Contrary to popular belief, broad chopping Sabers and heavy Long sabers are more difficult to use than light commander sabers. Broad chopping Sabers although ultimate in power, have a further forward mass center. Due to the difficulty of retracting a wrongly swung stroke for the frontline saber, the layman can use his instinctive stance to wield the goosequill sabers but has to use non-intuitive designated Saber stances to handle the frontline sabers. The frontline sabers have a specific method of retracting that is equally fast as a layman retraction.
In the Song Dynasty during Yue Fei's time, the handle of the saber was lengthened to enable it to be used to chop horses, and similarly be used on horseback. In the age of mortal combat, there was little need to pull punches, or rather pull blades. Under such conditions both parties charged at each other without hesitation, the more robust blade will surely win the battle.
If you wish to celebrate the glorious history and culture of Chinese war craft, you might want to consider having Dao rather than Jian in your collection to honor the true way of the warriors who defended China.
The straight Jian was also used as a battlefield weapon, notable exponents are the famous Xiang Yu, Cao Pi etc. Tang Dynasty bodyguard units are made up of two handed Jian swordsmen. In the Yuan many Mongol warriors preferred the Jian as a stabbing weapon on horseback, their Jian being war trophies from the Chinese enemies they have conquered.
The Dao and Jian was almost never paired together. This is due to their differences in balance center, shape and trajectories. In fact, many believe that there are two separate paths of development, into the Dao person, or the Jian person; due to their differing characteristics.
While many know about the cutting and hacking ballistics of the Dao, lesser is known about the Jian due to it being an obscure battlefield weapon. Thus it has an air of mysticism surrounding it. However, Jian usage on the battlefield can still be achieved because at higher levels the swordsman rely less on the existing mass of the weapon, more on the ability to generate and transfer power into the enemy's body.
The Jian also have the advantage of being lighter and quicker at the same length as a comparable Dao. It also has its own unique variety of orthodox and unorthodox techniques, giving it an edge against fighters unfamiliar with its usage. The Jian is surely better at thrusts, and it has a second edge that can be used to flick at unsuspecting opponents. From our experience, both the flick and holding a straight clean thrust require a strong forearm muscle which almost all office workers don't have, so they should stick to the saber if they don't want to be stuck for years waiting for that muscle to grow.
There are three kinds of Jian cross section configurations, the four faced, six faced, and eight faced. The four faced Jian is the most swift, the six faced Jian has the most cutting power but least strength; the eight faced Jian has the strongest rigidity and impact, but is cumbersome to beginners and the hardest to polish and maintain.
Unlike the ubiquity of single handed Jian commonly portrayed in movies, most Jian after the Qin are two handed and longer than 1m. Given the right conditions, the long double handed Jian has a strong potential to become a primary battlefield weapon, just like the Nodachi in Japan.
The Chinese however have a large plethora of weapons compared to the Japanese armory which is largely consisted of Katana configuration weapons. The Chinese had variety and most if not all the time, preferred variety and versatility.
Article By Leroy Kwok