Chang Qiang Fa Xuan
Chinese Long Spear
The Spear is considered as the King Of The Battlefield in Chinese martial arts. With just simple and basic training, a man can become a fairly proficient soldier in a short period of time.
400 years ago, in ancient China during the Ming Dynasty, there were constant battles with the Japanese pirates. 長鎗法選 (Chang Qiang Fa Xuan) is an ancient Chinese Spear manual that documented the spear techniques from these battles.
Compared to the Long Saber manual which is also written by the same author, the Long Spear manual has a more in-depth discussion about the principles & theories of using the Spear, before teaching you the actual stances.
There are no long solo practice forms documented, but there are a series of partnered practice drills described in the manual. These drills allow you to practice techniques that will end the fight in 1 or 2 moves.
Historically, Chinese battlefield Spears are very long, approximately 4 to 5 meters as documented in this manual. I've received comments that the Spears drawn looks rather short, about 2 meters only. My theory is that, the author needs to draw a shorter Spear in order to fit it onto a page.
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The Ming Dynasty Long Spear Soldier
The author, Master Cheng Zong You wrote and compiled a martial arts manual called 耕余剩技 (Geng Yu Sheng Ji) "Martial Arts Practiced After Farming Work", which consists of 4 volumes:
《少林棍法闡宗》 Shaolin Staff manual
《長鎗法選》 Long Spear manual (this)
《單刀法選》 Long Saber manual
These manuals put together provided a holistic insight to the outfit of the soldiers, who were all armed with Crossbows, then accompanied by either a Long-Spear or a Long-Saber. Engagement begins with the Crossbow, after which the Spearmen and Swordsmen have to work together in combat by complimenting the pros and cons of their weapons with each other.
A typical Long Spear soldier will be outfitted with the following:
Crossbow, sashed at the lower back.
Dagger, Quiver, Arrows and Poison Bottle attached to the right hip. The arrows are dipped in poison to increase its lethality.
In Master Cheng's Crossbow manual, it was mentioned that Spearmen are positioned at the front, with Swordsmen behind them. In the event that the enemy managed to dodge the Spear's thrust and tries to close in, the Swordsmen will take care of them.
China's CCTV channel made a documentary on Master Cheng Zong Yu and the manuals that he wrote. Though the dialogue is Chinese, there are English subtitles in the video as well.
Long Saber soldier in Chang Qiang Fa Xuan manual
Documentary on Master Cheng Zong Yu (with subtitles)
Bringing The Ancient Manual Back To Life
Video demonstration of the Chang Qiang
Long Spear techniques as documented in the manual.
Chinese warriors in the past regard the Spear very highly. Many of the techniques in this manuals can also still be found today, but they are practiced as long forms or sequences for demonstration and training.
In this video, I've demonstrated every stance and technique individually with just a few movements only, because in a real fight, that's all it takes to have a decisive outcome.
The actual length of a combat Spear should be longer than what I'm using in the video, but the fundamental essence behind the techniques remains the same. I hope my video can help you to better visualize what's being written in this Long Spear manual.
Spreading The Long Spear Legacy
As the most highly regarded weapon in Chinese martial arts, I must translate this Long Spear manual. Furthermore, it is considered as a "brother" to the Long Saber manual. So if I've translated one, I have to translate the other.
My vision is to see more martial artists practicing the techniques in ancient Chinese martial arts manuals, so that the art can be passed on for future generation.
Although there are only 18 stances in this manual, but there are a lot more text inside. Comparatively, the Long Saber manual had 34 stances but was easier to translate. This is because the Long Spear manual had more classical terms inside, and I had to consult with other veteran martial artists frequently to make sure I get the translation right.
Still, I translated it as literally as possible, so that the interpretation is open to anyone of any martial arts background. The English translated version of this Long Spear manual was finally released on January 2011.
Every single line of text is translated individually, so that I'm forced to work on every single word. This prevents me from skipping over difficult words, and helps to ensure that the translation is as precise and complete as possible.
With a nominal price of only USD 19.99, you can download the English translation instantly as a PDF and read it easily at your convenience. Your contribution and support will help us to continue running this website, and further the research of ancient Chinese battlefield arts.
Contents (107 pages, A5-size):
The Chinese Long Spear Sayings (introduction & history)
The Six-Harmony Original Theory
Spear Combat Drills
Structure of the Chinese Long Spear
The 18-Stances Diagrams
Features to help you learn & understand:
Hanyu Pinyin pronunciation for all Chinese text
To help you pronounce the stances' names accurately.
Chinese text side-by-side with the English translation
For your reference to the meaning of every word.