Ji polearm

Ji Polearm: Exploring the Rich History and Craftsmanship

The ji polearm, also known as the ji halberd, is a traditional Chinese weapon with a history spanning over 3000 years. It is a unique combination of a spear and a halberd, offering versatility and effectiveness in combat. Used by infantry, cavalry, and charioteers throughout Chinese history, the ji polearm remains an essential weapon in Chinese martial arts training today.

Key Takeaways:

  • The ji polearm is a traditional Chinese weapon with a rich history and craftsmanship.
  • It combines the characteristics of a spear and a halberd, making it a versatile weapon.
  • The ji polearm has been used in warfare and is still used in Chinese martial arts training today.
  • It is made of high-quality wood, folded high carbon steel, and solid brass castings.
  • Famous figures like Lü Bu have wielded the ji polearm, immortalizing its status in history and literature.

Evolution of the Ji Polearm

The ji polearm has a fascinating history that can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty in ancient China. This versatile weapon evolved from a combination of a spear and a dagger-axe, resulting in a unique design that offered a range of attack options on the battlefield. Over time, different variations of the ji polearm emerged, each with its own distinct features and purposes.

One such variation is the qinglong ji, which featured a single crescent-shaped blade and a longer shaft. This design allowed for increased reach and greater chopping power. Another notable variation is the fangtian ji, which boasted two crescent blades in opposite directions, creating a formidable slashing and hooking weapon.

The evolution of the ji polearm reflects the changing needs and tactics of ancient Chinese warfare. As military strategies evolved, so did the design of the ji. The polearm became a crucial weapon for infantry, cavalry, and charioteers, offering versatility and adaptability in various combat scenarios.

Table: Evolution of the Ji Polearm

Period Variation Features
Zhou dynasty Original Ji Combination of spear and dagger-axe
Warring States period Qinglong Ji Single crescent-shaped blade, longer shaft
Three Kingdoms period Fangtian Ji Two crescent blades in opposite directions
Ming dynasty Refined Ji Elongated and reinforced shaft

As shown in the table above, the ji polearm has undergone changes throughout history, adapting to different eras and military needs. This weapon remains a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of ancient Chinese weapon makers.

Design and Specifications of the Ji Polearm

The ji polearm is a versatile weapon that showcases a unique design and specific specifications. It consists of a long wooden haft, typically around 7 to 9 feet in length, with a spear tip at one end and a crescent-shaped blade on one or both sides. This combination allows for a wide range of techniques in Chinese martial arts, making the ji polearm an essential weapon for practitioners.

The spear tip of the ji enables thrusting attacks, providing the advantage of long-range strikes against opponents. The crescent blades, on the other hand, are effective for chopping and hooking movements, adding versatility to the weapon. This design variation allows for both offensive and defensive maneuvers, making the ji polearm suitable for various combat situations.

When practicing with the ji polearm, practitioners learn different techniques that harness the weapon’s design. These techniques include thrusts, sweeps, slashes, and blocks, which require precise coordination and control. Footwork and body positioning also play a crucial role in proper execution of ji polearm techniques, as they enhance striking power and provide stability during combat.

The design and specifications of the ji polearm make it a formidable weapon in Chinese martial arts. Its long reach, combination of spear and blade, and versatile techniques contribute to its effectiveness in combat scenarios. Whether used for training purposes or self-defense, the ji polearm continues to be appreciated for its craftsmanship, historical significance, and practical application in martial arts.

Craftsmanship and Materials of the Ji Polearm

Detailed crafting of Ji Polearm

The ji polearm is renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship and the use of high-quality materials. Every aspect of its design is carefully constructed to ensure both durability and functionality. Let’s delve into the detailed craftsmanship and production techniques that make the ji polearm a true work of art.

