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#343684 - 05/24/07 01:10 PM Flexible weapons
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Hello all,
It’s been so long since I have posted... probably close to a year.

Anyway, in the past little while I have done some reading on armies of the ancient world such as Rome, Greece, China ect... and I don't remember much mention of flexible weapons such as rope darts, meteor hammers, 3 sectional staffs or chain whips on the battlefield. The only exception I have read was the Ninja of Japan using chain weapons in combat. I have heard of morning stars being used by European countries but was under the impression that those types of weapons phased out. The most common type of weapons I seen were spear, sword, axe, knife or bow.

If they weren’t used on the battle field, were they used for self defence or policing instead?
If possible, Could someone direct me to history books or reading material on gear used during pre gun powder ages (any country)?
Has anyone on here done an in-depth study of flexible weapons?

Thanks,
ML

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#343685 - 05/24/07 03:14 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
jpoor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/11/07
Posts: 726
Loc: Fairfax, VA
Not that I really trust wiki very much but...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_(weapon)

The flail qualifies as a 'flexible' weapon I think.

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#343686 - 05/24/07 04:19 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: jpoor]
SaintBarSteward Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 14
Loc: Western Washington, USA
This is the wikipedia entry on a great number of MA weapons, and the flexible ones are listed under "soft weapons" and "composite" weapons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_martial_arts_weapons#.22Soft.22_weapons


Edited by SaintBarSteward (05/24/07 04:20 PM)

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#343687 - 05/25/07 02:30 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: SaintBarSteward]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the info guys.

Does anyone know of any historical accounts of Chinese warriors or units being equipped with rope darts or meteor hammers?

I was also wondering if anyone has sparred with such weapons and what was the outcome?

ML

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#343688 - 05/25/07 07:37 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
SaintBarSteward Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/07/07
Posts: 14
Loc: Western Washington, USA
I had a friend who could use a chain like no one else I've ever seen, but not quite a meteor hammer. Sparring with his seven-foot chain probably would have resulted in death.

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#343689 - 05/26/07 01:20 AM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: SaintBarSteward]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:

I had a friend who could use a chain like no one else I've ever seen, but not quite a meteor hammer. Sparring with his seven-foot chain probably would have resulted in death.




Fair enough. If there isn’t a foam substitute to purchase anywhere, it might be neat to play with ideas and make a safe sparring tool.

Would I be right to guess that there isn’t alot of history on these weapons being used in battle?

ML

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#343690 - 05/26/07 08:34 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Quote:

If there isn’t a foam substitute to purchase anywhere, it might be neat to play with ideas and make a safe sparring tool




Tennis ball on a rope
_________________________
Tony Partlow Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Minamoto Shibu Dojo http://martialartsfriends.com/Shogen

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#343691 - 05/27/07 09:41 AM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

Does anyone know of any historical accounts of Chinese warriors or units being equipped with rope darts or meteor hammers?





No--because they're not practical weapons.

The soldiers of China's various dynasties used weapons like the ASIATIC COMPOSITE BOW, the SPEAR, and the SABER.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#343692 - 05/27/07 06:33 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: Saisho]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:


Tennis ball on a rope




Thats a good idea. I'll have to try that.

Quote:

No--because they're not practical weapons.

The soldiers of China's various dynasties used weapons like the ASIATIC COMPOSITE BOW, the SPEAR, and the SABER.




That makes sense. It's similar to many other armies of the same time. How would these items become known today as weapons?

ML

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#343693 - 05/27/07 07:00 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Quote:

That makes sense. It's similar to many other armies of the same time. How would these items become known today as weapons?




While I might rather use a larger weapon if I can, there might be times that it would come in handy knowing how to use a weapon that can be wrapped up tight and hidden in a pocket. Swords are hard to hide.
_________________________
Tony Partlow Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Minamoto Shibu Dojo http://martialartsfriends.com/Shogen

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#343694 - 05/27/07 07:53 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
Armed_Man_Piker Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 440
Loc: East Coast U.S.A.
Quote:

That makes sense. It's similar to many other armies of the same time. How would these items become known today as weapons?




There's practically an entire subculture devoted to the more fantastical weapons of Asian martial arts (of which the Chinese styles seem to have a monopoly on), and it should be noted that this subculture has nothing to do with real fighting, but with performance art--i.e., modern wushu competition, Wuxia-genre films (aka "Wire-Fu"), and so on.
_________________________
And the rapier blades, being so narrow and of so small substance, and made of a very hard temper to fight in private frays... do presently break and so become unprofitable. --Sir John Smythe, 1590

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#343695 - 05/28/07 01:17 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: Armed_Man_Piker]
shadowkahn Offline
anti-stupid crusader

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 234






Now, all those items definitely exist, but it would be rather silly of an archaeologist 2000 years from now to dig them up and assume that they were what we went to war with wouldn't it.

Same thing with all the fantasy weapons from the ancient Chinese - sure they existed, but I'll eat my hatte if they're what people used in actual battles.
_________________________
"Belt mean no need rope hold up pants" - Mr. Miyagi, RIP.

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#343696 - 05/28/07 02:18 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: shadowkahn]
jpoor Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/11/07
Posts: 726
Loc: Fairfax, VA
One major difference is that the "weapons" pictured above were produced in single (or very few) numbers as novelty items.

Now there are certainly mass-produced fantasy weapons, but I don't know that those under discussion here fall into that category. How they were actually used... I don't know.
_________________________
Don't let the white belt fool you. . .
I know even less than you might think.

