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The super duper uber looper Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Total posts: 119
Posted:Does anyone know of anywhere in New Zealand that I can get a traditional Rope Dart. There's a shop in Auckland city but I need a martial arts licence to purchase anything from them so that doesn't help. Any suggestions?
Don't make someone your priority if they only make you an option.
Rum-Swilling Combustioneer Location: Macungie, PA, USA
Total posts: 227
Posted:You can make one very easily.
The Rope Dart most people are familiar with (i.e. those from competitive wushu performances) are essentially a length of rope with... a dart on the end! The darts are typically a conical metal weight, or sometimes a pyramid. Performance darts also include a small sash, often red, fixed to the head - this makes the head much more visible to the audience. Some say in combat it was to distract the opponent, but I don't think that's historically credible, given that in combat you'd want the head to be less visible.
As far as making one, use a thick (9-13mm diam, I'd say, but whatever's comfortable for you), soft cotton rope (I emphasize soft, or you risk getting ropeburn and/or blisters when you first start out) - these rope darts are typically around 8-15 feet in length, if memory serves me correctly - it's best to have more rope than you need, 'cause you can always use less, but play around with it until you find what you want. Try to find something with minimal stretch; stretchy ropes lack finesse and can make wraps uncomfortable.
For the head, honestly, any weight will do, as long as it's heavy enough to gather some force and not get weighed down by the rope. My first Rope Dart was a padlock - for sparring we used hackey sacks. If you want it to look more authentic, you can find large fishing weights that really look the part (just make sure you find one that can be reliably attached; the split ring that comes with some will not stand up to the force of being thrown and yanked back repeatedly). If you really want it to look nice, new age shops often have very gorgeous pendula (sometimes a bit pricey) that, with slight modification, could make a stunning dart. For the sash, if you want one, any modest square of red cloth will do, I'd say 8"x8" or 10"x10" or so.
If you're looking to enter one of the aforementioned wushu competitions, you must check with the organizers as to specifications - a DIY dart may not meet their qualifications. If you're just looking to play with one, I see no justification for buying one, given the level of customization and ease of manufacture at your hands, especially considering that you're paying for nothing more than a bit of rope and a chunk of metal. But if you're going for traditional, the "traditional" dart has always been just rope, and a dart. The earliest such weapons (and, according to some research, the earliest compound weapons in China) were nothing more than round stones bound with vines or rope.
Just remember, if you do make it with a heavy, solid (aka metal) weight, they hurt. A lot. Your shins are vulnerable. And try to test your rope before you buy it - my first dart had this harsh, narrow rope - the bastard child of string and sandpaper - my hands were not pleased with me.
Otherwise, order online - I've had great customer service from Sakura martial arts for items like this.