BOOKS ON WEAPONS Page One

Kung Fu weapons, including those of Tai Chi, offer a varied world of possibilities. They also can be of tremendous aid in perfecting one's style. Weapons are the martial heritage of the art. Many, many movements were developed in weapons training BEFORE they were incorporated into the hand sets. In addition weapons add an esthetic and historical interest which, from the anthropological sense, gives deep insight into cultural and social conditions regarding the art and the land from which it came. Click the picture in frame to see if there is one available.

Page Two: Books on the Kung Fu and Tai Chi straight sword.


NEW! KK010 Kung Fu Spear
King of Weapons:
Book & DVD

Ted Mancuso

227 pages, softbound, photographs and illustrations,
DVD ~ nearly 1 3/4 hours.
regular Plum price: $39.95 Sale price (PLUM) : $34.95

(This book was written by Ted Mancuso, director of Plum Publications.)

"Everyone in Kung Fu knows the four grandparent weapons (staff, saber, sword and spear.) They are so-called because they will look after you like a full set of grandpas and grandmas and protect you from harm. And the best of this venerable group is the spear. This might strike you as a little odd—but actually it is the prize weapon of all Kung Fu. Right now, the entertainment world regards the straight sword as the quintessential Kung Fu weapon. The way I look at it, the straight sword portrays the vision of what a Kung Fu practitioner wants to be: deadly but graceful, practical but with a tint of mystical and a pint of dramatic. This is the nature of the sword, but not even the slashing sword teaches the real Kung Fu student more lessons than the spear. 

Nowadays everyone wants to learn about usage. Well here’s usage that would work even today.  And these actions coupled with proper training reflect back into the human body, making thespear a sort of tireless teacher in all aspects of Kung Fu: yes, all.

So when I was punching the keys, looking for text on the subject, I finally realized that I saw no major pieces on the spear. This affected me so much that I halted work on another book and set out to present some of  this crucial information.

Why crucial? Because there is almost no movement of the spear that does not improve the Kung Fu player’s empty-hand work.

I repeat this point in my book, that everything learned there can be transferred to the unarmed human body. All the basics are here and variations of strikes that are somewhat more than basic, that demand refined movement. The essence of each move is expressed. I also included a form (the Zha spear) because I know people like to practice this way. I attached a whole selection of spear Key Points to make the form come alive. Then I added two entire groups of applications, demonstrated against advanced teachers wielding spear and saber. More than just poking around, this usage embodies many of the spear’s core principles in these hand-picked applications.

There are some good books on other martial subjects out there, but in this case I wanted to capture something specific; not an appreciation of the spear, or a simple workbook. Those would be fine, but I wanted to create a book that lets you experience the essence of what spear-energy has meant through a thousand of years practice and refinement; when the lives of nations and the fate of history hovered between two very long rows of spearmen facing one another, poised before conflict.

Don’t just shake the spear. Shake up what you think it can do, compared to teachings that flower directly from weapon to you. "

Basics and strikes
Form and commentary
Fighting spear and saber
Understanding the basic strategy
Three sizes of practice
Stances and how spear modifies them

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Kung Fu "Leaping Boxing"SC251 Si Ba Chui, Book and VCD
$16.95, 45 pages plus VCD, Simplified Chinese/English


Si Ba Chui comes from Hong Quan. It emphasizes attacking with neat, swift and nimble palms. The book does show some Hong basics with some uncommon postures. If you want to see what long fist boxing should look like, here's an example. Yet another impressive performance from a Hong Quan practitioner, Dang Jiang Zhan, a Gold Medal winner in Chinese Traditional Martial Arts. This is a set that will require some skill. In classic long fist style, it demonstrates a mastery of opposites: beautiful, long line attacks mixed with off-angle almost awkward-seeming poses; loose whipping arm swings and sudden solid straight strikes; clear military timing with difficult syncopated actions. Hong Quan is loose and powerful. It is a true Northern style mixing sophisticated technique with a folksy sense of beauty.

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SC253 Feng Mo (Crazy Spirit) Staff, Book and VCD
$17.95, 64 pages plus VCD, Simplified Chinese/English

Also called the blind stick, because "the enemies are almost as though they were blind to its movements." It is said to combine the essence of sheep stick, pear spear, and miao dao. As an example, one minute it pokes like a spear, and the next, sweeps like a cudgel (two hands) or a miao saber (one hand.) The origin of 'crazy spirit cudgel.' This routine was created in the 1930's, and comes from Tong Bei. Attempting to live up to its title, Feng Mo has a lot of strikes form unusual angles and offset timing. It's a nice looking set that covers a lot of ground, but has its occasional odd-looking posture. It specializes in tiao movements from the front and back. It's at least a staff set for an intermediate student. Probably one of the best staff sets invented in the 20th century.

