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TheMightyMcClaw
9/23/2015 2:38am,
Hey there!
So I tried doing a forum search, but to no avail, so I apologize if there are any threads on this topic already.
Anyways: Gear for sparring with Chinese straightsword and saber -recommendations? Particularly, the swords themselves?
When I was swordfighting my way across China, most of the clubs used either the padded swords that Lancelot Chan manufactured in Hong Kong or the Polyurethane ones that Jia Wei manufactured in Nanjing. I have both of their contact info, and can theoretically order some, but it would be quite expensive and quite a long ways to go. So, I was curious if there was anyone else who's found good, affordably priced swords for Chinese sword sparring. I was thinking about trying to take some Shinai and cut them down for a one-handed grip, but honestly have no idea how well that would work.
Thank you, venerable kung fu hivemind.

Permalost
9/23/2015 12:06pm,
The group I train with now uses the kind of synthetic blade trainers used in HEMA. I like them a lot, and something like an arming sword would be pretty similar to a jian.

W. Rabbit
9/23/2015 4:08pm,
Chan's swords are a blunt, steel core wrapped in layers of polyethylene foam. It costs him about 800-1000 HKD to make one, so about $100-$130 USD roughly in materials.

You can probably construct your own pretty cheaply. In fact, you could approximate one by sliding a standard "pool noodle" over a metal baton or similar device.

I recently had an idea to investigate synthetics for exactly this purpose. Because of their structural matrix (which is like a layered form of "bubble wrap"), those damned polyethylene noodles are some of the most shock absorbent material you could wrap around anything for pennies on the dollar.

HOWEVER...it only works if the core (whatever it is) is not sharp. Don't try wrapping that **** around a live blade or even a dull one, it'll slice through that material like it was warm butter.

Timo Nieminen
9/23/2015 8:02pm,
Wood, plastic, steel - all work with appropriate safety equipment and behaviour. HEMA/WMA synthetic or steel cut-and-thrust trainers might work OK, if suitable length and style of hilt.

For really cheap:
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=E472PP
http://www.amazon.com/BladesUSA-E472-PP-Martial-Polypropylene-Training/dp/B00BMU0BII
http://www.amazon.com/BladesUSA-E474-PP-Martial-Polypropylene-Training/dp/B00BMTZCKG

Permalost
9/24/2015 1:14am,
I've used the pool noodle covered stick at the Pl Blossom International tournament in San Francisco years ago. They had a weapon sparring division. I got a medal. I thought it was a poor simulator for a sword. Too wide, no edge.

I've used similar eskrima sparring sticks that were rattan covered in foam pipe insulation covered in tape. Its thinner than pool noodle so its a little better.

Ultimately, even a bare stick doesn't closely approximate a sword edge. Those synthetic ones come a lot closer. You can find them for like $50.

Another big advantage of the synthetic blades over a rigid padded stick/sword is that they flex a bit on the thrust.