Blog, Gentleman's Sword, Translations

Gentleman’s Sword by Jin Yi-ming-君子劍-金一明

The Chinese Longsword has had a long history. But it is a sporadic one. It seems that while the jian its self has enjoyed an almost continuous place in the halls of honored weapons, the two handed sword waxes and wanes in and out of popularity through the years. The Han dynasty(202 BC – 9 AD; 25–220 AD) is, of course, the glory days for the Longsword. It had a resurgence in popularity in both the Ming(1368–1644) and Qing(1636–1912), then the Republican Period(1912–1949). there are longswords and two handed dao before the Ming but the lack of records and artifacts makes these times very mysterious in these areas. Recently with the improvement of practice weapons, and the work of people like Yu Chenghui 于承惠, a new generation of Chinese Longsword practitioners has been born. The Two handed sword has always persisted in the hands of enthusiasts, present company included, who take a particular liking to the weapon.The interest in Chinese longsword is growing. We appear to be in a new Renaissance for two handed swordsmanship.

The Author: Jin Yiming金一明

Because of the nature of the history of not only longswords but also martial arts publishing, modern students have little on which to base our practice. One of the few books published on this weapon is “Gentleman’s Sword” by Jin Yi-ming-君子劍-金一明 published in the 1930’s. The book is Jin’s interpretation of ChaoXian Shifa as it appears in the Wubei Zhi by Mao YuanYi 茅元儀. Jin ads some content to the introduction in the form of an additional sword song, but generally reproduces the Ming dynasty manual with commentary and new illustrations.

Jin Yi-Ming was a well published author and publisher of martial arts books. Born in Jiangsu Province , he was fond of martial arts from a young age. He studied under the famous martial arts masters Tang Dianqing and Master Sun Lutang in the late Qing Dynasty and the early Republic Era of China. In 1920, he graduated from the Jinling Police Academy. Jin was also the Vice Chief of the Editorial and Review Board for the Central GuoShu Institute 中央國術館. He authored many books, including: Single defense Saber and Dragon Shaped Sword.

One reason this book is important to modern martial artists, is that it is one tangible connection between the arts of the Ming Dynasty and the Republican period. Both of these time periods have enormous impact on our modern ideas of martial arts. The four characters used by Mao are the seeds of the Wu Dang 13 methods. Jin here, mentions these both in the introduction and the conclusion. Jin being part of the Central Guo shu Academy is important since so much of our modern practices come directly from the work of other members like Li Jinglin, Sun LuTang, Yang Cheng Fu, and other luminaries of this era. These men have shaped much of what we think of as being “traditional” Chinese martial art.

Front row from left to right: Yang Chengfu, Sun Lutang, Liu Baichuan, Li Jinglin, Tian’s friend Du Xinwu, Zheng Zuoping, and Tian Zhaolin.
Back row from left to right: Su Jingyou, Qian Xijiao, Gao Zhendong, Chu Guiting, Huang Wenshu, aka, Huang Yuanxiu, and Shen Erqiao.


Gentleman’s Sword is a reprint of the Ming Dynasty Sword Style written by Mao YuanYi in the Wubei Zhi. This includes the “Sword Songs” at the beginning of the text (which will receive their own examination). Each of the 24 stances are represented and each entry has the original stanzas penned by Mao in 1621. Each illustration is a reproduction of the originals with more detailed drawings and elaborate clothing. The drawings are an improvement over the originals. Arrows are included in the drawings as well. These generally indicate the movement of the blade as it moves to the next posture. This is not always clear and, even with the aid of the descriptions, can be confusing.

Besides the new illustrations, Jin adds commentary in the form of step by step instructions on how to link the postures shown into a set. Each one is written in classic style, but with simple instructions and not a lot of poetry. These instructions are his own interpretation of them and differ slightly as one would expect. It does provide a good detailed example of one person’s view of the material.

