Learning Miao Dao – Tommy

Does anyone know of any classes in the UK for learning Miao dao the way Mike taught it preferably?

I never knew Mike but I wish I had, he looked like an excellent martial artist. This is adequately reflected in the love and respect many of these tributes show from others here.

I think it would be an honour and a tribute to him to keep this sword and its style alive all over the world with more and more recognition of its history, it’s prowess and its teachers like Mike.



David Mortimer – Tribute

I met Sifu Martello twice in Leicester, UK to train the Miao Dao short form and was trying to find out how to contact him today when I discovered he had passed away. I had no idea. I just wanted to say that in the short time I spent with him I realised quickly that he was something very special and that he had an amazing talent, both with people and with a really big sword. I wish we had more time with him, but I imagine that sentiment is very common. My thoughts go to his family, and I hope everyone will remember Sifu Martello the way I do – with the utmost respect and gratitude.

Gareth Jenkins – Tribute

Just found out about this: I’m shocked and deeply saddened.

Sifu Mike Martello came over to the UK to teach us Miao Dao and Chin-Na in

I’ll never forget the evening he taught us Chin-Na – not only did I learn
so much but I also never laughed so much in all my life, it was a magical

He had a rarely thorough knowledge of Kung Fu, twinned with a touching honesty and sense of humour.

Great guy, even though I only met him the once – I’ll never forget him and
I’m glad our path’s crossed even if so briefly, and I’ll miss him
– the world seems a poorer place without him in it.
R.I.P. Mike

Mike and his Miao Dao

Martello & SwordOne of the things that instantly drew Mike and I closer was our mutual passion for a relatively rare weapon; the Miao Dao(various translations, but essentially “Willow Leaf Sabre”). Mike and I had both learned the same form, though I must admit Mikes was so much more flowing and beautiful. The version I learned was via Taiwan as well, but more choppy, less fluid. Actually we were discussing a special camp here in the Pac NW where the Miao Dao would be the topic learning both form and function. Mike had spent a little time with me training the weapons intricacies and what not, but it was one of those projects that I said “later” to. Now I wish I had spent more time on it with him.

Their are videos all over of Mike teaching and training the Miao Dao, so I will not get too deep into it, but I wanted to share something with you all. The following text is an excerpt from a personal correspondence I had with Mike (though I do not think I was the only one privy to this info) via email. I am not going to share all of it right now because I have plans on writing an article about the Miao Dao in the future, but I think you may find this interesting:

“The Miao Dao may vary in size and weight, but a standard version would be approximately 128 cm long (blade 98 cm, handle 30 cm). When it comes to fierceness, the Miao Dao has no equal. Wielded with one hand or both, combining the characteristics of both saber and spear into one, it is not hard to see why this versatile weapon was unrivalled on the battlefield. The movements of the Miao Dao are fluent yet compact, with the body supplying power to the weapon, while the waist steers the blade in its motions. An attack is always wrapped inside a defensive technique, while a defensive movement immediately transforms into an attack. Its interlinking movements and rapid evading footwork makes the Miao Dao wielder an unpredictable foe. The Miao Dao is truly a great treasure within the Chinese martial arts world and also an invaluable part of Chinese history and culture.” – Martello

I also want to share the following illustrations with you. I do not know the name of the illustrator (if anyone does, please forward it to me so I can give credit where it is due), but this is a beautiful rendering of the Miao Dao form as Mike taught it, and as it was passed on to me.

I hope you can enjoy objectively!


miao dao 1miao dao 2miao dao 3miao dao 4