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Stock Wushu Weapons

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Settings based on East Asia tend to be quite popular with writers of all types and in media. Amongst the many possible features, martial arts often get the spotlight. However, sometimes the classical Bare-Fisted Monk alone doesn't do, for one reason or the other. This is where armed combat and weapons come in handy. Just as the katana screams "samurai" to most viewers, or the Dane Ax calls Vikings to mind, there are traditional weapons employed in Chinese martial arts (Wushu) that can be used to set the mood, reinforce the association and show that research has been done.

Traditional weapons are often referred to as the 18 Weapons of Wuji, and they include:

  1. Dao (saber), the "General of Weapons", for being versatile and easy to use, ranging from a broad machete-like scimitar to sabers to katana-like swords. Often used in pair, sometimes adorned with red cloth on their pommels and/or metal rings embedded on the back ridge. This group may also include the cutlass-like "butterfly swords", small swords with a handguard doubling as a disarming hook or an impromptu knuckleduster.
  2. Jian (sword), the "Nobleman of Weapons". It's a classical straight double-edged sword, usually employed as a single weapon with a refined, dance-like style. Some examples have thinner and more flexible rapier-like blade.
  3. Gun (staff), the "Elder of Weapons", the twirling six-feet staff in the hands of a martial artist is one of the most iconic and recognized weapons, as well as the most family friendly. Variations may include the sanjiegun (three-section staff) and the nunchaku.
  4. Qiang (spear) the "King of Weapons", the classical Chinese spear is adorned with a bright red tassel behind the blade and has a flexible shaft, which makes the entire weapon wave, apparently to catch the opponent offguard. Other variants include the shuo, a pike-like rigid spear sometimes depicted with spikes below the spearhead, and the tang, a ranseur with wavy, perpendicular side-blades.
  5. Polearms: the huge amount of Chinese polearms, ranging from various glaives (sometimes called dadao, literally "large saber") to the fangtianji (halberd with crescent-shaped side blades) to tridents and similar weapons. Sometimes, chinese tridents are portrayed differently from the usual western shape, with a straight sword-like blade ending in a trident-like tip composed of a central spearhead and two outward-pointing blades, sometimes called sanjiandao, the three-pointed sword. Another rare but recognizable exponent is the famous yueyachang, the moon fang spade (sometimes called "Shaolin Spade")
  6. Yue (axe). Refers to both the traditional one-sided battleaxe (either a single long-shafted one or a set of dual smaller hand axes), they also include the hand-held weapon known as Mandarin duck bill axe or deer horn dagger, composed of twin crescent blades intercrossed near the tips.
  7. Chui (hammer). The Chinese hammers are often used in pairs and have short shafts paired with huge spherical heads. The version on chains are known as meteor hammers.
  8. Shuang Go (dual hooks) or sometimes "hu tou gou" (tiger head hook) or "qian kun ri yue dao" (heaven and earth, sun and moon sword), the famous hook sword, a weapon typically dual-wielded for deadly results, able to slice and pierce not just with the blade, but even with the handguard or the pommel.
  9. Gozhao (hooked claws). The "older" version of Wolverine Claws is sometimes seen in the hands of martial artists, though sometimes depicted as a claw-shaped mace on a shaft known as wo.
  10. Bian (whip). Usually depicted as some sort of flexible cudgel or a chain with several metal segments in it, ending with a sharp one. The former is similar to the jian note , a short wooden/bronze truncheon often used in pairs in a similar way to the bian.
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Of course, the trope doesn't refers to every single instance of such weapons being used by a character, but rather when they're used to convey the atmosphere of Chinese martial arts, or, in a fighting series, underline the fact of a character being based on said martial arts. Sometimes, said character will make use of a large variety of these weapons during the course of a single combat, showing the results of a superior training which allowed him to master several radically different weapons equally.

