Thursday, 31 January 2008

The Myth of Chinese Miao Dao

There are some common confusion of the origin of Chinese Miao Dao.

Some say miao dao originally came from Japanese katana, and some say it is merely another type of 2 handed sword, and some even say that miao dao was created by the famous Chinese militrary General Yue Fai in Sung Dynasty... So, which one is true?

I started to learn traditional miao dao when I was 17 in Taiwan, back in that time, "miao dao" was hardly known and heard in Martial arts society.

In traditional miao dao, there was only a original form, plus quite a number of single moves. The 2nd miao dao form was created by famous martial artist, master Gou Chang Sheng (the swallow) during who had play significant role in promoting miao dao in early 30s.

Since this topic is about miao dao, I think I should start with discussing the below points.

1. what is miao dao?

The name of miao dao:
The word "Miao" (translated as long grain leaf) here, refer to the long & narrow shape of blade, where "dao" means single edge sword.

Specifications of miao Dao:

Just like any Chinese weapons, the best size/specification should be according individual difference/preference. Nevertheless, the common size of miao dao should be around 5 "Chinese feets" where the blade counts 3.8 Chinese feets and the the handle around 1.2 Chinese feets.

In recent years, as Chinese swords have become popular, I have seen many shortened miao dao made by people who actually have no idea about miao dao, and I have also seen people ordered "specific custom made miao dao" according to "original sizes" which ended up to a disaster.... a super huge + heavy sword that can never be used!

Well, the simply fact is that the Chinese feet is different from feet we are using today. The Chinese Feet (especial in this case) is only around 24 CM to 27 CM depending on the type of measures used, which normall feet is is around 30.48 CM.. so the difference will be 24*5=120 ~ 27*5= 135CM against 30.48*5= 152.4 CM!


johan said...

Dear Evan

I am confused with the actual length of Miao dao itself, according to your website the blade can be 95 cm while others hovering around 75 cm. Is this because of personal preference?

also why the peg in the handle is only one instead of two?

I also noticed from my own limited observation and reading from internet, the actual miadao forms are often mixed with wushu forms, so which forms in Miao Dao that are truly for combat? For example the ones utilized by the Chinese army to fight the Japanese invaders during the Sino Japanese war.

Kindly advice



johan said...

Oh one more thing !
how do you handle Miao dao?
I saw your right hand close to the guard and the left hand is at the end of handle, giving some space in the middle.
While others I saw both hands closed to each other towards the guard without gaps. Thanks