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Jerzy Miklaszewski

Location: The Castle of Krak
Joined: 12 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Apr, 2009 3:58 am    Post subject: A question about Chinese sabers history         Reply with quote

Actually this topic is more of a request for help than a question itself. But first things first.
Though I am mostly European martial arts enthusiast and my knowledge is focused more on this side of the globe, I was recently asked by my friend about the Chinese saber or broadsword called Dao. His question was about the way it should be made, or what he would expect from a smith to do if he would want such a weapon for himself. (I am not a smith myslef, I am a user Wink )
Initially I answered him, looking at the weaponry they do on the internet stores, that those things are only suitable for training the forms, as they have no sufficient toughness for more dense combat. And he wouldn't want a smith to do such a thing for him, as it would only cost more, and not give him much a different weapon. He answered me showing a master cuttlery Dao, saying that he was willing such a weapon, but forged. Even as I had it in my hands, a so called "practical" version of those weapons I still doubted the sense of the anatomy of this weapon. Would they really give such a thing to the soldiers or used that in a real duel? My logic and experience (small, but at least some) told me that it wouldn't stand for a long time even if it would be made of damascen steel.
This made me think more deeply about it. If that is for training, then how those real weapons looked like. Therefore I had to look more deeply into the history of this weapon. And now comes my problem, as I am searching on and on I cannot find anything more than few references of swords like tai cham dao, ma dao or kwan dao, which aren't much nearer to the weapon I am looking for.
So, now I am turning to you: could anyone tell me, whether you know any literature, or (even better) online references about the history of this weapon? How its anatomy was changing through years? How did it happen it developed this way?

And before you answer - obvious sources like wikipedia, which in my opinion says a lot of crap about the history of this weapon, are not my aim. So please don't refer there.

I am looking forward for any enthusiast or specialist willing to answer in this topic.

"Work is of two kinds, first altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter, second, telling other people to do so. The first is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid."
Bertrand Russell

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Chris Lampe

Location: United States
Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 211

PostPosted: Thu 23 Apr, 2009 4:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote


Most Chinese martial arts swords that are available online are just as you describe: cheap, flimsy training or "Wu shu" swords rather than being modeled off of real Chinese sabers.

Thomas Chen has a very informative website on Chinese swords. The website itself isn't the easiest to navigate but the information is good.

Also, Huano sells reproductions of dao that Scott Rodell, a noted expert in Chinese arms and martial arts, endorses and sells. His website is

There are decent trainind sabers out there, your friend just needs to do some serious research before he purchases one. Scott Rodell has reviewed several on his website at

Finally, I had John Lundemo of make me a custom Chinese saber. Philip Tom classified the sword as a piandao or "slashing saber". I guarantee your friend would have loved training with this sword! It was the nicest feeling sword I've ever held. It now resides with a lucky new owner who has stated that he's loved the sword from the moment he pulled it out of the box. I will say that the sword weighed a little over 2.5 lbs, the blade was extremely rigid (more so than a katana) and it had a felling of being solid that a real sword should have.

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