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What Are the Rings on the Chinese Broadsword For?

By Christopher Michael

The sword's rings slink and click in a choreographed Chinese Wushu exhibition. The acrobatic dance laced with deadly moves is enhanced by the jingling of the nine-ring Chinese broadsword. The origins of the rings remain a mystery, but they have uses outside of ornamental sound making. And some of those uses are lethal.

Evil Spirits

The Chinese believed that jingling bells warded off evil spirits, so wielding a nine-ring Chinese broadsword keeps bad luck and evil at bay. The rings make it impossible to put the sword in a sheath. Simply carrying the sword creates noise as you walk, alerting others that you're armed. And the rings also serve functional purposes -- inflicting more damage in combat, confusing enemies and giving you the ability to disarm your opponent. The rings add weight for powerful strikes and can enter the body to create carnage as the sword is pulled from the wound. The loud, piercing sounds can disorient your enemy and a skilled swordsman can use the rings to catch, chip or break an opponent's weapon.

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