Martial Arts From Ancient Manuals

Masters from hundreds of years ago in China wrote martial arts manuals to pass on their knowledge and skills. This website was created to share these manuals with all serious martial artists, so that we can pass on the legacy.

Access 9 historical Chinese martial arts manuals:

  • Long Saber (known as Dandao or Miaodao)

  • Long Spear

  • Crossbow (construction blueprint and shooting)

  • Shaolin Staff

  • Chinese War Sword (WWII weapon Dadao)

  • and others

Gain access to our library to download all for FREE.

   Most Popular   

Jian Jing

Sword Treatise

  俞大猷 (Yu Da-You) is a famous Ming-Dynasty General who defend China against the Japanese pirates invasion. General Yu studied martial arts in Shaolin Temple, and later wrote and compiled 正氣堂集 (Zheng Qi Tang Ji), "Compilation of Vital Energy". In his book, is a section called 劍經 (Jian Jing), "Sword Treatise".

It is a compilation of his martial arts knowledge, and contains very deep and in-depth concepts on weaponry combat. The fundamentals are taught through the Staff, the Chief of all weapons, so that these can later be applied onto wielding the sword

Dandao aka Miao Dao, The Chinese Long-Saber Ancient Manual

Dandao aka Miao Dao 

Chinese Long Saber

  Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) during the Ming Dynasty, when the Japanese pirates fought with the Ming soldiers. He was taught by 刘雲峰 (Liu Yun Feng), who learnt Japanese swordsmanship (Kenjutsu) directly from the Japanese.

  This 1.5 metres long weapon resembles closely to the Japanese Nodachi, which is a longer version of the Katana or Tachi.

Jian Chinese Straight Sword Ancient Manual


Long Straight Sword

  Extracted from a 400-years-old manual called 武備志 (Wu Bei Zhi) by Mao Yuan-Yi. The Jian Straight Sword techniques contained in it is believed to have been exported from China to Korea, then back to China again. It teaches the use of a 2-handed long double-edged straight sword.

  In the Korean ancient manual, Muye Dobo Tongji, there is an exact copy of this manual as well, just that it's depicted with figure drawings wearing Korean clothings.

   Short Weapons   

Dadao Chinese War Sword

  The Dadao 大刀 Chinese War Sword was made famous by the 29th Army of the Chinese Nationalist Army fighting against the Japanese during the 1930s. Legend has it that it's so effective that heads could be cut off easily with ease.


The 29th Army fought and held their position for 7 days and 7 nights at Xifengkou, killing 3000 enemies. However, in the 500 elite soldiers of the 大刀隊 (Dadao Dui) "Big-Saber Contingent", only 20 survived.

《鞭 / 𨰝》

Whip / Truncheon

  The Whip (鞭 Bian) is a bludgeoning weapon used against armoured soldiers, and shares many similarities with the Long-Saber.


This Whip manual was written by 程子頤 (Cheng Zi Yi). He is the nephew of Master Cheng Zong You, who famously wrote manuals on the Long-SaberSpear, and Shaolin Staff.


Shield and Wolf-Brush

  Two very important defensive tools in ancient Chinese warfare. 400-years ago in Ming-Dynasty China, two great manuals were written.

  • 紀效新書 (Ji Xiao Xin Shu) by General Qi

  • 武備志 (Wu Bei Zhi) by Mao Yuan-Yi


  These two great Chinese warfare manuals contained details of the combat usage of the 牌 (Pai) Shield and 狼筅 (Lang-Xian) Wolf-Brush, especially against the King of The Battlefield: The Spear.


Chang Qiang

Chinese Long Spear

  Written 400-years ago by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You), the same author for the Dandao & Shaolin Kung Fu Staff manual.

  This manual not only describes the combat usage of each stance, but also talks about principles and partnered drills.

E'mei Spear

  During the early Qing Dynasty, 程眞如 (Cheng Zhen Ru) travelled to the E'mei Mountain to learn the art of the Spear.

  This is a manual for the advanced martial artist. There are no pictures, and describes essential principles of using the weapon.

Shaolin Kung Fu Staff

  Written by 程宗猷 (Cheng Zong You) when the Japanese pirates fought with the Ming soldiers. The skilful Shaolin Monks fought along-side with the Ming soldiers too.

  This is an extensive in-depth manual with 3 volumes, that will benefit both the beginner & advanced martial artists.

Crescent Saber

  Commonly referred to as 偃月刀 (Yan Yue Dao), or 關刀 (Guan Dao), this is a long bladed polearm as famously wielded by General Guan Yu depicted in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This comes with a Horseback Crescent Saber chapter based on the Korean manual, Muye Dobo Tongji.

Chinese Halberd

  The earliest 戟 Halberd (Ji) were discovered by archaeologists in the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC). It served as an important military weapon during the Han Dynasty (202-220 BC). However, the Long-Spear eventually replaced it, and the Halberd was used more for ceremonies.

Long Shaft Axe

  Heavy and brutal, the Chinese Long Shaft Axe delivers a mean cleaving force at its enemies. 


  Its techniques are similar to the Chinese Long-Saber, but one must possess great strength to wield this heavy beast.


Korean Ancient Manuals

  武藝圖譜通志 (Muye Dobo Tongji) is a comprehensive illustrated Korean martial arts manual, commissioned by the Korean King Jeongjo in 1790. There are a total of 4 volumes in this manual, documenting 24 arts of the Korean military.

  Majority of the content are based on Ming Dynasty Chinese manuals.

Essentials of the Fist

  Highly essential for martial arts training, the Fist or empty-handed training serves as a foundation for using various weapons.

  In General Qi's 紀效新書 (Ji Xiao Xin Shu), he placed the Fist chapter at the last, after compiling the stances of various weapons. As such, the Fist chapter on this website shall also be placed at the last.

Foot-Drawn Crossbow


  Crossbows or ranged weapons are usually the first to be deployed against the enemy, then followed by melee weapons.

  This 400 years old Crossbow manual contains specific details for constructing your own Crossbow, as well as information on battlefield tactics. was created in 2010 by Jack Chen, to promote and preserve Chinese martial arts in ancient manuals.


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