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Jesse Eaton





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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:01 am    Post subject: European equivalent to a Jian?         Reply with quote

Recently a friend asked me if there were a European equivalent to a Chinese jian. I said no, there's nothing with that flexible and sharpness of blade. Jian are designed to make cuts that are more like a whipping cut than a slice. The closest equivalent I've seen is a cut and thrust of the type used by the Bolognese school in the 15th and 16th century. But those blades had fullers to make them stiff for thrusting, not flexible for a whip cut. I've seen some later period swords that have basket hilts and without a fuller or diamond shaped cross section that might be used in a similar manner to the jian, but I've never gotten the chance to test one.

Does anyone here know of any thing closer?
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you're making the flexibility of real jian more extreme than it really is. It's true that modern jians made for wushu practice are extremely flexible, but as far as I know period jians do not show anywhere near this whippiness. More discussion of this subject can be found here:
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3283

As far as context of use goes I think the cut and thrust swords of the Renaissance are indeed the closest. But jians seem to generally present a wider tip and have no complex guard. I don't really know if they are close as far as dynamic properties are concerned.

Perhaps Craig Johnson will chime in with more info, as he is a specialist of european swords but has recently added a jian to his line-up:
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/sword222.html

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Jesse Eaton





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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you so very much that is a great forum discussion. I got more out of it than most books. I highly recommend reading it to anyone else that reads this post! It's very informative on both the weapons and their use
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 4:53 am    Post subject: Morning Guys         Reply with quote

I fear I do not have a great deal of time this morning but Wanted to chime in. The use of a Jian is not my particular strong suit in this equation but in discussions with knowledgeable users and looking at originals I would agree with Vincent that they where not designed to be super flexible. They were relatively light and shorter than many Euro swords when looking at gross averages but that does not tell us a great deal.

Some of the important differences that I see are in the way the mass is distributed through out the piece and the dynamics created by this. Such elements as balance point and the grip interface with the weapon. Some of these are dictated by the style of use and others by the physical constraints of the weapons form. Though I would be leery to separate the two, the interaction of the two is in a sense what matters.

It may well be that when one looks at some of the large fighting saxes and other such weapons you might find some interesting parallels to the feel of the Jian, this is of course me musing with half a cup of coffee so it would need a lot of thought and study if one wanted to make a formal comparison.

Best
Craig
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 4:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some late medevial/renaisance swords where long, light and thin slashing blades.
A prime example of these would be the IX950 from Alexandria;
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_alexandria.html

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Joshua Connolly




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I could be completely off base, but the 'jian' has always reminded me of a late Roman spatha, or certain sorts of Arming swords(Type Xa, for instance). The Type XIX seems to be a pretty decent comparison as well.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the past we've done some tests on Huanuo Carp Jian, which was one of those that simulated Qing Jian quite closely. It had a thick spine, and doesn't featured too much a distal taper. In the test, even a "Dian" could go through pork bone completely and the tip of the sword exited on the other side of the target. The video can still be found here:

http://www.rsw.com.hk/carp.zip

I've handled and examine a handful of antique jians and only one of them could be described as flexible, in the scale of European arming swords. (not the wushu sword style flexible) Most of them were very sturdy, very capable of warding off opponent's attacks and deliver highly lethal, devastating strikes.

Ancient Combat Association http://www.acahk.org
Realistic Sparring Weapons http://www.rsw.com.hk
Nightstalkers http://www.nightstalkers.com.hk
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Chris Lampe




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joshua Connolly wrote:
I could be completely off base, but the 'jian' has always reminded me of a late Roman spatha, or certain sorts of Arming swords(Type Xa, for instance). The Type XIX seems to be a pretty decent comparison as well.


I have owned both an antique jian and Albion's "Knight". The Knight was far more flexible than the jian and was much heavier. I will add that my jian was more rigid than most but my impression from others who have handled antiques is that most jian are still fairly stiff.

You may be on the right track with the type XIX comparison. I communicated with Peter Johnnson and he told me that Albion's Kern is very Jian-like in it's handling in that it's light in weight and has a balance point quite far down the blade. I don't know if he mentioned the rigidity of the Kern but I'm guessing a hexagonal cross-section would lead to a fair amount of rigidity, also like a jian.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Lampe wrote:

You may be on the right track with the type XIX comparison. I communicated with Peter Johnnson and he told me that Albion's Kern is very Jian-like in it's handling in that it's light in weight and has a balance point quite far down the blade. I don't know if he mentioned the rigidity of the Kern but I'm guessing a hexagonal cross-section would lead to a fair amount of rigidity, also like a jian.


I have an Albion Condottiere, which has the same blade as the Kern. It has a medium stiffness - more than a Xa, less than a XV. I have another XIX made by Armart which has a significantly stiffer blade than the Condottiere.
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