The Damo straight sword is based on the legend of Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who is the first patriarch of Chan Buddhism. He is renowned for bringing Chan philosophy and teachings from Indian to China. He is also famed for facing a wall at the Shaolin Temple for nine years. After these nine years of meditation he is said to have developed many types of Qi gong and Martial arts. One of these is the straight sword. Named after him its official name is Damo 108 sword form with 108 movements.
This form is extremely famous and unique in the Shaolin style. Its character combines internal and external energy, with influences from the famous Qi Gong the Yi Yin Jing (muscle tendon changing) and Yi Sui Jing (Washing Marrow Qi gong) it also has some strange movements that are also characteristic of the Wudang style.
Also in keeping with the Buddhist precepts of not killing any living creature, this form embraced the idea and is famous in Shaolin for being a defensive form with movements only designed to prevent the opponent from attacking and disarming.