Building and Using an Ancient Chinese Spear (part one)

Construction of the Chinese Spear!

One of the most potent Martial Arts Weapons from olden times was the Chinese spear which is called the ‘Qiang,’ which is frequently referred to as the King of Weapons. It was held in high esteem because in the hands of a Shaolin Master, or other Gung Fu Expert, the long length would give one a decisive advantage in combat. In this bit of writing we will go over the basic structure of the Qiang, in a second article we will detail a couple of Martial Arts training methods for this incredible weapon.

qiang imageThe Qiang has been around as long as people have found straight branches. It is predominately a pre-modern martial arts weapon, and it is popular in many schools of Gung Fu, notably Shaolin and Tai Chi Chuan. Several schools, such as Hsing i and Bagua Zhang, claim that the weapon was crucial to the founding of and the main concepts of their particular schools.

The shaft of the weapon is made out of wax wood, which is very resilient and springy, and it normally ranges in length from 6 to 12 feet. One can make a small circle at the wrists, and because the wood bends so easily, the tip will make a big circle. This also gives a tremendous amount of back and forth ‘snap,’ should the practitioner so choose.

The blade is normally, but not always, shaped in the pattern of a leaf. This makes it perfect for either small knife-like cuts when you snap the wrists and slash the tip back and forth, And, of course, the thrusting power of the tool is incredibly potent.

The blade is usually butted by a tubular section, which will be affixed to the end of the shaft. This tube is hollow, and it has a hole in it, and a small ball bearing. This particular arrangement is brilliant, and shows the Chinese ingenuity in crafting the blade.

The hole, when the spear is swung at high speed, will create a whistling sound. This can distract the enemy and fool him long enough for the spear to have…impact. The bearing contained in the hollow of the tube pushes any blood that has seeped into the tube right back out.

Lastly, we have the tassel, a hunk of horsehair tied to the base of the blade. This is incredibly useful, as it tends to blur the vision of the person being ‘poked’ (smile), so that they cannot create a defense, or even grab the spear, A second purpose of the tassel is to stop any flow of blood from coming down the shaft of the Qiang and making it difficult to use.

To finish up, a Qiang is a powerful and far reaching weapon. A favorite of pre-modern armies, it could be used to keep an enemy at bay, and even kill a horse. Please look for part two, in which we will deal with the training methods for the ancient Chinese spear.

If you want more information on weapons, check out the ‘Sixth Sense Swordfighting’ book. It is part of the Master Books package at

If you want to learn how to make ANYTHING a weapon, (people do frown when they see you strolling along with your Chinese spear, don’t they? Grin.) then check out the Blinding Steel course at Monster Martial Arts.

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