Compare Stock Ninja Weaponry, which is this trope used in the world of Ninja.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, member of the 11th Division Ikkaku recalls martial arts and Shaolin monks in his design and weapon: his Zanpakuto Hoozukimaru takes the form of a three-sectioned glaive with a red tassel like a qiang on the bottom end, while his Bankai he gets three, gigantic weapons (a monk's spade, a dadao and a huge axe-like weapon) chained together. During the final arc, Chinese Quincy Cang Du uses a pair of wrist-mounted claws instead of energy bow and arrows, in conjunction with some nifty Qi attacks.
    • In Bleach: Memories of Nobody, the Dark Ones, despite coming from the Japan-themed Soul Society, wear armor and carry weapons closer to ancient chinese arms rather than japanese, possibly to enforce the difference from their old opponents. Among them, Ganryu has a jian and can summon more from thin air, Benin has a crossbow and some hand-held deer horn daggers held together by a length of chain, Mue has a huge jian, Jai has a set of fire and wind wheels, Bao dual wields massive clubs similar to oversized jian truncheons.
  • Gamaran:
    • When the Daimyo mentions schools teaching foreign martial arts, the picture shows both a silhouette with a rapier, a nine-section whip and a dao, while a later picture showing some fighters in the back has a muscular man with stereotypical braided hair carrying a dao.
    • The assassins Hakuryuu and Agon not only have short names which may actually be translations of Chinese ones, but also fight with twin axes.
    • Muhou Ryuu elite Tsuchiryuu wields two deer horn daggers note  and Gensai remarks that his fighting stance and movements are those of the martial arts from the continent.
    • In Gamaran Shura it's confirmed that both Tsuchiryuu and Jinkuu use Chinese martial arts, and we're introduced to the deadly Genkai Tenpei, an elite team made of incredibly skilled martial artists serving as the Shogun's assassins and armed with weapons which are either extravagant or from other countries such as China and Europe. Their leader, Ramon Ise, shows competence using bare-handed kung fu, meteor hammers and even steel claws. Subverted by Bihoumaru, who wields a chinese melon hammer as his weapon of choice, but his fighting style is more centered around the concept of Unskilled, but Strong, hence the tsui is merely a way to amplify his raw power in combat.
  • Hero Tales is set in ancient China, and most of the main characters and the villains above the Spear Carrier rank tend to use distinctive martial arts with Ki Attacks and appropriate weapons, especially the chosen ones: Ryuko fights with a staff, Rinmei and later Laila use a small dao, Hosei has a bow he can split into two dao, Koyo has a polearm which is has the multi-segmented shaft (bian/sanjiegun) and the blade of a dadao, while Shokaku wields a series of handheld sharp discs weapons. The Hero Taito subverts this, as he initially carries a jian with him, but after growing stronger he fights with bare-handed kung fu.
  • Inuyasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time has Big Bad Menomaru and his minions coming from China. To convey this, they all wield traditional weapons (Menomaru has a jian, Ruri a tasseled spear and Hari has dual dao).
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic downplays this with the Kou Empire, which is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of ancient China: while the rank-and-file soldiers are armed with spears, swords, ge and tower shields, elites such as the generals and princes of the imperial family have shown to have more prowess with martial arts and use wushu weapons: Hakuei uses both a jian and a hybrid of feather fan and fangtianji as her Djinn Weapon, Kouen has a jian, Kouha has a size-shifting giant dao and Hakuryuu uses a guandao. The downplay comes from the fact that they usually employ their Djinn Equips to fight seriously.
  • In One Piece, the Flower Country is the local equivalent of China and hosts the Happo Navy, a fleet of powerful warriors using a rare martial art to make their attacks vibrate as they strike. The two main weapon users, Boo and Sai, are seen employing jian, fu and guandao in combat alongside their techniques.
  • Ranma ½. Shampoo comes from China and is shown using both a large dao and later dual chui alongside her martial arts.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: the Sushin in the final arc are a quartet of powerful (but prideful) warriors serving the Chinese crime leader Wu Heishin. All their weapons reflect their country of origin, being a dadao polearm, a pair of jian, a set of iron circlets which can fold to form spiked hand-held weapons and a six-sectioned staff. The leader of the organization and Final Boss Enishi Yukishiro meanwhile has combined Wushu and Kenjutsu with his wodao, a chinese-style dao fashioned after the tachi combined with a more athletic fighting style to counteract Kenshin's own.
  • Yaiba: Budou, the Grapefruit Soldier from the Pyramid arc, is styled after the classical Wuxia martial artist and wears gozhao in his first appearence.
