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Qiang (traditional Chinese: ?; simplified Chinese: ?; pinyin: qiang) is the Chinese term for spear. Due to its relative ease of manufacture, the spear in many variations was ubiquitous on the pre-modern Chinese battlefield. It is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun (staff), Dao (sabre), and the Jian (sword), called in this group “The King of Weapons”.
Common features of the Chinese spear are the leaf shaped blade and red horse-hair tassel lashed just below. When the spear is moving quickly, the addition of the tassel aids in blurring the vision of the opponent so that it is more difficult for them to grab the shaft of spear behind the head or tip. The tassel also served another purpose, to stop the flow of blood from the blade getting to the wooden shaft (the blood would make it slippery, or sticky when dried). The length varied from around 7 feet (2 meters) long, commonly used by infantry, increasing up to the length of 13 feet (4 meters) favoured by cavalry. The spear is typically made of wax wood, a strong but flexible wood. It bends to absorb impact preventing breakage. The bending motion combined with the horse hair tassel makes the spear tip very hard to follow.
Many Chinese martial arts feature spear training in their curriculum. The conditioning provided by spear technique is seen as invaluable and in many styles it is the first weapons training introduced to students. Moreover, some schools of empty handed fighting in China credit spear technique as their foundation, notably Xingyiquan and Bajiquan.
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