The Trident (Cha) Axe
Walking in the footsteps of Warriors... and Farmers

Prologue

The first weapons were probably made for hunting game. Then it would be a toss-up to see if they were first used in attack or defence of a human being. Since that time, Weapons have had an ambivalent place whereby many believe they are a defensive and preventing instrument and many more believe that they are just for killing and intimidating. Which ever camp you belong to, we do not belong to either. Although we train with Weaponry, it in the mind set and spirit of the Shaolin (without needing to be Buddhists or follow any other set Philosophy or Religion). We use Weapon Training/Play for exercise, for competition, for fitness and recreation but not as a defensive or offensive instrument.

That said and done; we do seek to understand and recreate the true spirit of each Weapon; it's main purpose, it's function, how best it can be used and then how best it can be defended against using only your Kung Fu skills. And that is also a contributing factor (to the above) why we try and understand the true meaning and value of each weapon and how it can be best used and how it might have been best used in history; so to say, Walk in the Footsteps of Ancient Warriors and Masters.

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Burmese Trident, Wushu Fork, Medieval Trident, Fishing Spears and Bronze Chinese Hunting Trident.

Introduction

Pitchforks are another of the quintessential tool-weapons together with such items as Flail, Axe, Shovel and other items that may be used on a farm. Why do we mention this? Well ~90% of the world were farmers for quite a while. With the Industrial Revolution this started to change but before that most 'Civilized' countries were mainly occupied by farmers and thus with farming tools and implements. There were not enough resources for Farmers to have both good tools and weapons for protection. So, the Pitch Fork which could have two, three or even more prongs (Dung Forks had up to 10 prongs) was a common tool on the farm. Tridents, usually, as the name describes, has three prongs

Pitchforks were usually made to pick up stuff and Tridents were made to stick stuff. Where as Pitchforks would be curved like a shovel and most of the prongs of equal length, Tridents can be all over the place as far as width, prong length and prong spacing.

In principle, we can thus divide Tridents into main functions; Farmers Tool, Fishing Spear and Hunters Spear and Weapon. To understand the Trident-Axe we need to have a look at the Hunters Spear Trident and the Weapon Trident. Fishing Spears may have three prongs but are mainly used more like a Spear and Pitch Forks are Pitch forks.

Tridents

Tridents are in principle Spears with multiple heads. Be it for Spearing Boar or Fish, the function is mainly the same. So why a Trident instead of a Spear? The first and most obvious advantage of a Hunting Trident is that is has 3 prongs and thus a higher chance of sticking the boor or pig, both when thrown or when rammed. It also stops the animal, when it reaches the prong cross bar, from sliding further up and possibly inflicting some damage in it's death throws. Another advantage s a weapon is that it can be used to block Swords and Staffs and other weapons because of the width of the head. The main disadvantage of the Trident is that it is heavier and more prone to sticking someone accidentally; usually the user if they are not competent enough.

On the right you have 7 Shaolin Academy Long Weapons that may look like Tridents, but only three are true Tridents. From left to right we have the Wushu Tri-Spear, (Tang) Wolf-fang (Tooth) Spear, Ghost Spear and Double Hook Spear (also available in single sided single hook spear). Then we have the three true Tridents, Tiger (Hunting) Trident, Trident-Axe and the Flying Fork (Trident). You may also come across (in Chinese Martial Arts) the Ox Head Trident (various shapes), Nine Dragon Trident (many, many versions), Cha Fork Trident (rounded and square versions). With all the Gaming Around nowadays you will find a host of fantasy Tridents but that is beyond our scope here.

Trident Axe

The Trident-Axe, 6th from the right, is another variation on the Trident but made more as a Weapon rather than a tool or hunting spear. In reality you may look at it as a Spear combined with the Sharp Bits of a two sided Axe as the outside edges of the rounded prongs are sharp as is just the middle tip.

If you have a closer look at the image above of the Trident-Axe you will see it 'overlayed' by two battle axes to show how the curved part of the Trident-Axe approximates the Sharp Edges of the Axes. And there is good reason for this!

