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Thread: what is the difference between a sword and a saber

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    Senior Member LuNaR's Avatar
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    Default what is the difference between a sword and a saber

    does any1 wats the difference between a sword an saber? like how can sum martial arts be only for sword and sum only for saber, but there is like no difference between a sword and a saber.
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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    Default No difference? Are you for real?

    Simple.

    A sword, or jian, has a sharp point and a two-edged blade. The sword is therefore mainly used to stab and slash.



    A saber has one sharp edge and is also heavier than the sword, so it is mainly used to chop and cut.



    Because the saber is blunt on one edge, the wielder can use his hand push the blade to add more power, which obviously cannot be done with the sword.

    Anyway, the two weapons and its methods are very different.
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    Senior Member LuNaR's Avatar
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    but why cant the martial art moves that is supposedly for a sword be applied to a saber? a vice versa. isnt it somewhat the same
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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    The same reason why you can't swap a fork and knife and use them interchangeably. You thrust with one, and slice with the other. In very simplistic terms, sword movements are forward-moving, while sabre movements are sideways-moving.

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    swords are long and slender. If you apply the force that you use to weild a saber to chop someone with a sword, the sword would probably break at impact with the bones.

    Swords are used to slice or puncture flesh.

    Sabres are heavy and strong. If you try to do sword movements with it, your speed will be very slow due to aerodynamics and the weight. And also you will lose half of your efficiency because you can only use one side to slice. If you chop someone with a saber, it'd probably go right through the bone. If you try to stick your saber into someone, it'd get stuck in the ribs.

    There is some dude in JY-novels who used a saber as a sword and a sword as a saber though, that lord of the passionless valley in ROCH. But his movements are more confusing and he has to rely a lot on speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleXL
    If you apply the force that you use to weild a saber to chop someone with a sword, the sword would probably break at impact with the bones.
    I don't think the real combat sword can break easily like this. At least the sword, I have, won't. I cannot say that sword can always cut through any bone (since I haven't tried yet). But I'm pretty sure that my sword can cut through a small bone (such as finger bone, rib, etc.).

    If my sword directly hit a person's neck (even with an untrained person but with enough force), I'm sure that this person will be in trouble. Neck not only contains many pieces of connected bones (vertebra), it also contains blood vessel, nerve, wind pipe, etc. which all are important to life.

    Btw, the real Chinese sword is pretty solid & strong (although not as strong as sabre) but not stiff yet not easily bend either. It is different from the "wushu" sword that used in the form competition/practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by TripleXL
    Swords are used to slice or puncture flesh.
    Honestly, I don't like when people try to limit the way sword can be used that much. It is true that there are certain techniques that favor sword (which will be often used in the sword techniques) and some techqnique should not be used by sword (such as a hard force-against-force block...but...one of the sword technique that I learn is a "hard" block but with very specific details about how to use and it is not a typical sword technique). Also, I don't know what you mean by "puncture" but sword can also be used by "thrusting"/"stabbing" through human flesh too. Also, what is the definition when people say cutting, slashing, slicing and chopping. Honestly, these words make me feel a bit confused. Take a "Pi" technique in the sword as an example, "Pi" can be translated as chopping and it is a cutting movement which can be used to slice or slash human flesh. In a certain situation (and in a sword form), this "Pi" technique is performed with a strong force that the mentality of the practitioner should be strong enough (in my opinion) as it could penetrate through a human bone. In application, "it all depends on a specific situation". However, it is true that the sword practitioner will not try to use his/her sword to break or cut through his opponent's bone.

    The way sword used is not the same as the way sabre used.


    Quote Originally Posted by TripleXL
    If you try to stick your saber into someone, it'd get stuck in the ribs.
    I'm not so sure what you mean by "stick". If you mean thrusting/stabbing, in my opinion, if you thrust a sabre with enough force and good angle (i.e., the sharp part pointing to the human body), it will go through a human body and will not stuck in the rib. Although this is just my opinion though since I'm not quite knowledgable in sabre, I'm pretty sure about it simply because of its weight and sharpness.

    About the topic, sword and sabre are different. Well, their shapes, weight, weight distribution are different. Their usage (the way or how to use) are different too. Honestly, I don't have a clear answer about the original question of this topic since I'm a sword practitioner but only have very limited knowledge in sabre. However, what I do know is that a good sword practitioner will not use a "direct" block during the fight (of course, there are always an exception) but a sabre practitioner always block (as a defense but, if I remember correctly, he/she will always block before attack too - I'm not totally sure about it).

    Although I view that sword & sabre share many (not all - in fact, in a way, technical-wise I feel sword is more flexible than sabre) similar "fundamental moves", but the way these techniques used in the fight or fighting strategy are different. Strategy-wise (or could be technical-wise as well), sword emphasizes speed & precision in very dynamic footwork/movement and sabre, I think, emphasizes "more linear" & "very forceful" in "less" dynamic footwork/movement ("..." means that they are the words I choose to describe but you cannot translating them directly from these words). These words, I try to describe, cannot give you a real feeling/thing. For example, sword with speed & timing will create a very powerful/forceful movement yet I don't use the word "forceful" to describe the sword as the way I describe the sabre. Also, sabre technique has a lot of circular movements (especially circling around the body of the sabre user) while the sword user use less circular around his/her body but every sword technique all contains circular move even in a "direct thrust" (i.e., what you see it is straight is not necessarily straight). Especially, in defense/gate opening, sword is very circular and subtle while sabre is "more direct". Therefore, I describe sabre is "more linear" than sword although you hardly see any "linear" move in sabre technique.

