I have been having a ball with the ring on the end of my Dao.
It really is a force multiplier. I'm SO glad I found this technique.
A few weeks ago I got my hands on two Nerf N-force Marauder long swords: http://www.hasbro.com/nerf/en_US/shop/d ... t_id=27755
You can't buy them anyplace but from Hasbro's website any more, at least not around here.
They're the same length and nearly the same weight as Yang family Jian's, but the handle is longer and the blade shorter.
I tried the smaller Nerf swords but they are too short and don't have any weight.
Anyway, I use them with my partner for push swords and sword sparring. They're pretty awesome for this purpose for two reasons:
We can practice together in a local park without having the police called on us.
We can get as "swashbuckler" crazy as we want on each other and no one gets hurt.
The first time we used them my partner said, "This thing feels more like a Dao than a Jian."
I had to agree. It took us a while to figure out why though.
The longer handle.
It's almost identical to the handle on a Yang Family Dao.
It has the handy round pommel on the end of it, though it is solid and not a ring.
Once I figured that out, I grabbed a hold of it and started to use it like the ring on the Dao.
And it works nearly as well.
It would be better if it was a ring, because then you could put your fingers through it like on the Dao.
But it's still a very good force multiplier.
When I realized this, I began to use it against my partner.
Who was absolutely overcome the very first time.
It took him a while to figure out what I was doing, but once he did he picked it up pretty quickly and started using it himself.
Anyway, while not a perfect fit for either the Jian or the Dao these $20 foam swords are worth their weight in gold for practicing either weapon.
I highly recommend them.
Unfortunately Hasbro/Nerf doesn't make a foam saber that even comes close to the Dao. All of their foam sabers are way too short and light for that purpose.
Still, I am learning a lot about using both weapons from this one foam sword.
The first thing I learned:
I don't know how to use a Jian or a Dao!
It's not as easy as the old Kung Fu movies make it look, that's for sure.
And despite what you [i]think[i] you know from doing the form, it sure doesn't work like that in reality!
Once we figured out that a LOT of the sword and saber forms are based entirely on how you move when your blade is in contact with an opponent though we started to figure things out.
You can't move like you do when you're doing the solo form when in combat. It just doesn't work.
So with one person being the aggressor and the other the defender we have started from the very first movement of each form and have been working with each other to feel what the movement is like when in contact.
VERY educational, let me tell you.
We're through the saber form but are still working on the sword form. It's a tad longer...
If anyone knows where we can get a good foam facsimile of a Dao, let me know.
Oh, under $50 please.
I know about LARP weapons. They cost more than the real thing!
We're poor folk! We can't afford those until one of us hits the lottery.