Battle Tanks on Horse Back

A rider on horseback was a weapon of destruction. 500kg (1100lb) of horse plus a rider with protection and weaponry was an almost impossible force to stop. The movie idea of jumping onto the horse and taking a rider down is more of a movie fancy than a reality. As long as riders were free to move, the horse trained to kick and nip and some protective padding, it was a devastating weapon of destruction. Just a few dozen of these could ride through a troop of hundred or more foot warriors and unless they had a special strategy and/or weapon, they were doomed. It was an awe inspiring experience to be charged, mowed down and injured by this Ancient version of a Battle Tank. If you did not want to loose all your foot in a single charge, you needed a counter.

Long Weapons, Shields and Spears

Long Weapons seem to be the historical answer both against charging riders on horse as well as charging foot soldiers. Organized spear men interlinked behind shield and reinforced by archers can usually do some real damage to charging horses. Arrow will find legs, eyes and other exposed areas and if not always kill the charge, they slow it down and lessen the impact.

Long spears, up to 3 meters long (14 foot) pointed at the charging horse, aimed to go through the neck of the horse into the rider behind it was very devastating, especially if the rider did not know of this strategy. The spear would be invisible because of the horses neck and the next thing the rider knows is a spear coming from the back of the horses neck into him. This would usually damage the rider enough to stop them but also damage the Spear Wielder if they did not have back-up and shielding. great for the defenders, not so good for the individual soldier holding the spear and having a horse and rider fall on them, possibly still swinging a sword or ball and chain mace.

A Spear Shield was not always the best solution as once it came to close quarter combat, the long spear were useless. In a highly organized army (Alexander the Great for example or the Romans) this was a good solution but required a lot of individual and group training. Not always possible especially if you were the defender and needed to use farmers and such for defence. It would be much easier to train individuals to use a speciality weapon than it would to give them structured group training. And not every army used the Long Spear strategy, some never discovered it. It was also bad when the Horse Cavalry was aware of this defence and used it against the defenders; with a two pronged attack, a blitz strike with the Light Horse from the side totally disorganizing any forward organization and then the heavy cavalry from the front to mow the disorganized defenders down.

Specialized Weapons

Having specialized and secret weapons with which you were able to surprise the oncoming invaders (or defenders) was always a key in War Strategy. Bigger, Stronger, Badder weapons meant to give you an edge over your enemy was always a good compliment to a good strategy (never a replacement) and sometimes were the main strategy of surprise. Many specialist and odd weapons were developed to deal with Horsed Attackers against foot. The most successful of these was the Halberd and Ge.

There are many shapes of Halberd. The two pictured above to the left were just the right combination of a Spear and Grappler. Spear to penetrate into the attacker, but not too far as to loose your grip on the weapon, and a grappling bit to pull the rider off their horse if you had the help of one or two more soldiers with grapplers (figure 1). Some of these also had a Axe Shaped attachment allowing (figure 2) for three different action, Spear the Attacker when they are charging, chop at them when they are passing and grapple them to the ground when there are a few people to do this together.

The Chinese developed a slightly different Halberd, called the Ge (figure 3 and 4 above). It is a sideways spear allowing you to spear at an attacking rider from the side by making the spear tip be at a 90 degree angle to the shaft. It had the usual Grappling bit on the other side and sometimes a Spear bit coming off the top (Figure 4).

Trident-Axe

And here we finally have it. The Trident-Axe is basically a Spear against charging horsemen and an Axe to swing at the horseman when they pass by. It is also possible to capture swords and lances with the Trident-Axe but very difficult!

The picture to the right has the Trident Axe next to a fairly standard two handed Chinese Axe, and for size comparison the Tiger Broad Sword. As you can see the staff of the Trident Axe is more like a long heavy spear. The Curvature of the outside prongs is very similar to that of the axe. The Chopping part of the Trident-Axe, not being solid like the Axe would allow a reasonable level of control, being somewhat lighter in weight.

The Trident-Axe is not just another aspect of the Spear but has a full functionality beyond the Spear. To use the Trident-Axe correctly you need to put yourself into the mind set of both a Heavy Long Spear Wielder as well as a Long Axe wielder. It is a heavy weapon meant to be used against strong heavy opponents. It is not a duelist weapon where tow foes go at it one-on-one, it is a Soldiers weapon meant to be used in conjunction with other weapons. If it were lighter and shorter than it may be a good alternative to a Spear but as it is, this is a Big and heavy Weapon, good for Strategic Cooperative Fighting and, the reason why we love it, for a great physical and metal workout.

The Shaolin Academy Weapon Warriors Main Principles

There are guides, handed down from experienced Warriors with the hope of influencing a New generation of Warriors not to make the same mistakes to often or in a way that cause permanent damage. Usually young future Warriors need to make their own experiences but it is still the obligation of the Elders to Guide the Younger and if not always prevent ad events, stop them from being to significant and leave permanent damage.

The first 5 Principles are the same to all Shaolin Academy Warriors; the 2nd set of 5 are always Unique to the specific Weapon being taught.

1 Safety - Is always at the forefront, never do any harm, even if attracted, if possible. But also consider the long term effect that your training and practice of the martial art has; will it cause long term damage to your body, mind or spirit; will it create health issues through its practice or use (excessive impact on training objects) and even to the point; will it mark your body in such a way that everyone will recognize that you are a fighter and assume that you are also a thug!
2 Consideration - Is a key element of Shaolin Style Martial Arts. Think and Consider before you Act. If you feel that you are becoming aggressive, emotive and possibly out of control, the style should be one that promotes a calming, reconsidering process rather than a "Strike First - Think Later" action. A true Shaolin Academy supported style places Thinking and Consideration before Action and Violence.

3 Peace - and Safety are the reason for Shaolin Martial Arts. It is not about War Style that seek to kill and destroy. The level of skill needs to be such that no one needs to be hurt or damaged more than the situation requires; martial art is used for;
4 Management - not Domination of a volatile situation. It is a tool for conflict situations which has a number of options, tactics, strategies and methods of dealing with these, backed up by the possibility (not inevitability) of an active response (which also gives the confidence not to need a physical action).
5 Appropriateness - is a far reaching concept. Do you really want to spend year learning to bash someone or does your training have considerable other benefits? Is the style right for you; your physical, mental and spiritual aspects. If you are a non-violent person how can a martial art help you or if you are a violent character, how can it support you in finding human and intelligent outcomes.
6 Keep a Distance - It is a long weapon and if an attacker comes beyond the head of the Trident-Axe it will become useless. The skill to effectively using the Trident-Axe is keeping your opponents at a distance; your distance.
7 Need for a Short Weapon - If someone breaches your distance and comes close, drop the Trident and draw your short weapon. Be also prepared at this point to abandon any further use of your long weapon. This means be good with a Short weapon!
8 Know where your friends are - Using a long weapon may require you to Hanover a friendly short weapon wielder into your attacker whilst you take over the others attacker. This is a good confusing strategy if you have trained this with your fellow soldiers.
9 Keep Track of the Enemy - One of the greatest weakness of the Long Weapon, especially the heavy ones, is a lone short weaponed attacker getting into the midst and making a mess. Keep your area clean and clear of single attackers.
10 Be prepared to reposition and regroup Mobility is the only antidote for being infiltrated by the enemy; quickly relocate to another spot and create a new perimeter; else retreat.

Some History of the Trident

Korea seems to have more of a Trident history than China. The only know (to us) record of a Trident being used in warfare in China was during the Ming Dynasty but that is very sketchy. Tridents are used in Chinese costume dramas and theatrical shows. Yet, that needs also have a root somewhere; possibly from Korea but possibly also not. There are two further references to trident training and usage as a tool of war.

China around 200 BCE had seen 300 years of tumult. This period in Chinese history is known as the age of the “Warring States”. Many people died and generals/leaders were often of humble origin, commanding massed ranks of infantry and cavalry of even more humble origins as farmers, beggars and anyone else who could be pressed into the ranks. Weapons used were what you could get after 300 years of strife. Some records show 5 hand held weapons; Axe (Fu), Helbard-Grapple (ge), Spear(ji), Staff (bang) and Trident (Cha) together with the Shield (Dun) and Crossbows (Nu).

Although the idea of "The 18 Weapons" of martial arts is most likely a Hong Kong Cinema inventions, there is another reference to the 18 Weapons of Warefare from the n the late Ming Dynasty during Wanli Emperor's reign (1572-1620), Xie Zhaozhi in Volume Five of his book Wu Za Zu (Five Varied Groups) writes: "the Eighteen Weapons are Bow, Crossbow, Spear, Saber, Sword, Throwing Spear, Shield, Axe, Deer-horn Knives, Halberd (Ge?), Whip, Mace, Talon, Staff, Fork (Trident?), Rake, Rope & Lariat and Bai Da (hand to hand combat or close range combat) (unverified).

