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Shaolin Iaijutsu?

In Chinese martial arts, the Staff is recognized as the Chief of Weapons, because that's where you get your weapons foundation from. How you swing a Staff can be transferred to how you may swing a sword. The Shaolin Staff manual 少林棍法闡宗 (shaolin gunfa canzong) contains 55 stances which will provide you with the foundation for using all kinds of weapons.

What about something very specialized, like the Samurai's art of drawing the sword, known as Iaijutsu? I believe we can even find that in the Shaolin Staff manual!

Stance #49: Qin Emperor Straddles Sword, is a stance where you'd hold the Staff with both hands in False Grip, that means both hands are pronated with your palm facing down, so that you can strike with both ends equally.

The final stance in the manual is #55: Single Overturn Hand, where you'd overturn the Staff and flip the rear end forward, so that you can now fight with "normal grip". Meaning, your front (right) hand is in True Grip (palm facing up), while your rear (left) hand is in False Grip (palm facing down).

This movement is transferable to drawing a sword and attacking at the same time. Which is essentially what Iaijutsu aims to achieve. Of course, there are specifics to take note of when you're really drawing a sword, such as avoiding cutting the sheath when you're doing so.

Jack Chen

Ancient Chinese Martial Arts Manuals


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