elder classmates Lin Bosou, Pan Hongchang, Yu Liaojiang, and Zou Xigong, and then he recommended to Li and Bai that Master Luo take the post of chief instructor.
  Luo stayed quiet when it was offered to him, instinctively having no desire for such an honor. However, Lin, Pan, Yu, and Zou were anxious about the necessity for large saber techniques, and so they ardently requested of Master Luo that he give instruction. Luo then said: “Previous generations did not teach this art. But after the Battle of Shanghai, I see there is an urgent need.” He then took the ancient horse-slashing saber methods and in the course of a single night created this large saber set that I now teach to you all.
  At the same time, Jingwu elder Lu Weichang proposed gathering various martial arts masters of Guangzhou to make a set of large saber techniques called “United Large Saber Techniques”. In my opinion, that set is too complicated and difficult to train, whereas what Luo made, a set built from the ideas of just one person drawing from ancient methods, is more refined and simple, the whole thing emphasizing practical methods, exactly what is needed for training soldiers.
  Also at that time, the South Seas Resistance Volunteers of the “Rescue the Nation” Corps were returning to the mainland to enlist in the army. When passing through Hong Kong, they specially invited Luo to demonstrate this set. After seeing it, they decided to delay their return in order to quickly learn these techniques. In took just one week for them to absorb the training, and then before leaving they presented Luo with a banner to express thanks for his service and hard work, which said: “In our modern scientific age, little bitty bullets can send hundreds of thousands of men to their deaths. We live in troubled times, but we shall not be afraid.”

[For further information on the large saber, see the 1933 manuals of Jin Enzhong and Yin Yuzhang.]

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