Tiger Spears were used by the Tiger Spear Division of the Manchu banner armies. They originated from a type of Jurchen hunting spear that was used in Manchuria and Siberia to hunt the great Siberian Tiger, and most of the peoples that later would be united under the name "Manchu" were in fact Jurchen. The Jurchens were hunters pur sang that did not develop any agriculture until as late as the 16th century but instead relied mostly on hunting, gathering (Hunters & Gatherers) and the trade in animal derativates and ginseng to neighboring people that included Russians, Koreans and Chinese.

After the conquest of China the Manchus held close to their hunting traditions in an attempt to uphold their traditional (Jurchen) culture of mounted hunters / warriors. This is reflected in their vast array of specialized hunting arrows, and the appearance of their tiger spear design listed among Chinese weapons in official texts. It has a head that resembled other spears in use at the time, with the difference that its head was somewhat wider to do more damage, as there was no need to penetrate clothes and armor. Another difference was that it has two horn bars attached to cords right after the head. The purpose of these bars is to prevent the spear from penetrating too deep, and thus preventing the beast to reach the wielder.

It is disappointing but that is all we have. At this point any historical information about any Chinese Trident would be most. welcome.

Some thoughts

The Trident has a lot of symbolic meaning both in Western and Eastern culture. Aside from Greek Mythology we have many who use the symbolism from Weapons Manufacturers to Insurance Agencies, Computers to Tyre Centers and so on. In Oriental World we have the Trident in Shiva's Hand, as Dangpa in Korean Martial Arts and is often use in Chinese Plays. Yet, all said and done as a real weapon of war there seems to be very little account. Hunting and Fishing, plenty but as a Weapon of War, very little. And, in a way, this is good.

If you choose to take up the Trident as your weapon it will not be for reasons of war and killing but for training, appreciation and dam good workout. Because of it's in balanced nature it will make you work on your posture and stances, improve your core strength and balance whilst it is giving you a good Cardio-vascular workout and muscle development. In a way, once you have learned the control of the Trident and can do the form, it is a better workout than Gym, Aerobics and Yoga thrown together. So, choose this weapon for the right reasons, your health and well-being, and an appreciation of the skills of past masters of the art.

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Essential Safety Information

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First Things (always) First

It seems that there are always obstacles to overcome before you get to the good bit. The same problem here; before you get to the Shaolin Training Material, we need to tell you about a few essential skills and habits you need to acquire. The two most important are your Warm-up and preparation before any sort of training. You also need to learn some essential Bare Hand Kung Fu Skills before you try this weapon. Even if you think you know the techniques, try them out the way we ask you to do them. The Shaolin Style is an integrated system where one skill builds on another and crosslink's with everything other! to below are the Minimum Required Bare Hand and Stance Skills you need to be able to perform before you commence your Trident Axe training.

The 9 Tests of the Axe-Trident (Trident-Axe) Warrior

The 1st Test - Bare Hand Skills

Below is a list of the Bare Hand Skills required to safely and correctly learn the use of the Shaolin Trident-Axe. It is a fairly standard curriculum mostly equal to the 1st Level of Shaolin Kung Fu training sans the Punches. Ideally though you would want to be 2nd Level or even a 3rd Level Martial Artist to commence the Trident-Axe training. That said, check you skills against the requirements in the 1st Test just below. To be Shaolin Accredited you need to complete all 9 tests. These need not be done all at the same time but each test needs to be done at the one time without interruptions to the test or the recording.

Overview & Info Always First Required Bare Hand Curriculum Emei Shan Breathing Set
L1 Lervel Overview Shaolin Posture & breathing Principle L1 Essntial Warm-up L1 Foundation of Power, Stances Shaolin Academy 5 Kung Fu Stepping Methods L1 Battering Ram Kicks L1 Short & Sudden Power, Elbow & Knees L1 Form Breathing Set Emei Shan
L1 Prologue by Master Robert Z The Shaolin Method of Kung Fu and Life Shaolin Kung Fu System of Stances L1 13 Directional Kicking System

2nd Test - Foundation, Endurance & Patience

The Trident-Axe Warrior needs to be able to patiently wait for the right moment, the perfect time to explode into action and have very good core and leg strength. This requires a solid stance and strong arms. The first test is to stand 10 minutes on a medium Horse Stance with a Trident Axe in Guard or over your head as Sijo to the right

Test 2 - Record yourself performing a 10 minute Stance Horse without interruptions and with a Trident-Axe in your hands; either as Sijo Demonstrates to the right or in Golden Bridge Position. Refrain from any movement, twitching, etc., If there are any interruptions or movement, start again or do the test another time.

