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The rope dart or rope javelin (traditional Chinese: ??; simplified Chinese: ??; pinyin: shéng biao), also known as Jouhyou in Japanese, is one of the flexible weapons in Chinese martial arts. Other weapons in this family include the meteor hammer, flying claws, and chain whip. Although the flexible weapons share similar movements, each weapon has its own specific techniques.
The rope dart is a long rope (usually 10′ – 16′) with a metal dart attached to one end. This was a weapon from ancient times, which allows the user to throw the dart out at a long range target and use the rope to pull it back. The rope dart can be used for twining, binding, circling, hitting, piercing, tightening, and other techniques.
Rope dart play consists of twining, shooting, and retrieval. Twining and shooting can be done from any joint such as foot, knee, elbow, and neck. The rope is anchored on the left hand and played primarily with the right hand.
Skillful use of the rope dart can easily trick an opponent because the dart can shoot out very suddenly.
Just like the chain whip, excellent hand-eye coordination is a must for the practitioner to use this weapon well. In some Wushu training regimens, the chain whip and Changquan are prerequisites for learning the rope dart.
A variation of this weapon is the meteor hammer, which has a blunt weight on the end of the rope. It was used in a similar fashion to the rope dart, and many of the techniques are the same. The blunt shape of the meteor ball will deal concussive damage rather than piercing.
The rope dart is constructed from 5 parts:
The dart is made of a hard material, usually iron or steel. It can be of variable weight depending on the users preference, and can be variable in shape (conical, triangular prism, pentagonal prism).
The rings (usually 4 or 5) are attached to the dart head.
The rope is attached to the final ring. Traditionally, the rope was constructed from Chinese rope and covered with wax to minimize friction. In modern times, the rope is often made of a softer synthetic material and covered with talc powder or some other substance to reduce friction.
There is at least one flag attached near, or onto the dart head itself to conceal the dart during play. Additional flags can be attached to the side rings to slow down the dart and increase control.
The handle is made from the last piece of rope.
Li, Keqin; Li Xingdong (1996). Soft Weapons — Nine-Section Whip and Rope Dart. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press. ISBN 7-119-01883-3.