Qi Ji Quang Dao (戚家刀)

General Qi Ji Quang Dao

This sabre has been named after the great General Qi Jiguang (1528 ~ 1588) who was one of China's most revered national heroes. At a very young age he showed remarkable courage and ingenuous strategy and tactics by successfully defending Beijing against a siege lead by Mongolian invaders. When given the mandate to raise an army, Qi Jiguang chose to train miners and farmers rather than city people believing them to be more mentally and physically capable than their city counterparts.

Qi Jiguang became even more famous as he lead the Ming soldiers to triumph against the waku or Japanese pirates who invaded the coastal cities of China. Greatly feared by the enemy, his soldiers were known as the invincible troops and they were much loved by the people, famous for their high discipline. Never before had China seen such a young hero achieve so much.

The Japanese nihonto or katana had a few advantages over the Chinese sabres; they were lighter, longer, could be used with two hands, were very sharp and generally made to a higher standard. The Chinese swords on the other hand were poorly forged, often leading to the actual blades chipping on impact. To counter the blades breaking, the spine was thickened but this only added weight to the sabre, slowing it down for combat purposes.

While China's metallurgy and forging technology was considered quite advanced at the time (at the least comparable to the Japanese), the quality was severely compromised by mass production, with decent swords costing too much to make.

General Qi Jiguang however, was prepared to equip his soldiers with the best and designed a sword made to dimensions to counter the efficient Japanese katana. He borrowed strong points from the Japanese weapon yet made to suit the Chinese way of using the blade or (dao fa or sabre method). With true battle experience, the general perfectly combined elements of the Japanese and Chinese swords, revolutionising the way Chinese swords would be made.

The Qi Jiguang dao was made to be a fast sword, predominantly for single hand use though the handle was long enough to use two hands for additional power. The handle is curved downward for better handling. 

The handle and scabbard are made from a quality grade paudak wood. The polished brass fittings which adorn the sword have been dimpled by hammering, creating an effect like ray skin. This method can only be done by hand and fortifies the structure of the metal without encumbering it with excessive thickness.

The handle is pinned twice to the full length tang, once with bamboo and again with a mei hua (China plum flower) which is hollow and allows cordage to be passed through. 

Two Chinese dragons decorate this sword; the hand guard has been moulded and carved into a flying dragon and an intricate tung kuo (sword mouth piece) has been carved into a dragon's head and fitted at the hilt of the sword. The tung kuo stops the blade from rubbing against the scabbard.

The blade itself has been hand forged from 1095 high carbon steel, water quenched and differentially heat treated with clay, producing an extremely tough blade with just enough resilience. The tempering, heat treatment and subsequent hand polishing have brought out a beautiful temper line along the blade, where the blade is at its toughest.

The blade has a rectangular body (closest to the spine) with the blade edge in a traditional 'V' shape. This method of construction is used for its superior structure and optimal strength. Two blood grooves or 'fullers' run along the length of the blade. The Enlightenment Swords trademark stamp of approval has been carved into the blade.

The Qi Jiguang dao is easily a true masterpiece in terms of culture, history and craftsmanship. It is perfectly balanced and weighted, making it ideal for martial arts practise. The Qi Jiguang dao has proven itself on the battlefield and has been crafted into the finest sword possible.