About This Course

This course contains a one hour & 15 minute presentation by Sifu Paolillo on the 4 Major Weapons of Kung Fu.

In this lecture, Sifu discusses the practical and spiritual aspects of the 4 major traditional weapons of Chinese martial arts:  the staff, the broadsword, the straight sword and the spear.  These four weapons are considered the cornerstones of Kung Fu weapon training.  This talk is an introduction to weapons training and is the first part of a new tier on our online platform that will include weapons courses (expected in 2023).

In this lecture, Sifu talks broadly about many different subjects within the realm of internal martial arts, including:  history & lineage, different methods of spiritual cultivation, the importance of Qigong, Taoist theory & philosophy, and understanding martial arts as a holistic mind/body/spirit practice. This presentation includes demonstrations of each of the 4 major weapons by Sifu's assistant, Mela, as well as an introduction to the basic concepts and function of each weapon.  The demonstration concludes with the beautiful & unique 5 element form which combines all.

The true spirit of weapons training is far beyond just the practical aspects.  The weapons are a type of spiritual tool, through which we can channel our energy and intention, cast away shadows, and cut away ego.

There is much we can learn in working with weapons.  Some of the essential skills that weapon training develops include:  strengthening our intention by learning to extend and expand the energy past the body, whole body connection and unification with the weapon, and embodiment of the character of the elements as well as the spirit of the weapons themselves.  Weapons are an extension of empty hand training, and skill in weapons is interconnected with and built upon by a strong empty hand foundation. 

We hope that you enjoy this lecture, and that it helps you in deepening your understanding and practice of internal martial arts & qigong.

Please note that this lecture is only available "A La Carte" at this time.  It will eventually be included on a new tier of our Online Resource Library membership in 2023.

Four Major Weapons:  Spear, Staff, Straight Sword, Broadsword

Videos where Sifu performs the various weapons

Sifu's 1988 Video "The Essence of Movement" — in this video Sifu discusses the theory behind & shows improvised performances of the 4 major weapons 
A more current collage of movement showing some of Sifu's more recent weapon work

Different Classifications of Chinese Weapons

(Image excerpts from “The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts - 5000 Years” by Kang Gewu)

Which option is right for me?

Many of our courses & online resources are available to access either through the Online Resource Membership, or as a single course purchase option.  Here is how this works:

Online Resource Membership:

The Online Resource Membership is a monthly subscription that grants you access to the many resources currently available in our online library.  This library continues to expand and grow as time goes on.  Membership includes early access to courses as well as exclusive content that is not available in the "a la carte" section.  Currently there are two Tier options for membership.  Please visit the Online Resource Membership page to learn more.

Purchasing the Course:

Purchasing a course will give you continuous access to a single course.  There is no monthly fee after the initial purchase.  At this time, all courses are only accessible via our website and are not downloadable.


Sifu Frank J. Paolillo

Founder & Master Instructor

Sifu Frank J. Paolillo is the Founder and Master Instructor of the Tao Institute. With over fifty years of daily dedication and study in the martial arts, Sifu Paolillo brings a wealth of knowledge and depth of experience to his teaching and creative martial art work. Sifu’s focus is on cultivating the Tao as a way of life through internal martial arts, meditation, and qigong, and imparts to his students a true transmission of Tao through the training of form and formless.

Mela Carreira

Assistant Instructor

Mela is a dedicated student and assistant instructor to Sifu Paolillo. A martial arts practitioner since 2001, Mela was called to the internal arts and Asheville area in 2011, where she first began training at Tao Institute. Over the course of her training, Mela has come to understand, live by and deeply respect the philosophies of the martial arts and Tao in every day life. Mela teaches the entry level classes at Tao Institute and is a main assistant under the direct supervision of Sifu Paolillo in classes throughout the curriculum.