Sword Tassel

D

disciple

Guest
I think I read about this somewhere, but they said the sword tassel can be used as weapon? Or is it just for distracting enemy? Or is there any use at all?

salute
:asian:
 

Bob Hubbard

Retired
MT Mentor
Founding Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 4, 2001
Messages
47,249
Reaction score
767
Location
Land of the Free
From whatI've read, in the Chinese forms, it is a distraction, however I -very- vaguely recall seeing a form where it was more of a chain, and the sword was held in 1 hand. the chain was weighted, and spun, but also used to ensnare.

No clue where/when, it was about 10 yrs ago.

:asian:
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,560
Reaction score
435
Location
Terre Haute, IN
The official reason is distraction and that may be historically accurate, but I suspect that in modern times, in Wushu and Tai Chi, it's more for aesthetics and an additional test of skill (keeping it off the floor or twirling it nicely or what have you).
 
OP
T

Tachi

Guest
Something my Sifu mentioned during as sword clinic is that poison was someimes used on the blades of the swords and the tassel was used to conceal a small vile tht held antidotes....sounds good in theory, but the person hiding the poison would have to know which poison he/she was up against...


Tachi
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,525
Reaction score
2,955
Location
San Francisco
The tassel could be weighted with brass or lead and used to whip at an opponent, or entangle his weapon. I believe it might also contain small hooks or blades that could cut as well as impact an opponent.
 

pete

Master Black Belt
Joined
Aug 31, 2003
Messages
1,003
Reaction score
31
Location
Long Island, New York
or you can just rip the suckers off and toss them aside.

they look ridiculous and distract the student from learning the weapon more than distracting an opponent.

unless your wearing them silk pajamas, do what i do and use them to tie back your curtains.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,525
Reaction score
2,955
Location
San Francisco
or you can just rip the suckers off and toss them aside.

they look ridiculous and distract the student from learning the weapon more than distracting an opponent.

unless your wearing them silk pajamas, do what i do and use them to tie back your curtains.


There is truth in that as well. I also find them cumbersome and I've removed them from my weapons. But they did have some historical usefulness, so for those who are interested in knowing about it...
 

count

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Location
Chicago
Tassels can be useful. I've heard they're for grip when the handles are covered in blood. Thank goodness I haven't had to use them for that purpose, so I train sword without any.:wink1:
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
I have also heard that the tassels were weighted to act as a counterbalance for the sword. The weights or the length of the tassel cord could be varied to adjust the balance of the blade. In the inital stages of learning Jian it is better not to use the tassel as we have enough to bother about without becoming concerned about a tangled tassel. (That sounds a bit painful!!!). However, later, the tassel (by not becoming tangled) ensures that the sword is being used in the correct manner.

Very best wishes
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,525
Reaction score
2,955
Location
San Francisco
I have also heard that the tassels were weighted to act as a counterbalance for the sword. The weights or the length of the tassel cord could be varied to adjust the balance of the blade.

Interesting idea, but I wonder about that. The weight of the pommel and guard definitely affect the balance. And a weighted tassel would also, but it's a shifting and swinging weight so I think it would constantly change the balance and could screw up the sword use. That's another reason I suspect it's something that should be avoided until a certain level of skill is acquired. I think skillful use of a weighted tassel is probably a sign of a more highly skilled swordsman.
 

East Winds

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
756
Reaction score
32
Location
Scotland
Flying Crane,

I would not argue with your reasoning.

Here is a quote from "The Art of Chinese Swordsmanship" by Zhang Yun. "There are two kinds of tassels; changsui which is as long as the body of the jian and duansui which is half the length of the jian. Originally made of rope that connected the jian to the practitioners wrist, the tassels of contemporary jians are always made of beautiful materials. Historically , the jianpao allowed the jian to be thrown outward by the practitioner and then pulled back into his grasp. Today, jianpao are used primarily for show , not combat".

I think what we all agree on is that in the beginning it is better to leave the tassel off.

Very best wishes
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
13,525
Reaction score
2,955
Location
San Francisco
Flying Crane,

I would not argue with your reasoning.

