Martial Arts From Ancient Manuals
Masters from hundreds of years ago in China wrote martial arts manuals to pass on their knowledge and skills. This website was created to share these manuals with all martial artists, so that we can pass on the legacy.
Access 9 historical Chinese martial arts manuals:
Long Saber (known as Dandao or Miaodao)
Crossbow (construction blueprint and shooting)
Chinese War Sword (WWII weapon Dadao)
Gain access to our library to download all for FREE.
Ancient Chinese Martial Arts Manuals
Check out below our collection of ancient manuals that have been translated & interpreted in English.
Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) in 1621, during the Ming Dynasty, when the Japanese pirates fought with the Ming soldiers. He was taught by 刘雲峰 (Liu Yun Feng), who learnt swordsmanship directly from the Japanese.
This long saber resembles closely to the Japanese Nodachi, which is a longer version of the Katana.
《武備志 • 劍》
Long Straight Sword
Extracted from a 400-years-old manual called 武備志 (Wu Bei Zhi) by Mao Yuan-Yi. The Jian Straight Sword techniques contained in it is believed to have been exported from China to Korea, then back to China again.
Consisting of 24 stances, it teaches the combat use of a 2-handed long double-edged straight sword.
Chinese WWII Sword
The Dadao 大刀 Chinese War Sword was made famous by the 29th Army of the Chinese Nationalist Army fighting against the Japanese during the 1930s.
They fought for 7 days & nights at Xifengkou, killing 3000 enemies. Out of 500 elite soldiers of the 大刀隊 (Dadao Dui) "Big-Saber Contingent", only 20 survived.
King of the Battlefield
Written 400-years ago by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You), the same author for the Long Saber manual.
This manual not only describes the combat usage of each stance, but also talks about principles and partnered drills.
俞大猷 (Yu Da-You) is a famous Ming-Dynasty General. He studied martial arts in Shaolin Temple, and later wrote and compiled 正氣堂集 (Zheng Qi Tang Ji), "Compilation of Vital Energy". In his book, is a section called 劍經 (Jian Jing), "Sword Treatise".
Shaolin Gunfa Canzong
Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) as well, but in 1616. This predates the Long Saber and Long Spear manuals.
This is an extensive in-depth Staff manual with 3 volumes, that will benefit both the beginner & advanced martial artists.
1 Inch Shorter,
1 Inch More Dangerous
《牌 • 狼筅》
Pai • Lang Xian
Shield & Wolf-Brush
To defeat the mighty Japanese army's invasion, General Qi invented the "Mandarin-Duck Formation".
Shields and Wolf-Brush are positioned at the front as defense, so that the Spearmen can attack.
《鞭 • 𨰝》
Bian • Jian
Whip / Truncheon
Also written by 程子頤 (Cheng Ziyi), the Whip or Truncheon is a short bludgeoning weapon. It can be used to break bones or even blades!
The stances and fighting techniques are similar compared to a sword.
Quan Jing Jie Yao
Essentials of the Fist
These 32 Fist stances provide a medieval soldier with the foundation for combat, both unarmed and with weapons.
It is also said that Taiji traces its roots to this manual.
1 Inch Longer, 1 Inch Stronger
Yan Yue Da Dao
Commonly referred to as 偃月刀 (Yan Yue Dao), or 關刀 (Guan Dao), this is a long bladed polearm as famously wielded by General Guan Yu depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This comes with a Horseback Crescent Saber chapter based on the Korean manual, Muye Dobo Tongji.
《戟 • 長柄斧》
Ji • Chang Bing Fu
Halberd & Long Shaft Axe
The Halberd and Long Shaft Axe are 2 very iconic Chinese polearms. Its fighting methods are found in an ancient manual titled 武備要略 (wu bei yao lue), written in 1781.
The author is 程子頤 (Cheng Ziyi), nephew of Cheng Zongyou (author of the Long Saber, Spear, Shaolin Staff, Crossbow manuals).
E'mei Qiang Fa
This is one of the manuals which has no pictures at all. It is recommended for intermediate and above practitioners, because it's all about concepts and application.
If you're looking for something more advanced, this is a Spear manual that could be worthwhile.
Written in 1790 by the Koreans, based on Ming Dynasty manuals
From the 1st scroll of the Korean manual "Muye Dobo Tongji" is a chapter on 長槍 (Chn: Chang Qiang, Krn: Jang Chang), Long-Spear.
The stances in the manual can be traced to the Chinese Yang Style Pear-Flower Spear.
Ssang Su Do
雙手刀 (Chn: Shuang Shou Dao, Krn: Ssang Su Do) is an exceptionally long saber which is held with 2 hands.
The stances here are based on Ming Dynasty General Qi Ji-Guang's book, 紀效新書 (Ji Xiao Xin Shu).
提督劎 (Chn: Tidu-Jian, Krn: Jedok Geom) is the swordsmanship of 李如松 Li Ru-Song, a Ming Dynasty Commander of Korean descent.
When Ming Dynasty sent troops to help defend Korea, he participated and fought against the Japanese.
Antique Samurai Manuals
Written in 1848, this antique book contains 200 diagrams of 450 various weapons, tools, armour etc..
Available are a 1:1 replica of this antique book, and an English translation printed book distributed by Lulu.com in the US.
Gunyou Senkou Zukai
Samurai Military Formations
Written in 1708, this is a rare full color book on Samurai procedures, encampment, troops formation, strategy to attack enemy castle etc...
Available are a 1:1 replica of the antique manual, and also an eBook containing its English translation.
Yoshiie Ason Yoroi Chakuyou Zu
Guide To Wearing Armour
Written in 1848, this is a full color antique publication on how to put on a full combat-ready Samurai armour. It starts from inner-wear, all the way till carrying a sword & bow.
Contribute any amount you wish, to download the scans of this book.