Joseon Sebup is Chinese?

Jul 2019
28
Victoria
Hello everyone. I am wondering if there are people familiar with Wu Bei Zhi and the Chinese martial arts listed in the compilation. Supposedly Mao Yuan Yi discovered the Korean fencing techniques across the sea and added it in the compendium . When it was included into Muyedobotongji in 1795 (over 170 years later) the art had changed so much in Korean hands that it was split into three different branches:, including but not limited to Yedo 銳刀 by Go Hu Jum (recorded in 1734), Bongukgeom 本國劍 by Hwang Chang Ryang (a mythical Silla figure).

The problem is that some Koreans have suggested that the art is actually Chinese in usage due to the fact that the language used inside the volume in the original Wu Bei Zhi is utilising an archaic chinese vocabulary and Mao Yuan Yi supposedly found it in Korea and the most likely hypothesis was that he acquired the knowledge in the Imjin war. Also the practitioners of the Korean art was recorded to be only 80 for the Yedo branch in 1795.

Does anyone know more about this? The Great Ming Military blog claims that the language used in the book is similiar to Yuan/Song
 
Jul 2019
28
Victoria
For Example :
- 左脚左手泰山壓頂勢 is apparently a language used in early Ming writing, mostly in fiction. It is unlikely a Korean would use this language.
-There were already Chinese martial arts utilising a two hand sword before the creation of the Wu Bei Zhi
- There are many examples of two handed swords starting from the Han Dynasty whilst in Korea two handed sabres are rare and was not produced by the state due to problems in drawing the sword fast

here's a demonstration of how it should look.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,803
United States
Koreans had trouble drawing their sabers fast? How does that influence two-handed saber techniques?
 
Jul 2019
28
Victoria
Koreans had trouble drawing their sabers fast? How does that influence two-handed saber techniques?
It is recorded in the Munjong sillok that the sword length for both the cavarly and infantry be standardised to 1 chuck 6 chon and 1 chuck 7 chon respectively. Apprently thats only 30 cm blade length for the cavarly sabres of the era. Previous administrations provided munitions that had very flexible standards and the length of the sabre would vary between each men.

In the same writing a cavarly commander called Yi Jong Ok stated that the shortness of the Korean sabres were very easy to handle and suggested to standardise the equipment to a shorter lenght.

The reason why i am stating this is that since both cavarly and infantry sabres were only in lenght comparable to a singke handed sabre, it would be impossible to utilize the binding techniques demonstated in the joseon sebop or any of the other branches that followed.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,803
United States
It is recorded in the Munjong sillok that the sword length for both the cavarly and infantry be standardised to 1 chuck 6 chon and 1 chuck 7 chon respectively. Apprently thats only 30 cm blade length for the cavarly sabres of the era. Previous administrations provided munitions that had very flexible standards and the length of the sabre would vary between each men.

In the same writing a cavarly commander called Yi Jong Ok stated that the shortness of the Korean sabres were very easy to handle and suggested to standardise the equipment to a shorter lenght.

The reason why i am stating this is that since both cavarly and infantry sabres were only in lenght comparable to a singke handed sabre, it would be impossible to utilize the binding techniques demonstated in the joseon sebop or any of the other branches that followed.
Oh okay I get your point.

What does the Pyonggi Tosol (병기도설) of 1474 say as far as swords go?
 
Jul 2019
28
Victoria
Oh okay I get your point.

What does the Pyonggi Tosol (병기도설) of 1474 say as far as swords go?
Well, the thing is I get my information from the Sillok database and not necessarily from the Byeonggidosol itself. I want to read it myself but haven't found how to. However, I have read extensively on the sword itself and can tell you the gist of it.

The Korean Hwando was created in 1277 under the regime of King Chyungryeol as part of the tribute. About 1,000 pieces were made to the Yuan. Previously they were using similar swords in style of the late Three Kingdoms period as far as I know, with the difference being that the 13th-century swords had a disk guard.

The hilt and the scabbard were made of wood and wrapped around in fish leather, animal leather, and sometimes traditional paper and then wrapped in leather and lacquered according to the colors specific to the Confucian elements. Black and red were the most common colors used. Scabbards with paper were very light and the addition of the fish leather and lacquer prevented moisture.

Although back in the Golden age of Goryeo they used a variety of materials including silver threads, engraving, gold paints and most commonly ivory for the most decorated officers. The Buddhist sect had strict aesthetical influence over the blades of the time. This is recorded in the Chinese accounts.

The most peculiar element of the Hwando was its edge geometry, in that the traditional three planes (as opposed to six planes used in Japanese swords) was still used and more interestingly, they used a chisel geometry in the blade, although I don't know when it was first introduced. Apparently a three-plane blade was good against flesh whilst the 5 plane was good against bamboo (maybe it was the other way around). Utilizing the chisel geometry made the blade thoroughly efficient against both materials.

As it says in the byeongidosol, the Infantry saber was 73cm in total whilst the cavalry saber was 65cm. Though this depends greatly on what measurements we are using. It kept changing depending on the period. (some say its 55.6 and 48.9 respectively.)

"A sword is a weapon carried by a man. There are two types of swords: One is Oungeom otherwise known as the cloud sword whilst the other is called Pegeom is otherwise known as a carrying sword.

Cloud swords were wrapped in leather and lacquered red with a red thread tied to the hilt. It used a very thin leather belt [to tie it to the harness].

