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    Traditional Chinese Sword League and Tournament

    Hey all,

    Just posting this for any enthusiasts of traditional Chinese swordsmanship---The TCSL is holding a beginnner's tournament this Spring. Our league promotes a hard-contact Chinese wooden sword fighting competition. In a nutshell, here are the rules:

    * Contestants can be from any school or style of Chinese martial arts, and can use any type of jian or dao, as long as it meets the specifcations detailed in the rules

    * swords must have MINIMUM weight of 600 grams (1.33 lbs), bringing them in line with historical Chinese swords

    * all techniques with the sword are allowed

    * Every part of the body is a legal target

    * blows must hit hard enough that they would have caused serious injury if they had been performed with real swords

    * FULL power, bone-breaking blows are not allowed, partially for safety, and partially because we want to promote swordsmanship, and don't want people using their wooden swords as clubs.

    * Different targets have different point values, but a solid blow delivered to head or torso will be considered a "kill" and will end match.

    * Punches, kicks and throws are allowed (although they don't count for much point-wise)

    Full rules, and equipment requirements are here:

    http://www.swordleague.com/rules.html

    The next tournament will be a beginner's tournament (less than 2 years experience), and will take place on April 3, 2010, in Bladensburg, MD. See the official site at the link above for more info. Grand prize will be a custom made wooden jian made by Graham Cave:

    http://www.tigers-den-swords.com/web_pages/products.htm

    Here's a video clip of our 2008 tournament:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...0898991&hl=en#

    I've competed in both of our tournaments so far, so if anyone has any questions, comments or criticisms (perish the thought!) I'd be happy to answer them!
    Last edited by CMA-sword; 2/09/2010 11:52am, .

    #2
    nice to see people using actual technique, rather than it going out the window when the fight is on. Looks sort of like a mix between FMA sparring, Dog Bros. and SCA.
    I say Dog Bros, only because of the use of wooden swords and in some cases minimal protection (no elbow pads-yikes!) personally, I would like to see a safer method-perhaps various length shinais? (I've done full-contact weapon sparring in this manner-FMA gear and shinai of different length-gim, dao, wu-dip dao,etc., and it worked very well)But, all in all, it looks pretty kewl.

    Comment


      #3
      Very cool. I look forward to more videos.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks, TenTigers.

        As far as using shinais, that was something that we were actually very strongly against. We're trying to do something very different from martial sports like Kendo and sport fencing. Those can be great fun (I fence epee myself) and they require great skill, but the weapons are so much lighter and unrealistic that they lend themselves to techniques and strategies that aren't always historically accurate or martially realistic. Our wooden swords have a weight, balance and heft that is pretty close to historical Chinese swords, and we think of our competetions as much more of a real martial art than a martial sport. Just as Kendo is different from Kenjutsu, and sport fencing is different from historical European swordsmanship. That's our goal anyways---it can never be perfect, as wood doesn't handle exactly like steel, and you can't perfectly duplicate a real sword fight unless you made things insanely dangerous.

        Also, with our "kill shot" rule, we're trying to make sure that if someone wants to try a silly, unrealistic technique, they better make it work or their bout could be instantly over with one swing of the opponent's sword.

        As far as the safety factor goes---you're right, I also cringe at my pal not wearing elbow pads in that clip! I believe he padded up quite a bit more for our 2009 tournament. But in our 2008 and 2009 tournaments, I think the worst injury was one broken finger. We're REALLY strict about people sticking to sword techniques with full speed but moderate power, and not trying to use their swords as clubs---the refs disallow that as excessive force. In our 2008 tournament we had a petite 20 year old woman compete, and last year we had a woman in her 50's compete---and they both came through relatively unscathed (they did have a good degree of training and skill). We're definitely trying to keep this league as something that will appeal to a wider pool of competitors other than just young, hardcore guys.


        Your comments are appreciated----we've only had this going a couple years, and it's been a small pool of competitors. We're trying to open up the field and see what people think and how things develop.

        Comment


          #5
          Looks neat. I don't like that the video calls it full contact when it's clearly not, but I think the slow-motion replays were indeed awesome.

          Sadface:
          All techniques with the sword are allowed, however, while all cuts maybe delivered as full speed, no full power blows with the weapon are allowed. At the referee's sole discretion, a player maybe penalized or forfeit the match for using excessive force without warning.
          ...
          Kicks to the knees are not allowed.
          ...
          Striking with excessive force, -3 points.
          How broadly are knee-kicks forbidden? Are thigh or shin kicks common?
          What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by 1point2 View Post
            Looks neat. I don't like that the video calls it full contact when it's clearly not, but I think the slow-motion replays were indeed awesome.


            How broadly are knee-kicks forbidden? Are thigh or shin kicks common?

            Thanks 1point2. Yeah, I agree the term "full-contact" may not be completely accurate. From our perspective, since we're dealing with swordsmanship and not stick-fighting, people are hitting each other hard enough that if it were a real sharp sword, it would cause serious/fatal damage---but it is true that we're not allowed to hit each other as hard as we can with the swords.

