Many Chinese martial arts use “Butterfly Swords,” but they are the jewel of the Wing Chun system. Practitioners who reach their level of study are expected to practice intensely, thoughtfully and achieve an understanding that recursively improves their empty hand abilities.
Butterfly Swords are a variety of Chinese saber with only one edge sharpened, a blade wider than that of the typical two-edged long sword and a specialized guard. The single edge and wide blade categorize them firmly as “Dao” (“Do” in Cantonese), a term that commonly means knife. Below are a few different spellings you may want to take note of for the purposes of this article:
Hudiedao – Butterfly Swords or Butterfly Knives
Baat Jaam Do (& variations on spelling) – Wing Chun Butterfly Swords (Eight Slash/Cut Swords)
Butterfly swords and especially Baat Jaam Do (“BJD”) are not one size fits all item. Each style and lineage emphasizes different techniques. The swords must be designed to accommodate and facilitate those movements. Some schools require a weapon based on tradition regardless of whether or not it is appropriate for today’s modern society. Individuals develop personal preferences, and each set of swords would ideally be fitted to the specific person’s body.
There are a lot of low quality swords on the market. They are not, and do not behave, like the true weapons they seek to imitate. To gain proficiency and understanding of Wing Chun movements, you need BJD that have the weight and feel of the weapons your techniques are designed for.
This article should help you better understand what it takes to craft a true weapon – quality steels, tactical-grade construction methods and correct design. This article is not intended to be an advertisement, but we are not going to hide Everything Wing Chun.com (“EWC”) or Modell Design LLC (“Modell Design”) pioneered methods to create superior quality swords.
TIP: The time to buy good weapons is when they are available.
Sound interesting, but do not want to read this on our website? Click here to download a PDF of this guide.
This video is Part 1 of 10 on Choosing Butterfly Swords by Jeffrey Modell. This video goes along with the blog article, but does not follow the exact same order of topics. We apologize that the AUDIO is OUT OF SYNC. This is the way the camera filmed the footage, so there is little we can do about it (simple aligning will not work). We hope you get some benefit, regardless:
Want to read more about the correct sword blade you need for Wing Chun? Click here to learn more, starting with the Sword Blade.
Want to skip ahead? Check out the sections available below:
- The Sword Blade
- Blade Length
- Blade Steel
- Blade Sharpness, Edges, Grinds, Tapers, Ricassos, Choils, and Fullers
- Blade Finishes and Coatings
- Tangs, Handle Types, Alignment, Ergonomics, Handle Materials
- D-Guards, Quillons, Knucklebows
- Sword Balance
- Other Considerations: Quality, Forge, Materials, Techniques, Fit, Finish, Balance, Design, and Service.