  • Hakuryuu from Lupin III: Stolen Lupin is a Chinese-looking martial artist who challenges Goemon's Zantetsuken with his jian (trying to take advantage of the Iaijutsu's weakness). Subverted when his real trump card is shown to be a rather unorthodox fighting style: lead bullets and/or pebbles shot from his clenched hands like actual pistol bullets.
  • Sword of the Stranger: The Ming mercenaries who constantly opposes Nanashi and Kotaro are depicted using traditional wushu weapons, including hooks, halberds, twin scythes and the classic jian.
  • Samurai Champloo: in Lethal Lunacy, the Ax-Crazy villain Ukon used to be a normal samurai before his trip to China. There not only he learnt martial arts and seemingly Ki Attacks but he also changed his uchigatana for a typical dao.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Burning Ambition has a fight scene in a carnival that spills into a tent displaying "Antique Chinese Weapons", where the hero and two Elite Mooks ends up grabbing weapons which are on display (due to No OSHA Compliance, none of the weapons are bolted down) and grabs practically everything they lay their hands on to assault each other, including the dao, gun, qiang, halberds, and practically most of everything else.
  • Call to Arms features most of the usual stock wushu weapons in the film's climatic battle in the Emperor of Chin's throne room, which has racks of weapons displayed on it's corners. The hero, Prince Shun even gets to use the chui, a seldom-seen weapon even for these type of films, to kick ass and bash extras, eventually killing the Emperor using this weapon.
  • In A Chinese Ghost Story, Yin is a venerable Taoist wizard and expert of both supernatural and martial arts, using a jian in tandem with his powers. In the sequel there's a warrior who employs five large dao, normally kept on his back like an ornament, and his own sash as a whip, sometimes to control all five swords at once.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The fight scene in the Jade Hall between Shu-lien and Princess Jen. Jen is armed with the Green Destiny, and Shu-lien, to counter Jen, ends up using the dao, jian, qiang, gun, chui, shaung gou, chui... all which gets wrecked by Jen's indestructible sword. In a way, it helps to show how much more experienced Shu-lien is in the ways of martial arts compared to her opponent, who relies on her Absurdly Sharp Blade.
  • In the Bud Spencer movie Go For It, a quartet of chinese assassins sent to kill Bud's character put on a show with their martials arts and weapons of choice, including a pair of dao, a metal nunchaku, a sanjiegun and a pair of butterfly knives.
  • Ho Tao, the protagonist of Heroes Of The East, who ends up being challenged by a whole legion of Japanese kung-fu experts to a series of weapon duels, wields practically every stock wushu weapons during all his fights in the movie. Notably the jian, dao, three-sectioned staff, Butterfly Swords, rope dart, and the like.
  • The opening scene of House Of Fury has Master Teddy Yau fighting a legion of ninjas using practically every sort of wushu-themed weapons, starting with the jian, then a gun, and ending with a qiang. All the ninjas are armed with various sort of wushu weapons as well. Later on the Action Prologue turns out to be a Fake-Out Opening, where Teddy is actually narrating a story from his past to a bunch of his daughter's classmates, with him listing all the wushu weapons he had used.
  • Extremely common in Shaw Brothers martial arts movies, especially if they're historical period pieces.
    • One-Armed Swordsman: The second movie of the series have the titular protagonist battling against a legion of elite killers armed with various stock wushu weaponry, including whips, hammers, spears, and axes.
    • The Avenging Eagle revolves around a group of 13 assassins raised from birth to be killers, all who uses different wushu-themed weapons, including the jian, qiang, gozhao, hammers and maces.
    • The Magic Blade trilogy: The protagonist Fu Hung-hsueh uses dual tonfa swords, and throughout the series have to do battle with enemies using jian, halberds, whips and axes.
    • Legendary Weapons of China is made of this trope. As it's title suggest, all eighteen examples on the page image does show up, being used by various expert martial artists.
  • In the Action Prologue of Men From The Monastery, protagonist Fang Shi-yu had to go through the "test" of the Shaolin monastery: crossing a darkened passage, each with two enemies waiting to ambush him, which he must defeat in order to proceed. The first two are a Bare-Fisted Monk duo, followed by two monks armed with jians, and then two gun wielders, followed by another two using qiang, and two more using a ji. Basically most stock wushu weapons shows up during the trial.
  • In Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom of all places, a group of inexplicable ninja shows up in broad daylight, out of a forest and using clearly chinese swords including a single dao, a pair of butterfly swords and dual hookswords. Aside from the ninja outfits, it could work.