    Basically, for me, it is hard to describe.
    Last edited by Wu Xing; 01-09-06 at 08:05 PM.

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    First time poster, so please forgive any blunders.

    A sword (Jian/Gim) has both edges sharp and almost always has a long, tapered blade. A saber (dao/do) has on edge sharp, but can be as small as a knife or huge as a cutlass or even halberd (long handled saber). Dao can also be long and thin, like a good-quill saber, or look like what the Japanese would call a Katana, or short and squat like the double butterfly knives, or what in the West would look more like a machete.

    Because of the physical size and shape, different moves function better or worse for each one. Often there are also regional differences, as a Taji Sword player will be fundementally different in basic movement and footwork from a Wing Chun Double Knife fighter.

    It's both the weapon and the style of the wielder. In Wuxia, they almost seem to have distinct personalities, like Yin and Yang, and suit very different types of characters.

    (edited for typos)
    Last edited by Rene Ritchie; 01-12-06 at 03:30 PM.

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    Senior Member Ian Liew's Avatar
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    Would it actually be possible to have a Taiji Sabre? Given the nature of the sabre's function I doubt any sabre movements which are anything less than sharp and powerful with some strength behind it would be particularly useful, unlike with the jian.

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    There is a Taiji Dao (saber) set. (Google will give you many examples).

    Taiji is not all soft and cuddly. The Chen family have their Paochui (Cannon Fist) set, the Yang Family is famous for their spear, the Wu for their Shuaijiao/Wrestling. Taiji, as far as I understand, is full-on Henan (same province as the legendary Songshan Shaolin) martial arts philosophically evolved in accordance to Taoist alchemy, but as opposed to the now prevelant Wushu forms, many older, more varied sets also still exist.

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    I just want to add one thing that, whenever I talked about sabre in my posts above, I was thinking about the "standard" sabre (I forget its Chinese name).

    Btw, from what I know, Dao is quite a general name. For a short dao, I think that it should be translated as "knife" instead of "sabre". For example, "Deer Horn Knife" is also called Dao (forget the full Chinese name) but is called knife (or kinves - to be correct since it comes with a pair not single) not sabre. Same thing for butterfly knife/knives of Wingchun style. Miao dao is a japanese-like sword but longer (although people call japanese "sword" not japanese sabre - but it should be sabre by definition - same for Miao Dao). The way to use Miao Dao is not the same as the way to use the standard sabre.
    Last edited by Wu Xing; 01-12-06 at 07:05 PM.

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    I think the most 'standard' saber would be the classic Dan Dao (Single Saber).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene Ritchie
    I think the most 'standard' saber would be the classic Dan Dao (Single Saber).
    That is right. I think it is "Dan Dao" that I was thinking.

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    Senior Member Yang Guo's Avatar
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    while on the topic between swords and sabres...

    I find that Japanese swords (katanas) are very similar to sabres... so could someone say Hu Fei use a Japanese katana with his Hu Jia Dao Fa?

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    Senior Member SkineePanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene Ritchie
    I think the most 'standard' saber would be the classic Dan Dao (Single Saber).
    aren't you involved with Complete Wing Chun with Robert Chu?
    Underneath the fluffly, cudly exterior lies the tormented and complex creature known as the panda.

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    aren't you involved with Complete Wing Chun with Robert Chu?
    Yes, I worked with Robert on that back in 1995. My current project is Legends of Wingchun: Embers of the Shaolin which brings together all the stories from different Wing Chun and Southern Fist traditions in a contemporary wuxia-style novel. (It also lets me sneak in all the stuff I couldn't with non-fiction)

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    Nice work on that book, I enjoyed it.
    Underneath the fluffly, cudly exterior lies the tormented and complex creature known as the panda.

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    Senior Member Laviathan's Avatar
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    Default To Rene Ritchie

    Nothing but praise for your contribution to the martial arts world! I enjoyed the book very much, keep up the good work!



    Greetings,

    Lav
    對 敵 須 狠 , 斬 草 除 根 , 男 女 老 幼 , 不 留 一 人

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    I have your book as well but only have a chance to finish only 1-2 chapters. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading it.

    Nice to meet you here and I hope you will provide some of your knowledge in this forum.

    Wu Xing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rene Ritchie
    It's both the weapon and the style of the wielder.
    Just feel like to add one more thing. Let take 2 sword styles as an example. One is San Cai Jian and another one is Kuan Wu Jian. Both styles using sword as weapons. However, because of different flavor, the way these two stylists using swords in their fights are quite different. But the way they use their swords are still within the sword principle. Just to clarify that, in my writing above, I was thinking more about principle than style.
    Last edited by Wu Xing; 01-13-06 at 04:13 PM.

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    Thanks! I only just found these forums and I've spent quite a while reading through already!

    It's fantastic to see this much on Wuxia in English, and looks like a ton of stuff to learn, so I'm very psyched!

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