The haft of the ji polearm is made from top-grade wood that is selected for its strength and flexibility. To enhance its durability, the wood is coated with a layer of black lacquer, providing both protection and an elegant finish. The haft is skillfully carved and shaped to achieve the optimal balance and grip for wielding the polearm.

The spear tip and crescent blades of the ji are forged from folded high carbon steel, a material known for its exceptional strength and edge retention. The intricate process of folding the steel creates a pattern that not only enhances its visual appeal but also adds resilience to the blade. This meticulous craftsmanship ensures that the ji polearm can withstand rigorous use in combat and practice.

Additionally, the solid brass castings on the haft add a touch of sophistication to the overall design of the ji polearm. These decorative elements not only enhance its aesthetic appeal but also serve as a testament to the skill of the craftsmen who created them. The combination of premium wood, folded high carbon steel, and brass castings exemplifies the attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into producing a ji polearm of exceptional quality.

Table: Material Specifications of the Ji Polearm

Component Material
Haft High-quality wood coated with black lacquer
Spear tip and crescent blades Folded high carbon steel
Decorative castings Solid brass

Historical Usage of the Ji Polearm

The ji polearm has a long and storied history in ancient China, being used by various military units and warriors throughout different dynasties. It was a versatile weapon that played a significant role on the battlefield.

During the Zhou dynasty, infantry, cavalry, and charioteers utilized the ji polearm in warfare. Its multiple means of attack, including the side blades, spear tip, and rear counterweight, allowed for a wide range of offensive and defensive maneuvers. The ji was particularly effective in close combat situations, providing warriors with a versatile tool to engage with the enemy.

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From the Zhou dynasty to the Qing dynasty, the ji polearm remained a popular weapon among different military forces in ancient China. It was used by generals, soldiers, and even legendary figures who were known for their skill and tactical prowess. The ji polearm’s historical usage reflects its effectiveness and importance in battle throughout Chinese history.

To gain a deeper understanding of the historical usage of the ji polearm, refer to the table below:

Period Users Significance
Zhou dynasty Infantry, cavalry, charioteers Widely used on the battlefield
Three Kingdoms period Lü Bu and other renowned warriors Associated with legendary figures
Ming dynasty Imperial troops Continued usage in different military campaigns
Qing dynasty Manchu warriors Adopted by the ruling class and used in imperial armies

As seen in the table, the ji polearm was used extensively in different periods and by various users, solidifying its historical significance as a formidable and respected weapon in ancient China.

Famous Figures and the Ji Polearm

The ji polearm has a long and storied history in ancient China, and it is associated with legendary figures who wielded the weapon with great skill and prowess. One such figure is Lü Bu, a renowned warrior from the Three Kingdoms period. Lü Bu was known for his extraordinary combat abilities, and his proficiency with the ji polearm was unparalleled. His exploits and battles were immortalized in the classic Chinese novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” solidifying his place in history as a legendary ji polearm wielder.

“Lü Bu’s skill with the ji polearm was unmatched, and his weapon technique struck fear into the hearts of his enemies,” said renowned Chinese historian Professor Zhang.

In addition to Lü Bu, other famous warriors throughout Chinese history have been associated with the ji polearm. These include Guan Yu, a general from the Three Kingdoms period, and Zhang Fei, another warrior renowned for his strength and bravery. These legendary figures contributed to the ji polearm’s iconic status and its enduring place in Chinese martial arts and historical warfare.

Impact of Legends

The legends surrounding the ji polearm and its famous wielders have had a significant impact on its cultural significance. The tales of bravery, skill, and strategic acumen associated with the ji have elevated its reputation in Chinese history and martial arts. These legends inspire admiration and respect for the weapon, and they continue to fascinate enthusiasts and practitioners of Chinese martial arts around the world.

