Dadao: The 8 Sabers of Devastation
The 2 Ma brothers, Ma Yingtu (1898-1956) and Ma Fengtu (1888－1973) were from Cangzhou and were famous for their martial skills. In 1923, Ma Yingtu organized and trained the Big-Saber Contingent (Da Dao Dui), comprising of young men from Cangzhou wielding sabers in battle. The style of saber taught by Ma Yingtu was called 破锋八刀 (The 8 Sabers of Devastation).
History stated that in the later years of the Qing Dynasty, 黄林彪 (Huang Lin Biao) from the Yanshan County in Cangzhou taught his most treasured art of the dual-hand saber to only 2 of his students: 张玉山 (Zhang Yushan) and 马凤图 (Ma Fengtu). Zhang did not have any successors, while Ma Fengtu shared the art with his bother Ma Yingtu and eldest song Ma Guangda. Subsequently, under the directions of General Zhang Zhijiang, the art was simplified into 破锋八刀 (The 8 Sabers of Devastation) to be taught to the Northwest Army.
The 破锋刀歌 (Song of the Saber of Devastation) consists of 8 verses, and was written by Ma Fengtu for the Northwest Army. They’re as follow:
1) 迎面大劈破锋刀 - The Saber of Devastation makes a heavy strike down head-on. 2) 掉手横挥使拦腰 - Sweep the hips to wave the sword horizontally. 3) 顺风势成扫秋叶 - Flowing with the wind like sweeping the autumn leaves. 4) 横扫千钧敌难逃 - A sweep of 3000-catties is difficult for the enemy to escape. 5) 跨步挑撩似雷奔 - Stride to prick and cut upwards, like a sprinting lighting bolt 6) 连环提柳下斜削 - Continuously lift up the willows and scrape downwards diagonally. 7) 左右防护凭快取 - Defend left and right on the basis of speed. 8 ) 移步换型突刺刀 - Shift step to change stance and thrust swiftly.
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