Best,
Jim

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#343697 - 05/28/07 10:38 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: jpoor]
Tashigae Offline
Mister Bendy

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 690
Loc: Samarobriva, Gallia
A few seconds of cogitation should be enough for anyone to work out why flexible weapons such as the rope-dart, chain-whip, meteor-hammer, section-whip, etc. aren’t fit for equipping a “unit”. The soldiers of such a unit would have to be put in EXTREMELY lose formations, and every soldier would have to take extra care not to get too close (and “too close” here is still quite a distance) to any of their buddies lest they should get both their weapons tangled and immediately turn two highly trained warriors (for mastering any of those weapons takes at least two years of daily training, which is more than any special unit in the world get before their first deployment) into two useless victims. Definitely not practical for military use.
Which doesn’t mean those weapons aren’t practical for ANYTHING. It just means they were probably civilian weapons. Sword-canes were a hugely popular weapon in the 19th century, but they were never used by any military unit. They were meant mostly for personal protection. Many firearms are NOT meant for military use, but for a variety of other specific agendas such as law enforcement, VIP protection, self-defense, hunting, competition, etc. and they’re all practical for their particular field of use, although not necessarily so for war (a particularly striking example is the HUGE difference between a military sniper rifle and a police sniper rifle: a police-specific one is nothing short of unfit for military use, and a military one is a poor choice for law-enforcement).

In the Chinese traditional arsenal, there’s a very clear border between military and civilian weapons. Even some of the most classical weapons, namely the jian (straight sword) or the dao (sabre) both exist in military and civilian versions, clearly distinguished from each other by the shape of their blade.

However, the huge amount of training required to master a flexible weapon also makes it unfit for just self-defense of common people, or as a weapon used by low-life ruffians. They’re clearly weapons of people who fought by trade, but were not soldiers either. Chinese history offers a number of such categories, one of the most common being “biaoshi”, fighters hired to protect convoys from bandits, a profession in which many famous martial arts masters could be found. They might have been users of flexible weapons.

Just a few ideas, of course I might be mistaken.
_________________________
文武雙全

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#343698 - 05/29/07 11:37 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: Tashigae]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I could see the old English mace and chain as a "flexible weapon" as well as the kusuragama... one for "battlefield" and one for ... well, whatever. My take on flexible and throwing weapons has always been that you're telling your adversary... "here, grab this"... or "here, throw this back at me". That's why I could never find much of a use for shuriken. They might work, but if you miss, your opponent has something to throw back.

We used to tell people that we had a college rivalry one time, and the university that was our adversary had all their people come over and throw fireworks at us... they got mad because we lit them and threw them back...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#343699 - 06/01/07 08:26 AM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: wristtwister]
MonkeyLegs Offline
Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 27
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Quote:

The soldiers of such a unit would have to be put in EXTREMELY lose formations, and every soldier would have to take extra care not to get too close (and “too close” here is still quite a distance) to any of their buddies lest they should get both their weapons tangled and immediately turn two highly trained warriors (for mastering any of those weapons takes at least two years of daily training, which is more than any special unit in the world get before their first deployment) into two useless victims.




That's what I was thinking too. The space needed to operate one of these weapons might be not be practical.

Quote:

Which doesn’t mean those weapons aren’t practical for ANYTHING. It just means they were probably civilian weapons.




At the time when these weapons might have been used could there have been some kind of weapons ban on military grade weapons?

Quote:

My take on flexible and throwing weapons has always been that you're telling your adversary... "here, grab this"... or "here, throw this back at me".




This must be why the Romans made their javelins unusable once imbedded in a shield.

The little that I have played with these kinds of weapons I have found they often bounce back in unexpected ways. Is this just because of my inexperienced handling of the weapon or is this the nature of them?

ML

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#343700 - 06/13/07 02:44 PM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: MonkeyLegs]
SRitchie Offline
Newbie

Registered: 02/04/07
Posts: 15
Loc: Thurmont, Maryland
I don't have any links to history but I have worked out and had a bit of training in Rope/sash. These would typically be the cloth belts worn as part of the clothing. From my experience while with practice they can be effective they do take a lot of pracrtice to use efficiently. Out of 2 dozen or so techniques I have in notes there are only 1 or 3 that I have found IMHO to be really effective. One of them is simply using the loose ends to whip and slash at an attackers face and eyes. This of course only serves to give you an opening to move in and finish with either hands or a strangulation attack with the rope. It is an interesting weapon to train with but not one I would use as anything but a very last resort.

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#343701 - 12/27/08 03:01 AM Re: Flexible weapons [Re: SRitchie]
meteorhammer Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 11
Loc: forest ontario canada
flexible/soft weapons is a group of Chinese/Japanese weapons consisting of: Rope Dart, Meteor Hammer, Three-Section-Staff, Flying Weight, Nunchaku, Chain Whip & Two-Section-Staff

Most of them are descended from farming tools or inspired by them in feudal Japan when civilian were prohibited to possess weapons, so they made their own. Seeing as most were very concealable, and they were newly invented, they couldnt be classified as weapons. Once they became popular and more well-known, warriors used the as a back up weapon if their primary weapon(s) were no longer available.

I have sparred with friends used a meteor hammer and it was nearly impossible to *block* most of my throws and attacks with the sword he was using, but if you are quick enough, and with practice you can dodge some attacks.

another time when i was sparring my friend who was also familiar with the meteor hammer, it was a pretty evenly matched fight, the rope did tangle once or twice, but i was ready for it and let go of the rope and defeated him with a back-up meteor hammer from my pocket.
_________________________
Taylor

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