Jin concludes with some general advice for practice. He advocates slow learning and step by step progression. He invokes Li JingLin李景林, famous Wudang武當 Swordsman of the period. Diligent practice and commitment is underscored, and an astute approach is valued. Much of this advice is what students of Chinese martial arts are used to hearing from their teachers today. But, there are some more interesting points. For instance, Jin explains that the two handed sword uses power generated in the feet and legs rather than the back and spine, as with a one handed sword.

He then talks about the ethics of a swordsman with the Five Prohibitions. The inclusion of a moralistic or ethical code as being a prerequisite for learning the sword stands out in this text and others of the period. Most of the writing here is very practical, but Jin spares a little ink for the propagation of some virtue ideas. These prohibitions are commonplace among martial arts during the time, where the Tiyu体育 movement was trying to popularize physical activity and sport in a more Western and “modern” way and other native based physical traditions were trying to remain relevant to the populace. By adding such moralistic ideas to the regimen, it made it more palatable for those who were reluctant to follow the modernization of China that was happening, and mitigate the label of superstition that was often placed on their activity. The talk of Qi, Jing and Shen, which should be very familiar with students of most Chinese Martial arts, is given as general advice for practice.

But the idea of progression is one that Jin finds important and mentions it several times in the conclusion. From from slow to fast, simple to complicated, and superficial to deep. Jin’s main advice to the reader is to persevere. The hardships of training build character and skill. This sentiment could be a reaction to the Idea that native based physical traditions are inferior to the modern ones coming from the west. A common retort of the Martial artist of the time was that Kung fu builds more than just your physical body. It teaches discipline, morals, and philosophy. And it is this very sentiment that is the dominant one today among both modern Wushu and Traditional practitioners.

The Text:

Notes: Original Text from the Wubei Zhi is indicated by a black dot. Any text with a dot by it is the source material. All other text is written by Jin.


  • 電摯昆吾晃太陽,
  • 一升一降把身藏
  • 左右四顧四劍
  • “Lightning strikes Kun Wu,  the sword shines in the Sun”.
  • Raise and lower your body to hide, 
  • Look left and right four times with the sword.
  • 摇頭進步風雷響,
  • 滾手蓮環上下防
  • 開右足一劍,
  • 進左足一劍,
  • 又左右各劍收劍
  • Shake your head and step in like “Wind and Thunder Crashing”.
  • Roll the hand continuously to defend high and low.  
  • Open the right leg with a sword circle.
  • Step in to the left and attack with a sword circle.
  • Left and right together to end. 
  • 左進青龍雙探爪,
  • 縮退二步開劍
  • 用右手十子撩二劍,
  • 刺一劍
  • Enter on the left, advance like “Green Dragon Stretching its Claws”.
  • Take two steps backward and hold the sword back,
  • Use the right hand to make an “X” with two lifting cuts,
  • Then deliver a thrust. 
  • 右行單鳳獨朝陽,
  • 用左手一刺跳
  • 進二步左右手各一挑,
  • 左右手各一蓋,
  • 右手一門轉步,
  • 開劍作勢
  • Move right to “Lone Phoenix Faces the Sunrise”.
  • Use the left hand to stab or flick,
  • Enter two steps and flick with both hands,
  • Then cover with both hands, 
  • Right hand once again then turn around, 
  • Hold the sword out to the side. 
  • 撒花蓋頂遮前後,
  • 右滚花六劍開足
  • 馬步之中用此方
  • “Scatter Flowers to Cover the Head”, defends front and back.
  • Turn six sword flowers and open step,
  • Use this while in the “Horse Stance”.
  • 蝴蝶雙飛时太陽,
  • 右足進步右手来去一劍,
  • 左足進步左手一刺一晃
  • “Two Butterflies Fly into The Sun.” 
  • Right foot steps in, right hand moves the sword back and forth, 
  • Left foot steps in, left hand sways once to stab once. 
  • 犁花舞袖把身藏
  • 退二步從上舞下四劍
  • “Pear Blossom Dance” hides your body with your sleeves.
  • Dance back twice  and cut four times from underneath. 
  • 鳳凰浪翅乾坤少
  • 進右足
  • 轉身張两手仍翻手
  • 左手一劍右手来去二劍
  • 左手又一劍開劍進右足
  • 掠膝蓮劍劈两旁
  • “Phoenix Flaps its Wings”, Heaven and Earth are inadequate.
  • Enter with the right foot,
  • Turn the body and flip the hands over, 
  • Left hand cut, right hand two cuts back and forth, 
  • Left hand cuts again, bring the sword back and step in with the right foot,
  • Sweep through the knee and chop to both sides.
  • 進步满空飛白雪
  • 從下舞上四劍先右手
  • Step in with “Sky Full of Flying Snow”. 
  • Swing up from below four times with right hand advancing.
  • 回身野馬去思鄉
  • 右手抹眉一劍
  • 右手抹脚一劍
  • 抹眉一劍
  • 左手抹腰一劍
  • 一刺右劍一手收劍
  •  Turn around and do “Wild Horse Thinks of Home”
  • Right hand wipes the eyebrow with the sword,
  • Right hand wipes the leg with the sword, 
  • Wipe the Eyebrow again, 
  • Left hand will wipe the waist, 
  • One thrust and the right hand brings the sword back. 

