Ottawa Swordplay is hosting a workshop on the Jian led by Daniel Mroz. Daniel was kind enough to give us a detailed write up on the Jian, the workshops, and his background, which I am posting here.
We are excited to have Daniel available to teach us!
Nián Jiàn: Chinese Sticking Swordplay
A workshop for Ottawa Swordplay, with Daniel Mroz, PhD
November 22nd, 2019, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Made famous by martial arts cinema, the Chinese Jiàn is an elegant, iconic sword. Over the course of its long history it has been a magical talisman, a battlefield tool and a dueling weapon. In this class I will offer a short introduction to the martial games used to develop duelling skill in Chinese Swordplay. Nián means ‘to stick’ and the Nián Jiàn method uses continuous contact between blades to train partners to foil and misdirect each other’s attacks. We’ll look at both competitive free-play and pre-set, skill-building movement patterns. The Jiàn is trained at three distances, named after elements of Chinese cosmology: the long range is called the Bagua range, the mid-range is the Taiji range and the close range is called Wuji. Our workshop will focus on the Taiji and Wuji ranges, on ‘the bind’ and ‘infighting.’ The particular games we are going to play come from the Yang Shi Taij Jian system, but I’ll also be drawing on material from the Wudang Dan Pai and WudangXuan Wu Pai schools. All these schools trace their transmission to an adept named Li Jin Ling (1885-1931) who organized a large number of methods into a system and taught them widely. After our formal session, I’ll be happy to answer questions and also to show participants my sword collection and my copy of the mysterious 19th century manual of WudangJiàn by Li Jin Ling’s legendary teacher, Song Wei Yi (1855-1926.)
I’ve been practicing Chinese martial arts since 1993 and have been focussing on the Jiàn since 2007. My principal teachers are Wong Sui Meing, who taught me Choy Li Fut Kuen and Chen Zhonghua, who taught me Chen Shi Taijiquan. I hold an instructor’s rank in both these martial arts. I’ve had many teachers from a variety of Chinese sword styles, some of whom I trained under for years, some for only hours. I appreciate them all very much. In the order I met them, they are: Sui Meing Wong, Ken Cohen, Chen Zhonghua, Sam Masich, Adriaan Blaauw, Michael Babin, Chang Wu Na & Mei Hui Lu, Jason Tsou, Damon Honeycutt, Chad Eisner, Ismet Himmet and Ma Yue. When not playing with swords, I’m a theatre artist and a professor. I’m the director of the fine arts programs in theatre at the University of Ottawa, which includes the BFA program in acting and the MFA program in directing. While the University of Ottawa takes up all of my time these days, in the fall of 2018 I had the good fortune to teach martial arts for dancers and choreographers to the excellent graduates of the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in the Netherlands, one of Europe’s leading schools for contemporary dance. In 2016 I gave a keynote address at the International Martial Arts Studies Academic Conference, at the University of Cardiff, Wales on the use of ancient and esoteric training methods in the Chinese martial arts. You can watch it here:
6:35pm Demonstration of the Sticking Sword Free-play Game
6:40pm ‘Upper gate’ techniques - Tian Xun and Ni (Dai to Zhan or Ti and Chou)
7:00pm ‘Middle gate’ techniques - Di Xun and Ni (Ci to Jie)
7:20pm ‘Lower gate’ techniques - Ren Xun and Ni (Gua to Sao)
7:30pm Sticking Sword Free-play Game
8:00pm Post-workshop show and tell
Game Parameters: constant contact, even speed, continuous movement;
Game Rules: clear hit begins on cardinals, double hit begins on diagonals.
Game Scoring: 5 points to win, 2 points for the head, 1 point for limbs or torso, 0 points for a double hit.
Required Equipment: gloves and masks.
Swords will be provided.