The Chinese Emei Daggers

Emei Piercers
Emei Piercers


Chinese Wushu Emei Daggers (峨嵋刺), also known as piercers, hold a significant place in the rich history and tradition of Chinese martial arts. These unique weapons exemplify the intricate skills and combat techniques practised in the ancient art form of Wushu.

Historical Significance

Wushu, a term encompassing various Chinese martial arts disciplines, traces its roots back thousands of years. Its earliest forms emerged during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) as a means of self-defence and military training.

As martial arts evolved, weapons were incorporated into combat techniques. Various types of traditional weapons emerged, each with unique characteristics and styles.

Emei Daggers derive their name from Emei Mountain, one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains (Emei, Wutai, Putuo, and Jiuhua) in China. Located in Sichuan Province and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Emei Mountain is renowned for its cultural, spiritual, and martial arts heritage.

Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area
Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area – Copyright: © Aneta Ribarska

The Emei Daggers are closely associated with the Emei Sect known as Emei Menpai (门派), a fictional martial arts school founded by Guo Xiang and mentioned in several works of “martial heroes”, a genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China.

In reality, it is also one of the leading schools in Chinese martial arts and survives till present-day. A prominent Buddhist sect was established on Emei Mountain during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). The sect integrated martial arts into their practices, leading to the development of specialized techniques with the Emei Daggers.

Mount Emei Scenic Area -Ko Hon Chiu Vincent
Mount Emei Scenic Area –Copyright: © Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

Emei’s martial arts range from powerful inner energy skills to use of weapons and unarmed combat. They encompass the “Twelve Movements” (動功十二桩) and the “Six Specially Mastered Skills” (靜功六大專修功). The main weapon used by Emei members is the sword. They use needles and hairpins, called the “Prick of Emei” (峨嵋刺) or “Jade Maiden Hairpin” (玉女簪), as projectile weapons to throw at enemies.

The “Prick of Emei” and “Jade Maiden Hairpin” not only demonstrate the martial prowess of Emei practitioners but also reflect the unique characteristics of the Emei martial arts style. These projectiles symbolize the integration of elegance and deadly precision within Emei’s combat techniques.

Emei Daggers

Emei Daggers are one of the rarest and more versatile weapons of Chinese Martial Arts. Used by Wushu and Shaolin Kung Fu, they hold a special place in Wushu weaponry due to their historical significance and distinct features.

Emei Daggers consist of a rod of metal with a spike on either end, typically made from high-quality steel, known for their durability and sharpness. Their size varies by design, but most modern ones are around 30-32 cm long and feature a slender, double-edged blade with a central ridge and a distinctive taper towards the tip.

Emei stab, a martial artist’s secret weapon – Source: China Plus

The hilt of the Emei Dagger is often crafted from materials like wood, ivory, or metal. The hilt design provides a firm grip, ensuring precise control during combat. The guard, positioned between the hilt and the blade, protects the hand from enemy strikes.

Emei Daggers are predominantly used in Wushu routines and forms in what is called as “open palm” technique. Martial artists showcase their agility, precision and coordination expertise in wielding these weapons through intricate movements, spins, and strikes, combining both offensive and defensive techniques.

Young kung fu master demonstrates Emei Piercers skills A kung fu master demonstrates her skills with Emei Piercers, a traditional Chinese martial arts equipment.

Emei Daggers are sometimes used in combination with other traditional weapons, such as spears or swords. The combination of weapons allows for a versatile and comprehensive combat approach.


In modern times, Wushu has gained worldwide recognition as a sport and performance art. Emei Daggers continue to be used in Wushu competitions, captivating audiences with their mesmerizing techniques and choreography.

Emei Daggers are not only weapons but also symbols of ancient traditions and cultural significance and they play a crucial role in the preservation and promotion of Chinese culture. Their inclusion in Wushu routines and demonstrations highlights the precision, agility, and control required to wield them effectively.

They embody the artistry, discipline, and expertise inherent in Wushu, captivating enthusiasts and spectators alike. With their origins connected to the Emei Sect and the picturesque Emei Mountain, these daggers embody the rich cultural heritage of China.

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