Looking for a Kwan Dao / long weapon

Discussion in 'Chinese Swords and Sword Arts' started by tommytx, May 2, 2019.

  1. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    They go by many names - guandao, kwan sword, kwan’s knife... I have seen a lot of them online that break down into three parts. Does anyone sell one that is just one piece? Does anyone have experience with the ones that break down? Can they be used for aggressive form work and practice? Light to moderate contact? Not interested in a floppy blade. Heavy is fine. Just looking for a solid weapon to learn the form and develop the fitness to do it. Preferably one that doesn’t break after a year of use.

    Any recommendations or shared experiences are welcome and appreciated!
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Check out Wing Lam Enterprises. Some of their stuff is sold out, you could contact them and find out if they expect to get more. I’ve not used any of these, but if I was in the market, I would check them out.

    weapons
     
  3. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Kind thanks Flying Crane.
     
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    No worries.

    I’ve got to ask: are you working with a Sifu to learn this? Does he have any recommendations?
     
  5. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Yes and yes there are general specifications I am looking for. However he is not a weapons supplier.
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would not expect that he would be. I just thought he might know of a good source, if he is teaching the weapon. No worries though, quality weapons can be difficult to locate. And I am glad you are working with a teacher. Many people come here looking for info on finding a weapon, they want something “real” (meaning sharp), but they have no teacher and want to figure it out on their own in the backyard. I cannot encourage that approach.

    Wing Lam has a couple of combat grade models, carbon steel blades, steel shaft, weigh around 7 pounds, but they are sold out. Those are the ones I personally would consider. They also have a heavy training model, weighs around 30 pounds. That’s a beast, and would give one hell of a workout. Careful of injury, probably just way too heavy for most people.

    I’ve met Sifu Wing Lam, but he passed away not too long ago. I don’t know who is running the business now. One of my teachers knew him pretty well and he was offering some decent quality options in his weapons offerings. So I think he would be a good source to explore, even though I have no direct experience with the Kwan dao that his company sells.
     
  7. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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  8. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    I appreciate that input!

    I have no need for a sharp edge - but a weapon that is heavy and lasts is one that I appreciate. I want one that I *can* use in my backyard if needed. I don't like borrowing weapons. If it is close to the real weapon used in ancient times, that's good with me. I am after the health and strength benefits more than anything, as well as to grow my skills as an athlete. I also appreciate weapons work. It is not my profession, and I don't do it for recognition or to compete. I do it because I love it, and I love the physical and mental challenges that the arts bring. I do have a foundation to work from, so I am not starting from scratch. I have seen some atrocious performances of self taught "forms" online, and I am thankful to have instruction.

    I will for now endeavor to remain anonymous, because I would like to enjoy this forum apart from any hints of controversy or strife.

    Since I am new here, I thought I would pick the brains of the community to see if there are any gems for authentic weapons sources out there that I might have missed. As always, I respect and appreciate all input.

    I heard that Sifu Wing Lam passed away - always sad to see a positive influence on the martial arts world pass on. I have been to the website, but not for a few years now. I have not ever ordered from it either. I will check it out and if I do put in an order, I will let you know my thoughts on what I get. I am in no rush however.
     
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  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am a big believer in using realistic weaponry, if you choose to train in weapons.

    The floppy Wushu stuff is just weapon-shaped toys, likely to fly apart and light enough to encourage poor technique.

    Realistic, robust weapons make you work harder, improve your strength, and don’t let you cheat on your technique. It is a good pursuit.
     
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  10. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Agree 100%. There are few material things I despise more than a cheap or poorly made weapon. If you are going to put in the time, why not make it as real as possible and get the maximum benefit?
     
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    That’s why I started to rebuild my own swords, and make my own staffs and spear shafts. I didn’t like what was generally available.
     
  12. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    If you have time, would you share some of that process? I have often thought about doing that myself, but I get lost in acquiring the right materials and tools.
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sure, busy now but will do. Remind me if you don’t see anything for a couple days.
     
  14. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Of course. At your convenience please! Thanks for your time and info.
     
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  15. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’ll get started, I’m not sure how much detail you want, so feel free to ask questions.

