Traveling Dragon Thirteen-Technique Spear

Grandmaster Wong demonstrating the application of the sword against the staff with Sifu Michael Chow

The staff is considered as the mother of weapons because it contains the main techniques of almost all other weapons! This must come as a surprise to many people as the staff, devoid of sharp edges and fanciful appendixes, looks simple. It does not, however, have the reverse-slicing technique of a hook, and the trapping technique of a trident.

There is another unique and interesting feature of the staff not found in other weapons. Weapons may be classified into light and heavy, and into long and short. But a staff can fall into any one of these four categories. In other words, a staff has the advantage of being light and heavy, long and short at the same time! It is an interesting example of profundity in simplicity.

The Chinese sword, on the other hand, is a master's weapon, because it needs great skills to use a sword well. An ordinary martial artist would not be competent enough to use it effectively even when he knows the necessary sword techniques.

Learning how to use a sword against a staff is very cost-effective. It is like learning how to use a sword against a variety of different weapons. If you can counter a downward attack of a staff, you can counter the typical smashing attack of a Big Trident, if you can counter a sweeping attack of the staff, you can counter the horizontal cutting technique of a Big Knife, as they use the same principles.

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“Shaolin How Not to use a Sword

Here is how not to use a sword. Such incorrect uses are sometimes shown in movies depicting swordsmen against opponents using other weapons. Clashing a dainty sword against a heavy weapon would break the sword into pieces.

“Shaolin Don't Break your Swords into Pieces

Using the sword in the ways shown here would result in the sword being broken into pieces. Then, how would you defend against or counter an opponent chopping you on your head or sweeping your at your sides with a long, heavy staff?

“Shaolin A Clean Killing Move of the Heavenly Dragon

An effective counter against a chopping staff is “Jade Girl Carries Pot”, followed by “Heaven Dragon Drops Water” if, as in the past, it is absolutely necessary to kill an opponent. This thrusting attack, piercing the sword into the opponent body near his armpit and coming out on the other side near his kidney kills in one smooth move.

This, of course, is only for academic curiosity. None of us would want to do that. Another effective counter against the chopping staff attack is “Separate Clouds to Look at Silence”, which is as exotic as it is poetic.

“Shaolin More Compassionate Techniques to Disarm an Opponent

Instead of killing an opponent, a less drastic counter is to cut off his arm or more compassionately just to slice it which will be sufficient to disarm him to discontinue combat. “Separate Clouds to Look at Silence” and “Breeze Sways Floating Greens” are some of these compassionate techniques.

“Shaolin Fatal Strike, Nasty Counter or just Disarming him

An effective way to disarm an opponent without hurting him much is cutting his hand or wrist using the pattern “Phoenix Dots Head” or “Green Dragon Dots Water”.

If he abuses your kindness and attempts to kill you instead, you can finish him with one strike using “Assassinating the Emperor” pierce the sword into his liver or kidney, or just point your sword at one of these vital organs indicating that you could pierce in if you wish.

To be nasty against someone who is really nasty, you may slice his groin with “Point at Star and Look at Moon”. But actually we would choose just to disarm him by slicing his hands with “Sweep Thousand Armies”.

“Shaolin Beautiful Patterns, Beautiful Functions

Sword patterns are beautiful. Many people think that they are merely decorative, not knowing that they are what they are because of their combat functions. “Carry Moon at Bossom”, shown in this video clip, is one such example.

“Green Dragon Starts Dancing” is as poetic as it is functional; it disarms an opponent at a time when he thinks he has made a strike.

“Shaolin Jian-Zi or Sword-Finger

An important aspect of swordsmanship is the form of the other hand not holding the sword. It is held in a formation known as “jian-zi” or “sword-finger”. Why is the sword-finger held in this particular way?

It is because this particular formation facilitates chi to be channeled to the sword while not tensing the arm which may affect agility. It may also be used to dot an opponent's vital point, as shown in this video clip.

You can view all the videos above by clicking the picture or the caption below

Sword against Staff -- Master's Weapon against Mother of Weapons from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.

You can also view all the videos here

We wish to thank Sifu Emiko Hsuen and Sifu Michael Chow for providing these video clips

The Amazing Combat Application of the Traveling Dragon Sword