Ordinary Weapon of Chinese Kungfu: Dao

Posted by Clarissa on 29. Apr 2010


Dao (knife) is a category of single-edge Chinese swords primarily used for slashing and chopping (sabres), often called a broadsword in English translation because some varieties have wide blades. In China, the dao is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun (staff), Qiang (spear), and the Jian (sword), and referred to as "The General of All Weapons". Dao is actually a generic word used to denote any member of a family of single-edged, broad-bladed cutting or slicing tools, but in common, everyday usage means knife. The weapon, also known as dan dao (single knife) when just one is used, is thereby thought to be an adaptation of the kitchen knives common to Chinese cuisine. Dao also appears in the names of such polearms as the pudao and guan dao, indicating that their blades were primarily intended for slashing and cutting attacks rather than stabbing ones.


While dao have varied greatly over the centuries, most single-handed dao of the Ming period and later, and the modern swords that are based (sometimes loosely) on them share a number of characteristics. Dao blades are moderately curved and single-edged, though often with few inches of the back edge sharpened as well; the moderate curve allows them to be reasonably effective in the thrust. Hilts are canted, curving in the opposite direction as the blade which improves handling in some forms of cuts and thrusts. Cord is usually wrapped over the wood of the handle. Hilts may also be pierced like those of jian (straight-bladed Chinese sword) for the addition of lanyards, though modern swords for performances will often have tassels or scarves instead. Guards are typically disc-shaped often with a cupped shape to prevent rainwater from getting into the sheath, and to prevent blood from dripping down to the handle, making it more difficult to grip. Sometimes guards are thinner pieces of metal with an s-curve, the lower limb of the curve protecting the user's knuckles; very rarely they may have guards like those of the jian. Other variations to the basic pattern include the large bagua dao and the long handled pudao.


听读练习 Listening and Reading

女声朗读 Female Voice

男声朗读 Male Voice
词汇学习 Vocabulary
兵器 bīng qì

An object or arm (like knife, gun) used for fighting or attacking.
灵活 líng huó

Nimble means be able to move and use easily and quickly.
战斗 zhàn dòu

Fighting here is refers to all kinds of battle against to enemies.
锋利 fēng lì

Sharp means something has fine point or edge can cut or rip into something.


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