Taiji ruler

A general Q & A forum

Moderator: Scott M. Rodell

Post Reply
User avatar
J HepworthYoung
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:19 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Taiji ruler

Post by J HepworthYoung » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:08 pm

I keep seeing refferences to a taiji ruler, this object is represented as just under a foot long and made of wood. However I also see evidence of another object called a ruler, often Iron Ruler, which is a traditional Chinese weapon, but seems obscure now.

What is the deal here?
Is there a relationship between these two objects?
Are they both historically accurate?
I think that one is more of a modern invention and one is authentic.

User avatar
J HepworthYoung
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:19 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by J HepworthYoung » Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:28 pm

I found this quote at the Mandarin Mansion site:
Its wide quillons make it even useful in Japanese sai-fighting systems, a weapon also known in China as an "iron ruler".
Now what is the relation of the sai, which I have found offered in this form:
http://www.chinese-weapon.com.tw/english-S204.htm
to the hard whip:
http://www.gungfu.com/htm-weapons/chine ... d-whip.htm
and another hard whip:
http://www.wle.com/products/W604-C.html
and here is one called hard club:
http://www.wle.com/products/WS106-C.html

In his book on Chinese weapons Yang Jwing-Ming states that this weapon was often just a piece of metal and came with and without a handle. Now in a few places there is the statement that the Iron Ruler is the same as the sai. I have also found the Hard Whip called "Bian", and this Bian looks close, but not the same as the weapon Tieh Chi:
http://www.sevenstarstrading.com/html/swords/1112.html

What is the relationship of these weapons, and how do they relate to the taiji ruler?
I have read about Yang Ban-Hou having skill with a weapon like these, is this accurate?

Nik
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:06 am
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Nik » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:22 am

This is a problem of pronouncing different words similar. This "tieh chih" is exactly that, an iron ruler that was first used as a measuring stick by merchants (hence the marks for chinese measures), and then, like explained on Scotts website, as a self defense weapon when it was forbidden to use sharp weapons.

The other thing that may or may not have really been a "Taiji ruler" is a wooden stick with a different shape that is used for practicing locks without a partner. The Chen village taiji bang is curved, as far as I know.

It's "iron ruler" 鐵尺 vs. "grand ultimate" 太極.

User avatar
J HepworthYoung
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:19 pm
Location: Sacramento
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by J HepworthYoung » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:08 am

I can't help but feel like my question remains unaddressed.

The pictures tell all, there is a form relationship of these items that interests me, they all appear to be versions of the same thing. This makes me wonder about the rumors of Ban Hou and what weapons he was proficient in and also wonder about the evolution of weapon designs in this area.

I know that the taiji ruler is not the same as the iron ruler, the names and words were not an issue for me, the physical forms of the objects I am comparing is the issue. A rose by any other name.

User avatar
Tashi James
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 184
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:40 pm
Location: 2012 Sydney
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Tashi James » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:09 am

Loushr used to have an iron ruler on his Seven Stars trading site, might be worth a look as well.
"There is nothing that does not become easier through familiarity" (Santideva).

"We become what we do repeatedly. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit" (Aristotle).

Scott M. Rodell
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1364
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:27 pm

J HepworthYoung wrote:... seeing refferences to a taiji ruler... Are they both historically accurate?...
Though these arts are being brought together by some practioners these days, taijiquan & the taiji ruler are of serparate origins. I recall a practitioner of ruler showing me a text for the ruler in Taiwan many years ago & saying that it came from Hua Shan arts, but I can not speak to the accuracy of that statment. If we look thru primary source material for taijiquan, you won't find any mention of the taiji ruler.

Nik
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:06 am
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Nik » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:59 am

AFAIK, the problem occured when people mixed up two things: Taijiquan and the "Taiji bang" from Chen village (a curved wooden stick to practice locks on), and the "iron ruler" (tie chi, a short metal stick to practice some kind of qigong / stick fighting).

User avatar
Peter Dekker
Rank: Chang San feng
Rank: Chang San feng
Posts: 395
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Groningen, The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Peter Dekker » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:19 am

Hi,

I normally don't lurk on this section of the forums so I overlooked this post before.
J HepworthYoung wrote:I keep seeing refferences to a taiji ruler, this object is represented as just under a foot long and made of wood. However I also see evidence of another object called a ruler, often Iron Ruler, which is a traditional Chinese weapon, but seems obscure now.

What is the deal here?
Is there a relationship between these two objects?
Are they both historically accurate?
I think that one is more of a modern invention and one is authentic.
As stated before by Scott Rodell, I haven't found a clear connection between this weapon and taiji. The wooden object you describe is exactly what a traditional Chinese ruler looks like. Often they are light, thin and made of hardwood. Hardly a weapon, they may be suitable for pressure point striking but that is about it. They were very common, but of course only carried by working class. I don't find it likely to assume it circled as a weapon in taiji circles as there weren't many working class students of this art at the time, but who knows.

Then there are a number of variations to this weapon, made of iron. Some were hilted and / or had prongs, some were simple just like their wooden counterparts only made of iron / steel. These are obviously weapons, but keep in mind that not every thug (or worker who felt the need to defend himself ocasionally) had to be a martial artist and there is no evidence to link it to any major style.

Then there are two other weapons, jian and bian.
-Jian "maces" are steel rods with a hilt, with smooth surfaces. They come with or without guards. Jian are often square in crosssection, sometimes with fullers, and the blades have a slight taper. Examples with octagonal or other crosssections are also known. Jian is pronounced similar to the straightsword but a different character is used. Jian come in pairs and single weapons. We know that pairs were in use by the Green Standard Army of the Qing.

-Bian are "iron whips" and come in two types: flexible and rigid. The flexible examples are segmented chains, often consisting of an odd number of rods. There are purely a civilian weapon.
Rigid bian and are similar to jian but differ in that they have rods with bamboo-like segments and are usually thicker and heavier than jian. Bian were used in the Qing by the Jianruiying, a special division of shock troops selected out of the best of the Vanguard.

The descriptions on them found on various trade websites are often incorrect. They were not made of gold and no evidence points to their use in capital punishment. I also wouldn't recommend Yang Jwing-Ming's book as a good source.

-Peter
Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.


-Bruce Lee

http://www.mandarinmansion.com
Antique Chinese Arms & Functional reproductions

http://www.manchuarchery.org
Fe Doro - Manchu Archery

Taiji Wuji
Rank: Frequent Contributor
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:21 am

Re: Taiji ruler

Post by Taiji Wuji » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:41 am

Almost a decade ago, there was a hard style martial artist promoting a Lin Kong Jin (empty force) training program that referenced the use of a Taiji Ruler (can't say whether the use of the term was valid or not). It was a wooden dowl about a foot long. With lathed wide and narrow areas (middle was wider and the two ends were wide to form knobs for holding). As part of an elaborate chi gung program, the user was supposed to hold the ruler between your hands and move it through various patterns (much like more common chi gung forms but with this item held between the hands). My understanding was that the "Ruler" was used to aid in the projection of chi from the hands. I assume the idea was similar in thought to weapon forms (have never done any so speak from relative ignorance), where my very limited understanding is that the weapon helps one to circulate and maybe to express the chi).

Never bought into the idea so I can't vouch for the effectiveness. Did notice though that the empty force ability, like many others you see on youtube currently, would come and go, and was limited to frequent training partners. It never seemed to work on strangers.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests