A saying in the Chinese martial arts goes “The (way of the) single sabre relies on the hand, while the twin sabres rely on one’s walk (單刀看手，雙刀看走).” Evidently, when dual weapons are concerned, footwork and lower body stability are crucial. This tenet applies to ordinary weapons and “unorthodox weapons (奇門兵器)” alike, and these Double Crescent-Halberds (雙戟) are certainly not exempt from this simple truth.
The Mizong Luohan school has in its arms collection a pair of antique halberds, which once belonged to the Grandmaster Yip Yue Ting. Used both on horseback and on foot, Double Halberds were used to trap and wrench weapons out of an opponent’s hands. According to the current headmaster Douglas Lau, Grandmaster Yip once explained that although Double Tiger Hooks (虎頭雙鉤) and Double Halberds excel at disarming both long and short weapons, the Double Halberds can be used to defeat the Double Hooks while doing the opposite is extremely difficult. Grandmaster Yip often refused to speak about “unorthodox weapons”, and this knowledge is amongst what precious little he decided to divulge about the halberds. Save for a handful of separate techniques, all teachings regarding the halberds (including the practice choreography) have been lost due to the Grandmaster’s secretiveness.
Shown above is an old photograph of Master Douglas Lau practicing with the said Double Halberds. Although not much is known about them, the school’s elder students study the weapon arduously in efforts to preserve the survived techniques.
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