出鞘清風晃太陽。 推山塞海把身藏。青獅藏球分左右。金鷂啣日轉還鄉。大鵬轉翅豹頭擊。分騄勒馬倒垂楊。騎龍跨虎。三進井三退。高祖斬蛇。囘身鳳翅。倒騎驉。尉違洗馬。上下流星趕月。懋功割。袍秦王三跳間。車輸日月。三戰布。勒馬登崚*。水刀。收勢。 

Unsheathe the sword swift like the wind facing into the sun. Push the Mountain, seal the ocean, hold the body and hide. Young Lion hides the ball left and right. Sparrow Hawk holds the sun in its mouth returning home. Large Roc moves its wings, leopard head strike. Reign in the horse and fell the tree. Ride the dragon, mount the tiger. Three steps forward warns of three steps back. Grand Ancestor beheads the snake. Return the body with the Phoenix wing. Ride the Donkey. Officer washing the horse. The stars follow the moon. Splendid skill at cutting. Royal vestments three leaps across the expanse. The cart is lost all day and night. Tighten the reigns to ride up the hill. Water tempers the knife. These are the stances. 

劍法有用 抽,帶,提,格,擊,刺,點,崩,絞,壓,劈,截,洗,十三字者。本篇則祇有擊刺洗格四字茲誌於下。

The sword methods commonly used [today] are, chou/draw, dai/carry, ti/lift, ge/block, ji/strike, ci/stab, dian/tap, beng/flick, jiao/stir, ya/press, pi/split, jie/intercept, xi/wash. These are the 13 characters. We are only concerned with these four characters, Ji, Ci, Xi, and Ge here. 

 初習: Initial practice

  • 眼法擊法洗法刺法
  • Observation, striking, deflecting, and stabbing
  • 擊法有五-5 strikes
  • 豹頭擊跨左擊跨右擊翼左擊翼右擊
  • Leopard Head strike, Straddle Left strike, Straddle Right strike, 
  • Left Wing strike, Right Wing strike
  • 刺法有五
  • Five Stinging Techniques
  • 逆鳞刺坦腹雙明刺左夾刺右夾刺
  • Scale the Fish Thrust (lit. Reverse Scales), Exposed Belly Thrust, 
  • Double Clear Sting (to the eyes or eye level), 
  • Left Clamp stab, Right Clamp stab
  • 格法有三
  • Three Blocking Techniques
  • 舉鼎格旋風格御車格
  • Raise Cauldron block, Tornado block, Drive the Wagon block
  • 洗法有三
  • Three Deflection Techniques
  • 鳳頭洗虎穴洗騰蛟洗
  • Phoenix Head deflection, Tiger’s Mouth deflection, 
  • Flying Dragon deflection

