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  • Writer's pictureDen Chan

Tips of the Spear

Updated: May 3

In Chinese martial arts, spears are considered to be king of all weapons. While spears are powerful weapons, it requires a long time to master them. In Chinese martial arts, various kinds of spears are used. Among them, giant spears are said to be the king of spears. Giant spears are those which are at least 3 meters.


Before firearms were introduced in China, giant spears were most important weapons in Chinese warfare. Since they were long, they were not carried in daily lives. They were weapons of battle fields. There was a variation in lengths of spears and materials which were used to make spears. Even today, depending on styles of spear techniques, lengths and materials of spears are different. For example, Yang family style typically use giant spears made of white wax woods which have length of 3.6 meters. In Song style Xingyi spear techniques, people use white wax wood spears which has lengths from 3 meters to 5 meters. Sha family style uses bamboo spears. The longest spears which Sha family style uses are 11 meters.


In premodern Chinese wars, spears were used for various tactics. Long spears which were longer than 4 meters were held by foot soldiers to form battle formations. Spears which had lengths between 2.5 to 4 meters were generally used from horse backs or on the ground. Many famous premodern Chinese generals were using spears. Yue Fei is famous for his mastery of giant spears. Another famous Song Dynasty general Li Quan also used 2.5 meters iron spear.


Giant spears could penetrate through shields and armors if they were used by masters. However, it took long time to master giant spears. To thrust, you have to make your spear have spiral movement to increase power of thrust. The technique to quickly pull back spear is also crucial. After thrusting, you have to pull back your spear as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your opponent can find a chance to get into closer range. By pulling back your spear as quickly as possible, you can start the next move quickly. However, if you thrust strong to the extent that your spear stab your opponent through the armor, it would be difficult to pull out your spear. Therefore, while keeping in your mind that spears should be pulled back quickly, you had to acknowledge that there were cases in which it would be difficult. Other than thrusting, you can use your spear to strike, sweep, cut, and wrap. To master all these, it requires lifetime training.


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