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Chinese Swordsmanship: Quick Draw Cutting a Candle Wick

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Published on Apr 17, 2017

Precision is one of the hallmarks of Chinese Swordsmanship (jianfa, 劍法). Testing Cutting was a nearly forgotten tradition in Chinese Swordsmanship that has been revived at Great River Taoist Center. Cutting a Candle wick requires the greatest accuracy of any target one can choose. Hitting the top of the wick will not extinguish the flame. It is one of the few cuts that missing by 3 or 4 MM means failing. Chinese martial oral tradition speaks of quick drawing the sword from the scabbard, however these techniques appear to have been lost to time. The method presented here is a reconstruction based on the oral tradition as well as primary sources.

Teacher Scott M. Rodell preformed the cuts in this video with the sword he designed, the Hanwei Cutting Jian. He is the director of Great River Taoist Center based in Washington, D.C. as well as the author of several books including: "Chinese Swordsmanship - the Yang Family Taiji Jian Tradition," “Shi Jian Pu - Manual of Ten Sword Skills - A Handbook of Chinese Swordsmanship,” “Fundamentals of the Wudang Sword Method,” "Test Cutting for Historical Swordsmanship," "Taiji Notebook for Martial Artists," and "Traditional Manchu Archery of the Qing Imperial Guard." Rodell teaches regular seminars across the US and Canada, and in Netherlands, Estonia, Germany and Poland. His blog is: stealandcotton on tumblr.

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