One style of grip only
劍鋒朝上下, 右手在前, 左手在後, 左手虎口貼近右手腕, 一反正, 錯落相連, 無論如何擊刺格洗, 兩手均要臂勁宜剛, 腕勁宜柔, 剛柔相濟, 則如生龍活虎, 而身步均勻宎.
The sword is held vertically, The right hand is in front the left in back. The tiger’s mouth of the left hand is close to the right wrist. In any case, independent and connected, no matter if you want to stab, block, strike, or wash, both arms should be strong and rigid, the wrists should be soft. Combining hard and soft you wile like a living dragon or Tiger, your body and steps will be even and balanced.

Translator’s notes: For each of the 24 stances Jin has included the original Verses from the Wubei Zhi. I have not reproduced them here to save space. For comparison please refer to the Translation of ChaoXian Shifa.


Lift the Cauldron: Right hand grasps the sword at the hand guard. Left hand is behind. Hold the the sword tip close. Heart of the fists are opposed. Lift the sword up. Sword tip goes behind. With the elbow bent, carry flat. The sword chops down to the front. Right foot steps in. The posture is illustrated in the image.

2. 點劍勢:手法向前點擊。步法隨之前進。可以上挑。可以偏揭。由本勢右轉身。退右步。即變下勢。

Dotting Sword: Handwork is a forward dotting strike. Footwork follows and advances forward. You can flick up. You can lift up diagonally.  From the basic posture turn the body right. Withdraw the right step. Then change from underneath. 

3. 左翼势: 虎口朝後。肘角夾緊。將劍尖朝後。前進可以直砍。惟要身步柏隨。由本勢退左足。進右足左轉身。即變下勢。 

Left Wing Stance: The tiger’s mouth faces behind. Elbows are tucked in tight. The sword tip points to the rear. Advance forward by using a vertical chop. But it is necessary for the body to follow the movement. Follow the original posture and retreat the left foot and advance the right foot. Advance the right foot and turn the body left. Quickly change into the next stance. 

4. 豹頭勢:右手在上手。 心朝內左手在下。手背朝下。砍下之後。右劈收厄貼胸。左肘向後。將劍平端。進步前刺。即變第五圖婆勢。

Leopard Head Strike: Right hand is on top. The palm faces inside with the left hand below. The back of the hand faces downward. Chop downward to the rear. Chop right and hold the the handle to the chest. The left elbow points behind. The sword is held level. Step in and stab forward. Quickly transition to the fifth illustrated technique. 

5. 第五架坦腹势:此势專刺敵入心胸。若將身腰左轉。右足向左要方以步。劍由右上方向前下砍。即變下勢。 

Exposed Belly Thrust: This technique is focused on thrusting to the heart of the enemy. If they turn their waist to the left, the right foot must take a step to the left. The sword cuts down from the top right. Quickly change to the next stance. 

6. 跨右势:左手小臂貼胸,手臂朝上, 緊握劍根, 右手手心向上, 时角貼(脄)。將劍 由後翻轉前擊。由本勢左足向前一步, 頭眼右轉, 身腰左蹲, 卽成下勢

Straddle Right Strike: The left fore arm sticks to the torso,  the arm on top. Grip the sword tightly with the palm of the right hand facing up, edges touching. Flip the sword from back to front to strike. From the original position, step with your left foot, turn the head and eyes to the right , and assume a lower stance to the left.

7. 撩掠势: 此勢右足挺伸, 左足在後, 微屈, 身腰向後坐, 頭眼向右看, 右手在, 前 左手在後, 勁注劍尖, 向上撩起, 形如本圖, 身腰再向左轉, 左肘後 屈, 右肘貼胸, 左足後退, 右足再後退, 將劍平端, 形如第八圖.

