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Sword Spotlight: The Chinese Shuang Gou

January 25, 2019

Sword Spotlight: The Chinese Shuang Gou

The shuang gou is a traditional Chinese sword used in martial arts. Also known as the hu tou gou, meaning "tiger head hook," it's characterized by a hook at the end, which martial arts practitioners use to trip their opponents. But like other traditional Chinese swords, the shuang gou has a rich history behind it.

Origins of the Shuang Gou

Historians continue to debate when and where exactly the shuang gou originated. The general consensus is that it first appeared somewhere in China, though its specific origins remain unknown. With that said, archeological evidence shows the shuang gou was present during China's Qing era. In the years to follow, the hook-bladed sword became more and more popular, with many martial arts encompassing their usage.

How the Shuang Gou Was Used

The shuang gou was used primarily for two purposes: combat and martial arts. Of these two purposes, however, the latter was far more prevalent. According to Wikipedia, Chinese soldiers used the shuang gou as a weapon. But because the shuang gou was a relatively rare sword when compared to other Chinese swords, combat usage wasn't very common. Instead, the shuang gou was used primarily in martial arts.

The unique design of the shuang gou made it a popular weapon for traditional Chinese martial arts. With its straight blade affixed with a hooked tip, practitioners could use it to perform a variety of maneuvers. Practitioners could use it to perform slashing attacks just like a regular sword, but they could also use the hooked tip to trip their opponents into submission.

How the Shuang Gou Was Designed

Although there are exceptions, most shuang gou swords were designed with a few similar characteristics. For starters, they all had a large handguard to protect the users hands from accidental self-injury. Second, they all had a hook at the tip, which as previously stated, was used in martial arts to trip opponents. Third, shuang gou swords were typically designed with links so that the practitioner could connect and use them together.

The shuang gou is just one of many swords originating from China. Others include the baguajian, baguadao, changdao, dadao, yanmaodao, wodao and taijijian. But the shuang gou stands our from these other swords by featuring a hooked design. In fact, it's one of the only traditional Chinese swords to feature a hook.

The shuang gou is still found in China as well as other regions today. And like in the past, it's used primarily for martial arts.

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