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Plum Flower Pole style Kung FuKL013 Lost Track Blooming Flower Saber
Lam Wing Kit & Ying Fun Fong
$19.95, 26 pages, softbound, pamphlet,
color photos, no written breakdowns, moves named

This intermediate Lost Track form is known as Emerging Flower Saber. It can also mean dewy flower. This is a thorough compendium of saber techniques all demonstrated in a form that captures the attention like a blooming flower. It even manages to combine some of the Lost Track footwork with saber postures. You should know something about the saber before you try this one.

HONG KONG Pamplets: This is from a series of unusual booklets, all printed in Hong Kong. Each staple bound pamphlet is small (about two dozen pages) but beautifully done with full color photos, about nine per page, exceptionally clear. There is no breakdown in English or Chinese though all the moves are named. An introductory paragraph gives background, special techniques and difficulty rating for each form. More of a printed film strip to act as a reference and a reminder. In this section, all forms are from MiZong "Lost Track Style" and associated with the world-famous Chin Woo school out of Shanghai.

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Great Goose Kung FuMiao Dao Leaf Saber - SC 334
Wang Zhi Hai
42 pages, English/Chinese text, illustrations and accompanying VCD showing form also with minimal English/Chinese narration.
$15.95

It is well known, by this point, that the Japanese sword was modeled on the Chinese Miao Dao. It is also known that Japanese martial artists and pirates became so adept at it use that they caused a whirlwind of troubles for Chinese military who had forgotten its technique, definitely a case of being bitten by your own dog. This form, though defnitely not for beginners, is played by a champion, Wang ZhiHai, who won his division in tradition forms. If you look closely beside the huge whirling and spinning movements there are multiple edge and grip changes, and some use of hand-on-blade work. Another expressive and interesting set with this weapon returning to popularity.

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Tian Shan Pai Tai Chi SaberKS052 Staff: The Kung Fu Weapon of Skill: Book & DVD
Ted Mancuso

201 pages, softbound, photographs and illustrations,
DVD ~ nearly 2 hours.
regular Plum price: $39.95 Sale price (plum) until November 5: $34.95

This book shows, from its first pages, essentials of the Kung Fu staff rarely published in English. This material can deepen the practice of any staff player. Many martial artists learn this or that staff form, but either never explore the real usage of the weapon or think of its as a springboard to learning fancier, more "exciting" weapons. Long-time instructor, Ted Mancuso, makes the case for the staff as a crucial instrument for any martial artist.

"Anyone can play with staff. It has the advantage of not being made of metal, making it relatively safe and difficult to cut yourself. A beginnner's staff has no sharp wooden edges along its length so the degree of precision needed is negligible, compared to other weapons. Do not let this fool you, though. The staff may be the arithmetic of weapons, but it can also be used for higher math purposes. In fact, one of the most potent characteristics of staff is that this weapon, which introduces basic movements, can also reach a high level of sophistication. Explaining just how such a thing is possible is one of the reasons I am writing this book."

Tian Shan Pai Tai Chi Saber

  • Flavor, basics and fundamentals of staff work
  • Hundreds of photos
  • Two part system: DVD shows the moves; book explains details and fine points
  • Narrative Instruction
  • Orbits practice
  • Partner routines
  • Good for beginning to intermediate student
  • History and representation in fact, legends and fiction
  • Staff names in Chinese
  • Clarified training methods (ring the bell, etc) & important techniques to increase your skill
  • Moves backed by text, like being in a class with a teacher
  • Thoroughly detailed form instruction
  • Very accessible, you can learn from this text
  • Basic strikes and form in lesson-by-lesson breakdown
  • Intermediate level Long Fist form
  • Good performance set
  • Incorporated principles and theories

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Choy Lay Fut Waddy Play KT042 Waddy Play of Tsai Lee Fo (Choy Lay Fut)
Chan Kin-Man & Yan Sang
English/Chinese
$12.95, 111 pages with photographs softbound

This "monk's traveling stick" set emphasizes short strikes and feints. And "eyebrow height" stick the motions are pure CLF with strong stances and clear angles. Chan Kin-Man is the son of Chan Hong-Heung a famous teacher of the style. The older Chan's teacher, Fong Yu-Shu, was an expert in this weapon. The author, the younger Chan, is himself a generation inheritor and, among other things, a WuShu instructor at the Hong Kong Jing Wu Association.

