The changdao (simplified Chinese :长刀; traditional Chinese :長刀; pinyin :chángdāo; lit. 'long sword') was a two-handed, single-edged Chinese sword. The term changdao has been translated as "long saber," "saber-staff," or "long-handled saber." During the Ming dynasty, changdao was often used as a general term for two handed swords. After Republican Era, the term miaodao is sometimes used to describe changdao due to similarity. Tang dynasty sources describe the changdao as being identical to the modao (Chinese :陌刀), but the modao may have been a double-edged weapon like earlier zhanmajian.
The changdao seems to have first appeared during the Tang dynasty as the preferred weapon choice for elite vanguard infantry units in the Tang army. It was described as having an overall length of seven feet, composed of a three foot long single edged blade and four foot long pole grip. Due to its considerable length and size it became one of the hallmarks of elite Tang infantry, who were often placed at the front of the army as spearheads against enemy formations. The Taibai Yinjing states:
This version of the changdao seems to have lost favor after the Tang dynasty. The changdao reappeared again during the Ming dynasty as a general term for two handed single edged swords. It was viewed very positively as an effective weapon by Qi Jiguang, who acquired a Kage-ryū (Aizu) manual from Japanese wokou, studied it, and modified it for his troops and used its tactics against enemies on the Mongol border c. 1560. At the time Qi specified a sword length of 1.95 meters, similar to the Japanese ōdachi. Its handle was long, apparently slightly more than one-third of its total length, and its curve shallower than that of Japanese swords. Commanding up to 100,000 troops on the Mongol border, General Qi found the changdao so effective that up to forty percent of his commandos carried it; it stayed in service throughout the late Ming dynasty. [ citation needed ] The changdao is often compared to the Japanese ōdachi or nagamaki which bear close resemblances and similarities to it.
A Japanese sword is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period, though most people generally refer to the curved blades made after the Heian period when speaking of "Japanese swords". There are many types of Japanese swords that differ by size, shape, field of application and method of manufacture. Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the katana, tachi, odachi, wakizashi, and tantō.
A pole weapon or pole arm is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, thereby extending the user's effective range and striking power. Pole weapons are predominantly melee weapons, with a subclass of spear-like designs fit for both thrusting and throwing. Because many pole weapons were adapted from agricultural implements or other tools in fairly large amount of abundance, and contain relatively little metal, they were cheap to make and readily available. When warfare breaks out and the belligerents have a poorer class who cannot pay for dedicated weapons made for war, military leaders often resort to the appropriation of tools as cheap weapons. The cost of training was minimal, since these conscripted farmers had spent most of their lives in the familiar use of these "weapons" in the fields. This made polearms the favored weapon of peasant levies and peasant rebellions the world over.
A tachi (太刀) was a type of traditionally made Japanese sword (nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Tachi and katana generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latter depending on the location of the mei, or signature, on the tang. The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana, which was not mentioned by name until near the end of the twelfth century. Tachi were the mainstream Japanese swords of the Kotō period between 900 and 1596. Even after the Muromachi period (1336–1573), when katana became the mainstream, tachi were often worn by high-ranking samurai.
Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. The most common form is also known as the Chinese sabre, although those with wider blades are sometimes referred to as Chinese broadswords. In China, the dao is considered one of the four traditional weapons, along with the gun, qiang (spear), and the jian, called in this group “The General of Weapons".
The ōdachi (大太刀) or nodachi is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword used by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The Chinese equivalent of this type of sword in terms of weight and length is the miao dao, and the Western battlefield equivalent is the longsword or claymore.
The zhanmadao was a single-bladed anti-cavalry Chinese sword. It originated during the Han Dynasty and was especially common in Song China (960–1279).
A guandao is a type of Chinese pole weapon that is used in some forms of Chinese martial arts. In Chinese, it is properly called a yanyuedao, the name under which it always appears in texts from the Song to Qing dynasties such as the Wujing Zongyao and Huangchao Liqi Tushi. It is comparable to the Japanese naginata and the European fauchard or glaive and consists of a heavy blade with a spike at the back and sometimes also a notch at the spike's upper base that can catch an opponent's weapon. In addition there are often irregular serrations that lead the back edge of the blade to the spike. The blade is mounted atop a 1.5 m to 1.8 m (5–6 foot) long wooden or metal pole with a pointed metal counter weight used to balance the heavy blade and for striking on the opposite end.
The wodao is a Chinese sword from the Ming Dynasty and Qing dynasty. It is typically long and slender, but heavy, with a curved back and sharp blade. It bears a strong resemblance to the Tang sword, zhanmadao, Tachi or Odachi in form. Extant examples show a handle approximately 25.5 cm long, with a gently curved blade 80 cm long.
