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Thread: chinese sword etiquette?

  1. #1
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    chinese sword etiquette?

    Does sword etiquette exist in chinese culture, like it does in japanese martial culture? For example, if you were sitting across from someone and you have your sword laying next to you on your right side it would mean that you trusted whoever was across from you, where as if you had it on your left side it shows that you don't trust the person. Is there anything like this in chinese culture?

    kunoichi

  2. #2
    I've trained in Chinese sword forms, and I've never come across any sort of this so called sword etiquette in Shaolin. Which does not mean that it does not exist. Decheng focused more on technique and how to use it to kill people than anything else.

    Uwe would be the one to answer this in a more formidable fashion.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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  3. #3
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    Let me dig in my library. You will get an answer soon.



    Uwe

  4. #4
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    I cant disappoint the great bald one now can I?


    In regards to Chinese sword etiquette, there is not too much written down, such as is the case with Japanese, Korean, European and other swords. However, one thing can be said that a number of the Japanese customs are also often applied to Chinese swords, sometimes with small variations.

    The following is an excerpt from one of my seminars way back when….

    I am listing here the same points I had listed then, because it was used to start a discussion around all these individual points, and I think it would be fun to do this over here as well not too mention to see where we are getting with this time around versus 10 years ago.

    Never place a sword on the ground. Never draw a sword partway. It is bad luck to practice with a sword made for an altar (the so-called "temple swords"), but it is absolutely permissible to place the sword you practice with on an altar. Always use two hands to offer or accept a sword.

    For a good spirit give your sword flowers. If you want a bad spirit give your sword meat.

    In the five-element theory, a sword being metal burns the air when used. This can give one a sore throat and hurt the voice. To avoid this, at the beginning of practice you touch the very tip of your tongue to the sword so you take in some of the metal to protect you from the fire.

    When you see antique Chinese swords and sabers, either naked (not mounted) blades or weapons which have lost their original scabbards, their blades are painted a vermillion red. The red paint is applied to unprotected blades in order to keep their "energy" from causing harm to those who handle them.

    Many Taoists do not prefer a metal sword for ritual, most of the time a carved peach wood that has been carved from a special peach tree or piece of a special peach tree that has been blessed. If you do see a metal sword, it is usually placed next to the altar, not on it. This is for protection and elementals.

    A Dao is not usually hung on a wall but placed on a stand. A dao with the blade facing up means the owner has passed away.

    Similarly, swords displayed with the handles to the right mean they are not in peaceful times and when the handle points to the left there is peace and it is not in use. However, these are more practical than superstitious reasons .

    One practice is to 'feed' your sword blood, especially your own blood and even better if your name is engraved on the sword (or if the sword has its own name engraved on it).

    This practice -- along with practicing with the right yi (or killing intention) is believed to make the sword come more 'alive'.

    There are also accounts of old weapons which have been used to kill and bring 'ill fortune', I say if something doesn't feel right, get rid of it!


    That should get us started...

    Uwe

  5. #5
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    Very interesting! I wonder why sword etiquette in more pronouced in japanese culture.
    There are also accounts of old weapons which have been used to kill and bring 'ill fortune', I say if something doesn't feel right, get rid of it!
    I agree. I love to go into antique shops and just feel the differnt energies.

    In the five-element theory, a sword being metal burns the air when used. This can give one a sore throat and hurt the voice. To avoid this, at the beginning of practice you touch the very tip of your tongue to the sword so you take in some of the metal to protect you from the fire.
    This is very strange, I have never heard anything like that before. Would love to hear more if you got it.

    Kunoichi

  6. #6
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    I will dig up some more and post it. Probably tomorrow.

    Uwe

  7. #7
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    Thanks for posting and thanks for starting this thread.

    Very interesting reading, it's amazing how differently a sword is treated with ceremony and even superstition as compared to something like a gun. Must be the personal nature with which it is employed.

  8. #8
    I've been told that if you have a Japanese sword in a stand, if you keep it in its scalberd with the blade edge down, that's a sign of peace. A warrior would keep it blade edge up.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  9. #9
    When setting the table it is proper to put the fork on the left side of the plate and the spoon (on the outside) and knife (on the inside) on the right side. The knife's blade should be facing to the right so if some one wanted to slit your throat from behind you with your knife they would have to spend the extra second turning the blade around.

    While all of sword etiquette is interesting history. It is just that history.
    "What is barely legal?" - Ali G

  10. #10
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    I don't know, Rob. People can get pretty strange when it comes to their guns.

    But it would make sense that more superstition is attached to the sword anyway, simply because it's a much older instrument.

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