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Weapon of Kungfu

The weapons used in Wushu originate mainly from ancient military weapons. Wushu weapons are the products of wars and they have been improved and modified according to the need of wars and with the development of sciences.

Military weapons used in ancient battles were numerous and different. They were suited to the re-quirements of military conflicts and wars of the time. Every weapon has undergone the process of developing from simplicity to complexity. The earliest weapons were dagger-axe, spear, bows and arrows. They were simple and unwieldy and often had no cutting edges. Through trial and error by generations of people, some weapons became useless and obsolete while others are still in use today by Wushu practitioners. All of those weapons which are still being used are easy to use and technically sophisticated. Examples are sabres, spears, swords and cudgels. Some weapons exist only in legends and fairy tales. Though never used in real battles, these weapons have developed into Wushu apparatus as soon as their features and methods of use became known. An example is the E'mei needle (E'mei prick).

The general term for weaponry has changed over time. Five-weapons, five-guards, sabre-weaponry, weapon-and-armour and battle-arms were used in different historical periods. In the Song Dynasty, the "Eighteen-Arms" was first used as the general term for the weaponry and to describe the variety of skills and techniques in using such weapons. The eighteen arms are gen-erally listed as sabre, spear, sword, halberd, axe, battle-axe, hook, fork, jointed iron staff, mace, hammer, talon, trident halberd, cudgel, lance, short cudgel, stick and meteor hammer. of the eighteen arms, there are both long and short weapons; singles and twins. Some are used at a dis-tance while others for close fights. Some are overt whereas others covert and some hard while others are soft. Their functions are broad- sweeping, chopping, thrusting, shooting and blocking with cutting edges, hooks or pricks. The rich assortment of weapons has added to the colorful programs of martial arts.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, detailed requirements were introduced about the weight, length and thickness of Wushu weapons, as well as materials for making them so as to protect those participating in exercises and Wushu demonstrations and competitions. These regulations have helped upgrade Wushu standards.

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