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Tian Shan Pai Tai Chi Saber
Now with DVD!
KB014
The Bandit Knife: Book & DVD
Kung Fu's Rebellious Weapon:
by Ted Mancuso

144 pages, softbound, photographs and illustrations, DVD ~ 45 minutes. $29.95, Plum price $26.95

"Why practice a weapon one thousand years old? What are the special properties of this Kung Fu instrument? What lessons can a martial artist learn from it? And where does it stand in history? In this unique approach, the author picks a relatively rare armament from the Kung Fu weapons rack and uses it to cut through mysteries of the martial arts.

This book does not merely teach a form; it explores the little known fact that many of Kung Fu's most effective and unsuspected fighting techniques were developed out of armed warfare, not hand-to-hand combat. By handling the Bandit Knife and its principles in a new way, he explores a martial tradition of over one thousand years.

The companion DVD offers a wealth of information on basic training with the Bandit Knife, including grips, fundamental movements, and basic strikes. Then the form is broken down and shown with closeups and details, making it accessible to learn and to practice.

Practice the weapon. Learn the form. Spar with the applications. Each move will show you a new view of this ageless art."

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Tian Shan Pai Tai Chi SaberKA017 Ancient Art of the Chinese Long Saber
translated by Jack Chen
Published by Historical Combat Assocition (Singapore)

$32.95, 144 pages,

This is a translation of a book based on an ancient swordsmanship manual by Cheng Zong You during the end of the Ming dynasty. This was a time Ming, and later Qing, soldiers were continuing engaging with Japanese pirates. Chen was taught by one Liu Yin Feng  who had learned Japanese sword skills. The manual teaches the use of a long two-handed single-edged curved saber, resembling a Japanese long sword, against a spear.
   Note: This book has both the original Chinese, Pinyin transcription and the English translation all in one volume. It is actually the art learned from the Japanese. The irony, not mentioned in the text, is that the double handled sword is a smaller version of a longer Chinese weapon, the Miao Dao (this is mentioned including its unusual drawing method).  This technique started with the Chinese, migrated to Japan, then returned to China by this route. Such things still happen today but this is a particularly significant example.

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KF009 Fatal Flute and Stick Forms
by Chan Poi

$18.95, 211 pages, softbound, illustrations, oversized

Here are two Northern stick forms emerging from the hybrid Wah Lum style. This has always been a group of hard working and often talented martial artists led by Chan Poi and his daughter. Like much Wah Lum the movements are big and very clear. In this case we have the "fatal flute" as the headliner. Don't expect escrima, this interpretation of the short wooden, or metal, weapon is a large yawara aimed at attacking points on the human body. The staff form following is a very good beginner's form, not too hard but not repetitious. Applications and some historical background shown for both weapons. An early weapons book that has two very learnable sets.

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Tian Shan Pai Tai Chi Saber

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KT019 Tai Chi Saber The Tian Shan Pai Tradition
by Liu Chao Chi
$18.95, 211 pages, softbound, illustrations, oversized

Tian Shan Pai, at present, has an equivocal status as a traditional style but there is no doubt that it is at base a compendium of traditional styles. For example the saber technique shown in this book is said not to derive from Yang Chen Fu but from his father and his elder brothers through the teacher, Xiang Yang He who passed it directly onto the author. (Xiang also taught T. T. Liang, and it should be noted was not a TSP practitioner). Overall a nice book with a somewhat different take on the Yang saber along with numerous notes on the TSP tradition most of which are neutral and some which should at least be taken with a grain of rice.

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Ferociious Enchanrment Staff KC035 The Classical Three-Section Staff
by Rick Wing

$18.95, 211 pages, softbound, illustrations, oversized

Rick Wing, student of the famous Wong Jack Man and main instructor of the San Francisco Jing Mo, returns with another text on Northern Kung Fu. This time we have a neat exposition of the Three-Sectional Staff vs. the Spear. Wing Sifu's light and breezy narration highlights a book with background information, lineage, notes about the weapon and more. What we particularly enjoyed was the explanation, during the set breakdown, of the strategy between the two weapons. Wing says this is one of his favorite demonstration sets and we can see why. Remember to wear gloves and a helmet when learning. Oh, and much bigger and more beautifully posed photos than Wing's previous Northern Shaolin book.

