Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’

A groovy little axe…

Friday, November 27th, 2009

When I think of Feng Shui, the Chinese system of organizing your environment in order to maximize positive Chi (aka Qi/Chakra/Energy) flow, the last thing that comes to mind is an axe. However, I suppose, from my admittedly limited knowledge of how it works, there doesn’t seem to be anything in the rulebooks that says Feng Shui cannot work through an axe.

In fact, it seems kind of implicit that an axe should affect the feng shui of any environment, it is in, depending on it’s placement. But now I’m just rambling…

The topic of this post, obviously, is an interesting little axe I ran into a while back. Ostensibly called the Chinese Feng Shui Axe:

Chinese Feng Shui Axe

Chinese Feng Shui Axe

As you can see, it’s an unusual little, all metal axe, fairly simple in design, with a relatively small (as axes go) crescent shaped head, a contoured gourd shaped pommel, and a spike on top. And, or course, the requisite red hair tassel to redirect the blood that might result from employing a little “Feng Shui” reorganization of someones face with said axe..

Hey, I kid, I kid… For the record, I do not condone the arbitrary reorganization of other peoples faces with axes, or, for that matter, any other kind of weapon. Except scalpels. In which case you must be a plastic surgeon, and the person must have been absolutely hideous to start with. But I digress.

This axe actually looks kinda cool, and seems like it would be a little heavy, but fairly effective. But it is, in fact, supposed to frighten bad Chi away. At least according to the website I found it on. Me personally, I think I’d employ a much larger, quite a lot more intimidating axe for that particular task.

I mean seriously. Have you seen the sheer amount of bad Chi floating around nowadays? πŸ˜€

Chinese Feng Shui Axe – [Online Oriental]

Twin Spinning Points of Doom… :D

Friday, November 6th, 2009

A while back, there was an interesting discussion on the Exotic Automatic Forums (http://exoticautomatic.com) about a rather cool weapon, or set of weapons, called Emeici or Emei Piercers (aka Emei Daggers). they are basically a set of steel rods, with sharp broadhead-like points on each end and a finger ring on a pivot attached at the center. Looky here:

Emei Piercers

Emei Piercers

Emeici are a traditional Chinese martial arts weapon, most notably practiced in Wu-Shu. The primary purpose of these weapons is obviously to speedily inflict deep puncture wounds, and in that regard, they are excellently designed.Β  The rods are of an extremely efficient design, in my opinion, very strong, but still extremely light and quick. I cannot fault that aspects of the design.

I’ve known of these weapons for a long time, and between the mechanical aspects of it’s design, and the rather visually impressive techniques typically used when wielding them, I cannot, argue they aren’t really, really cool. However in typical DarkBlader fashion, I cannot help but ask myself… What percentage of this kind of this “second kind” of cool is actually useful?

I have a lot of respect of traditional martial arts, the vast majority of my experience has been in TMAs, and so I see value in many of the traditional ways of doing things. *However* I have always found TMAs to have a rather unfortunate tendency towards the retention of outdated techniques and ideologies, and this weapon seems to be no exception.

[pro-player width=’320′ height=’240′ type=’video’]http://thedarkblade.com/wp-content/uploads/emeici.mp4[/pro-player]

Besides the obvious snafu of having an overenthusiastic martial artist pretty much admitting, on a nationally syndicated television series, that he is prone to the colloquial *bloodrage*, πŸ˜€Β  my point of contention is this: Does allowing the weapon to spin actually add any useful value to the use of the weapon besides the cool or intimidation factor? Or is it just for show?

If you ask a TMA what the practical benefits of being able to spin emeici around are, they will tell you it is helpful for confusing your opponent. They will argue that it allows quick switch ups, changes in direction, etc. And to some degree, this is true of most knives. The grip, the position of the edge or edges, the orientation of the point, etc. tell you things about how and where your opponent might strike.

But while the quick change-up explanation has merit, there are really only two grips that you can use with a set of emeici, between which you can perform any strike, to any target. So while this all sounds good in theory, I wouldn’t be looking predominantly at the position of the weapon to try and figure out where the next attack was going.

For spinning, double-ended stabbing weapons, since the spinning, by itself, does not really change any of those factors, methinks it would not matter so much. I don’t think I would be any more confused by the spinning than if it were being held still. I have yet to spar an Emeici wielding opponent, so my analysis may turn out to be entirely wrong, but…

What do you think? Anyone feel like weighing in on this one? Spinning Emeici: Mostly Show? Or Absolutely Go?

Emeici – [Chinatown Shop]

The Enigmatic Chinese Hook Sword.

