螳螂躥林 Spurting through the Forest

雙手長劍在中國歷代一般為儀衛所使用的武器。劍刃之所以這樣長主要有兩個原因:1)長大的武器能覆蓋更大的範圍,更適合侍衛使用;2)彰顯衛士與所保護者(皇室或政府要員)的威嚴。明代的圖卷我們可以看到長大的長柄兵器或斬馬刀取代了長劍作爲儀衛用途的功能。

而長劍或長刀在戰場上的使用可以追溯到明代戚繼光與日本海盜(倭寇)交戰取得日本長刀技術這事件。此後長刀納入部分明代軍隊編制,主要為弓手與銃手的近身戰武器。雙手握劍的劍法可見於《朝鮮勢法》,相信是朝鮮記錄了往時中原劍術,然後再轉傳回中土。我們現在雙手劍的起源,有一説是跟倭寇交戰有關,另有一説是明代末期軍中長刀技巧演變而成。後者是螳螂拳創立者王朗實為明末軍人于七的傳説,現在我們難以説明這傳説的真實與否。

躥林的特點是以劍距與突發、急速的步法在多個角度製造空間應付多方威脅。

真劍與現時武術用劍有著天淵之別。真劍的重量與力點對身法與步法的配合要求很高,揮舞這重量作高速活動一分鐘就會耗盡體力。武術用劍柔軟而輕,就算較重,它的力點也因此偏後。因杠桿原理關係使得武術劍的操作更輕便,也因此減弱了劍鋒與身體的自然聯係,容易使得身體過先,劍則失去重心。武術用劍可以讓初學者更易掌握動作,但熟習後應以真劍練習,不然練習者永遠不會明白劍的物理規律,使練習失去意義。

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.

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