Lift and Pass Strike: In this posture, the right foot is stretched out, the left foot is behind, slightly bent, the waist is sitting back, the head and eyes are looking to the right, the right hand is in the front, the left hand is behind, focus on the tip of the sword, and lift it up, as shown in the picture, the waist is facing again Turn left, bend the left elbow back, put the right elbow on the chest, step back with the left foot, and then step back with the right foot, flatten the end of the sword, as shown in Figure 8.

8. 御車格:將向前衝刺, 上體前傾, 勁蓄兩肘, 成左弓右箭步, 左手拳背朝外 , 右手拳心朝內, 左足進一步, 將劍一送卽收, 順勢向左大轉身, 左足向左足外旁方一步, 形如第九圖

Drive the Cart Block: Prepare to rush forward with the sword, lean the body forward and hold the elbows in tightly, assume a left bow stance and a right arrow step (lunge). Back of the left fist is facing outward, the palm of the right hand is facing inwards. The left foot enter one step, the sword is thrust and brought back, take advantage of the situation and turn to the left, left foot forward and to the outside one step, as shown in the Ninth illustration. 

9. 展旗擊: 此勢右足在前, 左足在後, 成交叉步, 身腰右轉, 左臂斜挺貼腹, 右肘 後曲形如本圖, 再向左轉身, 兩腿絞花, 將劍由上下砍, 步法成左弓右箭勢, 卽變第十圖. 

In this posture, the right foot is forward and the left foot behind. Forming a cross step, turn to the right by the waist, the left arm is across the abdomen, the right elbow is bent to the rear as in the picture. Then, turn to the left, twist the legs, and strike down with the sword. Assume a left bow and right arrow stance. Change to the tenth position. 

10. 看守擊: 此勢前弓後箭,兩手握劍在前, 專剌敵人下腹, 右足向左旁方躍一步, 左足再向左旁方橫進一步, 偏身將劍向前一刺, 身腰右閃 ,右膝微屈, 左腿挺直, 將劍反捲, 鋒口朝上, 左肘貼胸, 目光左視 , 形如第十一圖.

Stand Watch Strike: In this posture, form a forward bow and rearward arrow, both hands hold the sword in front. Stab at the enemy’s lower abdomen. Jump from right foot to the left side one step, continue stepping across to the left with the left foot. With inclined body, stab forward with the sword once, and dodge with the waist to the right. The right leg is slightly bent, the left leg is straight. The sword rolls back, the edge facing up, the left elbow sticks to the chest. The eyes look left as in the eleventh picture. 

11. 銀蟒格:身勢左偏右斜, 兩手帶劍向右, 小膀上豎, 右手在內, 左手在外, 劍 尖朝上, 劍身提與鼻端相平, 鋒刃朝上下, 形如本圖, 右足後退, 身膝右轉, 左足前進一步, 將劍高舉下砍, 卽變第十二圖姿勢. 

Silver Python block: The body in this posture inclines to the left and slants to the right. Both hands hold the sword to the right, the arms are held vertically, the right hand is on the inside the left hand is on the outside. The sword tip points up, the sword body is held at the level of the nose. The edges face up and down, as illustrated. The right foot retreats backward, turn your body at the knee to the right. The forward left foot enters one step. Raise the sword high and chop down to change into the twelfth posture. 

12. 鑽擊: 劍在左上方。左足在前。勢如本圖。再將劍在前面絞一大圓花。退右足。右轉身。右腿屈曲。左腿外伸。上身右傾。頭朖右視。右手在左。手背朝上左手在右。將劍鋒朝內 外兩方。形如第十三勢.