Famous Wielder Period Notable Achievements
Lü Bu Three Kingdoms Feared warrior whose skill with the ji was unmatched
Guan Yu Three Kingdoms Highly respected general and sworn brother of Liu Bei
Zhang Fei Three Kingdoms Famed warrior known for his great strength and bravery

Polearm Training and Techniques: Mastering the Art of Combat

polearm training

When it comes to polearm fighting and self-defense, the ji polearm is a formidable weapon that requires skill and precision to wield effectively. Training with the ji polearm is a crucial part of many Chinese martial arts, as it develops not only physical strength and coordination but also mental discipline and focus. Practitioners learn a wide range of techniques, from strikes and blocks to footwork patterns, unlocking the full potential of this versatile weapon.

One of the key advantages of the ji polearm is its long reach, which allows practitioners to keep opponents at a distance while delivering powerful strikes. The spear tip is perfect for thrusting attacks, while the crescent blades can be used for chopping and hooking maneuvers. This combination of offensive and defensive techniques makes the ji polearm a highly effective weapon in combat situations.

“The ji polearm offers a unique experience in weapon training. Its length and versatility provide a tactical advantage, while the techniques and footwork involved require discipline and precision.” – Master Li, Imperial Combat Arts

Training with the ji polearm not only hones physical attributes but also cultivates mental fortitude and adaptability. Practitioners learn to anticipate and react to different attack patterns, developing quick reflexes and strategic thinking. This comprehensive training prepares individuals for real-life self-defense scenarios, where the ji polearm can be an effective and reliable tool.

Benefits of Ji Polearm Training:

  • Enhances combat skills, including striking, blocking, and maneuvering techniques
  • Develops strength, coordination, and agility
  • Cultivates discipline, focus, and mental fortitude
  • Prepares individuals for self-defense situations

Mastering the art of polearm combat with the ji polearm requires dedication, practice, and guidance from experienced instructors. Whether you are a martial arts enthusiast seeking to expand your knowledge or someone looking to learn practical self-defense skills, training with the ji polearm offers a unique and rewarding experience.

Polearm Weapons in Chinese History

Ancient Chinese history is rich with a diverse range of polearm weapons, each with its own unique design and purpose. These polearms played a vital role in warfare, providing increased reach and versatility compared to shorter weapons. Let’s explore some of the most prominent polearm varieties used throughout Chinese history:


The guandao, also known as the “martial halberd,” is a long-handled polearm with a wide, crescent-shaped blade mounted on one end. It originated during the early Qing dynasty and was primarily used by foot soldiers. The guandao’s design allowed for devastating slashing attacks and effective disarming techniques. It was commonly used to counter cavalry charges, making it an invaluable weapon on the battlefield.


The qiang is a spear-like polearm that dates back to the Zhou dynasty. It consists of a long shaft with a spearhead at one end and a counterweight or blade at the other. The qiang was a versatile weapon used by both foot soldiers and cavalry. It could be used for thrusting attacks, as well as sweeping strikes and hooks. The qiang’s length and maneuverability made it ideal for engaging enemies from a distance while maintaining control over the battlefield.


The glaive, known as the “long-handled blade,” is a polearm with a single-edged blade mounted on a long shaft. It has a similar shape to a traditional European halberd but with distinct Chinese characteristics. The glaive was commonly used by elite infantry units and bodyguards in ancient China. Its design allowed for powerful slashing and chopping attacks, making it a formidable weapon in close-quarters combat.

Polearm Description Primary Use
Guandao A long-handled polearm with a wide, crescent-shaped blade Counter cavalry charges and slashing attacks
Qiang A spear-like polearm with a shaft, spearhead, and counterweight or blade Thrusting attacks and sweeping strikes from a distance
Glaive A polearm with a single-edged blade mounted on a long shaft Powerful slashing and chopping attacks in close-quarters combat

These polearm weapons, among others, played a significant role in shaping ancient Chinese warfare and martial arts. Their unique designs and versatile capabilities made them essential assets for military strategies and personal combat. Today, the legacy of these polearm weapons continues in the practice of Chinese martial arts, where practitioners study and master the techniques associated with these ancient weapons.

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Polearm Training at Imperial Combat Arts

martial arts training

At Imperial Combat Arts, we are proud to offer comprehensive polearm training as part of our advanced weapon study program. Our polearm classes provide students with the opportunity to learn the techniques and forms associated with polearm weapons, including the ji polearm. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner, our training program is designed to cater to all skill levels and help you develop proficiency with this ancient weapon.

Our polearm training focuses on developing strength, coordination, and skillful wielding of the weapon. Through a combination of drills, forms, and matching exercises, we aim to refine your technique and prepare you for combat situations. Our experienced instructors will guide you through a structured curriculum that covers a wide range of polearm techniques, ensuring you gain a comprehensive understanding of the weapon and its applications in martial arts.

Whether you are interested in polearm training for self-defense, historical preservation, or simply to expand your martial arts repertoire, our classes provide a supportive and challenging environment for growth. The discipline and focus cultivated through polearm training extend beyond physical technique, helping to develop mental fortitude and resilience. By immersing yourself in our polearm training program, you will acquire valuable skills that can be applied both inside and outside the training hall.

Experience the Art of Polearm Wielding

Our polearm classes at Imperial Combat Arts offer a unique opportunity to experience the art and techniques of polearm wielding. You will learn the intricacies of footwork, striking, blocking, and maneuvering with the ji polearm, honing your skills and mastering the weapon’s capabilities. Our dedicated instructors provide personalized guidance and feedback to ensure you progress effectively in your training journey.

Join us at Imperial Combat Arts and embark on a transformative martial arts experience through our polearm training classes. Discover the beauty and power of the ji polearm and unlock your potential as a skilled polearm practitioner.

Benefits of Polearm Training

Training with the ji polearm offers numerous benefits for practitioners. Not only does it strengthen the body and improve coordination, but it also enhances combat skills and cultivates important qualities for martial artists. Let’s explore the key benefits of polearm training:

1. Physical Conditioning and Coordination

Polearm training utilizes the weight and length of the weapon to build muscle strength and endurance. The repetitive movements and techniques involved in wielding the ji polearm help develop coordination, agility, and balance. This type of training targets multiple muscle groups, including the arms, shoulders, core, and legs, resulting in an overall improvement in physical fitness.

2. Enhanced Combat Skills

Polearm training equips practitioners with effective techniques for striking, blocking, and maneuvering in combat situations. By mastering the various strikes, thrusts, and sweeps of the ji polearm, individuals gain a deeper understanding of timing, distance, and angles of attack. This level of weapon proficiency translates into improved self-defense capabilities and the ability to effectively engage opponents wielding different types of weapons.

3. Mental Discipline and Focus

Martial arts training with the ji polearm requires focus, discipline, and mental fortitude. Practitioners must concentrate on executing precise techniques, maintaining situational awareness, and adapting to changing circumstances. This level of mental discipline fosters improved concentration, self-control, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. The demanding nature of polearm training promotes resilience and perseverance, nurturing a strong mind-body connection.

In summary, polearm training offers a unique combination of physical conditioning, combat skills, and mental discipline. It provides practitioners with a well-rounded martial arts experience, enabling them to develop strength, coordination, and weapon proficiency. Whether for self-defense or personal growth, the benefits of polearm training extend far beyond the training mat.

Polearm Drills and Forms

polearm drills and forms

Training with the ji polearm involves a variety of drills and forms that are designed to develop muscle memory, improve technique, and build endurance. These exercises are essential for mastering the ji polearm and becoming proficient in its use.


A wide range of drills can be practiced with the ji polearm, each focusing on specific movements and combinations. These drills help practitioners develop precision, speed, and coordination in their techniques. Some common drills include:

  • Polearm Strikes: This drill involves practicing various striking techniques with the ji polearm, such as overhead strikes, thrusts, and sweeping attacks. It helps improve accuracy and power in striking.
  • Footwork Drills: Footwork is crucial in polearm combat. Practitioners practice different footwork patterns, such as advancing, retreating, and sidestepping, while executing techniques with the ji polearm.
  • Blocking and Parrying: This drill focuses on defensive techniques, teaching practitioners how to effectively block and parry attacks using the ji polearm. It improves timing, reflexes, and defensive capabilities.


Forms in polearm training are sequences of techniques that are strung together in a flowing and dynamic routine. They help practitioners develop fluidity, rhythm, and control in their movements. Some popular forms associated with the ji polearm include:

  1. Five Elements Form: This form incorporates the five traditional elements of Chinese martial arts – earth, water, fire, wood, and metal – into a series of techniques. It focuses on the balance between offense and defense, and the harmonious flow of movements.
  2. Dragon Form: This form mimics the agile and powerful movements of a dragon. It emphasizes speed, flexibility, and coordination, while incorporating a wide range of striking, blocking, and sweeping techniques.
  3. Flowing River Form: This form is characterized by its fluid and continuous movements, inspired by the gentle flow of a river. It emphasizes smooth transitions between techniques and the seamless integration of offensive and defensive maneuvers.

Regular practice of drills and forms is crucial for mastering the ji polearm and becoming proficient in its use. These training methods not only improve physical techniques but also cultivate discipline, focus, and mental fortitude, essential qualities for any martial artist.

Polearm Matching and Sparring

polearm matching and sparring

When it comes to mastering the ji polearm, one must not only focus on technique but also train in realistic combat scenarios. Polearm matching and sparring sessions provide practitioners with the opportunity to put their skills to the test and apply their techniques in a controlled environment. These sessions are essential for developing agility, timing, adaptability, and the ability to read an opponent’s movements.

During polearm matching, practitioners engage in intense and aggressive exchanges, simulating real combat situations. The goal is to strike, block, and counterattack with precision and efficiency. Safety is prioritized through the use of padded training weapons and protective gear, ensuring that participants can fully commit to their movements without the risk of serious injury.

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In addition to polearm matching, sparring allows practitioners to refine their combat skills and strategy. Through sparring, practitioners learn to anticipate and react to their opponent’s actions, honing their ability to make split-second decisions. It also helps build stamina, as sparring sessions can be physically demanding.

Benefits of Polearm Matching and Sparring

Polearm matching and sparring offer numerous benefits for practitioners. First and foremost, they provide a platform for practitioners to test and improve their skills in a controlled environment. By facing opponents with different styles and techniques, practitioners can broaden their understanding of the ji polearm and gain invaluable experience.

Furthermore, polearm matching and sparring sessions enhance physical fitness and coordination. The fast-paced nature of combat simulations requires practitioners to move quickly, react promptly, and maintain balance and stability. Regular practice in these scenarios helps develop strength, speed, and agility.

Lastly, polearm matching and sparring contribute to the development of mental fortitude and discipline. The intense nature of combat simulations challenges practitioners to remain focused and composed. It teaches them to control their emotions, think strategically, and adapt to changing circumstances, essential qualities for any martial artist.

Polearm Versus Other Weapons

When comparing the ji polearm to other weapons, it becomes clear that its design and versatility give it a distinct advantage in combat. While the spear tip allows for precise thrusting attacks, the crescent-shaped blades provide excellent chopping and hooking capabilities. This combination of striking options gives the ji polearm an edge over weapons that are limited in their functionality.

One of the key strengths of the ji polearm is its ability to engage with different types of weapons. Whether facing swords, axes, or other traditional melee weapons, practitioners of the ji polearm are trained in specific techniques to counter and neutralize their opponents. This comprehensive approach to weapon interaction ensures that the ji polearm remains effective in a variety of combat scenarios.


Polearm: Ji Sword Axe
Combination of thrusting, chopping, and hooking attacks Primarily slashing and thrusting attacks Primarily chopping and hacking attacks
Long reach for keeping opponents at a distance Shorter reach, requiring closer proximity Shorter reach, requiring closer proximity
Versatile techniques for engaging multiple opponents May struggle when facing multiple opponents simultaneously May struggle when facing multiple opponents simultaneously
Effective against both armored and unarmored opponents May require greater strength to penetrate armor May require greater strength to penetrate armor

“The ji polearm offers a unique set of advantages when compared to other weapons. Its combination of thrusting, chopping, and hooking attacks provides a versatile range of striking options. Additionally, the long reach of the ji allows users to keep opponents at a distance, reducing the chances of being disarmed or injured. This advantage becomes particularly relevant when facing opponents wielding shorter weapons, such as swords or axes. The ji’s ability to engage multiple opponents simultaneously also sets it apart, as practitioners are trained in techniques that allow for effective defense and counterattacks against multiple threats. Furthermore, the ji polearm’s effectiveness against both armored and unarmored opponents makes it a formidable weapon in various combat situations.”


The ji polearm’s unique design and versatility make it a formidable weapon in combat, particularly when compared to other weapons. Its combination of thrusting, chopping, and hooking attacks, along with its long reach, provides practitioners with a distinct advantage over opponents wielding different types of weapons. The ji polearm’s effectiveness in engaging multiple opponents simultaneously and its ability to penetrate armor further highlight its strengths. Whether in historical warfare, martial arts training, or survival situations, the ji polearm continues to be a valued weapon for its versatility and tactical superiority.

Survival and Hunting Applications

survival and hunting

The ji polearm, with its versatile design and functionality, can be a valuable tool for survival and hunting. The spearhead of the ji provides a reliable and adaptable tool for various scenarios in the wilderness.

When it comes to survival, the ji polearm can be used for fishing, hunting, and defending against aggressive animals. The spearhead can be used to catch fish in rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water. Its sharp and pointed tip allows for precise and effective strikes, increasing the chances of a successful catch.

Additionally, the ji polearm can serve as a valuable hunting tool. Spear hunting is an ancient practice that continues today, and the ji’s spearhead is well-suited for this purpose. Its long reach and piercing tip make it effective for taking down small to medium-sized game, providing a reliable means of securing food in a survival situation.

Furthermore, the ji polearm can be used for self-defense against aggressive animals while in the wilderness. Its length and spearhead allow for powerful thrusts and strikes, providing a means to ward off potential threats. The ji’s versatility makes it an ideal tool for staying safe and protected in survival scenarios.

Survival and Hunting Applications – Table 14.1

Applications Benefits
Fishing Effective for catching fish in rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Hunting Well-suited for spear hunting, allowing for accurate strikes and takedowns of small to medium-sized game.
Self-defense Provides a means of warding off aggressive animals, ensuring personal safety in survival situations.

Overall, the ji polearm’s survival and hunting applications make it a versatile and essential tool for outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers, and those seeking to increase their self-reliance in the wilderness.


In conclusion, the ji polearm is a remarkable weapon that encompasses a rich history and exquisite craftsmanship. Its unique combination of a spear and a halberd has made it a versatile and formidable tool on the battlefield for over 3000 years.

Not only has the ji polearm played a significant role in ancient Chinese warfare, but it also continues to be utilized in Chinese martial arts for training purposes today. Its design and specifications, including the long wooden haft, spear tip, and crescent-shaped blades, enable practitioners to unleash a diverse range of techniques in combat.

The ji polearm’s historical usage, association with legendary figures, and its place in various dynasties exemplify its iconic status. Furthermore, its practical applications extend beyond combat, as it can be used for survival, hunting, and self-defense.

All in all, the ji polearm stands as a testament to the ingenuity and skill of ancient Chinese weapon makers. Its enduring appeal and legacy in martial arts make it a captivating weapon for enthusiasts worldwide.

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