Here is a quote from "The Art of Chinese Swordsmanship" by Zhang Yun. "There are two kinds of tassels; changsui which is as long as the body of the jian and duansui which is half the length of the jian. Originally made of rope that connected the jian to the practitioners wrist, the tassels of contemporary jians are always made of beautiful materials. Historically , the jianpao allowed the jian to be thrown outward by the practitioner and then pulled back into his grasp. Today, jianpao are used primarily for show , not combat".

I think what we all agree on is that in the beginning it is better to leave the tassel off.

Very best wishes


Wow, now there is something I've never heard of before: actually throwing the sword out, and hauling it back on the rope. Geez, that just seems to me to be asking for all kinds of trouble, but then again the Chinese had all kinds of unusual weaponry like the rope dart and such.

Interesting. I don't know anything about this author, I'd like to see a second, independent source that might verify that use.
 

changsuijian

White Belt
Joined
Oct 30, 2008
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Hi everyone! :)
Soooo, i will share with you my opinion on a sword tassel, first of all im practicing long tassle sword /chang sui jian - 长穗剑/ in this style the tassel has its own very strict function, the tassel in this style should by long as sword or longer, it has two main functions first of all is to distract enemy, distract his atention, also often enemy is foxed or fooled by the tassel, he is chasing tassel and dont pay atention to a sword :) this technique is called: "huang" /晃 - dazzle/ the other important technique is called "shuai" /甩 - fling/ this technique when practiced good is very strong, it is using the tassle to hit the oponent and believe me, it hurts a lot, also the tassel can be thrown to the oponent eyes and distract his view
this style is hard to master, it needs a lot of waist movements and precise moves, but its very beutiful, lot of people think that the tassle is some sort of decoration... and lets say... lots of people practicing this style realy dont understand the style...also nowadays...lots of old people like to atach long tassle to their taiji sword...because its maybe more beutiful... but i like the normal "long tassel sword" :)
Thank you! and sorry for the mistakes :D
 

TV954

White Belt
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Respectfully, some lineages may not have the tassel as part of the sword handling. I have been told that originally combat swords (jians or gims) had tassels made of very fine wire that could be flicked into an opponents face or across exposed skin to inflict cuts. This would be quite a distraction indeed. The inclusion of a tassel very much changes how the jian needs to be handled. Since the jian is seen a lot in internal arts, including the tassel introduces another level of how the sword must flow to avoid the aforementioned entanglements. Throwing away the tassel is another option if you do not have proper instruction on how it should be employed in a form or in exercises. You can play with the nature of the flow of the tassel by doing simple figure 8 cutting patterns in the air in front of a mirror and observe the motion and how to keep it going. Jian energy is subtle and adding the tassel will certainly refine your understanding of the energies and how to make the weapon an extension of your body's movement.
 

bowser666

2nd Black Belt
Joined
May 20, 2008
Messages
751
Reaction score
26
Well a coupel months ago I decided to buy a Shaolin Saber ( braodsword) Basics DVD from YMAA ( Dr. Jwing Ming Yang) to learn soem training tips, techniques and history. Much to my suprise I discovered something interesting. He dismissed the tassle as not tradional and that its only purpose is Aesthetic. He mentioned some very valid points.

#1- It is not to distract your enemy
#2- It is not to wipe the blood off your hands or blade either.
#3- A smart enemy can use the tassle to pull on and take control of your weapon so why woudl you even want one on your weapon ?


All in all he said that tassles are useless and are for performance purposes only. Sorry if this bothers some people. If you look this guy up you will see he is a well reknowed expert in Kung fu as well as other styles.
 

northern tiger

White Belt
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
9
Reaction score
1
Location
Sweden
As far as I know, which isn't much, there is no historical evidence that the tassle on swords where ever used in actual combat. There is however evidence that swords would sometimes have a lanyard attached so your sword would be secured at the wrist.

Like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Manchuguard.jpg

I believe that the tassle we see now has evolved into modern chinese martial arts from these lanyards.
 

Gruenewald

Orange Belt
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
90
Reaction score
1
Location
Halifax NS, Canada
I've heard before that tassels can be used to entangle the opponent's weapon if you lock up. However, despite having virtually no formal training experience with swords (as in, feel free to ignore this post completely) I'm aware of how ridiculously seldom such a situation may come up.
 
Top