Flying guillotine (weapon)
|This article needs additional citations for verification.|
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(August 2007)
Etymology, history and description
|This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. WikiProject China may be able to help recruit one. (November 2008)|
This weapon supposedly hails from the time of the Yongzheng Emperor during the Qing Dynasty. There are stories and crude drawings detailing their appearance but no clear instructions on their use or production are known to exist. The consensus is that they resembled a hat with a bladed rim with an attached long chain. One alleged way of using it is that, upon enveloping one's head, the blades cleanly decapitate the victim with a pull of the chain. This gives the weapon its English name. However, there is also evidence that the weapon may have been used by being soaked with intense poison that is so powerful it could kill another person "at the sight of a drip of blood", giving it its Chinese name.
Various forms of media often associate the weapon with Tibetan assassins sent to China to kill legendary fighters.
Master of the Flying Guillotine (1975). Though the film is a direct sequel to Jimmy Wang Yu's One Armed Boxer, it serves as an unofficial sequel to the Shaw Brothers' Flying Guillotine (Xuedizi), directed by Ho Meng-Hwa in 1974. Master concerns the "One-Armed" boxer (Jimmy Wang Yu) being stalked by the blind master of the two Tibetan Lama Boxers killed by the handicapped hero in the previous film. When the One-Armed boxer is invited to attend a martial arts tournament, his efforts to lay low are unsuccessful when the assassin soon tracks him down with the help of his three subordinates competing in the tournament; a Thai boxer, a yoga master, and a kobojutsu user. The Blind monk is able to track down the boxer just by the sound of his voice. People in close proximity to the boxer are often the first to die since the master throws the weapon in the direction of his voice (and especially since several of these persons inadvertently made remarks within earshot of the Master to convince him that they were the One Armed Boxer -with fatal results).
For Wang's independently produced film, the weapon was "borrowed" and improved upon. For instance, in Master, the flying guillotine can fold up like an umbrella for easier concealment. In 1978, the Shaw Brothers produced two more guillotine movies, The Flying Guillotine 2 (Can ku da ci sha) and The Vengeful Beauty (Xue fu rong).
Seven Swords (2005). Upon the founding of the Qing Dynasty, an imperial decree outlaws the practice of martial arts and offers a cash reward for the decapitated heads of offending practitioners. A death squad travels China using specialized weapons to claim the heads of martial artists. One such member of the group wields an umbrella affixed to a long pole-arm. When he pulls it shut, it quickly severs the head from the shoulders.
The Machine Girl (2008)
Hung Hei-Gun: Decisive Battle With Praying Mantis Fists (洪熙官: 决战螳螂拳 , a.k.a. "The Kung Fu Master") (1994). The opening scene of the miniseries involves a large scale battle in the rain between five Lama boxers hired by the Qing government and the anti-Manchu rebel leader "Red Dragon". The Red Dragon, who is really Hung Ting-nam, father of Hung Gar founder Hung Hei-Gun (Donnie Yen), uses his double Chinese broadswords to fend off the Lamas' spear and flying guillotine attacks. When four of the Lamas simultaneously attack, Red Dragon leaps in the sky, causing the chains to entangle. He then redirects the guillotines back at their users and takes their heads. After a hand-to-hand confrontation with the most powerful Lama, Red Dragon wrestles the guillotine away from him and decapitates him with his own weapon. He finally takes the five guillotines (with heads still inside) and hangs them from a signboard for all to see.
The flying guillotine is also featured in the National Geographic Channel Asia documentary Kung-Fu Killers, which showcases the top ten most deadly weapons in the martial art. The flying guillotine was featured at the topmost position. According to research, the technology, principle, and training for the weapon did exist during that era. However, no actual weapon was discovered.
- (Chinese) "血滴子"与雍正特务政治的真相