The miaodao (苗刀) is a Chinese two-handed dao or saber of the Republican Era, with a narrow blade, long hilt, and an overall length of 1.2 metres (47 in) or more. The name means "sprout saber", presumably referring to a likeness between the weapon and a newly sprouted plant. An early reference, in Jin Yiming’s Single Defense-Saber, makes a connection between the miaodao and the Qing-era wodao, as well as mentioning both single and two-handed versions of the ‘’miaodao’’, suggesting that the name originally described the shape only, without any connotations of size. While the miaodao is a recent weapon, the name has come to be applied to a variety of earlier Chinese long sabers, such as the zhanmadao and changdao. Along with the dadao, miaodao were used by some Chinese troops during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Korean swords have served a central place in the defense of the nation for thousands of years. Although typical Korean land battles have taken place in wide valleys and narrow mountain passes, which favor use of the spear and bow, the sword found use as a secondary, close-quarters weapon, especially useful during sieges and ship-to-ship boarding actions. Higher quality, ceremonial swords were typically reserved for the officer corps as a symbol of authority with which to command the troops. Ceremonial swords are still granted to military officials by the civilian authority to this day.
Chinese armour was predominantly lamellar from the Warring States period onward, prior to which animal parts such as rhinoceros hide, rawhide, and turtle shells were used for protection. Lamellar armour was supplemented by scale armour since the Warring States period or earlier. Partial plate armour was popular from the Northern and Southern dynasties (420–589), and mail and mountain pattern armour from the Tang dynasty (618–907). Chain mail had been known since the Han Dynasty, but did not see widespread production or battlefield use, and may have seen as "exotic foreign armor" used as a display of wealth for wealthier officers and soldiers. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), brigandine began to supplant lamellar armour and was used to a great degree into the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). By the 19th century most Qing armour, which was of the brigandine type, were purely ceremonial, having kept the outer studs for aesthetic purposes, and omitted the protective metal plates.
Commissioned by King Jeongjo in 1790, the Muyedobotongji expanded on the eighteen weapons systems identified in the Muyeshinbo of 1758.
Chicken sickles are a number of Chinese bladed weapons similar to the Hook sword and the Okinawan Kama. They can be used as a single or double weapon. It is considered the special weapon of the Xinyi Liuhe style.
The liuyedao or willow-leaf saber is a type of dao that was commonly used as a military sidearm for both cavalry and infantry during the Ming and Qing dynasties. A descendant of the earlier Mongol saber the liuyedao remained the most popular type of single handed sabre during the Ming Dynasty, replacing the role of the military role of the Jian. Many schools of Chinese martial arts originally trained with this weapon.
Historically, all Chinese swords are classified into two types, jian and dao. Jians are double-edged straight swords while daos are single-edged, and mostly curved from the Song dynasty forward. The jian has been translated at times as a long sword, and the dao a saber or a knife. Bronze jians appeared during the Western Zhou period and switched to wrought iron and steel during the late Warring States period. In modern times, the ceremonial commissioned officer's sword of the Chinese navy has been patterned after the traditional jian since 2008.
The Jixiao Xinshu or New Treatise on Military Efficiency is a military manual written during the 1560s and 1580s by the Ming dynasty general Qi Jiguang. Its primary significance is in advocating for a combined arms approach to warfare using five types of infantry and two type of support. Qi Jiguang separated infantry into five separate categories: firearms, swordsmen, archers with fire arrows, ordinary archers, and spearmen. He split support crews into horse archers and artillery units. The Jixiao Xinshu is also one of the earliest existing East Asian texts to address the relevance of Chinese martial arts with respect to military training and warfare. Several contemporary martial arts styles of Qi's era are mentioned in the book, including the staff method of the Shaolin temple.
A katana is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the tachi, it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the blade facing upward. Since the Muromachi period, many old tachi were cut from the root and shortened, and the blade at the root was crushed and converted into katana. The official term for katana in Japan is uchigatana (打刀) and the term katana (刀) often refers to single-edged swords from around the world.
The Muyesinbo is a Korean martial arts manual published in 1759. The book is a revision of the older Muyejebo, made during the reign of King Youngjo (1724–1776). It adds twelve disciplines or "skills" of both armed and unarmed fighting by Prince Sado to the original six which were descbribed in the Muyejebo. No copies of the Muyesinbo have survived, but its contents can easily be determined by tracing back and comparing the Muyejebo with the later Muyedobotongji.
The military of the Ming dynasty was the military apparatus of China from 1368 to 1644. It was founded in 1368 during the Red Turban Rebellion by the Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang. The military was initially organised along largely hereditary lines and soldiers were meant to serve in self-sufficient agricultural communities. They were grouped into guards (wei) and battalions (suo), otherwise known as the wei-suo system. This hereditary guard battalion system went into decline around 1450 and was discarded in favor of mercenaries a century later.
The three most common types of Chinese polearms are the ge (戈), qiang (槍), and ji (戟). They are translated into English as dagger-axe, spear, and halberd. Dagger-axes were originally a short slashing weapon with a 0.9 to 1.8 m long shaft, but around the 4th century BC a spearhead was added to the blade, and it became a halberd. The spear is also sometimes called a mao (矛), which is sometimes used to designate polearms with a wavy snake-like spearhead. There was another polearm weapon known as the pi (鈹), translated into English as either sword-staff or long lance, that was used from ancient times until the Han dynasty. It was essentially a short sword attached to a stick. From the Warring States period onward, the length of Chinese polearms varied from around 2.8 m to 5.5 m, however there is no specific designation for a pike in the traditional Chinese lexicon. A very long spear is just called a long spear.