The hook sword, twin hooks, fu tao, hu tou gou (tiger head hook) or shuang gou (Chinese :鈎 or 鉤; pinyin :Gou) is a Chinese weapon traditionally associated with northern styles of Chinese martial arts and Wushu weapons routines, but now often practiced by southern styles as well.
Reliable information on hook swords is difficult to come by.[ citation needed ] While sometimes called an ancient weapon and described as dating from the Song dynasty to Warring States or even earlier, most antique examples and artistic depictions are from the late Qing era or later, suggesting that they are actually a comparatively recent design. They were also an exclusively civilian weapon, appearing in none of the official listings of Chinese armaments. Surviving sharpened examples point to actual use as weapons, but their rarity, and the training necessary to use them, strongly suggest that they were only rarely used as such.
Also known as "tiger hook swords" or qian kun ri yue dao (literally "Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon sword"), these weapons have a sharp blade similar to the jian, though possibly thicker or sometimes unsharpened, with a prong or hook (similar to a shepherd's crook) near the tip. Guards are substantial, in the style of butterfly swords. Often used in pairs, the hooks of the weapons may be used to trap or deflect other weapons.
There are five components to the hook sword:
Routines for hook swords are taught in such northern schools as Northern Shaolin and Seven-Star Mantis, and in some schools of southern arts such as Choy Lay Fut. Modern routines for hook swords are often very flashy, and may involve techniques such as linking paired weapons and wielding them as a single long, flexible weapon. Most routines are single person. Some schools of Baguazhang also teach a similar weapon, often called "deer horn knives" or "Mandarin duck knives." These weapons typically feature a much shorter or entirely missing main hook, and instead focus on the various cutting and stabbing blades arranged around the guard. Because of the various protrusions and the high possibility for accidental hooking or stabbing, they are almost never used in sparring, and are used sparingly in two person routines.
A sword is an edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife or dagger, is attached to a hilt and can be straight or curved. A thrusting sword tends to have a straighter blade with a pointed tip. A slashing sword is more likely to be curved and to have a sharpened cutting edge on one or both sides of the blade. Many swords are designed for both thrusting and slashing. The precise definition of a sword varies by historical epoch and geographic region.
A rapier or espada ropera is a type of sword with a slender and sharply-pointed two-edged blade that was popular in Western Europe, both for civilian use and as a military side arm, throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.
The jian is a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years in China. The first Chinese sources that mention the jian date to the 7th century BCE, during the Spring and Autumn period; one of the earliest specimens being the Sword of Goujian. Historical one-handed versions have blades varying from 45 to 80 centimeters in length. The weight of an average sword of 70-centimetre (28-inch) blade-length would be in a range of approximately 700 to 900 grams. There are also larger two-handed versions used for training by many styles of Chinese martial arts.
Dao are single-edged Chinese swords, primarily used for slashing and chopping. The most common form is also known as the Chinese sabre, although those with wider blades are sometimes referred to as Chinese broadswords. In China, the dao is considered one of the four traditional weapons, along with the gun, qiang (spear), and the jian, called in this group "The General of Weapons".
The French estoc is a type of sword, also called a tuck in English, in use from the 14th to the 17th century. It is characterized by a cruciform hilt with a grip for two-handed use and a straight, edgeless, but sharply pointed blade of around 0.91 metres (36 in) to 1.32 metres (52 in) in length. It is noted for its ability to pierce mail armor.
The katar is a type of push dagger from the Indian subcontinent. The weapon is characterized by its H-shaped horizontal hand grip which results in the blade sitting above the user's knuckles. Unique to the Indian subcontinent, it is the most famous and characteristic of Indian daggers. Ceremonial katars were also used in worship.
A tantō is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts (tantojutsu). The term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing.
A flame-bladed sword or wave-bladed sword has a characteristically undulating style of blade. The wave in the blade is often considered to contribute a flame-like quality to the appearance of a sword. The dents on the blade can appear parallel or in a zig-zag manner. The two most common flame-bladed swords are rapiers or Zweihänders. A flame-bladed sword was not exclusive to a certain country or region. The style of blade can be found on swords from modern-day Germany, France, Spain, and Switzerland.
