Though some wushu weapons fall too short of the real thing in appearance and quality, this Monk’s Spade combines modern construction with respect for the original weapon’s character. The result is a light training weapon entirely suited to the acrobatics of wushu. Three pounds heavy and 78 inches long, it’s a large weapon even for Western kung fu students, but not so weighty that it interferes with learning movements. Heavier versions could be more appropriate for other types of training.
Edges and points of the spade and the crescent moon pommel are unsharpened but still carry the dangerous shapes that made this a popular main weapon for the monks of ancient China. The wushu version should be used with caution — though it isn’t a combat level build, it could do combat quality damage to bystanders. Even dull weapons cut.
The monk’s spade has an intriguing history with a foundation in the non-violent traditions of China’s warrior monks. Following the path of enlightenment by choice, these men still had social and moral obligations. Monks often carried money from temple to temple, making themselves a favorite target of skilled highwaymen. Many of the faith shunned weapons but needed practical protection. Farm tools evolved into unique monastic weapons like the monk’s spade, useful for fending off bandits as well as for digging the occasional grave for those who tried too hard. The decorative rings link back to the weapon’s agricultural past when the tool doubled as a plow blade pulled by other members of the family. Still a visual part of the monk’s spade, the rings serve no combat function.
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