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 serious 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)
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俞大猷 (Yu Da-You) is a famous Ming-Dynasty General who defend China against the Japanese pirates invasion. General Yu 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".
It is a compilation of his martial arts knowledge, and contains very deep and in-depth concepts on weaponry combat. The fundamentals are taught through the Staff, the Chief of all weapons, so that these can later be applied onto wielding the sword.
Dandao aka Miao Dao
Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) 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 Japanese swordsmanship (Kenjutsu) directly from the Japanese.
This 1.5 metres long weapon resembles closely to the Japanese Nodachi, which is a longer version of the Katana or Tachi.
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. It teaches the use of a 2-handed long double-edged straight sword.
In the Korean ancient manual, Muye Dobo Tongji, there is an exact copy of this manual as well, just that it's depicted with figure drawings wearing Korean clothings.
Dadao Chinese War 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. Legend has it that it's so effective that heads could be cut off easily with ease.
The 29th Army fought and held their position for 7 days and 7 nights at Xifengkou, killing 3000 enemies. However, in the 500 elite soldiers of the 大刀隊 (Dadao Dui) "Big-Saber Contingent", only 20 survived.
《鞭 / 𨰝》
The Whip (鞭 Bian) is a bludgeoning weapon used against armoured soldiers, and shares many similarities with the Long-Saber.
Two very important defensive tools in ancient Chinese warfare. 400-years ago in Ming-Dynasty China, two great manuals were written.
紀效新書 (Ji Xiao Xin Shu) by General Qi
武備志 (Wu Bei Zhi) by Mao Yuan-Yi
These two great Chinese warfare manuals contained details of the combat usage of the 牌 (Pai) Shield and 狼筅 (Lang-Xian) Wolf-Brush, especially against the King of The Battlefield: The Spear.
During the early Qing Dynasty, 程眞如 (Cheng Zhen Ru) travelled to the E'mei Mountain to learn the art of the Spear.
This is a manual for the advanced martial artist. There are no pictures, and describes essential principles of using the weapon.
Shaolin Kung Fu Staff
Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) when the Japanese pirates fought with the Ming soldiers. The skilful Shaolin Monks fought along-side with the Ming soldiers too.
This is an extensive in-depth manual with 3 volumes, that will benefit both the beginner & advanced martial artists.
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.
The earliest 戟 Halberd (Ji) were discovered by archaeologists in the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC). It served as an important military weapon during the Han Dynasty (202-220 BC). However, the Long-Spear eventually replaced it, and the Halberd was used more for ceremonies.
Long Shaft Axe
Heavy and brutal, the Chinese Long Shaft Axe delivers a mean cleaving force at its enemies.
Its techniques are similar to the Chinese Long-Saber, but one must possess great strength to wield this heavy beast.
Korean Ancient Manuals
武藝圖譜通志 (Muye Dobo Tongji) is a comprehensive illustrated Korean martial arts manual, commissioned by the Korean King Jeongjo in 1790. There are a total of 4 volumes in this manual, documenting 24 arts of the Korean military.
Majority of the content are based on Ming Dynasty Chinese manuals.
Essentials of the Fist
Highly essential for martial arts training, the Fist or empty-handed training serves as a foundation for using various weapons.
In General Qi's 紀效新書 (Ji Xiao Xin Shu), he placed the Fist chapter at the last, after compiling the stances of various weapons. As such, the Fist chapter on this website shall also be placed at the last.
Crossbows or ranged weapons are usually the first to be deployed against the enemy, then followed by melee weapons.
This 400 years old Crossbow manual contains specific details for constructing your own Crossbow, as well as information on battlefield tactics.