- Freestyle fencing with the historical arsenal
Real Sword - Chinese Carp Jian
Price: 3420 HKD / 478.8 USD
So far the production sword market has been lacking of a Chinese Jian that could replicate an antique's handling characteristic. The Jian that are available were usually hilt-heavy and sometimes even overweight compare to the antique. Chinese swordsmanship practitioners have been looking forward to a Jian that could handle like an antique, yet capable of performing test cutting without the worry of destroying a historical relic for long.
This need is now addressed by Fred Chen, an internationally famous sword maker. (note: You may acquire the numerical data on some antique Chinese swords here. )
The Carp Jian we carry here has several interesting features. First of all, it handles very similar to an antique, more than the Cold Steel Gim does. According to the statistic research Lancelot has done, many Chinese swords, no matter steel or bronze, single edged or double edged, has a point of balance at roughly 38% to 45% of the total length from the hilt end. Moreover, the weight for the Jian is usually within 2 lbs. The Carp Jian's balance is 36% of the total length, while the weight is 1 lbs 14 oz.
As nothing stand alone in the space, the antique handling is linked to proper blade geometry and such geometry allows historical accurate techniques to be executed with devastating result. The blade is 6mm thick at the base with little distal taper to 5mm just before tapering to the point. This gives the sword a very stiff blade to allow strong thrusts and almost zero loss of power transfer during sword binding movements. The specific mass distribution also allows the edge to deliver deep cut into the bone even with just a wrist-powered "Point" attack, not to mention the less often executed but extremely powerful full arm cutting motion. It could sever a limb doubtlessly.
Another practical detail with the Carp Jian is the progressive sharpening angle. The two edges were formed in apple seed shape to give a strong support during blade contacts, while the edges near the tip area transformed smoothly into flat grind to give supreme sharpness to the delicate cuts that characterized Chinese swordsmanship.
The light reflection near the edge areas tell tale about the apple seed blade geometry, forming a pair of strong edges for cutting. (Note: since 2006 the edge geometry has been flattened to lighten up the blade and for the sharper edges....)
Near the tip, the reflection area of the apple seed geometry spread out and gave way to the flat grind surface, forming a very sharp tip dedicated to delicate cuts and thrusts.
In addition, the guard of the sword was both practical and ergonomic. The basin-shaped guard caught not only the blood flowing down the blade during combat, but also incoming attacks from both along the edges and along the spine, while the non-angular design on all the fittings prevent producing any hard feeling to the sword hand and wrist during motions.
Finally, the Carp Jian produces a nice whistle when the blade travel through the air with correct blade alignment. That means this sword can be employed in blade alignment training. Users may practice cutting by going through the motion and listen to the whistle to determine whether they were doing it correctly.
Specifications (slight variance occurs due to the nature of handmade)
Overall Length: 35.75"
Blade Length: 28.25"
Weight: 1 lbs 14 oz
Center of gravity: 5.75" from the guard
Blade thickness: 6mm at base, 5mm at tip
Blade width: 1.25" at base
Blade material: 1060 monosteel
(Updated the stats with the new batch of Carp Jian on 27th July 2005)
*This is a sharp sword and could be lethally dangerous to the user and anybody nearby.
Test Cutting Report Part 1
After a month of familiarization, I manage to control Carp Jian with moderate proficiency. So I proceeded to perform test cutting. The targets were pine boards. Maybe someone would doubt whether the sword would be damage or bent by cutting pine boards but who can tell if I don't test it? Moreover, the Chinese sabre could cut the pork arm into two pieces by one strike so I think the Carp Jian could cut the boards also. When I first test cut, I placed the 1 inch thick pine board on the table with the grain horizontal, without any fixation. Then I cut the board with horizontal cut. With a "sok" sound the board was cut into two pieces and I couldn't feel any shock from the impact. The board broke into two pieces automatically when the blade was just half inch into it and all I had in my mind was "Powerful!". I had test cut with thick Lung Chuan Jian before and the board would stick to the blade till the latter was 7 inches deep across the board, then it would break apart. Wushu Jian was considered good if it can go 2 inches deep, and it was impossible to break the board apart because I tried many times and the blade could not withstand the shock of impact. The edge was rolled and can't be used anymore. After the first cut I examined the edge and blade. There was no damage at all. Wow! I was getting overwhelmed by the success and decided to cut again. This time I cut 3 pieces of 1 inch thick pine board and it was setup in the same way as the first test cutting. I cut with horizontal again and with a "sok" sound, the three boards were all cut into two pieces as before. This time I could feel a bit of shock from the impact. Again, the blade and edges were fine without any sign of damage and the hilt was tight. It proved that the sword was of high quality and the assembly was good. I regret that I did not take any video to share with you but I will perform the test cutting again with video taken. Moreover, I will also test cut pork arm in the future.
K.L. Fan aka Cobra
I bought a Chinese Qing sabre replica and a Chinese Carp Jian from Lancelot. These purchases have multiple meanings to me. Many years ago, I encountered Lancelot the first time at a martial arts forum when he posted information of many historical weaponry. What inspired me to chat with him was the photos and data of an antique Chinese Jian. At the moment, I had learned a lot about the differences between Wushu Jian and the antique Jian. I also wanted to own a historical accurate replica Jian. Back then, Lancelot introduced a good Jian to me, the bat Jian. The handling, balance, fittings and workmanship was very good. However, I did not like the bat-shaped guard (just my preference), so I did not buy the sword. Later, I went to search for historical accurate replica Jian but years had passed without fruit. It was in this stage where I bought a Chinese Qing sabre replica from Lancelot accidentally. The sabre has excellent handling with good details. I test cut tatami omote and hung pork arm with it. It severed both kind of targets into two pieces without effort. I also put the edge on a thick manga magazine "Exam" and used a stationary push on the spine. The sabre went through the magazine as the industrial paper cutter did. Why was it so powerful? Because the balance was 9 inches down the guard and it gave the blade authority during cutting motion. Moreover, the blade and edge were almost mirror polished, thus giving it further more cutting power. Of course, no matter how good the blade geometry looked on the paper, it takes a skillful maker and a good steel to realize the design. Only after owning this sword did I realize why the heroes in the martial arts novels would search for a good weapon regardless the cost. Although I got a good sabre, I never give up on my quest of the Jian. About a month ago, Lancelot informed me that he had found a Jian from the same source of the bat Jian, Carp Jian. After I had taken a look, I was stunned and my instinct told me it was the one because the fittings alone was enough to charm me. Next day, I paid up and waited for 2 weeks. Everyday during the 2 weeks lasted like a year. When I got the sword, I figured out that the photos did not do it justice. It was a piece of arts with both artistic and martial value. The engraving on the fittings were detailed. The carp and the waves were vivid. I unsheathed it and the polish was as good as the sabre. However, it was not as sharp, so I tested it on "Exam" magazine. After a horizontal cut and a vertical thrust, the magazine was cut by 2 inches and thrust by 0.75 inches. The latter was powered by nothing but the sword's weight. As a compare, I did the same with the sabre before and it cut 3 inches deep, thrust 0.5 inches deep. It was the difference between the skill and functionality of the two swords. Later in the future, I will use the Jian to test cut tatami omote and pork arm to see how it fare. Back to the topic, the Carp Jian fits my hand very well and the fittings would not get into the way of my wrist. To conclude, this is my dream sword.
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