10 Interesting Chinese Martial Arts Weapons

There are several Chinese weapons used during the practice of martial arts. Many of these weapons originated thousands of years ago and have a rich history. There are four weapons considered to be most famous, the Dao, Jian, Qiang, and Gun. However, there are also a number of other weapons that are popular in Chinese martial arts, including swords, batons, and ropes. Each of these weapons possesses a number of strengths, including both offensive and defensive benefits.


The dao is one of oldest and most popular Chinese martial arts weapons. The word “Dao” means sword or knife. It is most commonly translated as “broadsword” and can refer to several different types of swords.

A dao has a single curved blade with a blood channel. The handle commonly has an oval-shaped cup to block blood from dripping onto the user’s hand. They may come in a variety of lengths but tend to reach from the user’s hand to their forehead when held upright.


A jian is another classic sword with a rich history in Chinese martial arts. It dates back to as early as the 7th century BC. It is famous for its versatility and is considered highly useful. However, it is also known as a sophisticated weapon used by those who are scholarly.

The jian is a straight, double-edged sword. It may be single-handed or two-handed. It contains a triangular guard and frequently has a tassel that functions as a lanyard. The jian can also come in a variety of sizes but is similar to the size of the dao.

The jian was originally made from bronze. As technology began to advance, many of these swords were made from steel. Some jade swords have also been discovered and are thought to be ceremonial.


The qiang, also known as a spear, is another staple weapon of Chinese martial arts. Its well-known strength is its length, which can be used to reach enemies far away. Its length can range from 6 feet to over 50 feet, although the average length is between 9 feet and 21 feet..

The qiang has a sharp tip that can be used offensively. However, due to its long length, the spear can also be used defensively to keep opponents far away. It is typically made from wood, but may also be made from metal. Traditionally, martial artists would attach a red tassel which was used to distract the opponent and soak up the blood.


The gun is the Chinese name for a long, thin weapon that translates to “staff.” Unlike the qiang, the gun has a blunt tip. However, just like the qiang, it can be used both offensively or defensively. It allows the user to have power yet strike from a safe distance.

The gun is designed to be about the same height as its user. It has a thicker wooden base and becomes thinner towards the tip.

Hook Swords

Hook swords are another weapon with a rich history in Chinese martial arts. Also known as tiger swords, hook swords feature a sharp hook on the sword’s tip. This can be used to catch weapons, trip enemies, or attack. Additionally, a curved handguard can aid in protecting during an attack.

The hook sword is typically medium length. It can be used as a single sword or come as a pair.


The tonfa is an extremely versatile and accessible weapon. Police and the military typically use a similar tool across cultures and are more popularly known as a baton.

The tonfa is a short, straight weapon made of wood. The owner can use it defensively to block other weapons or offensively to strike an opponent. In a traditional tonfa, a short, wooden handle allows the owner a firm grip.


Although the sai is typically associated with Japanese martial arts, it also had a variety of uses in China and throughout Asia. It is a small weapon that may be used individually or in pairs. It has a short blade typically used for stabbing.

Like many other weapons, the sai is designed to be both offensive and defensive. It has large prongs above the handle that allows the user to block attacks and protect the user’s hands. However, these prongs are sharp and can also be used offensively.

Dragon Head

The dragon head is a long, pole-like weapon good for defending against an opponent’s attacks. It features a curved blade with a notched spike on the end of the blade. The use of this notched spike can be used to further defend against opponents and may even be used to break an enemy’s weapon.

Rope Dart

Also known as a rope javelin, the rope dart is a unique weapon in Chinese martial arts. The martial artist connects a long rope with a sharp metal tip. Using the rope dart, a person can throw the tip to access enemies several feet away. The rope dart can be used to target different parts of the body and can be thrown quickly and efficiently

Although the length of the rope may vary, its average length is about 9 feet. Because the end of the weapon is attached by rope, users can through it several times over a short period.

Serije Gun

More commonly known as nunchucks, the serije gun is a popular martial arts weapon. Famous for the two short sticks joined together with a chain, the serije gun is one of the most powerful weapons for martial arts. In fact, many countries have banned their production and use.

Nunchucks are typically made from wood and are about a foot long. Their owner can use both speed and power to do damage quickly.


There are many different types of weapons famous in Chinese martial arts. Although the Dao, Jian, Qiang, and Gun are the most popular, there are a variety of others that are also famous. The Chinese have been using many of these weapons for thousands of years resulting in a rich history. Despite this, these same weapons may still used in traditional martial arts practice today.

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