Drill Strike: The sword is held high and to the left. The left foot is forward. Assume the posture pictured. Again, bring the sword in front of the face and turn it once in a big circle. Bring back the right foot. Turn to the right. Right leg is bent. The left leg is extended to the outside. The upper body leans to the right. The head looks right. Right hand is on the left [side]. The back the hand faces up, the left hand is on the right [side]. The sword tip will go inside and outside in both directions. The form is like the thirteenth posture. 

13. 腰擊: 將劍鋒朝前。由左旁方橫掃。身腰蹲坐。形如下圖。左足再向右進步。右足再右進一步。同時劍由右上方向左前方下磕。 向右下方絞掠。即變第十四圖姿勢.

Waist Strike: The sword tip points forward. From the left side sweep across. The body weight sinks down.  It is shaped like the next posture. The left foot again advances to the right. The right foot again advances one step to the right. At the same time, wield the sword up and to the right and hit underneath. Twist and sweep toward the lower right. Quickly change to the fourteenth posture. 

14. 展翅擊: 右手向右下方外絞, 手心向右左手向右, 腕之下, 手心朝上, 步法成 右足在前, 左足在後丁字步, 形如本圖, 左足再向左一步, 兩足一 磨, 身腰右轉, 同時將劍置於左旁方, 提與肩平, 目光右視形如下圖.

Unfold Wings Strike: The right hand faces down and right then twists outward, the palm faces right and the left hand is to the right. The underside of the wrist, the palm faces upward. Footwork has the right foot in front, the left foot is behind in a t-step, as in the picture. The left foot takes another step to the left, both feet rub. Turn to the right with the waist, at the same time place the sword on the left side and hold up to shoulder level. The eyes look right as shown in the picture. 

15. 右翼擊: 右足再向前一步, 左足再躍向前, 同時將劍由左向右後方下砍, 隨左足向後一退, 右足隨之後躍, 將劍一砍之後, 復行收(?)揭起, 形如鷄啄米形勢, 身腰蹲坐, 劍尖朝右後方, 雙手在前劍柄朝前, 卽成第十六圖姿勢.

Right Wing Strike: The right foot takes another step forward, the left foot again leaps forward, while the sword chops from left to right and backward. Then, the left foot steps back once,  the right foot shuffles up from behind. The sword will hack once from behind, then withdraw and then be raised (back up). The form is of the posture “Chicken Pecking Rice”. The body sits into the waist, the sword tip points behind and to the right, both hands hold the sword forward with handle in front, immediately assume the sixteenth posture pictured. 

16. 揭擊: 身腰蹲坐成馬襠勢, 兩手在前把握劍柄, 劍尖朝右旁方, 目光左視, 此爲木圖姿勢, 若將左足向右後退, 右足前進一步, 將劍左揭, 卽變第十七圖姿勢.

Exposing Strike: The body sits into the waist and assumes the Horse Mount position. Both hands hold the sword with the hilt in front, point the sword tip to the right, look to the left. This is the Wooden Figure posture. If the left foot steps back toward the right, the right foot goes forward and enters one step. Raise the sword to the left and assume the seventeenth posture. 

17. 左夾刺: 由上圖, 左足後退, 右足前進, 將劍左揭砍下, 身腰蹲坐, 隨再將左足 前向左一步, 同時將劍揭起, 右臂貼紮左膀屈, 微身腰一抬, 將 劍向右上方刺擊, 目光向右方上視, 形如本圖, 右足再進前, 將劍由前收回向左, 卽變第十八圖姿勢.

Left Bracing Stab: From the picture above, the left foot takes a step back, the right foot moves forward. The sword cuts down from the left side. Sit into the waist, then the left foot takes another step forward to the left. At the same time, loft the sword up, the right fore arm sticking to the left bent arm, lift the waist slightly. The sword then goes up on the right side to stab with the tip. The eyes look right and above. Position is like the picture. The right foot advances again, the sword is brought back on the left side. Change to the eighteenth posture.