            As far as the kicks---to be honest it hasn't really come up that much. We've really only had two full tournaments. Kicks, punches and throws are all allowed, but they're scored only 1/10 of a point. We're trying to promote swordsmanship, so while we did want to allow those things, we wanted to keep them as auxilliary options--not the focus of the fighting. We figured that in a real swordfight, you're generally going to want to use your most lethal weapon: the sword, and we tried to make the rules reflect that. But really, this league is just getting started, and as I recall, all of us in the tournaments were so focused on the sword techniques, and with our adrenaline up there during the bouts, I don't think anyone used very many non-sword techniques at all. Probably all of us could have effectively used some of those techniques here and there, but from my experience, when you're in the bout, it kind of feels too risky to do to much of that---especially given the distance you'd have to cover to deliver a leg kick versus the reach of your opponent's sword.

            Comment


              #7
              do you have a source for wooden dao suitable for sparring, or only jian?

              how about pole vs. sword, do you guys considered that classic battle? i was never much of a sword guy.

              how about a kwan dao division on horseback? wouldn't that kick ass?
              "Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
              "When I was a little boy, I had a sailor suit, but it didn't mean I was in the Navy." - Mtripp on the subject of a 5 year old karate black belt
              "Without actual qualifications to be a Zen teacher, your instructor is just another roundeye raping Asian culture for a buck." - Errant108
              "Seriously, who gives a fuck what you or Errant think? You're Asian males, everyone just ignores you, unless you're in a krotty movie." - new2bjj

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Ming Loyalist View Post

                how about a kwan dao division on horseback? wouldn't that kick ass?
                Three Kingdoms-style mounted polearm duels are definitely the next step, but I think it'll be a long way coming.

                Anyway, my old Taiji instructor (who lifts at the same gym as I do) told me about this, and I thought it was pretty damn cool. I'm glad Chinese swordsmanship is finally getting an outlet other than just flowery forms.
                The fool thinks himself immortal,
                If he hold back from battle;
                But old age will grant him no truce,
                Even if spears spare him.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Ming Loyalist View Post
                  do you have a source for wooden dao suitable for sparring, or only jian?

                  how about pole vs. sword, do you guys considered that classic battle? i was never much of a sword guy.

                  how about a kwan dao division on horseback? wouldn't that kick ass?
                  For daos, this woman makes great weapons:

                  http://little-raven.com/RS/MA/Do.html

                  She made my sparring dao----but it is a custom order because the blade has to be wider (mine is 3/4 inch wide) than her normal ones for heavy-contact sparring.

                  The pole vs. sword does sound fun, but we've had enough trouble making the rules work for just jian and dao!

                  Mounted kwandao sounds intriguing, but I'm thinking it may be a bit difficult getting the horse up on the lei tai platform.:icon_joke

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Knowing how to throw kicks and knees while fighting with weapons is a science that can really throw off your opponent's game. Krabi krabong has some neat tactics for inserting the straight knee, push kick and round kick with the shin in such a way that you don't just get cut while doing it. I remember I was playing with sticks with Poidog at a throwdown, and he threw some kicks when he would block (DBMA contains the most functional krabi krabong I've seen). Even if they were low on the point scale, they could be worth it for disrupting your opponent's rhythm and confidence if you were decent enough at being sneaky with them.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CodosDePiedra View Post
                      Knowing how to throw kicks and knees while fighting with weapons is a science that can really throw off your opponent's game. ......Even if they were low on the point scale, they could be worth it for disrupting your opponent's rhythm and confidence if you were decent enough at being sneaky with them.
                      I'm sure you're right, and that's why we allow it in the rules---I think it's just a case that none of us have focused on that aspect yet. Something to work on, definitely.


                      Here's a clip of a full bout, so folks can see what one looks like:

                      http://www.youtube.com/v/ENLp4YoDsak&hl=en_US&fs=1

                      Comment


                        #12
                        *cringe* ref can't tell which way the exchange went so they have infinite do overs.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          the rules seem to make scoring/winning difficult to determine.

                          also, what's to stop fencers from just going in and owning everyone?
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                            #14
                            I don't know anything about CMA, but from my fencing and limited ARMA experience, a lot of this looks really questionable to me. The ugly foot drag in the lunge at 1:45, or a lot of the twirly stuff that is done at mid-range (can't see how it's a good idea to take the blade all the way behind you in a fancy windmill motion when your opponent is in step-lunge equivalent distance). The guy in the red does get the occasional well timed circular slice, so he's at least not giving up his face with those moves as often, but his center of gravity is so high...

                            But take whatever I say with a grain of salt. The good ARMA stuff I've seen is a lot tighter than this, but some of the mid-range ARMA and SCA stuff is about on par.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Conde Koma View Post
                              the rules seem to make scoring/winning difficult to determine.

                              also, what's to stop fencers from just going in and owning everyone?
                              why should they be stopped?

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