All of Trident-Axe Skills depend on basic of Kung Fu skills. If you have the Shaolin Academy White Sash or better you have the bare minimum required. If not, you need to demonstrate;

Test 1 - you will need to demonstrate that you can do all the above. If you are from another style and you can demonstrate your own Breathing/Centering Set (Yoga, Chi Kung, Tai Chi or similar) you do not need to demonstrate the Emei Shan breathing set. Please write to us when you are ready to have this review.

Sijo in Stance Horse with Trident-Axe in the Chinese Gardens

2nd Test - Foundation, Endurance & Patience

The DD Warrior needs to be able to patiently wait for the right moment, the perfect time to explode into action. This requires a solid stance and strong arms. The first test is to stand 10 minutes on a medium Horse Stance with a Trident-Axe in Guard or.....

Test 2 - Record yourself performing a 10 minute Stance Horse without interruptions and with a Trident-Axe in your hands; either as Sijo Demonstrates to the right or in Golden Bridge Position. Refrain from any movement, twitching, etc., If there are any interruptions or movement, start again or do the test another time.

3nd Test - Long Weapon Techniques (Recording available soon)

The Trident-Axe is more than just a Trident; it is more than just a 3 pronged spear. With the outside edges of the Trident being Sharp, it allows for Chopping and Cutting Techniques. Where a Spear would be used to impale a Charging Horse Attacker, with the Sharp Edge of the Trident-Axe and it's long reach, you can step aside and cut the attacker and still have a Weapon in your hand. So, here are the 9 Essential Trident Spear Techniques.

  1. The CHOP (Neck) - is the most fundamental of the Trident-Axe Techniques or for that fact any Long Handled/Long Weapons with a Blade at the end. These needs to be executed to near perfection. Your ability, from almost any position, to deliver a Powerful Chop is essential. For this you can be started in almost any position and need to end up in a Horse of Dragon Stance with the Trident-Axe horizontally at your hip.
  2. The CUT (Neck) - is right next to the Chop but requires a bit more finesse; yet the end position is much the same as the Chop. The difference is in the delivery. Whereby the chop is a simple round movement delivered directly and powerfully at the target, the Cut has a slicing motion at point of impact, a drawing back of the Trident-Axe as it penetrates.
  3. The SCRAPE (Ribs/Legs/Ankles) - is in execution exactly the same as the previous two except that it rakes the tip across the chest of the attacker or using th example just above, you step out of the way of a quick charge and Scrape the edge of the Trident-Axe at the attacker as they charge past.
  4. The THRUST (Solar Plexus) - is using the Trident-Axe like a Heavy Spear. Again, the Trident-Axe wielder should be able to deliver this from any starting position and completing the movement with extended hands with the Trident-Axe pointing at the solar-plexus of the attacker. Almost exactly as in the picture to the right, except the hands are extended towards the attacker and the body is leaning forward in a half Dragon Stance.
  5. The STAB (Solar Plexus) - is a short, one handed thrust, using the Trident-Axe as a knife; holding it closely to the head of the weapon with the long staff trailing behind you. This is one of the key skills of the Chinese Long Weapon wielder, the ability to also use the weapon in close quarter combat.

Sihing Daniel
  1. The SHOVE (Throat or Chest) - is as if you push the opponent away with two hands except you are still holding the Trident-Axe. This can also be a strike if instead of shoving you hit.
  2. The POMMEL (Face) - the Trident-Axe need not be used with just the one, heavy, lethal end. It is the skill of the superior-person to wield such an object and be able to protect themselves without inflicting too much harm. A superior Trident-Axe wielder would prefer to use the blunt end rather than the sharp bit, especially if they follow the principles of Shaolin. So, you ask, why all the emphasis on the other techniques? Well, in Shaolin the ONLY reasons you learn the use of a Weapon are for fun, exercise/work-out and to understand how to defend against the weapon Bare-handed.
  3. The BLADE BLOCK (Protecting your Face and Knee) - This is where the Trident-Axe can excel. With the curved nature of the outside prongs; and they being fairly blunt on the inside edges, other long and medium weapons can be captured and for a short period held by twisting the shaft and wedging the attacking weapon between the center and one outside shaft. This is truly the most unique of the Trident-Axe techniques and should be learned well.
  4. The SHAFT BLOCK (Protecting your head from above and 45 degrees) - is using the Trident-Axe like a staff; one for blocking blunt wooden weapons and the other for redirecting the flat of sharp weapons.

