The Gompa offers two types of weapons training programs. The first is the traditional Chinese Gong Fu weapons programs and the second is a series of modern contemporary weapons training offered through the American Rangers Martial Law Enforcement Training Institute under their PKC tactical skills program.
THE CHINESE ART OF WEAPONS
It is not surprising that a nation with the martial history of China should have spawned an almost endless number of weapons and weapons systems. Most Gong Fu schools have weapons systems that embody the distinctive features of the boxing styles themselves. This is as it should be since a weapon is actually only an extension of the hand. Other weapons systems developed independently without association with a boxing system and were later adopted by the boxing schools. On Mainland China there are more than four hundred separate weapons forms employing currently more than fifteen different types of weapons.
Chinese history rings with the sound of weapons, swords, spears and the twang of a bowstring. In five hundred BC, Confucius was enjoining the Chinese to practice archery as a disciplined training in manners and morality. In four hundred BC, armies in China were composed of swordsmen spearmen, archers bowmen and crossbowmen. Spears were not thrown but were used as thrusting and cutting implements providing extended reach.
Weapon play had its own literature as early as the former Han Dynasty (206 BC to 8 AD) when “Thirty-eight Chapters on Sword Play” was published. This work was later lost. Subsequently during the Tang Dynasty weapons experts abounded. The famed Chinese poet Li, Po wrote that he was exceptionally keen of the art of swordplay. He studied swordplay from the age of fifteen. Another celebrated Tang poet was so adept at archery that he was able to shoot down a flying bird with a bow and arrow. Even women became very proficient in the use of certain weapons. Tu Fu wrote a poem praising the certain sword work of a woman. Women played a great part in the sword arts of China. The Madame he wrote about was named Kung Sun* She was reputed to be a great master of the sword. Part of the poem goes like this:
“Her swinging sword flashes like nine falling suns shot by Yet the legendary bowman; she moves with the force of a team of Dragons driven by the gods through the sky; her strokes and attacks are like those of terrible thunder; and when she stops all is still as water reflecting the clear moonlight.”
In the same period another poet wrote of a famed general who was an expert with the weapon called the Dao or knife which in the west is called the sabre. This fellow used twin sabers.
“General Peimin is like a flying horse; he turns to the left, then dashes to the right. He tosses his sword hundreds of feet into the sky. It flashes like lightning amid the clouds. Then, leisurely, he stretches out his hand holding the sheath to receive it. The sword falls through the air right into the sheath. Thousands of spectators are held spellbound.”