The carrying sword was called Hwando otherwise known as a curved sword (It wasn't really curved). It was lacquered black and a red thread was tied to the hilt. Copper ornaments riveted onto the sword. The belt for the scabbard was made of deer leather."

sword.jpg





That's all i can find about the Byeongidosol.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2019
53
Solar System
I wouldn't be surprised if it had a Chinese origin, cause many of the ancient Korean weapons had Chinese origins, such as the Seongja Chongtong, which was very similar to early to mid Ming period handgonne, and the bronze cup-shaped siege mortars (not sure how it was called in Korean), which bears close resemblance to early Ming period Zhankou mortars.

 
Jul 2019
28
Victoria
I wouldn't be surprised if it had a Chinese origin, cause many of the ancient Korean weapons had Chinese origins, such as the Seongja Chongtong, which was very similar to early to mid Ming period handgonne, and the bronze cup-shaped siege mortars (not sure how it was called in Korean), which bears close resemblance to early Ming period Zhankou mortars.

Well the equipment is not at issue here. The problem is that Mao Yuan Yi himself wrote the entry as 朝鮮勢法 and that aquired the arts overseas in Joseon. The likely scenario is that he participated in Imjin Invasion but i cannot find much on what he was doing before writing the compendium. In terms of technique alone, its not so distinct from fencing styles all over the world to call it specifically chinese. The footstep and posture are different from chinese styles in the same book. I would agree with the chinese origin if it weren't for the fact that there is absolutely no good reason to invent a pedigree. I mean for the Chang Dao techniques it was pretty much written that it was inspired by Japanese scrolls.
 
Nov 2019
53
Solar System
Well the equipment is not at issue here. The problem is that Mao Yuan Yi himself wrote the entry as 朝鮮勢法 and that aquired the arts overseas in Joseon. The likely scenario is that he participated in Imjin Invasion but i cannot find much on what he was doing before writing the compendium. In terms of technique alone, its not so distinct from fencing styles all over the world to call it specifically chinese. The footstep and posture are different from chinese styles in the same book. I would agree with the chinese origin if it weren't for the fact that there is absolutely no good reason to invent a pedigree. I mean for the Chang Dao techniques it was pretty much written that it was inspired by Japanese scrolls.
To my best knowledge, Mao Yuan Yi was a philologist, not a general, and he never participated in the Imjin War (or in any war). His work Wu Bei Zhi was criticized by many of his contemporaries as outdated, inaccurate, and redundant.

Ancient Chinese sword styles weren't that distinct from other styles used in Europe or in Japan. The culture was different but the laws of physics and the human body were the same across the world. I remember that I've once read a medieval European manual (couldn't remember the name) where it was depicted that a swordsman held his shield high to parry incoming cavalry charge and then lowered his body to cut the horse legs, very similar to the technique that the Song dynasty general Yue Fei would have used against Jurchen cavalry.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,803
United States
Well, the thing is I get my information from the Sillok database and not necessarily from the Byeonggidosol itself. I want to read it myself but haven't found how to. However, I have read extensively on the sword itself and can tell you the gist of it.

The Korean Hwando was created in 1277 under the regime of King Chyungryeol as part of the tribute. About 1,000 pieces were made to the Yuan. Previously they were using similar swords in style of the late Three Kingdoms period as far as I know, with the difference being that the 13th-century swords had a disk guard.

The hilt and the scabbard were made of wood and wrapped around in fish leather, animal leather, and sometimes traditional paper and then wrapped in leather and lacquered according to the colors specific to the Confucian elements. Black and red were the most common colors used. Scabbards with paper were very light and the addition of the fish leather and lacquer prevented moisture.

Although back in the Golden age of Goryeo they used a variety of materials including silver threads, engraving, gold paints and most commonly ivory for the most decorated officers. The Buddhist sect had strict aesthetical influence over the blades of the time. This is recorded in the Chinese accounts.

The most peculiar element of the Hwando was its edge geometry, in that the traditional three planes (as opposed to six planes used in Japanese swords) was still used and more interestingly, they used a chisel geometry in the blade, although I don't know when it was first introduced. Apparently a three-plane blade was good against flesh whilst the 5 plane was good against bamboo (maybe it was the other way around). Utilizing the chisel geometry made the blade thoroughly efficient against both materials.

As it says in the byeongidosol, the Infantry saber was 73cm in total whilst the cavalry saber was 65cm. Though this depends greatly on what measurements we are using. It kept changing depending on the period. (some say its 55.6 and 48.9 respectively.)

"A sword is a weapon carried by a man. There are two types of swords: One is Oungeom otherwise known as the cloud sword whilst the other is called Pegeom is otherwise known as a carrying sword.

Cloud swords were wrapped in leather and lacquered red with a red thread tied to the hilt. It used a very thin leather belt [to tie it to the harness].

The carrying sword was called Hwando otherwise known as a curved sword (It wasn't really curved). It was lacquered black and a red thread was tied to the hilt. Copper ornaments riveted onto the sword. The belt for the scabbard was made of deer leather."

View attachment 25146





That's all i can find about the Byeongidosol.
Yeah I've found bits of the Pyonggi Tosol but I mostly focused on firearms.

73 and 65 cm are still pretty short.

At the same time I'd be skeptical of explaining this as solely an issue of expertise and technology; fighting style probably played a major role as well.