“Gao Lung” was originally a form I designed for one of my lady students. The name Gao Lung, a shortened verson of Gaoda de Lung (which means tall dragon) was a play on the student’s first name,
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 a weapon of this design 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 the attackers.
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.