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Ferociious Enchanrment Staff KF001 The Ferocious Enchantment Staff of the Ancient Monks
Monk Yuan Wan, compiled and edited by Leung Ting

$9.95, 89 pages, softbound, illustrations

This was one of the first older Chinese Kung Fu books translated into English. According to the well-known teacher and the book's translator, Leung Ting, he bought it when he was a teenage for less than a US dollar. When he decided to republished it he rearranged the illustrations from the forms sections to demonstrate what in the original was only description of the applications. According to his sources, the orginal writer was a monk named Yuan Wan. In addition to everything else this is a quite learnable form definitely in the Shaolin manner.

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Dragon Tiger Double Kung Fu SaberKD009 The Dragon Tiger Double Broadsword Style
Leung Ting ,
$16.50, 135 pages, softbound, oversized, photographs including color, 1982 first edition

Here is the ORIGINAL 1982 edition of this weapons book. An unusual text it shows a double sword form with the White Tiger and Green Dragon swords coming from a style of the same name. Unusual points include that this pair of swords are not the same with the White Tiger left handed weapon more closely resembling a sai and therefore technically called a “rod.” The other weapon, the right handed Green Dragon Sword, is more similar to a short version of the Chinese straight sword. This book also start with a very long introduction on the entire exodus of the teachers and the style. There are numerous color pictures. The book is over sized and most copies are a little scuffed up because the are over twenty years old. Two forms are shown and many applications. Definitely a different kind of book. Since these are the original edition, expect some foxing and not perfect condition.

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Kung Fu Rope Dart KR003 Rope Dart: The Kung Fu Weapon
Eric Shou Li Yao ,
en face (English/Chinese)
$24.95, 211 pages, softbound, photographs,

Here is a new book on this "soft" weapon. This is nicely layed out considering especially how difficult a task this would be. The dart is a weapon like a yo-yo (which itself was inspired by such a weapon). Its heavy metal body is attached to a long rope. The rope is wrapped around the body in a number of ways and then released causing sudden skips and jolts with the weapon as it speeds away from the body. The author has much experience and the book is clear in its instruction, given the difficulty of the weapon.

Also, click on right picture and you can see the companion DVD for this book.

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Tornado Broadsword of Wah Lum Kung Fu KT037 Tornado Broadswords of Wah Lum Kung Fu
P. Chan,
$15.95, 128 pages, softbound

Demonstrated by the flamboyant and extremely limber Chan Pui. English and Chinese text. The entire set plus a valuable explanation of the key actions of the sword, and a "limbering up" exercise with a rod. One intriguing aspect is that many of the faces in the pictures of students in the back of the book have been obliterated in all copies. Probably a school schism of some kind. A good book with an authentic and do-able double saber set. Chan Pui is a well-known Shihfu and tireless promoter of Chinese Martial Arts. His people have not only competed and won in America but performed and impressed audiences in Shaolin's homeland itself.

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Kung Fu Kuan Play KK006 Kwan-Dao Play
by To Sum,
$12.00, 291 Pages,

There are darn few books in English on the Kung Fu weapon known as the "Big Knife." An important weapon for developing "heavy power." Besides giving a clear explanation of the basic movements of the Kwan this book also demonstrates a Southern style Kwan Solo set. But that's not all. There's a partner set with Kwan Dao against Staff, another with Kwan vs. Double Sabers, and yet another with Kwan Dao against Three-Sectional Staff. These last three are short sets but all in one book, what can you lose? Fun, interesting and learnable.

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Soft Weapons of Kung Fu

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KS033 Soft Kung Fu Weapons: Rope Dart & Steel Whip
by Li Ke Qin & Li Xing Dong
$17.95, 213 Pages,

One of the very rare texts on the use and practice of Kung Fu's fascinating soft weapons such as the Steel Whip and the Rope Dart. More than 200 pictures show the basic rolls, tosses and loops of these definitely "advanced" weapons. Sections on history and background fill out this very informative text.

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Ancient Chinese Hidden Weapons KA007 Ancient Chinese Hidden Weapons
Compiled and edited by Douglas Hsieh
$13.95, 152 Pages, softbound, illustrated

This English language text uses old time drawings from Chinese books to illustrate its contents. Published in 1986 it catalogs all sorts of "hidden" weapons and throwing instruments. We can read about the dagger, Mei Hua Needles, Whip chain Dart, Slingshot, Iron Mandarin Duck, Universal Bangle, Javelin, Iron Lotus, Steel Toad, Flying Claw, Steel Olive and other defensive defenestratum. Much fun and, believe it or not, much historical information on the subject.