Test 3 - Record yourself performing a each of the 9 techniques 10 times from the front and 10 times from the side. It would be best if you had a target you are using, a Wooden Dummy, Tree, Chair or some such. But at no time should you strike or touch the object you are using. If you do and it is on record you will automatically fail this test. Also, target the techniques at the right area (as nominated above), as if the attacker was you size and hight.

Test 4 - Control & Safety

In Shaolin Control and Accuracy are the key and most important. The ability to control you weapon and NOT hit an object is the 4th Test in most any Weapon. For this you need a large object that is safe to train with as a target. We use Watermelons as they are inexpensive (in case you make a mistake) and easy to come by but any large vegetable or fruit is suitable for demonstrating and practice. Some suggestions are other Melons, Pumpkin, Grape Fruit, Pineapple, Eggplant, etc. Just as long as there is a clear and fairly smooth surface to aim at, Lettuce and Cabbage are not good for this. In times gone by clay pots and urns may have been used but using vegetables and fruit is safer and cheaper;

  1. THRUST at the Object as if wanting to pierce it with the middle prong but again stop not more than a Palm widths away (and hold). Record this as previously making sure that the distance and action is visible. Any touching of the object, being off target, stopping to soon or hesitations and you need to do this all again.
  2. CHOP at your as hard as you can but with so that you stop not more than one palm widths away without touching or hitting the object you are using. Do this three times in succession without error or interruption.
  3. SCRAPE at the Water Melon/Pumpkin/Coconut, whatever (we'll call it 'the object' from here on in) as if it were an attackers ribs in a horizontal swing, but do not touch it and be no more than a palm width away at the closest point of the swing/arch. Again, do this three times in succession without interruption or distraction.
  4. POMMEL at the Object as if wanting to hit an Attacker in the nose, but again control the movement and do not hit the object. Record again from the side and from 45 degree three successful actions each as per usual.
  5. SHOVE at the fruit with the Shaft of the Trident-Axe and .... you now what is required as above.

Test 4 - Record yourself performing a each of the 5 techniques in one uninterrupted recording; even when moving the camera, keep it running. Should you hit the object or even just touch it, restart from the beginning. Make sure that you record in a well lit area without back light interference and close enough that we can give you appropriate feedback.

Test 5 - Accuracy and technique

Now that you have shown that you can control the Trident-Axe can you use it with accuracy you will show us how accurate you can be. No, you will not be hitting anything. You may have to be bit inventive or imaginative to complete this task

  1. THRUST at a hole. Something that is approximately 5 inches or 13 centimeters in diameter. If you can not find a piece of wood where you can drill a hole into and stand it up for targeting, maybe a large cardboard box, a hole in the fence with suitable design, a chair with the back cut out (as the picture to the right or some such. If nothing is available a piece of material or even paper with a hole cut into it and hung of a cloths line will do. It is good tradition to use what is available rather than getting something specific. Use what is there and spare!

    Thrust into the hole with just the longer middle prong without touching with the external prongs to the materials. If the Trident you are using has prongs are of equal length such as in a Pitch Fork, either make 3 holes at the right distance apart or increase the one whole to accommodate all three prongs; but not to large please!

  1. CHOP at in between two objects with the Trident-Axe held like a huge Axe. Using the Sharpened external prongs, guide the strike between two object, like two chairs standing next to each other not more than 5 inches, 13 centimeters apart. Better still would be a Horizontal Chop between two branches not to far apart. Again, three times in succession without interruptions, distractions or stopping. Stop the Chop once it has passed the object/target.
  2. SCRAPE is the same as above except continue the movement well past the object turning it into the next movement. All else the same as the Chop.
  3. POMMEL in to a whole not more than three times the size of the pommel. So if the pommel is just the usual shaft of say 1¼ inch/ 30mm the whole would not be more than 4 inches/ 90mm. All else the same as before.
  4. SHOVE at the object with the shaft as if striking an attacker in the chest, all else..... you now what we want.

