Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ancient Chinese Weapons and Armor | The Kung Fu Connection

Throughout a long period of time, archeological discoveries continuously unearth ancient Chinese weapons, some of them ancient kung fu weapons. Recently, a 2,200 year old metal and jade weapon was unearthed. While jade is considered as a decorative element, forging a weapon of this type has never been within the bounds of imagination of many archeologists, up until now.

In many Hollywood films, these Ancient Chinese Weapons and Armor have been featured. Just what is the history of these Kung Fu accessories and how has the art of creating such weapons evolved since then?

As far back as 6,000 years ago, the ancient Chinese fashioned many types of weapons ranging from meteorite metal, iron, bronze, bamboo, wood, stone and jade. Because they were martial arts weapons, some of them were supposed to mimic or simulate the movements of animals and insects, whether real or in myth. Long before Hinduism and Buddhism brought Kung Fu from India, the Chinese had already mastered the art of melee weaponry and combat. The influence of Kung Fu merely improved ancient Chinese fighting styles. In actual fact, weapon fabrication, technique of usage, materials and shape greatly depended on the ruling dynasty or emperor at any period of time. A single dynasty may last for many centuries so weapons of a future dynasty may also have been influenced by a previous one.

With the discovery of iron, many types of iron weapons could now be forged and mass produced at a faster rate. In practical terms, iron was, of course, stronger and could last longer and so the quality of ancient Chinese weapons and armor greatly improved.

Normally, Chinese ancient weapons are organized into different categories depending on their use. Here are a few of the most widely accepted categories of ancient Chinese weapons and armor.:

1. Daggers 
2. Sai (thrusters) 
3. Broadswords 
4. Long-handled swords 
5. Double-edged swords 
6. Long swords 
7. Sweepers 
8. Axes 
9. Halberds 
10. Spears 
11. Butterfly knives 
12. Flutes 
13. Cane, staff and hook weapons 
14. Firewheels 
15. Fans 
16. Hammers 
17. Bows (longbows and crossbows) 
18. Chain weapons 
19. Shovel blades 
20. Forks 
21. Sectional sticks 
22. Shields

Each category can often have hundreds of sub-categories. For example, spears can come in sub-categories of long, short, very short, soft and projectile sub-categories, each having its own sub-categories as well. The same holds for Chinese swords. Shields are the only objects considered as "defensive weapons" while flutes, canes, staffs and fans are what is referred to as "covert" weapons used by spies and assassins.

1 comment:

  1. Ancient Chinese Weapons are an integral part of the culture and symbolism of the Chinese people. Related to the weaponry are so many military strategies and legendary Heroes that people are still benefiting from their lessons, or just collecting them as a hobby. Thanks a lot.

    Handmade Samurai Sword