Weapons - Halberd
Other names: Tian Fang Ji; also seen in Taiji Mantis
taught: Shaolin (Grandmaster
Recommendations: learn spear and staff first. Cost: varies from $150 to $200 or more. There are versions with a different central blade, and only one or no side "crescent moon" blades. The fifth page has comments from March 2017 about a Ji with a steel screw-apart handle (the compact result fits well in a nondescript bag, so well-made for travelers desiring to blend in) and a spear point as the central blade. I have not found a name for the crescent-shaped hand guards yet. They are a very mysterious feature. I am not sure when they first appeared (say, to the nearest dynasty) nor whether they came first or were a modification of larger crescent-shaped blades. As nearly as I can tell, the crescents are uniquely Chinese - and not all that common even among Chinese martial arts.
There are halberds and spears with either one or two of the crescents. Personally, I prefer the style with two opposing crescents and a central wavy (usually called snake or flame type) blade (see attached), but that may be influenced because that is what I learned first. In Northern Shaolin the weapon is called a hook blade spear.
I have two halberds with one crescent and a straight central blade, but neither Wing Lam Enterprises nor Kung Fu Direct has a halberd with one crescent and a snake blade in stock. I also have a halberd with two crescents on opposite sides and a straight central blade. Still no idea what art or arts they might be associated with.
|Not to sound too jaded, so as to speak, but even on the long-handled versions I would question whether the|
|added weight of the crescents is worthwhile. I am not clear what exactly they are defending against. If they are|
|not offset from the central blade they prevent that blade from penetrating very far, so that can't be good. If you|
|strike with the crescent itself it does not have much cutting power (there's a reason, in fact, several, that|
|concave blades are very rare). The added weight of the crescents makes beating aside the halberd very difficult|
|even for a heftier weapon like a saber. The tactic of striking the long weapon on the shaft below the|
|cutting blade(s) and sliding down to attack the lead hand usually does not work because of the crescents, so|
|it takes a very good swordsman to hold his or her own against the hook blade spear. Were I fighting such a|
|spearman I'd prefer a two-handed sword both for the additional reach and the additional power. All that|
|said, the hook blade spear is a showy weapon.|
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