“Gao Lung” was originally a form I designed for one of my lady students. The name Gao Lung (which means tall dragon) was a play on the student’s first name, Gauhar.
For some reason, this
form draws a wide diversity of opinions and comments ... some favorable, some not. We are not trying to emulate the movements of a medieval Japanese foot soldier using the weapon against a mounted attacker ... while we
recognize its value in that capacity. We refer to Gao Lung as a "Naginata" kata because that is generally how the weapon is recognized in the English language. Weapons of nearly identical form (but different
names) can be found in virtually all Asian cultures (and even in European cultures for that matter) with applications and utilizations reflecting regional and cultural influences.
In modern Japan, the weapon evolved to a
weapon of preference for Lady Samurai, who stood as the last bastion of defense over their lord's household. Though many of the long range characteristics of the Bo or staff are in evidence, in this utilization the Naginata
manifests as a mid range defensive weapon. The counters focus on slashes and quick cuts to vital organs and vessels, while using the bare end for clearing and the back of the blade for blocks/controls ... look closely, there is
more to the form than at first meets the eye.
Picture the woman warrior defending her home and children against the invading mauraders. She is having to maneuver within enclosed spaces, down halls, through pantries,
into nurseries, all the while having to contend with multiple opponents likely brandishing swords. Having mastered the Naginata, and fully aware of its overwhelming dominance in the midrange, the lady warrior can position
herself strategically within any surround, and instantly defend against attacks from all angles. In short, one Lady Samurai, centered in a hallway, a transition room or even a courtyard, can effectively "seal" off
Here, we present two versions of the form, with two angles of the first version. The alternate version forgoes the overhead spin midway through, which is typically difficult to master, and is not
essential to the integrity of the kata. The alternate version, as you will see, replaces the move with a reverse cat turn to the rear, accompanied by a diagonal slash.
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