18. 跨左擊: 劍由右上方收回, 鋒刃向左, 經前平方, 向左橫掠, 成右足在前, 左足 在後丁步勢, 形如本圖, 向前躍進三步, 將劍在前面絞二大圓花, 身腰右傾, 蹲坐, 劍尖向左平方上提, 雙手在右, 卽成第十九圖姿.

Straddle left Strike: The sword is bought back from the upper right, turn the edge to the left, leveled to the front, and sweep through. Right foot is in front, left foot is in the rear in a t step, as it is in the picture. Leap forward three steps, the sword goes forward and turns in two big circle flowers. The body inclines to the right from the waist, squat down, the sword tip is to the left sword held flat, both hands are on the right. Continue to the ninetieth posture. 

19. 掀擊: 右腿屈曲, 左腿挺伸, 以助掀挑之勁, 身腰向右偏斜, 目光左視,劍鋒朝上下, 劍尖朝左, 劍柄在右, 劍身平胸, 形如本圖, 左足向後徹步, 劍尖由左向上, 向右落下, 雙腿絞花, 劍尖由右下方再向左上方 昂起, 卽成第二十圖姿勢.

Uncovering Strike: The right leg is bent, the left leg is straight in order to aid lifting and plucking energy. The waist is slanted to the right, the eyes look left, the blade is held vertically, the sword tip points left, the hilt is on the right, the sword body is flat at the chest level, as is shown in the picture. The left foot retreats with a penetrating step, the sword point goes from left to right and up to down, both knees twist around, the sword is raised from lower right to upper left. Change to the twentieth posture. 

20. 逆鳞刺: 劍柄靠近左膝角, 左肘彎, 右肘曲, 將劍向前斜刺, 形如本圖, 右足進 前, 左足後退, 向左後方大轉身, 將劍順勢撇向左後方, 右足再向 左前方一步, 將劍一收, 卽成第二十一圖姿勢.

Scale The Fish Stab: The hilt of the sword is by the tip of the left knee, the left elbow is bent, the right elbow is bent. The sword inclines forward as in the picture. The right foot is forward the left foot is back, turn back to the left. Throw the sword to the rear left, the right foot takes another step forward, the sword is retracted, as  in the twenty first picture. 

21. 斂翅擊: 右臂貼夾, 左膀貼胸, 劍尖向右旁下方, 步法成運枝交叉式, 形如本 圖, 再將劍由前下方向左上方, 再向右下方, 絞一大圓花, 兩足隨 之絞花, 同時身腰左轉, 抱劍向左, 卽成第二十二圖姿勢.

Fold Wings Strike: The right arm is against the left side, the left forearm is against the chest, the tip of the sword points down and to the right, and the foot work is that of moving across a branch, as shown in the picture. The sword will go from the front underneath, to the upper left, then to the lower right, twisting the sword in a large circular flower. Both feet twist around, together with the waist, to the left. The sword is held on the left as in the twenty second picture. 

22. 右夾刺: 右肘在後, 左膀貼腹, 劍尖朝左上方, 目光左視, 步法成馬襠形, 馬勢右腿挺伸, 身腰向左, 將劍向上一刺, 形如本圖, 將劍由右, 向下撩左, 向前一點擊, 卽成第二十三圖姿勢.

Right Bracing Stab: The right elbow is to the rear, the left arm is close to the abdomen, tip of the sword points up and left, the eyes look left. The foot work is the Horse Riding posture, one leg is stretched out, the waist turns to the left, and the sword is thrust upward as shown in the picture. Move the sword from the right, down to the left and assume the twenty third posture. 

23. 鳳頭洗: 此爲點刺之法, 左足向前, 劍從右邊向後絞花, 向前一點, 右足再進 前一步, 劍由左旁方絞花向前一點, 左足再進一步, 劍再由右後 方翻前, 向前一點, 三躍步, 三點刺, 形如本圖, 右足徬退, 將劍右收, 卽變第二十四圖收勢.

