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[Covet]: Ninja Weapons

A lethal arsenal of swords, butterfly knives, daggers, throwing stars, numchucks, and metal spike gauntlets.
By Jul 8, 2009 Shopping

"Covet" is a celebration of the mass accumulation of commodities. Basically, it's just seeing purchase-worthy stuff around Shanghai and sometimes purchasing it.

Item(s): A lethal arsenal of swords, butterfly knives, daggers, throwing stars, numchucks, and metal spike gauntlets.

Store: Various vendors around the market areas of the Yu Garden.

Cost: Swords (fake antiques: start at 100rmb; modern replicas: 150rmb); butterfly knives (start at 20rmb); throwing stars (depending on weight, variety, style: 10rmb to 90rmb); numchucks (varying on style and construction material -- foam-padded practice 'chucks: 40rmb, plain wooden ones: 15rmb, ornate ceremonial 'chucks: 90rmb; steel rod head-smashers: 75rmb); ridiculous 13th century Shredder gloves with clawed fingers and spiked knuckles (400rmb, starting price -- no bargaining).

This week we were just going to "covet" throwing stars -- or shrunken as they will hereafter be referred to (bitchin toys suitable for any age) -- but when we came across the variety of ninja-esque weaponry available at the Yu Garden markets, we decided it would probably be irresponsible of us to not dive in with what's out there and really stock up. Also, ninja stars are basically good for a distance assault, but what if you're in close-quarters combat?

Numchucks, my friend.

Before we get into this, I'm just going to mention one thing: I am by no means an expert on martial arts weapons, and I will therefore confuse throughout the course of this article, Japanese and Chinese culture, the weaponry of modernity with antiquity, fact with fiction, reality with wish fulfillment, and the movie franchise American Ninja with historical event.

I did, however, walk all over the Yu Garden markets today, bargaining and constructing a massive collection of ready-to-wear Ninja weapons.

Here is what I learned:

First, the good news: if you take the time to spend an afternoon shopping, you can pretty much construct your own sizable weapons cache -- suitable to just about anyone's training and killing style -- for only about 500rmb.

It's a matter of personal choice really, and whatever your own particular area of weapons proficiency is. For me personally, I went with about 10 ninja stars, a cheap, practice pair of numchucks, a nice, big boss showdown pair of numchucks, two swords (one for fighting, one for seppuku), a butterfly knife, a small little boot knife, and a big pair of spiked Shredder gloves.

I like to mix it up with a little of everything. But hey that's just me. That's just how I do.

Shopping route: You're going to start at the top of Fangbang Lu. That's usually where the taxis drop people off on their way to the Yu Gardens. That's that big gate thing -- you know what I'm talking about. Walk down there on your way to the Yu Temple thing or Garden thing or whatever that other main thing is that people go to.

About a block down you'll see a store dealing in numchucks. Skip it. Better numchucks later. Two doors down at a foldable table is my ninja throwing stars / butterfly knives guy. Start with him. He'll get you going on small, sharp-edged weaponry. He's a shifty, cagey little bastard, but if you show him you know all about concealed blades, he'll treat you for real and give you a good price. Get the heavy ninja stars. Buy, like, 10 or 15 of them. Have a look at the Japanese throwing star that looks like a weapon Predator would use. You like?

Across the street is swords and ridiculous metal Shredder gauntlets (main picture). The dude will try to sell you little jewelery boxes or some such shite, but if you stare at him hard enough he'll know you're there for cold steel. Swords start at 150rmb and up, and are a bit of a pain in the ass to get. Mostly they're ornamental, fake antiques, whereas you're going to want something more battle-ready. Shop around.

Go out down the street. Stop at the McDonald's. Have a rest. Maybe an ice cream. Go out, turn left on Jiujiaochang Lu. Walk down half a block and then turn left again on Chenxiange Lu. This is where all the numchucks are. There's also more of those army surplus stores, so you can get non-lethal ninja accessories like heat vision goggles, combat boots, pen knives, sunglasses, lazer pointers, and kites.

You will need a nice kite for that montage scene when you are with your woman, between assassination jobs. Eventually you will have to choose between your woman and your duty (I would always choose my duty), but the kite is nice for that period of calm romantic stability before it comes down to that.

Anyways, on Chenxiange Lu are all the numchucks. There's a lot. The store owners are a little more pushy in this area of the market but you have to respect their bravery -- at that point I was already carrying around my throwing stars, my swords, and wearing my Shredder gloves.

But that's pretty much it. Walk about the area, and if you get into it more, you might get better deals than I did. I was already blinded by bloodlust and probably paid more for some of the things than I should have.

Good luck. We'll probably be meeting eventually in a "showdown" situation.

I'll be ready.



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  • 108

    Great article, made my day! those ninja weapons really look badass, only thing missing for a \"real\" showdown is a proper ninja outfit.

  • Kiwib

    Primo article, I am totally going to stock up on Ninja hardware.. Here\'s hoping our hedge will protect the neighbors from my Shuriken practice.

  • mofo123

    i got a pair of the ridiculous spiked shredder gloves (or RSSGs) in beijing a few years ago for 200. i am sure u can find a similar deal here somewheres. there make great gifts and interesting in-flight conversation starters.... too bad you didnt get a picture of the predator style ninja stars.

  • Andy Best

    This is going to sound ridiculous, but, yes, Fangbang Lu is where I buy all my swords.

    Actual martial arts equipment shops on the mainland are chock full of \'modern wushu\' prop weapons that are often half size and/or so light and floppy that you can bend the blades around to touch the handles. So, to get a straight sword with a bit of weight to it we (students at our club) have to get the fake antique ones then customise the handles so they don\'t fall apart from actual use.

    The funny thing is that those swords all come from one factory in a town called Longquan, which was the historical place where the finest folded swords of ancient China were made. It\'s like spitting on their grave/reputation.

    I have another genuine tip: There\'s a factory/workshop in Songjiang that custom makes weapons. I had a three section staff done there. There are just off the Xinbang turnoff of the Hangzhou highway and I\'ll hook anyone up who needs something from there.

  • cutie angel

    you know what....I decided to buy a fake gun now!!

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