Kung Fu Weapons
in the Chinese Martial Arts

Most styles of Chinese martial arts use a variety of kung fu weapons. There are 18 main categories consisting of saber, spear, sword, halberd, axe, battle axe, hook, fork, whip, mace, hammer, talon, trident-halberd, cudgel, long-handled spear, short cudgel, stick and meteor hammer. Different variations within each category make up the hundreds of weapons used in Chinese martial arts.

The grace and beauty displayed in weapons routines have been very popular among the performing arts. Many weapons are displayed in the Beijing Opera, in movies and in the successful Shaolin Wu Shu live stage tours around the world.

Kung Fu Master Steve Kiat with the Spear

Benefits of Kung Fu Weaponry Training

Chinese martial arts weapons training offers many advantages that contribute to the learning of kung fu and self defence, in particular defence against a weapon. Students learn about the range, timing and distance needed in order to be able to defend effectiely and safely against a weapon attack.

This makes the student more efficient at defending themselves in the street or at home while keeping at a safer distance.

The weight and length of a weapon such as the cudgel, spear or halberd contributes to the building of force and power that a student will need behind a bare hand technique. Strength is also built in the upper body while encouraging the maintenance of balance through the use of good stances.

Shorter weapons like the saber and swords improve speed and agility, focus and coordination. These weapons were easier to carry when not on the battlefield and were practised by many people such as Shaolin monks, Taoist priests, Officials of the Imperial court, Scholars, Ministers and Villagers alike.

The physical conditioning and mental focus provided by weapons training led to the development of many routines and styles for each of the weapons. Many traditional routines are still practiced with a large variety of new routines being developed for modern competitions. Most weapons use the Seven Training Tips For Kung Fu Weaponry as a guideline for training.

Kung Fu Weapons at the Golden Lion Academy

Cudgel, The Kung Fu Stick

The first and most basic kung fu weapon is the cudgel (also known as the pole or stick). It was first used by Shaolin monks because they were not allowed to carry weapons. The cudgel was originally used to carry two water buckets across the shoulders --- though any long stick can be used e.g. broom handle, fence post, stick, tent pole etc.

The cudgel provides distance for safety which is most important for a beginner in self-defence, and the length of the weapon makes it easy to generate power. The beginner skills learnt through the first, second and third levels are developed later at the black belt level through learning the internationally recognised Routines.

The Broad Sword

Kung Fu Broad Sword of Martial Arts Master Steeve Kiat

At the intermediate level of 4th and 5th levels, students are introduced to the first short range weapon, the Southern Broad Sword or Nan Dao. This Broad Sword is unique among the short range weapons because it can be used with one hand for speed and distance as well as two hands for control, strength and power.

The Southern Broad Sword allows students to defend themselves at close to mid range against all long range weapons including the cudgel, spear and long handled swords (such as halberds), this makes it more versatile than the thinner, lighter straight sword.

Advanced Weaponry

When students reach the advanced level of black belt they begin by refreshing their skills with the cudgel and continue to learn more difficult techniques and combinations such as twirling, rapid strike combinations and jumps while developing their power.

Students also develop their skills with short weapons by learning the International competition routine for the Southern Broad Sword as well as the self-defence applications against another sword or cudgel.

The advancement of the student past the black belt level gives them the opportunity to learn an elective routine which can include many weapon routines of traditional and modern origin, such as:

  • Straight Sword – International competition routine
  • Hook Swords – Beijing Wushu routine
  • Double Broad Swords
  • Spear – International competition routine
  • Northern Broad Sword – 32 Forms
  • Northern Broad Sword - International competition routines
  • Three Section Cudgel
  • Double Handed Straight Sword
  • Double Straight Sword
  • Snake Spear
  • Chinese Bench
  • Nine Section Whip
  • Butterfly swords.

If you would like to learn the art of Chinese weaponry in martial arts, please call us on our central telephone number 9796-1066 for class times and fees or email us through our contact-us form.

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© Copyright Richard Tsui-Po 1971-2014. All Rights Reserved.
Golden Lion Kung Fu Dim Mak Pressure Points. Phone: 9796 1066
BERWICK: 29 Intrepid Street, Berwick 3806.
ROWVILLE: 2 Laser Drive, Rowville 3178
MURRUMBEENA: 98 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena 3163.
Melbourne, Australia.

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