Two-handed long swords were used mostly by ceremonial guards through out Chinese history. The length of the blade serves two functions: 1) it has further reach and can cover more ground, and thus, it is more suitable for guard duty; 2) to display the prowess and status of the person being guarded (royalties or high ranking officials). In the Ming era scrolls, we can see longer and larger polearms or the Horse Chopper, taking over the two-handed sword’s place and used by the Emperor’s guards.
The long sword or long sabre’s use in battle can be traced back to the war against Japanese raiders in the Ming era, where Qi Jiguang captured a Japanese long swords scrolls detailing the Japanese methods. From then on, the long sabre was adopted into the Ming military, and it was mainly used by the archers or arquebusiers to make them better at melee.
The way to use a sword in two hands can be seen in The Korean Sword Stances. This is a probably a record of earlier Chinese swordsmanship preserved by the Korean and transmitted back to China. The origin of our two-handed sword can be traced back to either the war with the Japanese raiders, or the long sabre method in the Ming military. The latter comes from the legend of Wang Lang, the legendary founder of the Mantis, who was said to have participated in campaigns at the end of the Ming Dynasty. There is no way to know where this legend is true.
The idea of the Spurt is to use the length of the sword, coupled with sudden and dashing footwork to create space at multiple angles to deal with multiple opponents.
Using a real sword is very different from the usual Wushu sword. A real sword is very demand on the user’s footwork and body movement due to its weight and weight distribution. As such, using it in this intensity can be exhausting within a minute. The Wushu sword is soft and light, and even if it gets heavier, its softness at the tip would shift the percussion point back. The sword is easier to handle this way due to how a lever works, but it also diminishes the connection between the sword and its user, creating the tendency of letting the body move too fast and losing the impact point of the sword.
Beginners can use the Wushu sword to get used to the movements, because using a real sword requires a high level of skills and physical abilities. Once the practitioner knows the movements well enough, they should start using the real sword, for otherwise, they would never understand the physics of the sword.