One of the important cavalryman’s weapons of old China, the Dragon Head Kwan Dao resembled the Pu Dao or Horse Cutter Sword of the infantry. Heavier and with a more pointed blade designed for thrusting from horseback as well as for slashing movements at charging speed, the base of the Kwan Dao’s shaft was tipped with a lethal spiked pommel.
Making this heavy weapon light enough for modern Wushu may reduce the strength of the Kwan Dao too far to be very practical. Though the weapon looks good with its ornate cast brass dragon’s mouth bolster, the 24-inch chrome plated spring steel blade of this modern Kwan Dao won’t hold up to striking practice. Watch for problems in the joint between blade and shaft, a common trouble spot in modern reproductions of this heavy weapon.
There’s less chance of trouble at the other end, since the spiked pommel is only 9.5 inches long and lighter than the blade. This isn’t a symmetrical weapon with a centered point of balance, and many will find it awkward to learn. At 8-1/2 pounds, it’s hard to think of this Kwan Dao as a light training weapon, but compared to the battlefield versions weighing 20 pounds or more, it’s a toy. The traditional training Kwan Dao were even heavier, with some weighing over 100 pounds.
Use caution when practicing movements with this Wushu version. This Dragon Head Kwan Dao wasn’t designed for rough treatment. At 82 inches in length, it’s awkward to carry safely even in the fitted nylon carrying sheath.
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