    Literature 
  • Journey to the West. Nearly all the immortals and monsters encountered are experts of martial arts to varying extents. When they aren't Improbable Weapon User (rakes, pestles, triangular canes...), they tend to wield the appropriate weapons, including sabers, polearms, spears and axes. Curiously enough, there are only two istances in the novel where Sun Wukong and his opponent actually engange in proper weaponless kung fu.
  • Water Margin has the bandit protagonists employ all sort of weapons associated with Wushu, and even lists its own version of the 18 Weapons, though some of them aren't exactly the first thing you'd associate with martial arts, such as bows, shields and even firearms.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Downplayed in Pathfinder, where most of the listed weapons are avaible, such as the nine-ringed broadsword, three-section staff, hookswords and others, usually with the "Oriental" trait. Furthermore, some of the weapons the Monk is proficient with do include the quarterstaff (bang), club (jian), light axe (fu/yue) and more, weapons he can also use in tandem with his flurry of blows.

    Video Games 
  • For Honor has the entire Wu Lin faction, which combines martial arts with traditional weapons, including dao, guan dao, hookswords, gun and changdao (a two-handed nodachi-like sword).
  • The King of Fighters XI: Shion is the only Wushu practitioner in the franchise and equips a Qiang in his default state. It will go away if he's hit or he switches to another stance but as long as he has it, it gives him incredible reach.
  • Samurai Shodown: downplayed with the first openly chinese character Wan Fu, whose weapons across the series included a huge dadao and an oversized chui, but seems to be more The Brute rather than the true blue martial artist one'd expect. Played straight by Yunfei in later titles, a mystic warrior with a more kung fu-like moveset using a dao as his weapon.
  • Dynasty Warriors, being based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms has plenty of warriors using both the expected, classical weapons in conjunction with athletic movesets calling martial arts to mind, such as Zhao Yun (whose flexible spear actually became its own weapon type as "Dragon Spear"), Xiahou Dun (dadao user, again his giant sword became a separate weapon type from the standard "sword") Dian Wei (massive Yue), Zhang Liao (goliandao and later dual yue) and many others, though there are subversions (such as Lu Bu using a fangtianji with a more brutal and barbaric fighting style, characters using long-ranged weapons or Zhou Tai using his katana-like dao with a fighting style more akin to battojutsu). From the seventh game onward, you're free to give your playable character the weapons you prefer, especially the 9th entry, which removed some of the less plausible weapons.
  • Seven Samurai 20 XX: the villain Necryl is a Humanoid with a Fu Manchu style moustache and goattee, chinese clothing and his weapon of choice are dual Wolverine Claws emerging from the sleeves of his outfit. Later you can run into the goons of the local Chinese mafia, who attack you with the traditional Dadao swords (contrasting generic thugs armed with pipes and canes)
  • Strider (2014): The "Winds" martial-arts sisters now wields Chinese weapons. Tong Pooh wields a dao, Nang Pooh wields a fangtianji, and Bei/Pei Pooh wields a rare kind of weapon, a pair of jizhaorui (something of a cross between tonfas and hookswords) mixed with submachine guns. Their master, Xi Wang Mu, wields knuckleguards that can transform into her students' weapons.
  • Swords Of Destiny: the protagonist can perform Wuxia-like maneuvers in combat and out of it: he starts the game with a jian, and later obtains the Swords of Yi, which include a large, agile dao and another jian broader than he is. The villainess, meanwhile, is a fast and agile she warrior demon carrying a long-shafted yue.

    Webcomics 
  • In Fate/type Redline, the Lancer of the story's Holy Grail War is Chinese bajiquan master Li Shuwen, who wields a qiang as is preferred weapon of choice. His skill with it granted him the title of "God Spear Li", and by projecting his qi through it he can kill someone with a single strike.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Although he leads with his firebending, Zuko can also use a pair of dao. Sokka's Evil Counterpart Jet wields a pair of hook swords.
    • Sokka is later trained to use a jian by Piandao, and is later able to forge his own from meteorite iron.

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