Flexible Weapons

By its nature of being flexible the weapon can be most dangerous and difficult to control. The rope dart is one of the flexible, also known as soft, weapons in Chinese martial arts. Other flexible weapons in this family include the meteor hammer, flying claw, and chain whip. Although the flexible weapons share similar movements, each weapon has its own specific techniques.

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The rope dart is basically a long rope (usually 14' - 16') with a metal dart attached to one end. This was a weapon from ancient times, which allows the user to throw the dart out at a long range target and use the rope to pull it back. The rope dart can be used for twining, binding, circling, hitting, piercing, tightening, and other techniques.

Rope dart play consists of twining, shooting, and retrieval. Twining and shooting can be done from any joint such as foot, knee, elbow, and neck. The rope is anchored on the left hand and played primarily with the right hand. Skillful use of the rope dart can easily trick an opponent because the dart can shoot out very suddenly.

A variation of this weapon is the meteor hammer, which has a blunt weight on the end of the rope. It was used in a similar fashion to the rope dart, and many of the techniques are the same. The blunt shape of the meteor ball will deal concussive damage rather than piercing.

A Chinese flail weapon, the Three Sectional Staff, also known as Sam Jeet Kwun or Sanjiegun, consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. A larger, more complicated version of the well-known nunchaku, the staffs can be spun to gather momentum resulting in a devastating strike, or their articulation can be used to strike over or around a shield or other defensive block.

These staffs were designed for defence against spears and other long weapons. Historically made of white oak or Chinese red maple, modern staffs are constructed from rattan, bamboo, various hardwoods or aluminium. For optimum fit, each of the three sticks should be about the length of the combatantís arm and have a combined diameter that easily fits in the hand.

The Chain Whip comes in a variety of lengths and sections. There is the 7 Section, 9 Section, 13 Section, and the 3 Section, which is most often used in pairs. The chain whip is heavy but flexible, allowing it to be literally used as a whip, entangle and trap an opponent, restrict her movement, and to deflect blows from other weapons. The dart is used for slashing or piercing an opponent. Because the whip is flexible, it can be used to strike around obstacles, including an opponent's block. The whip chain can be folded and hidden from view, making it an easy weapon to carry and conceal. In some Wushu training regimens, the chain whip and Changquan are prerequisites for learning the rope dart.