Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum. I looked through all of the threads in this forum and in the archived forum and read a good number of them. I hope that there are still people around to read this..

I've been studying the Shuangshoudao from my Master, from whom I've been learning a mix of unarmed, internal styles for the past several years. By the time I leave China next year I'll have been here for almost eleven years or more (depends on when my wife gets her visa), having studied martial arts here (and before coming to China) for most of that time. My master and I recently decided that weapons is the future, as there seems to be good opportunity there and not much competition. Plus, we really enjoy it! My training consists of foundation training (building up from my years of unarmed training), partner drills and fencing with training swords and head-guards. We fence full-contact.

The training swords are constructed of a plastic/rubber handle with a thick-ish foam disc guard and a PVC pipe running through the handle and covered with two pieces of thick foam (the top half slides on to the PVC pipe). They are 100cm in length and 580g and I have bruises all over my body that prove that it's a good idea to wear a head guard and possibly something to protect the chest from thrusts (although we haven't done this yet). They have a clear edge and binding works fairly well. Eventually we hope to upgrade to wood or steel with protective armour, like they are doing in HEMA.

There seems to be some overlap with Kenjutsu, but I haven't been able to find any good fencing videos to compare with. The main goal for us is to "kill" our opponent without "dying" ourselves. Most of the techniques could also be used with an umbrella, walking cane, baseball bat etc. We haven't spent any time on test-cutting, as we only have access to a real Jian at the moment, but that is certainly in the cards. Still, there won't be much of an emphasis on it compared with fencing. We spend zero time on folding and wearing uniforms and forms (although I may learn a short form soon), as my Master is a fighter and not a dancer.

My master says that it is a combination of indigenous and Japanese swordsmanship, which in turn was influenced by Chinese swordsmanship. Why do the threads on here all focus on General Qi and not on the Dandao Faxuan?

We fence after most classes, usually with a clear winner and loser declared, not just randomly whacking each other. Technique counts and only clear hits that would deal damage with a real sword are regarded. Every several months he organises a tournament where he, other masters and disciples duke it out. It can get intense. We are still experimenting with the rules to avoid double hits as much as possible, but things like grabbing or knocking the opponent [within reason] and grabbing the back of the blade are allowed and every part of the body except for the groin and back of the head/spine are valid targets. With our current armour (or lack thereof), using the pommel is against the rules.

Although I'm from Holland, my family moved to America when I was ten and next year I'll be returning there. My master is also preparing to move there. We hope to spread the art of Chinese [two-handed] swordsmanship (and eventually staff and spear). In the beginning we won't have much to work with, but as we gain a following and can invest in equipment and my swordsmanship improves (I still have a ways to go) I would like to compete directly with the likes of HEMA in terms of equipment quality and focusing on fencing, but with an unbroken fighting tradition!

Check out my website at http://maartensfs.wix.com/shanzhaiquan. I haven't had a chance to add a swordsmanship page or do a video on sword fighting yet, but it will give you an idea of what to expect.

After reading it over I realise this reads like an advertisement, but I didn't know how else to introduce myself. I've been living like a monk in China for so many years that I'm just excited to share what I've learned and see what else is out there. It's going to be extremely tough to readjust to Western society and get everything up and running, but I truly believe that what I've learned is valuable and worth passing on!