The English language terminology used in the classification of swords is imprecise and has varied widely over time. There is no historical dictionary for the universal names, classification or terminology of swords; a sword was simply a double edged knife.
A messer is a single-edged sword with a knife-like hilt. While the various names are often used synonymously, messers are divided into two types:
The butterfly sword is a short dao, or single-edged sword, originally from southern China, though it has also seen use in the north. It is thought that butterfly swords date from the early 19th century. Several English language accounts from the 1840s describe local militia in Guangdong being trained in the "double swords", short swords with a hook extending from the guard, and fitting into a single scabbard.
In martial arts, a waster is a practice weapon, usually a sword, and usually made out of wood, though nylon (plastic) wasters are also available. Nylon being much safer than wood, due to it having an adequate amount of flex for thrusts to be generally safe, unlike wooden wasters. Even a steel feder has more flex than most wooden wasters. The use of wood or nylon instead of metal provides an economic option for initial weapons training and sparring, at some loss of genuine experience. A weighted waster may be used for a sort of strength training, theoretically making the movements of using an actual sword comparatively easier and quicker, though modern sports science shows that an athlete would most optimally train with an implement which is closest to the same weight, balance, and shape of the tool they will be using. Wasters as wooden practice weapons have been found in a variety of cultures over a number of centuries, including ancient China, Ireland, Iran, Scotland, Rome, Egypt, medieval and renaissance Europe, Japan, and into the modern era in Europe and the United States. Over the course of time, wasters took a variety of forms not necessarily influenced by chronological succession, ranging from simple sticks to clip-point dowels with leather basket hilts to careful replicas of real swords.
Deer horn knives, also known as crescent moon knives or duck blades, are specialised Chinese bladed weapons consisting of two steel crescents crossing. They are used in Chinese martial arts. This crossing produces four curved, clawlike points, one of which is extended as the "main" blade. The practitioner grips the wrapped middle of the lengthened crescent with the other acting as a hand guard. They are relatively short weapons that are easily concealable in traditional Chinese clothing, and are usually trained in pairs, one for each hand.
The pata or patta is a sword, originating from the Indian subcontinent, with a gauntlet integrated as a handguard. Often referred to in its native Marathi as a dandpatta, it is commonly called a gauntlet-sword in English.
A ricasso is an unsharpened length of blade just above the guard or handle on a knife, dagger, sword, or bayonet. Blades designed this way appear at many periods in history in many parts of the world and date back to at least the Bronze Age—essentially, as long as humans have shaped cutting tools from metals.
The Zweihänder, also Doppelhänder ('double-hander'), Beidhänder ('both-hander'), Bihänder or Bidenhänder, is a large two-handed sword primarily in use during the 16th century.
A kalis is a type of double-edged Filipino sword, often with a "wavy" section. The kalis has a double-edged blade, which is commonly straight from the tip but wavy near the handle. Kalis with fully straight or fully wavy blades also exist. It is similar to the Javanese keris, but differs in that the kalis is a sword, not a dagger. It is much larger than the keris and has a straight or slightly curved hilt, making it primarily a heavy slashing weapon.
The parrying dagger is a category of small handheld weapons from the European late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. These weapons were used as off-hand weapons in conjunction with a single-handed sword such as a rapier. As the name implies they were designed to parry, or defend, more effectively than a simple dagger form, typically incorporating a wider guard, and often some other defensive features to better protect the hand as well. They may also be used for attack if an opportunity arises. The general category includes two more specific types, the sword breaker and trident dagger.
Listed here are the weapons of pencak silat. The most common are the machete, staff, kris, sickle, spear, and kerambit. Because Southeast Asian society was traditionally based around agriculture, many of these weapons were originally farming tools.
There are several Chinese martial arts known as Snake Boxing or Fanged Snake Style which imitate the movements of snakes. It is a style of Shaolin Boxing. Proponents claim that adopting the fluidity of snakes allows them to entwine with their opponents in defense and strike them from angles they would not expect in offense. Snake style is said to especially lend itself to applications with the Chinese straight sword. The snake is also one of the animals imitated in Yang family Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan. The sinuous, fluid motion of the snake lends itself to the practical theory that underlies the "soft" martial arts.