Friday, February 16, 2007

Wild Taoist Swordplay



(From "Bagua, Hidden Knowledge In The Taoist Internal Martial Art; by John Bracy and Liu Xing-Han)
"Noted Sinologist John Blofeld describes his meetings with Taoist holy sages and recluses in the mountains of China before the communist takeover of the mainland. Below is an account of Taoists in mock battle he observed one evening while a guest at a Taoist hermitage:
"The climax of the evening was a combat between two pairs of recluses armed with swords. Dark robes billowing in the wind, sleeves flapping like phoenix-wings, they ran and leapt, cut and thrust with such agility that their weapons darting in the moonlight produced spurts of liquid fire. The clash of steel on steel and the flurry of sparks proclaimed that the great swords were no toys; it seemed impossible that the contestants would emerge unwounded from an encounter fierce enough for me to expect to see heads and limbs sundered from their bodies. The blows were no feints, but dealt in earnest in the sure knowledge that the opposing adepts had the speed and skill to protect themselves by parrying or swift avoidance. The combat had the aspect of frenzied ritual in which the contestants were determined to die beneath one another's swords. By the time it ended, I was sweating with anxiety and could scarcely believe my eyes when the four recluses walked towards the Abbot smiling and unscathed."
D.R. : What a fantastic glimpse into another time and place! I will have a follow-up post on John Bracy's Ba Gua book and history of Taoism and the martial arts-- Stay tuned! (as they say in radio)...

No comments: