22 September 2015

Shao Lin Gun (少林棍)

Ming Dynasty Quarterstaff
Drawing of a Shao Lin Gun, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Named after the famous Shaolin Monastery, Shao Lin Gun (少林棍, Shaolin quarterstaff) is a simple quarterstaff measuring eight chi to eight chi five cun in length and two and a half to three catties in weight. It is usually slightly longer than Da Bang (大棒), another Chinese quarterstaff, but lighter. There is also an iron version of Shao Lin Gun, which is one chi shorter, but weighs five times as much as the wooden version.

Unlike Da Bang, Shao Lin Gun is rarely employed as battlefield weapon (except by the monks themselves). However its techniques can be integrated into the techniques of Chang Qiang (長鎗).


  1. I have a couple questions about this staff. For one, is the 尺 used here the 營造尺 or the 周尺. I would probably err on the side of 營造尺 given the fact that it is a wooden staff, and that 少林棍法闡宗 depicts a fairly long staff in its pictures, but I am curious as to your opinion. Also, would it be correct to assume that this staff is made of hardwood? If so, what kinds of wood may have been used?

    1. By cross-referencing with 長槍法選 written by the same author, we can be certain that the staff in 少林棍法闡宗 use 營造尺. Shaolin staff is indeed very long (~ 2.7 m).

      Cheng Zongyou preferred tough wood that retain some flexibility for both his spear and his staff (i.e. the wood is not too stiff). He did name several woods in 長槍法選 although I don't have sufficient knowledge in wood to tell what they are.

    2. Cheng Zongyou did mention Sandalwood, which is a type of hardwood.

    3. Thank you for the info. You run a great site.

  2. are they tapered toward to tip?


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