Sunday, June 11, 2006

100 Days of Swordsmanship Starts Here

Welcome to 100 Days of Swordsmanship, a blog about learning how to fight with the Chinese straight sword, or Gim (Jian if you're a Mandarin speaker). The gim is a classical weapon seen in many kung fu movies. Chow Yun Fat wields one called the Green Destiny in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Jet Li has a cool one with a hole in it in Hero, and Zhang Ziyi has one in House of Flying Daggers. It's a one-handed, double-edged sword with a small, stylized guard and sometimes a silk tassle hanging from the end of the pommel. Traditionally the tassle was silk and the blade was layered steel, but today we see more nylon and floppy spring steel because those are cheaper and look cooler when you're practicing for tournaments.

I have recently begun self-directed study of the gim, having been a kung fu enthusiast for many years and having recently learned western fencing. What I began to suspect in my research is that while there are perhaps millions of people who practice using the gim as part of their Tai Chi, I'm not sure there are very many people who actually know how they might fight with it if say, nuclear war or global warming made it necessary to slay our way to the supermarket or protect our dwindling supplies of Chef Boy Ardee from raiders.

So, as my contribution to the martial arts community and possibly all humanity in the case of nuclear war, I'm going to attempt to build a working knowledge of how to fight with the gim. I will attempt, with the aid of friends and masters willing to attach themselves to what very well may be a hair-brained scheme enough rational, reasonable, and practical content to publish a... something by the end of the summer. Right now it's just a bit before the beginning of summer, so my project is going to be called (as you have already read) 100 Days of Swordsmanship.

Stay tuned! Updated, uh, frequently I hope.

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