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Kuan DaoKK005 Kwan Dao
by Leung Ting
$12.00, 129 Pages,softbound, photographs


There are only a few books on Kwan Dao (Kwan's knife) play and yet Plum has two of them. Go figure. This one, ostensibly by noted Wing Chun teacher and martial writer Leung Ting, actually uses the demonstration skills of Sifu Chiu Chun Yat. There is a pretty thorough discussion of the history of the Kwan and related weapons such as the Big Knife, Bandit's Knife and others. Then follows a longish set with the weapon. And then Kwan vs. Kung Fu bench (you read right, just like the restaurant benches so beautifully employed in Jackie Chan movies). And, as if that's not enough for your money, there's a free poster of General Kwan for you guan (studio) altar.

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Tai Chi Dragon Fan KD006 Tai Chi Dragon Fan
by Bow Sim-Mark
$15.00, 74 pages, softbound, oversized

Bow Sim Mark is a treasure of the WuShu world. A fine martial artist and an accomplished performer she has dedicated much of her life to spreading the art. In this oversized text she shows a set with the folding fan. Unlike many such sets, hers incorporates strong stances and martially logical motions. One of the better. This entire text is en face (Chinese/English).

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Tai Chi Mantis Killing Fan Play KT004 T'ai Chi Mantis Killing Fan Play
by Tse Wing Ming
Chinese/English en face
$13.50, 83 pages, softbound

This little book is EN FACE - both Chinese and English versions are shown face-to-face. Not only a nice volume with clear illustrations but a good piece for those wanting to improve their martial translation skills. An intermediate set in the Praying Mantis system. Mantis hooking actions and fist actions are coordinated with a lot of hooking steps (Seven Star stances). A relatively short set with 53 postures.In case you are unfamiliar with Mantis it specializes in "point striking" that is, acupuncture points used in martial application. The design of the fan allows this along with its "fanned out" form to confuse the eye. This is not a fancy or balletic version but an authentic mantis form with conservatives moves mostly relating to self defense.Tse Wing Ming claims lineage from Chui Chuk Kai .

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Wing Chun Weapons KA011 AuthenticWing Chun WEAPONS
by Jim Fung
$13.95, softbound, photographs

A good overall book on the basics of Wing Chun's main weapons: the Butterfly Knives and the 6 1/2 Pole. Introductory sections on Wing Chun teachers such as Yip Man and Leung Ting. Applications of the weapons according to Wing Chun theory. Basics and some correlations to open hand work. Sets for both weapons are profiled.

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Special Editions

Here is a beautiful series of books in a special edition. Each one is oversized ( 8 X 11 inches). They are short (32 pages) but with extraordinarily clear photographs about six per page. Names of moves are in Chinese and English. Some features are outstanding. Though there is little explanation the layout of the book makes totally clear the sequence of actions. The pictures are set next to one another for easy scanning and a real feeling of the flow of the form: sort of movies on paper. Just do what you see. And then they are also in full Color - that right the entire book is color photographed.

Demonstrator: Lee Koon-Hung has a number of credits to his name. He is a fifth generation inheritor of CLF and Kung Fu instructor at the new Asia Chinese Kung Fu Club at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also an instructor at the Confucius Hall Middle School. He is also the Vice-Chairman and Competition Supervisor - Hong Kong Kung Fu Association. His moves are very clean and his actions flexible.

Choy Lay Fut Dragon Fan

KC036 Dragon Fan of Choy Lay Fut
Lee Koon-Hung
Chinese (traditional)/English
$14.95, 21 pages with 4 color insert on applications, Photos

Acutally two forms. Included is the CLF Fundamental Fist Set. This is followed by the Dragon Fan, a short and easily learned set. The fan here is used in a more martial manner with less emphasis on flicking it open and closed and more on using it needle-style as a weapon. Of course the opening and closing can be modified as one chooses. A nice, direct set.

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Choy Lay Fut Spinning Spear

KS035 Spinning Spear of Choy Lay Fut
Lee Koon-Hung
Chinese (traditional)/English
$12.95, 21 pages with 4 page insert on applications, Color Photos

A nice Color presentation of a Choy Lai Fut set. Good solid movements with very clear actions typical of the style. Names given for each movement and a sequential approach that makes the transitions from move to move pretty easy to follow. This is also known as the Left Handed Spear. One of the most elegant of Southern Styles and one of the most complete.

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Choy Lay Fut Whirling Staff

KW009 Whirling Staff of Choy Lay Fut
Lee Koon-Hung
Chinese (traditional)/English
$12.95, 21 pages


Color Photos on each page

A nicely presented Choy Lai Fut set in Color. CLF has a number of excellent staff sets. This one is relatively short and learnable. It is also known as the Dragon Staff. Sifu Lee's motions are easy to understand especially in this format. Comes with an additional four pages on applications of the staff

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