I originally wrote this as a series of facebook messages for a friend asking for advice. It turned out to be longer than I expected, and hence it is preserved for anyone who is interested in starting Asiatic archery.
The first thing you wanna know is what style of archery you want to practice. Depending on the style, the equipment will differ. You may already know this, there are essentially 3 big styles. Olympic style shooting, traditional Mediterranean, or traditional Asiatic.
I don’t shoot Olympic, so I’m not gonna talk about that.
Traditional Mediterranean is just known as “traditional” in North america. It’s essentially shooting of a wooden bow with the Mediterranean release (3 finger). I personally practice Chinese archery, so I practice the thumb release with a thumb ring. However Chinese, Mongolian, Korean and Turkish archery are essentially the same thing. Depending on your release style, your draw distance will differ. Generally the Mediterranean release is about 28-29″, and the asiatic styles are about 31-32″ or longer. It’s important to take that into consideration when buying a bow. Also the type of bow will differ. Because I shoot Asiatic style, I prefer bare bows, or bows with no arrow shelf built in. Bows like that are generally called “horse bows” in stores. Of course it’s not the preferred terminology.
Most bows sold in stores will come with arrow shelves, you need to know the bow is “right” or “left” handed if it does. The handed means the hand you pull the string with. They are build for the Mediterranean style in mind, so the “right” handed bow will have the shelf on the left side, and vice versa.
You will also need to get arrows to go with your bow.
Qing Ping Jian (青萍剑) is a set of famous sword forms in Chinese martial arts. Unlike other sword forms that are named after intimidating imagery or Daoist principals, it’s name is simply translated as “Green lemnoideae” sword. Like its name suggests, the characteristics of the form is known to be light on its feet, and the techniques are focused mostly on the manipulation of the sword by the wrist. It’s known to share its origin with Kun Wu Jian (昆吾剑). As far as I understand it, the Qing Ping system seems to specialize in the usage of lighter swords that can be freely used in light jabs, and can be manipulated easily by only the wrist. There are a lot of jumping and body angle changes in the air, something that can’t be done easily with heavier weapons. The Kun Wu system seems to be focused primarily on heavy swords. It focuses primarily on power generation and body alignment with stable movements. It’s name is also a throw back to a more ancient times (Kun Wu was the name of a bronze sword in Xia dynasty).
Both forms are to have taken their names from actual physical swords in history. The earliest recorded reference to the name “Qing Ping” was in The Source of Phrases by Chen Ling in eastern Han dynasty, where it was written “Gentile noble is of towering material, similar to Qing Ping, Gan Jiang (another famous ancient sword) in application.” ( 辞源，陈琳文；君侯体高俗之材。秉青萍干将之器) The forms are said to have been created by Yuan Gui of title Daoist Pan (元圭，潘真人). The original forms contain 360 named movements divided amongst 6 forms. The lineage is rather complicated, and there are now 3 major known branches of Qing Ping Jian. Jia, Yang and Yuan style. (贾，杨，袁)
The sword style gained major fame and publication during the Republican period following advocation by the National Guo Shu Institute (GSI; 中央国术馆) in 1920s. The GSI taught the Jia style, as a result Jia is now the most well known and most practiced style that can be found in China mainland and Taiwan.