The Shaolin 9 Section Chain Whip

There are two versions of this chain, a lighter one (usually used in wushu exhibitions) and a heavier one used to all effects as a weapon.

It is an extremely dangerous weapon and can be handled only after a long workout with the elastic rope (first free and then with a light weight).

In 6DKF the first thing we learn is its “soft swinging”, then we switch to rigid rotations, to stopping, to achieve a static target (without getting hit bounce), a moving target… and gradually we come to the last stage, the motion of the dragon (but only after years of training).

The Shaolin 9 Section Chain Whip (Jiujiebian)

  • Type of weapon: flexible / soft
  • Used by: Shaolin monks (China)
  • Martial arts: Kung Fu (various styles, it is one of the 18 Shaolin weapons)
  • Diffusion level: medium-low (only in specific Kung Fu circles)
  • Cost: medium-medium-low cost

Technical characteristics

  • Composition: it is basically a series of 7-9 segments connected one to each other by 3-5 rings (as for the Meteor Hammer, the rings that are not used to connect, are made to help the flow of the movement); at the end, on one side there is a tip (cut in the training version), on the other the handle (covered with a band); a small colored flag is also attached to the tip part to make the motion more visible / hearable (during demonstrations and / or training sessions) and to add a better balance to the weapon
  • Materials: the entire structure is normally made of copper / iron / steel, then there is the fabric / plastic band over the handles and the fabric flag
  • Measures: generally the diameter of the sections (in the larger area) is 1-2 cm for the combat versions and 0.6-0.7 in the training ones; the diameter of the tip (in the larger area) is about 2-3 cm; each section is 10 cm and the total length is normally around 150 cm (but in some cases, it can vary depending on the school / practitioner); the training / exhibition version has almost the same length but the sections can also have half or 3/4 of the diameters previously declared
  • Weight: from a minimum of 400-500 g for the training / exhibitions versions (very fast) to the tremendous 1000-3000 g of the combat ones (very dangerous)

Combat performances

  • Speed: it is very fast to manage and to follow
  • Effectiveness: to make it useful in real combat it is necessary a high skill level (rare in our century)
  • Power: due to the inertia of the movements it gains a certain amount of power, enough to broke human bones
  • Advantages: medium-long range, fast, hard to follow with the sight and devastating impacts
  • Disadvantages: at close distance and / or grasped, it loses part of its effectiveness

Practical use

  • Self-defense: in the hands of a real expert, it is a potentially effective weapon, relatively easy to transport (in a pocket), able to scare most of the common aggressors but easy to recognize (too similar to a chain); in the hands of a beginner-intermediate level practitioner is more dangerous for him than for the eventual aggressors
  • Useful to: in training to develop high-quality spatial intelligence (read The most important skill in combat), to learn how to hit freehand (read The metal sphere: how to release the force of a punch or a kick) and to start to condition the strength of the arms (the inertia that it involves is very stressful for a not trained person)
  • Ideal environment: open areas, both in training, both in combat
  • Effective applications: against armed or unarmed opponents, to maintain the distance, to catch someone by surprise but even as an impact weapon (when folded) and as a strangling tool
  • How to evaluate the quality level: the metal must be good quality (filled and not too small, especially in the connection areas); the entire structure must resist to the tension that we can impress with our arms; the cover of the handle should not be folded with cardboard (under the fabric) and must not be easily uncovered

How to learn to use the 9 sections chain whip

Variants and related weapons


  • In China there are plenty of variation of this weapon, it is very hard to add them all
  • The dart rope – A very similar weapon but longer and with a rope instead of the chain
  • The training / exhibition version – It is the same but lighter and faster
  • The beginner training version – Instead of a metal head it is possible to use a tennis ball or a voluminous knot

Related weapons:

In-depth video courses

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Have you tried the whip chain? Do you have something to add?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

How to master 6 Dragons Kung Fu?

Are you searching for:

  • Daily training exercises?
  • Synthetic theory and concepts?
  • A step by step path from white to black belt?
  • A path (clear, consequential and gradual) designed to build real martial skills?
  • A direct contact with Master Kongling?

Go to our Patreon page and choose a training plan: starting from the Practitioner level, you will gain access to all this and much more.

Inside each Premium Lesson, you will receive the same teaching (practices, tips, concepts, small secrets and corrections) reserved to the live students of Master Kongling.

Important - Once a certain number of registrations are reached, no other participants can be accepted. For more information write to: [email protected].

Support us (1€ / month):