the Under Cover Assassin
was a famous swordsman who made a name for
himself around 200 BC when he died in his
attempt to kill the oppressive Qin Emperor
(reigned 221-210 BC) in the palace audience
chambers. Jing Ke was considered a hero by the
Chinese and is mentioned in one old manuscript
of Mantis Boxing.
preface to 'Eight Hard' makes an analogy of comparing
the hardness of mantis strikes with the hardness of
different blades. In applying hard, unyielding
techniques the hardest of the hard will prevail.
Unfortunately for Jing Ke, this turns out not to be his
'What if I am
hard and he is also hard, who will be victorious?' He doesn’t
know that my only fear is lacking hardness for hardness will
always be victorious.
It is like
the hardness of fine jade; though there is Bei Gong’s Shuang
Feng Saber one will fear that it is useless.
Even if it
is Jing Ke’s dagger one will worry that it is difficult to use.
This is what
we call extremely hard.
Qin Shi as depicted during the Ming Dynasty.
failed attempt to assassinate Qin Shi Huangdi
'The First August Emperor' was recorded about
one hundred years after the passing of Emperor
Qin by Grand Historian Sima Qian in his
Historical Records. Qin Shi was known as a
tyrant, his troops took no prisoners, preferring
to slaughter them instead and filling his
enemies with dread. Jing Ke, under the guise of
bringing valuable gifts as a token of
submission, the severed head of a Qin renegade
and a map of the state of Yen, gained audience
with the emperor and his unarmed attendants.
Dan, fearing Emperor Qin would push an invasion upon
his country, asked Jing Ke to assassinate Emperor
Qin. Jing Ke approached Emperor Qin with his offer
of the head of [the Qin renegade] Fan Yuqi and a map
of Yen, but his plot was immediately seen through by
the emperor. Jing Ke attempted to stab the emperor
with his dagger, chasing the emperor around the
chamber. The emperor managed to hit Jing Ke with his
sword and break his hip. Jing Ke realized that he
had failed at his mission. He leaned against a
column reprimanding and castigating the emperor
until he was killed by the emperor's men.
From Records of
the Historian -Jing Ke's Biography circa 100 BC.
Jing Ke throws his dagger in desperation. The head of
the renegade lies in an open box on the floor. Outline
of a rubbing of the Wu family shrines circa 200 BC.
Jing Ke dedicate
himself to a task worthy of his own life, preserving the
sanctity and culture of the Yen State. How often do we
manage to focus our energy on a task worthy of a life's
the complete preface to 'Eight Hard' read
Hard Can Defeat Soft