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This article, Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword, is property of Shen Yi.

The Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword (玉女劍十九式) is an ancient style of sword fighting where practitioners combine one handed swords with high speed, agile movements and deadly precision. Its name stems from the nineteen techniques from which they are derived from and the Jade Maiden who was said to have visited Master Huashan as a child. Masters are believed to be able to fight on thin ice without falling through and refrain from disturbing the clouds while taking strolls across the sky. Despite certain swords possessing two sharpened edges, Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword relies on thrusting and piercing to inflict deadly strikes damage and cutting for creating an opening or gradually weakening an opponent. Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword is reliant on the lightness of the master's weapon. Unlike other sword forms, practitioners utilize weapons that are light enough to inflict quick and clean incisions but are light enough to use with a single hand at swift speeds. Masters of Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword rely heavily on feints, disengages and other wrist-based movements to dance around an opponents blade. The control they exhibit over their swords is said to surpass all other sword forms. Masters are known for writing thousand scroll stories with the tip of their swords without a broken stroke. They also place an importance on the concept of gaining an opponents blade, that is to control the opponents weapon with their own sword with circular motions; spinning until the circle becomes small enough which is when they shall strike. Masters of Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword place a great importance upon footwork, altering momentum and redirecting the opposing energy instead of completely halting it's progress.

Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword practitioners place a preference for complete evasion instead of parrying. Rather than use the sword to deflect attacks, although a reasonable response, masters will evade the attack completely; creating an opening in the process. This response comes from combatting other Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword users for they utilize refined wrist movements which maneuver their blade around or over the opposing sword, essentially striking the opponent even though they attempted to parry. Such trickery is impossible to perform successfully if the strike misses entirely. Practitioners look at the surrounding as a circle, evading the strike by quickly taking a step to either side of the opponents flank. For such reasons, masters are noted to focus on obtaining a physique that will optimize incredible speed in place of physical strength. The choice of speed over strength causes masters to value thrusting since piercing damage requires less strength than actual cutting. The sheer speed of their thrust is enough to inflict a deep wound. Alternatively, whereas cutting relies on various portions of the body to draw on strength and velocity, thrusting has a smoother transitioning due to stemming from the wrist. Masters of the Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword possess unrivaled agility and dexterity alongside a monstrous sense of balance and reflex.

Offense and defense is capitalized by the importance of small movements in place of grandiose strikes. Even the slowest movements are small and precise, refined and controlled enough to remove any excess action; like cutting the fat off a slab of meat.,,,

Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword utilizes two important aspects regarding combat against singular or multiple opponents; measure and tempo. Tempo is the measure of one's movement or stillness compared to the reaction of the opponent. When one advances and extends their arm forward and the opponent retreats in preparation, it is then that they arrive at a full tempo. While switching one's movement before completing it is regarded as an exceptional method of creating an opening, to halt or alter one's action before reaching a full tempo is to fight sloppily. In essence, a tempo is a measurement of the opponents reaction to the practitioners action. It is the speed at which both advance, retreat, parry, attack, feint or remain still. Swordsmanship is comparable to the dance of two beings who are either controlling or following the other. When one advances, the other retreats. When one attacks, the partner defends. It is this relationship that allowed the Jade Maiden to teach Master Huashan the Nineteen Styles; by dancing under a moonlit night did he see the resemblance to the battlefield. Following this principle a tempo is a step taken by a partner, which is responded to by the other. Failing to comply with the tempo causes the dance to fall into discord. However, changing the tempo of a battle can prove rather advantageous for the swordsman. If the battle follows the tempo of a slowed dance, then immediately changing the speeds to a rapid approach can confuse the opponent. Or if the opponent is expecting an aggressive approach, moving like a flowing river will create an opening. This method of fighting revolves entirely on manipulating the tempo, or speed, of the practitioner in a manner that keeps the enemy guessing. It also involves changing both the targeted area and developing new tactics to overwhelm an opponent.

Measure is described as the distance between the opponents blade and the practitioner. Usually, swordsmen keep their hands in a bent position and prepared to launch forward. This form often makes keeping measure rather difficult to those who are new to swordsmanship. They believe themselves out of range due to lacking an awareness of the actual length of an extended arm, body and sword; which changes accordingly depending on the enemy. Practitioners of the Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword are taught extensively the different measures of an opponent and perform arithmetic upon facing an adversary. They take into account the length of the enemies blade, weapon and arm as well as the gained distance should the opponent leap forward. The Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword often states that it is forbidden for a practitioner to lower their guard even if they are nineteen steps away from a sword's tip; they are to remain prepared to defend and immediately perform a Huánkǒu (还口, literally meaning: Retort). Measure is extremely important to a swordsman for it is the distance that their life can end. And such, masters often keep an active awareness of their surroundings and keep note of every weapon within the reach of their five senses. Measure is also the distance between the tip of the practitioners sword and the opponent. For a practitioner to act or react, they must know the measure required to obtain before completing tempo. Each tempo has a specific measure that must be fulfilled, only varying depending on the opponent's size, reach and technique.

Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword begins with a simple stance meant to optimize movement, reaction and speed. Initially practitioners are taught with their dominant hands and then switched immediately to their lesser side. The practitioners dominant foot, regardless of the handedness, faces forward with a slight bent while the hind foot in kept in a perfect perpendicular angle in proportion to the front foot and bent as well. Masters often claim that this is due to the power of the hind leg, in that to attack an opponent is to leap forward in a deadly strike. From there, the swordsman is free to manipulate his stance in response to an opponent. However, standing in the aforementioned manner lowers the available area for the opponent to hit which lessens the target. Even if the practitioner advances first by running or walking in a regular manner, they should return to the stance of the chosen dominant foot leading forward whenever they strike or defend. Ideally, the dominant sword is kept facing the opponent with the tip pointed at its midsection to create four imaginary quadrants. The arm is bent and tucked in to create the image of the sword fusing with the arm into a gigantic limb. Should a practitioner dual wield, their second weapon is kept to their side and away from the opponent so that they can strike swiftly and without hinderance.

Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword is a form that allows a practitioner to exploit the overwhelming power of dual wielding. Masters often wield two blades, usually of different lengths yet both incredibly light, and maneuver with an incredible speed which transforms their movements into a flurry of actions. Essentially, each blade is given a purpose of either defense or offense; that is each weapon is used primarily for a single function of parrying or attacking. Although a master is able to switch the function of each weapon during their actions, the weapon must serve their duty during a full tempo. When switching functions, the defensive blade should always remain closest to the opponent while the offensive blade remains untouched. Practitioners often use their dominant hand, which is facing the opponent for defense due to usually being the longer weapon, and relying on their secondary weapon for an immediate response.

Nineteen Styles

There are nineteen styles that are taught to those who practice the Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword. Each style is an overlapping concept with branching techniques that follow the overall purpose of the style. The styles, at their core, are built from the foundation of speed, precision and agility while incorporating personal principles and disciplines from the practitioner. A master of all Nineteen Styles has yet to appear in the Jianghu realm, but fellow swordsmen claim that an appearance of one would shake the underworld. The names of the Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword are taken from lines in the infamous Nineteen Old Poems; a legendary work of literature written by an ancient earth kingdom mystic who spoke of political and social discourse. However, the branching techniques are given names from the two main practitioners.

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The swirling motion is important for a flawless execution.

  • Cruel and Fearsome Northern Wind (北風慘慄): To control the weapon of an opponent means to command the battle to follow one's will and desires. It is to force the opponent to create an opening while they watch helplessly as they lose control over their sword. It is also to halt an adversaries futile attempt at advancing to reach a measure where they can strike the practitioner. They become a falling leaf trapped in a cruel and unforgiving wind, a swordsman whose willpower and conscious mind is overpowered by the practitioner of Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword. It is a forceful dance where the opponent has no choice but to follow the lead or risk falling. Cruel and Unforgiving Wind is performed after gaining the opponent's blade by placing one's sword against it and maneuvering the enemy's weapon in a circular formation. Beginners often practice with wide and large circles while masters are able to manipulate the enemies sword in a smaller formation. Swirling the opponent's blade in a small circle allows the practitioner to create an opening to strike and transition into tempo swiftly. It is also important to switch the swirling motion between counter clockwise and clockwise to make it nearly impossible for the opponent to escape the swirling winds.

    When masters manage to successfully gain an opponents blade, spectators liken it to watching a tornado capture a leaf in its vortex. The more an opponent attempts to force themselves out of the swirls, the smaller and more refine it becomes. Opponents who retreat in hopes of escaping the draw also find that the blade has become caught completely. Although the essence of Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword is to use the forward blade as a defensive weapon, practitioners capturing the opponent's often switch the sword to an offensive function; where they often lead to another technique or form.
  • Ten Thousand Miles Apart (万里相去): The essential strike of Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword is an attack that is the epitome of spontaneous, unpredictable, and lethal. It utilizes speed and force to overwhelm vast distances where attacks are thought useless; opponents believing it to allow one to strike down an adversary located at the opposite end of the sky. When used at closer quarters, especially by one who is dual wielding, the instantaneous nature of the strike makes it nearly impossible to dodge unscathed. Practitioners combine the powerful lunge with a defensive maneuver known as a Rènzā (刃扎), an action where one uses the primary blade to deflect the opponents sword by slightly pushing it aside and stepping within range. From then on, the sudden burst of speed is at such a close distance lessens the chance of avoid ability. During the lunge, It is crucial for one to extend their arm before pushing with the force of their hind leg. Doing so propels the swordsman with a sudden thrust towards their target. Masters state that the blade must impale the opponent before the front foot touches the ground, further exemplifying the necessity for extreme speed. It is beyond a simple lunge or extension for this technique is regarded as the final attack, meant to act as a conduit for one's desires and dreams. The name is based off a tale that Huashan once heard, where a starving monkey jumped from one end of a forest to the other in order to catch a falling fruit.
    • Lightning Strikes Tornado: An arial variant, Wei Meng created this technique when battling against a group of mercenaries. One particular opponent was an axe wielder who spun a massive battle axe as a primary offensive technique. He whirled in a circular formation with enough strength to almost destroy the escort agency which they combatted in. Unable to get close to his opponent on either flank or even beneath, Wei Meng was forced to gain the upper ground and perform a powerful lung from above.


  • Water Drop, Rock Pierce (水滴石穿)

Trivia

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