Hanwei Jian Videos

This Forum is a place for students of swordsmanship to ask advice from moderators Paul Champagne & Scott M. Rodell on how to practice test cutting in a manner consistent with how swords were historically used in combat. Readers use this Forum at their own risk.

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KyleyHarris
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Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by KyleyHarris » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:34 am

Ok.. Firstly.. I know my technique is far from perfect in the Videos. Thats ok. I do these videos to learn, from myself, and from others. Its often very obvious the mistakes made and its good to see things from the eyes of others.. That being said.. I did these videos as a warm up exercise after 8 grueling hours on a computer, and this is kind of a stretching routine.. so I swing wide on a lot of strokes to help loosen me up before I get into things Wide long swings and cuts are great to loosen up :D Its been 6 years since I last trained with sword, and I've had 2 major motorcycles inbetween. My right arm rotator cuff still suffers a bit but I'm working through it :) The biggest issue I notice is that edge alignment dissapears when I loose focus because of the tension in my shoulder.

I did not do these videos Publically to be ridiculed.. lol.. so I blocked comments from the youtube armchair warriors without approval.

I was testing a few things out with the Hanwei Jian, because the blade feels quite heavy on first handling it. not over heavy.. just not light.. there is a reasonable amout of forward weight. What this means to me, is that if your form is not good then you are easily able to damage your wrists from the momentum. If your form is in harmony with the blade, and your body moves around the pivot point of the blade then it is very light and graceful. but if you try and use your wrist and strength to subjugate the blade into moving where you want it to go then this will tire you out quickly.. in a way, this is good, because it will help keep good form.

The blade itself can build up some incredible speed if you let it move with your body rather than trying to make it move with your arms and wrists.

In these videos, as well as warming up, I was testing some ideas out that I like to do in test cutting.
1:/ I prefer a small target. This improves focus rather than blindly aiming at a larger target. Accuracy is very important to not making mistakes, and a smaller target improves accuracy. My opinion is.. I would rather miss a small Lemon or apple by 1/2" than hit a 1ft hit target at some random location and call it a strike. I tend to aim a little high on these. I'd rather a graceful miss than a bad cut ruining my target. Its also good to practice some cuts, a bit like in golf.. a pre-swing ;)

2:/ I do not like to stand still and aim at a target all the time. in real life You just dont get to stand still and take a swing at anything animated. When Cutting I want to put all my body mechanics into the cut, including foot work and make sure my aiming, timing and spacing is all good.

3:/ I like to start off with my spacing properly away from the target. To me this means that I cannot actually strike the target unless I move. The reason being that each weapon user has a circle or arc of space that defines their attack space.. If I cannot reach my target, then it normally means the target cannot strike me unless they have a longer blade or reach.. In real life you need to learn to measure your opponent. By standing at a safe position it means you need to move in to strike. I like to test from different positions and strikes and move to the sides as I cut, or rotate to mimic what could happen in real life..

This might make it harder, it might also make it look awkward.. but its more realistic. I never find the movements to flow as well when standing still.

Anyway, Enjoy, or laugh, or comment. I am open to everything here.
Mostly what I am saying is.. the Hanwei Cutting Jian performs very well ;)

At one point I did manage to make the blade take a set.. I cut into a 40ft high Bamboo about 4" wide. the blade went 3/4" in and the weight of the bamboo came down.. Had my technique been correct I have no doubt whatsoever that the blade would have sailed through.

I used the Clamping method and realigned the blade.. it was not a bad set anyway, but it was just at the centre of percussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r_bL3YHikE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXhLCNkbYk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Za8YnUHcqI

Lastly a 2" Bamboo cut

Thanks ;)

Scott M. Rodell
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Re: Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:27 am

KyleyHarris wrote:...I blocked comments from the youtube armchair warriors without approval.
You don't mean to suggest there are arm chair generals on youtube who would offer you helpful critiques without knowing anything? Shocking... :wink:
KyleyHarris wrote:... the blade feels quite heavy on first handling it. not over heavy.. just not light...
Interesting, you are the first to say that you feel the blade is on the heavy side. Everyone else I spoke with thought it was on the light side, which it isn't, it was just designed to have a lively balance. I think, perhaps, you just have to get your arm back in shape after laying off?
KyleyHarris wrote:... I prefer a small target. This improves focus rather than blindly aiming at a larger target. Accuracy is very important to not making mistakes, and a smaller target improves accuracy...
Well said, targeting is one of the things that usually goes completely out the window when test cutting is practiced on larger targets. Precision should be strived for...
KyleyHarris wrote:... I do not like to stand still and aim at a target all the time. in real life You just dont get to stand still and take a swing at anything animated...
Again, well said, stepping & moving into or away from the target & cutting multiple targets are all good practice but just note that beginners should first "master" all their basic cuts without moving their feet before moving onto cutting while stepping. Your comments are also a good reminder of why & how practitioners of Historical Swordsmanship should practice test cutting. That is to improve our understanding of swordplay, it is not to simple make kindling for the winter's fire. The majority if cutting presented on the web lacks control of the swing before & especially after the cut. In short, one should cut in exactly the same manner one would prefer to in combat.
KyleyHarris wrote:... spacing properly away from the target... this means that I cannot actually strike the target unless I move... If I cannot reach my target, then it normally means the target cannot strike me unless they have a longer blade or reach... need to learn to measure your opponent...
Proper distance is one aspect of swordplay that takes students the longest to learn, so it makes sense to also work on it during cutting practice...

