As we slip into the holiday season, it would seem a good time for reviews. LK Chen has been producing some pretty nice weapon reproductions at affordable price points of late and getting all of us sword nuts in quite the excited mood. Recently, we have been treated with some dao from the Ming Dynasty, a period we tend to look at fairly closely here. On the heels of my last piece about Japanese swords in the Ming, I was sent a new Wo Yao Dao 倭腰刀 to test and review.
Ben Judkins got one of his own and has done a very nice detailed and in depth review and investigation into the specific Dao this was largely based on and the over arching forces at play in its existence. Take it away Ben:
A package containing two of LK Chen’s fine historical reproductions recently arrived at my door. So, of course, I find myself thinking about the importance of “regionalism” within martial arts studies. The connection between the two topics may not seem obvious. Yet in truth you cannot understand much about the evolution of historical Chinese weapons in the 16th and 17th centuries without a keen appreciation of the forces or regionalism. Nor is it possible to grasp much of what is happening in Asian Studies without an appreciation for a more modern manifestation of the same forces. Yet for all of the lip service that the forces of regionalism and globalization receive in conference titles and calls for papers, historical discussions of the Asian martial arts have proved surprisingly resistant to these larger conceptual trends. Perhaps taking a closer look at a specific weapon will illustrate why this resistance within the discussion of martial arts can be so problematic.