Designed in the same style as combat broadswords of China’s Qing Dynasty, the Ox Tail Kung Fu Broadsword from Hanzo Steel offers lighter weight than a true sword but still much of the same feel. This broadsword is good enough for practicing movements but not built solid enough for striking.
With an overall length of 37 inches and a 31-inch double-edged blade of high carbon stainless steel, the Hanzo Ox Tail Sword is a big step up from the beginner’s wooden or aluminum model practice blades and deserves some respect. Though it’s lightly built with plastic pommel and pressed metal bladeguard, the factory-sharpened blade could inflict real damage. Cupping of the bladeguard actually matches the style of old combat swords, designed both to keep rainwater out of the scabbard and to prevent blood from running onto the grip.
The Qing Dynasty broadsword design was derived from the sabres of the Mongol warriors. The niuweidao (or oxtail sword) developed in the early 1800s and became popular with civilians, but was never military issue even though modern movies often portray it as such. A counterpart to the European cutlass, the broadsword is used more often for slashing and chopping than for piercing thrusts. In kung fu broad sword routines, whirling movements are common.
The look of the sword isn’t bad at a glance, but the colored metal scabbard and synthetic cord wrappings of the handle make more of an impression at a distance. This version of the Ox Tail is one more step up the training ladder towards one of Hanzo Steel’s functional broadswords.
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