Weapon forms introduce students to the various weapons found in Seven Stars Praying Mantis. Weapons act as an extension of ourselves and therefore increase our range. Weapons develop strength, focus and co-ordination. Before starting to practice weaponry the student must possess a good standard of jibengong or ‘basic training’. Each form has techniques that are unique to that particular weapon. This increases the student’s knowledge of the way it was meant to be used. As the student progresses the complexity of the weapons and their forms increase. There are also a numerous amount of two person weapons forms. Combined, these single person and partner forms along with Da gan (long pole) and Da qiang (long spear) training provide the basis of all weapon fighting skills and techniques.
In Chinese martial arts weaponry is divided into four categories:
- Long weapons – stick, staff, spear, awl, pike, long spear etc.
- Short weapons – short stick, broadsword, straight sword etc.
- Flexible weapons – sweepers, two-sectional staff etc.
- Twin weapons – which are used in pairs i.e. double hooks.
Later, two-person weapon sparring forms are also taught.