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I have always found Chinese weapons quite interesting. Unlike most of their Japanese counter parts, whose forms seemed to more or less always follow function, Chinese blades always seem, to me at least, to possess a level of aesthetic that supersedes it’s function. Or is highly influenced by it.

You can see this difference in their martial arts. Just compare the fluidity and nature based motion of five animal style Chinese Kung-Fu, to, for instance, the direct, and purely functional approach of Japanese Shotokan Karate. Granted, each of these styles tend to gravitate towards one another in directness/fluidity and vice versa as you progress in skill, but where they each start from is still worlds apart. The difference in their perspective weapon designs are no different.

A typical example is the Black Ronin Ninja Ring I posted about a while back. While it was referred to as a “Ninja” weapon, the design was hardly Japanese in nature, but rather had a lot more in common with the Chinese Deer Horn knife, or Sun and Moon Ring. You will also notice how even the names of many Chinese weapons are based on things that occur in nature.

You can almost always see the influence of this mindset in the design of their weapons. Whereas, in contrast, with little more than a quick glance, you can see exactly where the design of a Japanese Katana, came from, and I can almost certainly guarantee you that neither Bambi, the man in the moon, the sun, or any beasty of any type had anything to do with it.

But today, I thought I’d post about a specific Chinese weapon that I have always found intriguing, primarily because it seems, on the surface, a very wacky design, however it is at the same time, quite a versatile weapon. Almost a Swiss army knife of swords. In trademark Chinese weapon kind of way. I speak of none other than the Chinese Hook Sword, aka the Tiger Hook Sword, aka the Heaven and Sun Moon Sword:

Chinese Hook Sword Set - Black (Red Cord Grips)

Chinese Hook Sword Set - Black (Red Cord Grips)

Nobody really seems to be sure where or when the Chinese hook sword was first made and used. Very little information exists about it, and what little that does seems to be fairly recent, in comparison to many other Chinese sword designs. But what we do know was that it was designed to be used in quite a bit different fashion from any other sword of the day.

This sword incorporates many different design features, many of which I thought were rather clever. Take the hilt for instance. Instead of a pommel cap, like every other sword, the Chinese hook sword has… another point! In fact some traditional designs actually put a full fledged double edged knife/dagger down there. This is not a sword you want to get butt stroked with. πŸ™‚

And then there’s the guard. No square or round guard here, rather, there is a full finger guard, consisting of two steel standoffs at the top and bottom of the cord wrapped grip, at the end of which there is… You guessed it! A half moon blade. Yep. A crescent moon shaped edge sits on the outside of the finger guard. Sporting two points and a blade in between, this is, again, a sword you reeeeaaaallly don’t want to get punched in the face with.

From the hilt up, we have the standard, single edged, straight sword affair, all up until we get to the point. Which, for reasons I will explain a bit later, someone thought would be cool to force into a swift a u-turn. For this reason, the point pulls a 180, and curves back down towards the hilt. With a fancy little outward pointing curlicue at the end.

“What’s this?” You cry “No point?” No, my friends, sadly it has no real point. But that is besides the point. (Yes, yes, my point puns are getting old, I know. But if I can’t make the occasional (read: to death) point puns, what’s the point? πŸ˜€ ) The point here πŸ™‚ is that this weapon was designed for a much different purpose than thrusting.

This sword was designed for flexibility of use, and it’s point was sacrificed in order to allow it to be used in a way that a straight sword can’t. Specifically, this sword was designed to allow better hooking (obviously) opponent weapon and limb trapping, and… Surprise, surprise, reach extension!! Yes, you read right. *Reach* extension.

OK so here’s the thing. The traditional practitioners of the hook sword generally used them in pairs. And they did so for very good reason. They actually practiced using them with one sword hooked to the end of the other sword, and swing it around like a flail! In fact, they still do. Using them this way extends the wielders reach to roughly 5 ft.

Except, as you can imagine, with a point on the pommel, and a crescent blade guard, this flail has got at least three nasty points and at least one blade. All swinging around at speeds that are wickedly fast, and itching to leave a mark somewhere.That’s not to say they aren’t evil enough by themselves.

Each hook sword has a blade with an edge that is sharpened from just above the hilt, until just before the hook, much like a regular sword, and, of course, that little curlicue at the end of the hook is also sharpened, (and very pointy!) so that it is still a potent sword in it’s own right.

