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The halberd in Chinese weaponry is referred to as dadao or pudao. There is another term, guandao, that refers to another style of weapon similar in shape to the dadao except it has a significant weight to it. The guandao was more used to test soldiers and officers for promotion based on their control of the weighty weapon.
Before the halberd was arranged into martial arts styles, it was a weapon used in the infantry of the military in various ages and places in the world. It was most commonly used as a "horse-cutter" sword, cutting the legs out from under a horse during battles. The reach of the weapon and weight of the blade gives the halberd a significant advantage in use as power is generated quickly through the momentum of striking movements.
The style teaches quick changes as the sword continues to move in large slashing, cutting, spinning, and sweeping techniques. Even though the dulled blade we use in training is much lighter than the historical guandao, the drills still require the use of two hands in fluid motions.
The halberd has been a symbol in legends as well as a practical choice in times of war. Today, this form gives us a practice that we use in order to condition the body with a long distance weapon. Using our body as a fulcrum, we can generate large amounts of power, and, with practice and accuracy, we can focus this power to the edge of the blade. Training includes body techniques that strengthen the strikes and emphasize the non-yielding nature of the halberd.
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