Test 5 - Record yourself performing a each of the 5 techniques in one uninterrupted recording, etc. What to do should be fairly clear by now.

The 6th Test - Drills

A form is the essence of the style of bare hands or weaponry. It is a good workout as well as containing many actual and principled aspects of the style. Drills on the other hand are meant to be practical, applicable and usable short routines that work in a real situations. With the Trident, you do not really parry and block but you Avoid and Thrust, Avoid and Thrust, and Thrust some more. You do not get into protracted duels; each encounter should be finished almost as soon as it began. The following 5 routines introduce you to the concept

Short Description Explanation
1 Balancing Exercise Achieving a feel for your Weapon is a really important task. All the tests you have learned so far help you with this; but nothing helps you with this as the Balancing Exercise. You may want to do this where there are no breakable object around, with plenty of space. It is an easy exercise to do but difficult to master. Just balance your Trident-Axe in both your hands, in front of your centerline, on Horse Stance for 5 or more seconds, minimizing movement. This is also a good concentration exercise that with skill becomes a meditation exercise
2 2 Directions Thrusting Being able to move your hips and maintaining hip flexibility is essential to most any martial arts. Being able to change you focus from front to back or left to right is another skill that needs to be developed before you commence on the multiple focus training. With this routine, you need to firsts look in the direction you will be thrusting and then thrust. You are aiming at the center of an attackers body; a thrust that would stop a Tiger or a wild Boar! The difference between this Drill and the above is two fold; you are standing on a 45 degree stance and twisting your body much further when striking in the
3 5 Directions Thrusting As the Trident is a large and heavy weapon it will usually be welded by a large and strong person. As a big person you will not have a quick body but you must have quick with relatively quick hands. This drill helps you achieve this; a classical 5 directional drill where you start on Horse Stance, holding the Trident vertically in front of your centerline. You then drop it into the North Direction (which ever direction you decide is front) and Jab, then East, West, South and back to North. This has you changing from left striking to right striking.
4 Whirl and Thrust Being surrounded is not a circumstance you would want but there is a way out. It is call creating a door or creating a gate and works best with a large scaring weapon like the Trident-Axe where if someone does come to close they may get their head chopped off. In this routine you twirl the Trident-Axe around your body, with the head flat so that if someone steps in their head will be chopped off, and after three rotations you Thrust either left or right. Every 2nd Drill you thrust in the other direction so that this routine is like the 1st Drill except for the 3 rotations around you.
5 Iron Shield Twirling Although this may not work in real life as well as in theory, it does work to a certain degree and it is a good control skill. Twirling your Trident-Axe in front of you like the propeller of an Aeroplane, you create a shield of sorts which is called the Arrow Shield. It works relatively well with a light staff that when you are out in the middle of a field and someone want's to shoot an arrow at you, you twirl your weapon so quickly that it deflects the arrow. As mentioned, this can work under certain circumstances and if you are the person caught in the middle of nowhere with an arrow to be shot at you (or a Spear Thrown) something is better than nothing. It is also a good handling skill to practice and a great arm and wrist workout. This Drill can be executed in front of you or above your head. Both are valid and both give a great workout. Also remember to twirl in both directions for a balanced workout; clock-wise and anti-clock-wise

Test 6 - Record yourself performing a each of the 5 drills in one recording. Record 4 times each routine, recording twice from the side and twice from the front except Drill 1 which you need only record once for 5 seconds or more.!

Test 7 - The Shaolin Trident (Axe)

Speed is not required! Strength is not required! Attitude is defiantly not wanted. Correct techniques, Control and Safety is how your performance of the Shaolin Academy 1st Trident-Axe Form will be tested.

The aim of the test is not to see if you have mastered the Weapon perfectly but to verify that you have learned it correctly and if necessary suggest what needs improvement. Only after you have received this feedback can you commence practice; until this time you learn slowly, deliberately and always Safely! Ideally, as you are working on perfecting the form, say once a year or every 6 months you send a video to us for review! Once you register for a Form Review you have two further reviews free, no charge. So, when you pass the first time and receive some feedback on how to improve and proceed, you can send us two further recording for evaluation and there will be no cost to you.

