Was the chain whip ever a battlefield weapon?
I recently received a Chinese chain whip as a gift, and it got me wondering about the historical use of the weapon. Not much information seems to be out there.
Wikipedia says: According to the book Soft Weapons: Nine-Section Whip and Rope Dart, "The nine-section whip, regarded as a 'powerful hidden weapon,' was first used on the battlefield during the Jìn Dynasty (265-420)
That's literally its entire history section on Wikipedia, and the rest of the links are to Youtube wushu vids, and that one sentence is thrown around on lots of other sites.
I found this info as well:
"The oldest training manual that still exists, that I am aware of, for that weapon was written by Jiang Rong Qiao(姜容樵1891-1974). The book is entitled Grand Teacher Tiger Tail Whip Depicted was published in January 1930. It features a long routine for the metal tiger tail “whip”; which is rigid and actually amounts to a type of cane. According to Jiang, the tiger tail whip has a long history and was ancient military weapon. It is called tiger tai’ whip because it has curls which give it the appearance of the stripes on a tigers tail."
-Brian Kennedy on chinahistoryforum.com
a book from the 1930s, while old, isn't exactly proof of an ancient battlefield weapon.
Having spent some time swinging one around and accidentally hitting myself, I wonder if the "ancient battlefield weapon" claims are wishful thinking, cause it hardly seems suitable for battle. I reckon you could maybe get one hit in before the enemy closes past its effective range. Was it an ancient battlefield weapon, or a concealable civilian self defense one, or a contemporary wushu one marketed as an ancient one? Are there old historical examples out there, or other non-contemporary proof that they were actually used for fighting?
Note that I'm talking about the long sectional whips, not the rigid bian, cause a rigid metal truncheon isn't really a whip and seems like a legit weapon.
Might be a backup weapon. Seems like it would be easy to cary, useful as a fist pack or other short range weighted weapon and long enough to reach out and touch someone if you need to.
I'm sure wrapping it around someone's neck and violently yanking them about would be an unpleasant experience for the uke.
Maybe a poor choice of primary weapon but better than nothing if you lose your main stick?
I'm more interested in "Was it used as a weapon?" than "Can it be used as a weapon?".
Personally I think it is more of an MA training tool than a battlefield weapon. It was surely never used as a primary weapon and even the "hidden weapon" thing seems fishy. Just carrying a knife would be a way better option.
The more sections, the harder it is to control, apparently. I had a 3 section one in my hands once, which was quite straightforward to use. I just doubt you could stop an dedicated attacker with it. Of course the ones they sell these days are very lightweight so building a very heavy one could increase the power a bit.
So sorry, donï¿½t know anything specific myself but would like to read the actual historical facts. Keep us updated if you find something.
I love these kinds of weapons for their instant feedback they give. Great training tools. Have fun!
I don't know how true it is, but I know a few people from Hung Ga lineages were supposed to really favor the 3-section-whip when they went into battle. Yueng Ling, I think it was, was supposedly pretty fierce with it, and would bring it to "business meetings," if I remember correctly. I'm sure if you're not expected to have it, and let it fly, it's a great surprise, and then you can use it much like any sharp load to stab and punch with.
Originally Posted by killface
But, as a military weapon? DOUBT IT.
Didn't someone bring a rattan one to a DB Gathering at some point? How did that go?
I saw pictures of it. It was little rattan pieces attached together with paracord. I hear it was fairly effective, but mostly cause nobody's really used to going up against it and don't know what to expect.
Originally Posted by Fuzzy
Agreed. There's not a lot of mass to go through any armour, so useless on the battlefield.
Originally Posted by nomamao
As a hidden civilian weapon (folded in a sleeve, or wrapped around the waist), I suspect it would do a good job of controlling some territory - nobody wants to be the first guy to catch that across the skull.
Much the same for the three-sectional staff, and I suspect those weapons were also used for their "holy crap, he must be an expert if he's willing to use one" factor.
While no good for causing damage via penetration it coud still be used as a graplling tool to bind limbs and apply leverage.
Originally Posted by Chili Pepper
But without an ancient Chinese warrior to weigh in on the subject I guess we'll never know.