So, to recap. Blade on the pommel, blade and points on the grip/guard,Β  blade on the blade… πŸ™‚Β  a hook, blade on the front of the hook, aaaaaaand a point. Seems to me like they got almost all of the important points covered… πŸ˜€

Twin Chinese Hook Swords – Black – [True Swords]

Cool Replicas – Part 2: Benihime

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Welcome to the next installment of my miniseries about second gen replicas that are think are improvements of ones I have already posted about. Today we take a look at yet another Zanpakuto from the anime Bleach, Specifically that of Kisuke Urahara. This is another great weapon found by Mozza (thanks again!) called Benihime – The Crimson Princess:

Kisuke Uraharas Zanpakuto - Benihime Shikai

Kisuke Urahara's Zanpakuto - Benihime (Crimson Princess) Shikai

This sword is the Shikai form of Kisukes Zanpakuto Benihime (Crimson Princess), which is a sword cane with a curved handle in its unawakened form. In an earlier post, I had talked a little bit about how I thought this particular design actually had a lot of good practical design point.

I won’t go over its detailed physical attributes again, but I will point out that the other sword was not so much a sucky sword as much as it was not as detailed, accurate and meticulously finished as this one. In this design, you can see a lot more effort has been put into giving it more depth and character.

In this one the canted pommel is much more prominently featured, as is the unusual ricasso. The little triangles attached to the ricasso actually hang from a tassel in the anime, but I suppose it’s a minor detail that is not of much structural significance.

It is difficult to tell from this pic whether this shares the same full tang construction of the first Benihime I posted about, but if it does not it would be an inferior design, though it would make for an interesting contrast. Shame that the pictures are not particularly clear about how well put together this weapon is at a physical level.

If I were a betting creature, I would guess this build is structurally of lesser quality than the other. Which makes this kind of a bittersweet weapon to post about, since even though the it is a much more “accurate” reproduction compared to the other, the other one appeared to be constructed in a way that would still make a superior weapon.

So while It’s aesthetically clearly superior, and gets a good grade on accuracy, fit and finish, the practicality and the durability of it’s construction may leave something to be desired.

Why does it seem like there is always a trade off somewhere… ?

Kisuke Urahara’s Zanpakuto: Benihime Shikai – [Anime Castle]

A fancy pushdagger i could like…

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

A buddy of mine, Sinza who started the Exotic Automatic forum we run together (you should go check it out: http://exoticautomatic.com) sent in a link to an interesting weapon a while back. It’s basically a pushdagger, to be exact, and a rather ornate one at that, but this one gets brownie points because it just so happens that it bears my name:

Fire Blade

Fire Blade

Ok, so we don’t have exactly the same name, but it’s close enough. Go figure, a genuine Fire Blade! And, the cool thing is, unlike the many other really flashy but useless pieces I run into all the time, this one is actually usable. Ergonomically designed even… Yay for our side!!

So what we have here is a really flashy punch dagger design, with basically has three blades, all attached to the an ornately cast “T” shaped grip, with the center blade attached to the center stem of the “T” which expands out into a smaller, internal sub guard over the center finger area, and each additional blade attached to either side of the main grip.

As grips go, this one is very elaborately designed, with an organic, almost coral like motif cast into the surface of the entire grip. At either side of the palm side of the grip, extend what looks like little set of branches arcing upwards towards the wielder.

Moving down past that we see the ends of the grip both angle down towards the front blade, while, from the center of the grip, extends a short stalk. And at the ends of each of these points, we have our blades. An unusual feature of this grip is that it has multiple choils, of finger guides, along the front, theoretically to give you a better grip. Ergonomics at work.

But it is the blades where the magic happens. Most notably on the side blades. Each side blade is cut into an interesting Asian flame pattern, with the flame front sporting a rather wicked looking edge on either side. the center blade is less obviously flame patterned, featuring two side licking flames, and a split center blade.

All in all, a rather flamboyant design, but not too bad in the practicality department either. The side blades appear to be fairly sturdily attached, and assuming they have more than a short stub tang embedded in the handle casting, should be fairly strong, and take side slashing duty fairly effortlessly.

The center blade, well, I’d much have preferred to see a slightly thicker center stem, however for thrust duty, (again assuming a more than minimal tang) it should suffice. I Just wouldn’t try anything that might place shearing forces on that particular joint. It’s a design flaw that seem very common with decorative push dagger designs.

Overall, this design is a little overboard on the fancy flash factor for yours truly, but it’s certainly a practically feasible design. And given it’s name, it just had to get a post… Call me biased… πŸ˜€

Fire Blade – [Ninja-Weapons]

Exotic Automatic – [http://exoticautomatic.com]

Log In

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 159,176 bad guys.

Your Weapon Sir?
The Raiders Almanac
April 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
Surf the Sands of Time:
Phyreblades Site of the Month!