Kung Fu Tea

A captured Chinese dadao being held by a Japanese soldier. Note the unique saw back blade. Source: Author’s Personal Collection.

Given that it is a holiday weekend, I will be keeping this research note brief.  Still, the subject matter is quite interesting.  China’s Republic era dadao, or big knives, generate a good deal of interest among both historians and practical martial artists.  They also played a role in the development of General Ma Liang’s career as a martial arts reformer.

In some ways that is a bit surprising.  The general’s troops were often Muslim and hailed from impoverished areas of Northern China.  Of course these were exactly the sorts of individuals that would win fame as they faced down the Japanese army along the Great Wall in 1933, or slightly later in famous Marco Polo Bridge incident.  Stories of such exploits went a long way towards explaining the general enthusiasm…

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