Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Performance Fans versus War Fans

A tai chi performance fan is made of bamboo and silk. The one I have is a peony style in black silk, as pictured here in the middle --


A tai chi fan routine is, like all other tai chi routines, based on martial arts. The decorative performance fan is a safe stand-in for a martial arts war fan. These have steel ribs, either blunted or pointed. The inside bottom rib is essentially a knife with a razor-sharp cutting edge. For example --



The Tessen ("iron fan") was created by the Samurai warrior class in ancient Japan, so that they would never be unarmed in situations where their swords, bows or spears could not be carried. A decorative folding fan (Sensu) was an expensive status symbol among the feudal Japanese upper class. Everyone had one, both men and women, so a fan tucked in a waist sash was above suspicion. If attacked, a Samurai could defend himself with his war fan.

Here's a couple of short videos showing how war fans are held and used to inflict damage. The demonstrator is, of course, using a safer performance fan to illustrate the moves. All these same grips and strikes are used in tai chi fan routines as well, although in much slower motion.





My next post will be about the actual tai chi fan routine. And yes, there will be a performance video! Not of me though, LOL, but of a tai chi master.

44 comments:

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I love this! Lethal beauty, huh?
Those fans are gorge!

XoXo

Tasker Dunham said...

What a nasty man.

Moving with Mitchell said...

I had no idea there was such a long history to those deadly fans.

anne marie in philly said...

whoa! who knew something so pretty could be so deadly if used the right way!

Marie Smith said...

Incredible that something so beautiful could be so deadly!

DEZMOND said...

Some of the characters in the books I've translated had fans made of electrum which werewolves and other nocturnal demons hate :)

Laurie said...

This is so cool, I have always been interested in this,, you’re teaching us so much!

Bob said...

I could use a war fan.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

I did not know this! O.O

Susan said...

This is so cool!

Leanna said...

Who knew! This is very interesting. No one would ever know such a lethal weapon was in a beautifully simple thing as a fan.

bobbie said...

Marie Smith took the words right out of my mouth!!

pam nash said...

Cool! Something rather ordinary can be something so lethal!

e said...

Love it! Awesome post! I don't know if your class is all using fans at the same time, but I'll bet you've been amazed at the noise level. When a roomful of people are all opening and closing their fans at the same time, it is LOUD!

Parnassus said...

Hello Debra, A friendly little sport you have taken up! I wonder if Jet Li ever used a weapon-fan. It sounds right up his alley.
--Jim

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ e -- Oh yes! The sound is amazing, I agree! I love it too.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ DEZMOND -- Electrum? Fabulous! I'll add it to the list of other favourite sci-fi/fantasy super-substances like kryptonite, adamantium and vibranium!

Rosemary said...

Love those fans - I used to have two beautiful fans that were left to me by a relation when I was a child, but I have no idea what happened to them or where they are now.

Brian Joseph said...

Fascinating post. I knew almost nothing about these fans. The videos were neat. I look forward to your upcoming post.

Guillaume said...

Not sure if the war fan can be of any use in the street. This is the Krav Magaer talking, I am skeptical of martial arts.

Adam said...

Unless you played Mortal Kombat.

Travel said...

Could come in handy.

DVArtist said...

I love this post. Thank you for sharing this.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Woah....mind blown! I had no idea.

Rommy said...

SQUEE!!!!

OK, I'm outing myself as a massive dork, but one of my favorite anime characters of all time has an iron tessen as a weapon. Later it got upgraded to a diamond tessen when he leveled up (I have no idea how that would work, don't ask me. It's anime logic:D )

But I have always wanted to learn more about tessens and war craft. Thank you for sharing!

Kirk said...

Could be a training video for James Bond movie assassins.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

@ Rommy -- With your love and knowledge of Japanese culture, I suspected this would interest you! Glad that it does!

NanaDiana said...

WOW! Who knew?! Well, I guess you did. That is absolutely fascinating! xo Diana

John M said...

Interesting, learned something.

Fundy Blue said...

So cool, Debra! I had no idea that fans were used for defense! Thank you for enlightening me. Darn, I was hoping that you would do a demonstration!

Professor Chaos said...

Aw, come on! Post a video of you doing a fan dance! Hubba hubba!

This N That said...

Interesting..I was totally disappointed that there was no picture of you doing a fan dance...Is there hope in the future??

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

So elegant and yet so potentially ruthless.
Very cool.
Thank you, Debra.

LL Cool Joe said...

I need a blinged out fan.

Lady M said...

Not a performance by you? I was looking forward to that. Perhaps some day. I wonder if there pro-fan and anti-fan people?

Martha said...

Mind blowing! I didn't know there was such a thing.

nothoughtsnoprayersnonothing said...

This is really fascinating. Better than boxing and probably more deadly.

Polly said...

WOW I had no idea a fan could be so lethal. The ones in your pics are beautiful. I have two, one in my handbag and the other at home, for when I have hot flushes!

Mike said...

Officer: Do you have a weapon on you?
TC: Nope. (Under breath... I've actually got 13.)

Barbara said...

Very interesting.

baili said...

found this knowledge intriguing :)

how amazing there are so many ways to hold this wonderful fan
i was greatly fascinated by iron fan

Miss Val's Creations said...

These fans are just as fascinating as the routines! Love this!

Ur-spo said...

I didn’t know !

Magic Love Crow said...

This is amazing Deb! Thank you for teaching us! I love the videos!!