    I was learning taiji, and we were working on the sword. I bought an import from China, fairly light weight and springy, but not pure junk, it wasn’t one of those sheet metal Wushu pieces that feel like they will shake apart. As I saw what people were using, I began to realize that the swords readily available were mostly junk. The hilts fit poorly, felt like they were going to fall apart, and often the guard and pommel were a wood core with a thin sheet of brass over the top of it. There was no strength or durability, and no weight to balance against the blade.

    So I decided maybe I could rebuild them, as long as I had a blade that was acceptable. Some of the Chinese stuff was better than others, although it is hard to say for sure what the quality of any of it is given that we dont know what kind of steel it is nor how well their heat treating processes are. But the more robust blades, I was willing to work with.

    I also purchased some blades from a maker of European type swords, and built some hilts for those. I knew that maker’s reputation and the type of steel he uses, so those that I bought from him I am confident are quality blades.

    I enrolled in a class at my local community college, in the art department, to learn metal working in bronze and silver, and the lost wax casting method. Most people took the class to make jewelry, I did it to rebuild swords. I took the course over several semesters and developed my technique and design, and was able to rebuild several swords in that way. Eventually I was not able to take more classes, so I bought some casting equipment that I can use in my garage. I cast the guard and pommel in solid bronze, and do scabbard fittings in bronze as well. I did a couple of hilts in silver, just for fun.

    I carved grips from hardwood, maple has been my favorite. Ive carved out scabbards as well. At first I would shape these with a hand planer, and carve out the blade trench in the scabbard with a chisel. Eventually I started using a belt sander to shape the pieces, and a router to do most of the blade channel in the scabbard, but there is still chisel work involved.

    I’ve done a bunch of swords, sold a bunch to people in my training group, they are much superior to most of the junk that was being imported from China.

    More recently I started making staffs and spear shafts in hickory, which I am finding I like better than the Chinese waxwood. That’s just a personal preference. I’ve made tomahawk handles as well in hickory, I shape them on the belt sander, a lot of hand sanding goes into the finish, and then finally finish with linseed oil and teak oil. I’ve also made a couple of hiking staffs in the same manner.

    I don’t have any knowledge in working the steel, so I’ve not made any blades. Hilts and scabbards and staffs and tomahawk handles are what I can do.

    And I developed a small line of silver animal pendants that I sell on Etsy.com, under the seller name flyingcranedesigns.
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    On a side note, Wing Lam used to make some custom weapons as well. I don’t know if anyone is carrying on with that, but he made a jian for one of my sifus. He does not use the lost wax casting method. Instead he machines the guard and pommel from a block of brass or bronze. I believe he was customizing butterfly swords as well.
     
  17. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Thanks so much for sharing that! I am a details guy so the more detail the better!

    While I am still in the market for a Kwans Knife / sword / Guandao down the road... We have decided to focus more immediately on a spear form. So... I find myself in immediate need of a good spear! I am very interested in the hickory spear shafts you mentioned. Can you share that specific process? Where to get the wood, how you work it, any steps you take to improve the balance and handling... etc.

    I very much appreciate the time you have taken to share your experience. What dedication to even take a college course! What a great idea. I will have to look over the offerings at my local schools.
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    The courses I took were over several semesters, it was designed to be able to repeat several times in order to gain more experience. It was definitely more than I could have learned in one.

    I can describe the techniques for shaping a spear shaft, it isn’t difficult but if you don’t already have the tools then there is some startup cost. I don’t think it’s terribly expensive, but you might also have some trial and error. If you really want to make your own stuff then it’s worth it, but might not be the quickest route while you figure it out.

    I’m tempted to offer to make one for you. I’m in a busy time right now so I’m not sure I’ll have the time to do it quickly, but I like the idea. I could email you some pictures of stuff Ive done so you can see my work. Let me know if you are interested and we can talk more offline.
     
  19. tommytx

    tommytx White Belt

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    Sorry for not responding sooner - had a few busy days. I would be thrilled to speak with you about a custom FlyingCrane spearshaft! I will try to figure out how to DM you here. I appreciate the idea!
     

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