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Linda Heenan
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Re: Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by Linda Heenan » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:17 pm

Brilliant idea. After watching that, I'm scheduling a precision cutting day. Since many of our cutters are young though, I won't risk slicing up the cutting stand with lemons, oranges and apples to aim at. We'll suspend them with string from a branch.

Kyley, last time we did fruit cutting, it was quite difficult getting the residue off the blades. What is your best method for that? I found it too difficult for the usual meths followed by reoiling. I ended up actually scrubbing the blades with warm soapy water first, since nothing else was working. We were cutting rockmelons that day.
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KyleyHarris
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Re: Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by KyleyHarris » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:56 pm

Linda Heenan wrote:Brilliant idea. After watching that, I'm scheduling a precision cutting day. Since many of our cutters are young though, I won't risk slicing up the cutting stand with lemons, oranges and apples to aim at. We'll suspend them with string from a branch.

Kyley, last time we did fruit cutting, it was quite difficult getting the residue off the blades. What is your best method for that? I found it too difficult for the usual meths followed by reoiling. I ended up actually scrubbing the blades with warm soapy water first, since nothing else was working. We were cutting rockmelons that day.
With the Hanwei Jian having no real polish the residue gets in deep and can rust fast. I'm rinsing the blade down under a hose or tap, and then use something like wd40 on a microfibre towel because thats a water repellent and towel is water absorbant.. This seems to do the trick quite well. WD-40 is a very bad idea for long term storage though.. you still want to dry it and use mineral oil or some other long lasting shield.

If you have a tree to suspend the target from then it is easier.. it frees up the worry of hitting the target stand. That alone for many people is enough to put you off correct form. I find.. the more you worry about hitting the stand.. the more the % goes up that you will hit the stand :D

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KyleyHarris
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Re: Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by KyleyHarris » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:12 pm

Scott M. Rodell wrote:[
You don't mean to suggest there are arm chair generals on youtube who would offer you helpful critiques without knowing anything? Shocking... :wink:
Not Only that, but they are always wielding Japanese swords and talking in anime speak.
Scott M. Rodell wrote:Interesting, you are the first to say that you feel the blade is on the heavy side. Everyone else I spoke with thought it was on the light side, which it isn't, it was just designed to have a lively balance. I think, perhaps, you just have to get your arm back in shape after laying off?
Yes.. Heavy is the wrong term I think. The weight itself is not heavy for the length of the blade. What I am more referring to is the feeling that comes from having the pivot point of the blade so far out from the hand. I have not used a long sword for many many years and my arms are not in the best condition at the moment from 12 hour days at keyboards. In recent years all of my practise has been with shorter blades of 17" or less. Even though the blades may be heavy, the shorter length and pivot points closer to the body give it a more weightless feeling in practise. And when I was last training in a long sword it was a katana of similar weight but 2 hands.

When I talk about the heaviness feeling.. its the sensation that you get by improperly using the wrist as leverage, rather than moving the entire body as leverage. This is more noticeable in a longer blade. Its actually a great indicator of bad technique :) You just have to be careful of twisting a wrist.

Scott M. Rodell wrote: The majority if cutting presented on the web lacks control of the swing before & especially after the cut. In short, one should cut in exactly the same manner one would prefer to in combat.
Personally, I find that a lot of the control of the cut comes from the interaction of the body with the sword, not the arm and the sword.. As I have seen you point out often that we use the core of our body to strike, not the arm.. Often, when just standing still I forget the footwork and treat it like I would a machete, which leads to very bad dynamics in a sword.

I also find that without moving the entire body correctly the tugging between my arm, and body from not moving correctly is generally enough to misalign the blade and standing cuts go bad..

When I see your (Scott's) test cut video, I notice that even when you are standing still, you perform the entire cut with a moving body action, but very little shoulder action. That to me is the hardest thing to remember and perform with a standing cut, but which comes naturally when entering a cut.

Thanks for your comments.

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KyleyHarris
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Re: Hanwei Jian Videos

Post by KyleyHarris » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:33 am

Scott M. Rodell wrote:
KyleyHarris wrote:...I blocked comments from the youtube armchair warriors without approval.
You don't mean to suggest there are arm chair generals on youtube who would offer you helpful critiques without knowing anything? Shocking... :wink:
.
Arm Chair Warrior wrote:You seem to have your feet planted when connecting but do not appear to transfer the rotational energy built up before the strike into your upper body. It all appears disjointed.
Arm Chair Warrior wrote:I may not be skilled in the specific use of a sword but the action is very similar to overarm bowling as in cricket where acceleration of the bowling hand is most important. It is done by making a wave starting from the opposite foot and the movements become larger as the transfer up the body and along the arm. At the point of release, the other hand is driven hard in the opposite direction. Kinetic study is applied across all sports.
My Kind Self wrote:Well, Its great to get armchair advice from a master such as yourself, thats why I'm moderating comments :). It may appear disjointed to you. it wasn't disjointed at all. In this strike you are not transferring the energy to the upper body. I was testing a technique. the torso is used to create the speed (not power) and the cut performs itself. There is no transition of power to the upper body because its not boxing :) But thank you for your unskilled opinion :)
Why yes.. You do have to love youtube :wink:

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