Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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Fei Li
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Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Fei Li » Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:09 am

Dear all,

I will be moving to London this month and I would like to know
if anyone knows a school which practises chinese swordmanship?
Of course, I mean a complete school, not just form practisising.
One where serious fencing is practised, with partner drill, sparring etc.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Greetings,

Fei Li

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Graham Cave
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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Graham Cave » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:30 am

Hi Fei Li,

I'm afraid that I don't know of any Chinese sparring in the UK........but this is a question that more people have been asking me recently. In response to this, I am currently setting up some discussion boards to enable UK practitioners to talk to each other. The hope is that if we can get enough people communicating, then we will be able to develop an active community of Chinese swordsmanship across the UK.

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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Fei Li » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:27 am

Hi Graham,
Great to hear that, keep me posted!

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J HepworthYoung
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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:22 pm

good luck!

The UK seems to be a very difficult place to be a swordsman in, due to the knee jerk political methods so commonly employed there.

I would not be shocked to learn that many serious swordplayers in the UK are reluctant to be open about their practice, just so they can avoid unneeded scrutiny.

it is far too easy to be labeled as a criminal for simply owning a sword, let alone knowing how to use one. while the law seems to emphasize that those who practice legitimate martial arts should get some exception the reality is that the law is enforced by individuals who feel that legitimate martial artists pose a greater threat because of their skills and thus for many there is more to be gained by remaining secretive about such things than there is in being open and honest, regardless of the letter of the law.

even in areas where swords are not banned the reality is that being open about such things can work against you.

sorry about the soapbox thing, i really advocate promoting chinese swordmanship

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Graham Cave
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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Graham Cave » Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:48 pm

J HepworthYoung wrote:good luck!

The UK seems to be a very difficult place to be a swordsman in, due to the knee jerk political methods so commonly employed there.

I would not be shocked to learn that many serious swordplayers in the UK are reluctant to be open about their practice, just so they can avoid unneeded scrutiny.
Thanks for the support! Umm, you may well be right about swordplayers in the UK, but I still think it is worth having a go at trying to develop Chinese swordsmanship over here. At first, people may be slow to join but I'm not worried about that. Time is not an issue for me, I'm looking at this as a long term project.
Fei Li wrote:Hi Graham,
Great to hear that, keep me posted!
Well, the site is online. I still have to finish sorting the message boards but it is open for registration. Anyone is welcome to register, from anywhere in the world......and we look forward to everyone's input. Let's hope that together, we can help to develop a vibrant community of swordsmanship and sparring in the UK.

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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Fei Li » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:28 am

Great, I just joined it!
Let's hope for a lot of like minded people!

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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:32 pm

While things are developing in the UK, you are all certainly welcome to come over to the continent... There is lots going on in Netherlands, Germany & Estonia, all great places to visit...

See:
http://www.jianfa.nl/
http://www.chinese-warriors.com/
http://www.grtc.ee/

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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by paulandrews1982 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:32 am

I don't know of any school in the UK with a focus purely upon chinese swordsmanship, though some offer sword as part of their system as far as I know many only offer it as form.

'm based in Leeds and we practice xingyiquan, though the majority of our practice is barehand weapons take up a good part of our time too. Qiang (spear) and Jian are our main practice areas though we practice many other traditional weapons and occassionally cross train in other styles (Yang Taijiquan, choy li fut, shaolin jian, kempo). website is here http://www.hsing-i.org.uk/

It would be nice to find more likeminded people in the UK, if anyone is ever in my area let me know.

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Swordplay in the UK?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:19 am

paulandrews1982 wrote:... we practice xingyiquan, though the majority of our practice is barehand weapons take up a good part of our time too. Qiang (spear) and Jian are our main practice areas...
Do you only practice weapons forms or is your group also practice free swordplay?

BTW, those on the European side of the pond can get sword sparring gear, vests, helmets, sword, from: http://www.silk-road.nl/index.php?optio ... &Itemid=21

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Re: Chinese swordmanship in London, UK?

Post by paulandrews1982 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:47 am

Our group is small and informal,we train outdoors and admission is via interview but we are happy to have visitors from other schools attend.

Weapons probably take up 25-30% of practice in my classes and we do more weapon work in the summer when conditions underfoot are safer (we always train outdoors).

We do practice some sequences but not as rigid "forms" we would call them lian huan (linking sequences) where you are able to add, omit and experiement with the movements in the sequence in order to give an element of spontaneity. A beginner would likely stick to the set sequence for some time whilst a more experienced practitioner would treat this kind of practice more like shadow boxing, or a way to test different skills and methods. This practice is done solo and with a partner, leading on to free application. Free application is introduced fairly early but often with restricted number of techniques and targets until beginners are more comfortable.

We use mainly Raven studios jian and very often practice without any protection (as we have limited resources to buy equipment due to the fact all our classes are free of charge), this puts the head out of bounds but all other targets are valid. As such most of our free fighting is fairly technical and relies on distance and timing though the more experienced will sometimes use greater force and more pressure on each other. Practice without protection may seem a bit reckless but it seems to hone certain abilities in our students, defensive movement away from the cut, timing, distance and a healthy respect for the sword are developed quickly (because it really hurts when you get hit on the knuckles or wrist), and we've never had any real injuries in the years I've practiced this way (though I've had some bruises you wouldn't imagine were possible - my shoulder to my elbow went almost completely blue after a particularly heavy strike landed by my teacher only a few months back).

We do much less free application with spears, this is restricted only to the most senior practitioners, others can practice with partners but set applications and sequences (for safety reasons). For solo practice we try to use something which would be more historically correct - 9ft solid oak spear with a oak blade section we jokingly call these our battlefield spears and I make these myself. They are very heavy and very strong, I decided on the thickness and material after reviewing many historical polearms from around the world (not just china) from photographs and visits to the UK Royal Armouries museum (which is fortunately in the city of Leeds where we practice). These practice spears although wooden tipped and blunt are just too dangerous to use in free application. For partner practice and application we use slightly less dangerous 7-8ft pine poles.

We don't have the resources for live blades or test cutting and the UK is fairly restrictive on these kind of things.

I am signing up for the European jian fa tournament though it seems I'll be the only representative from my school as the others either can't afford the cost or have other responsibilities to attend to (family etc.). I hope that my standard is up to scratch for the tournament, as I have had no real contact with others outside my group but if anything it will be good to be able to cross swords with different people and test my skill. And I hope that I'll be able to make some friends and contacts in Europe who I might be able to visit and practice with after the tournament. Win or lose I'm sure I'll have a good time (though of course I'd like to win and the prize sword looks awesome :))

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