Phoenix Head Deflection: This is the skill of thrusting. The left foot is forward, the sword goes back from the right side to turn a flower. Dot once to the front. The right foot again enters one step. The sword then turns another flower from the left to dot once. The left foot then takes another step in, the sword again goes back and to the right to flip forward, then dot once. Three leaping steps, three dotting stabs, as shown in the picture. The right foot drifts back as the sword is brought back to the right side. Assume the twenty fourth posture.

24. 横冲擊: 雙手握柄, 向右平收, 身腰右斜, 右足蹲屈, 左足挺伸, 目光左魂, 劍尖 向左, 鋒刃朝上下, 形如本圖, 二十四勢演練熟習, 再由末勢, 翻 反逆演練, 自能神化入妙.

Dash Across Strike: Hold the handle with both hands, and flat to the right. The waist inclines to the right, bend the knee and sink into the right foot, left foot stretches out, look to the left. The tip of the sword points left and the blade is held with vertical edges, as shown in the picture. Once the twenty four postures are practiced and mastered, perform them backwards from the last posture,  by reversing the exercises, your self improvement will be exquisite.



The 24 stances. This is the beginning practice. Proceed one stance at a time. Practice very slowly. But, afterward practice with zeal. It cannot be divided into separate postures. Surely the postures must be connected. Continue moving without interruption and dance. Just like calligraphy. Begin with the first word. Then, make the calligraphy flow as one. That is how calligraphy is done. What is true is also rough. From the rough, comes the clever. From the clever comes the spiritual. One road to the end. Harmonize the Qi. Dot, Throw, Hook, and Press. Do not hesitate or pause. This is to persevere. The way of the sword. Why are single [postures] not correct? . Li Jinglin’s writings say this. Liu’s art maintains the spirit. Walk with spirit and the road will be completed. Practice with Jing to change your Qi. Jing and Qi transform the spirit. Practice with spirit to complete the Way. The sword and the spirit combine into one. Approach the Way. This is called “unifying sword and spirit”. Exhale with a “he”. The spirit will go where the sword goes. The sword follows the spirit Way. The man becomes the sword. The sword becomes the man. Proceed up and down following forward and behind as one. Circulate your Jing, Qi, and Shen and imbue the sword with Qi. 


  1. 戒色
  2. 戒鬬
  3. 戒性急
  4. 戒過分
  5. 戒無恆

Also in Swordplay we have the Five Prohibitions. The swordsman must surely be disciplined, otherwise his skill will not be good and will in fact do harm. What are the Five Prohibitions? 

  1. Do not be vain
  2. Do not quarrel
  3. Do not be impatient 
  4. Do not be excessive
  5. Do not be lazy


Avoid vanity and do not quarrel. When there is a group of 30 people, do not be anxious. This is why the practice of the sword must go from the superficial to the deep. First train the hands, eyes, mind, body, steps, then the five methods. After this train the five strengths: brave strength, powerful strength, quick strength, sinking strength, spiritual strength.  The harried sequence will gradually become ordered and subtle. Do not be excessive. Because of the limited strength and energy of the body, the practitioner will endure fatigue while practicing. Therefore, study endurance diligently, in order to replenish your spirit.  Do not be Lazy. Not establishing good practice habits is already [failing]. If the practitioners are determined, surely they will persevere. Say nothing,  and through bitter hardship, continue to push through and continue. You must possess the will to persist. Certainly the profound house is established. Avoid by all means the Mountain Nine Fathoms. The skill will fall short and they will regret their actions.  Rather than letting go of the front. I brandish the sword with two hands.  Only, be aware, the strength for the long sword comes from the foot. And does not issue from the back or spine. Short sword power is more in the back and spine and not in the foot. Take note from this. After beginning all virtues have space for conversation. (19,11,12, and 1 recorded)


This was translated from a reproduction by Lion Books of the 1930 publication. Any mistakes in translation are mine.

This book may be purchased here:

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