Allow you Body, Mind and Spirit to adapt to these movements, to the weight of the weapon and to the different way of handling such a large and heavy item.

This is not an easy or simple weapon even though it may seem so. It is heavy, long and has quite a variety of techniques. Therefore we strongly recommend that you first seek accreditation in; Shaolin Iron Staff, Red Eagle Spear, Long Handled Broad Sword and Long Axe Style

Test 7a - Record yourself demonstrating the Shaolin Iron Staff Form showing the right moves, in the correct direction with adequate control. If need be at Tai Chi speed. We teach techniques and forms and once you have learned these and given your body, mind and spirit time to adapt than you can start working on Speed and Power.

Test 7b - Record yourself demonstrating the Red Eagle Spear Form showing the right moves, in the correct direction with adequate control. If need be at ... et.al.

Test 7c - Record yourself demonstrating the Duan Da Dao, Long Handled Broad Sword Form showing the right moves, in the correct direction with adequate control.

Test 7d - Record yourself demonstrating the Mad Monk Axe Form Form showing the right moves, in the correct direction with adequate control.

Test 7e - Finally record yourself demonstrating the Trident Axe Form showing the right moves, in the correct direction with adequate control. Ensure that all recordings are in a well lit place, with no back light and recorded twice, once from the side and once from the front without interruptions to the recording. The completion of this automatically qualifies you for the Shaolin Academy Weaponry Red Sash and together with accredited Teacher Training you can be qualified as a Shaolin Academy Weaponry instructor for this stream!

8th Test - Theory/Knowledge

For the theory/knowledge component you need to write an essay of between 1000 and 1500 words, or about 3 to 5 pages. The topic is the the Trident, any Trident in history or event where Tridents were significant or anything like that.

There are many sources of information on Tridents and many cultures that have featured it in one way or another. Including the Greek god Poseidon, and his Roman equivalent, Neptune. The Hindu god Shiva is also sometimes depicted carrying a Trident. Tridents have been discovered to have existed as far back as the Neolithic Area (Stone Age which is divided into Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic 9,000 BCE to around 2000 BCE) which gives you a large range of materials to choose from.

Choose something that adds to the interest and information on the Trident and it may be added to this page with you as the Author. But what ever you do make it interesting to read and have good sourcing material (tell us where you sourced your info and data from)!

9th Test - Choice

Talk to us....

Final Words

This will not make an expert out of you, or a Champion or a Warrior; but it gives you are good grounding that will enable you to specialize, if you wish, in a direction you care to take. Some have chose to enter competitions and have done well in All Styles and Kung Fu Competitions, Internationally and Nationally. Shaolin Academy Members have even been used as action stand-in's in theater, movies, music videos and shows. We even put on a show at the Shaolin Temple in Henan China.

You may choose to want to use the style for Acting, Stage Work, Shows, Street Theater and such but it also applies for everyday life. Recognizing when you are confronted with a Tiger Style personality, you will know what you are up against, be it in the office, at a party, in the street or elsewhere. And the more you immerse yourself in the understanding of your Tiger, you will find that you are able to manage it within yourself better, both to restrain it when it will harm and to use it when appropriate. You will also learn the weaknesses of the each animal and relies that, for example, a Tiger can only be defeated by a Greater Tiger or by a mouse (and you need to work this out).

Level Review Application (and Certification)

Before you attempt the next level, ensure that everything you have learned in this level is correct. As you progress, many, many of the techniques that follow are based around, founded or along very similar principles as the ones from the 1st levels. Fix any problems and details now before you learn new techniques and carry through the errors thus doubling and tripling the effort to fix them later. And as an old and new wisdom stated "It is 5 times more difficult to fix a habit then it is to establish it!

Apply for an Official Review by the Shaolin Academy and Confirm your Skill!



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In Australia call us on 0417 5864 38 or e-mail sijo@shaolin.com.au!

Some links that might interest you....

Shaolin Kung Fu Home training/Online Training Program Some information about Shaolin Academy training & membership Shaolin Kung Fu Academy Kwoon, Training Locations in Mordialloc and Camberwell Shaolin Kung Fu levels to Red Sash which then lead to Kung F Black Sash Traditional Chinese Weaponry for Fun, Fitness and Recreations
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