Are there any Eastern arts that utilize a shield with a sword or a spear?

4 Answers 4


Okinawan kobudo (weapons training) has a short-spear and shield combination called the tinbe (shield) and rochin (shortspear). Purportedly, the shield was made of a tortoise shell, which is now illegal, causing modern versions to be made from plastic.

The tradition of Okinawan weapons is often associated with Okinawan and Japanese karate but it is also studied independently in traditions such as that of Shinken Taira (pictured below). Tinbe/rochin practice is less common among karateke than practice of sai, bo, and so on.

Shinken Taira, Okinawan kobudo guru, brandishing a tinbe and rochin

  • Are either practiced in the States?
    – Btuman
    Sep 9, 2013 at 13:58
  • Yes, in a few Okinawan/Japanese karate dojo, and by the (quite rare) kobudo teachers. Sep 9, 2013 at 17:27

Krabi Krabong the tradtional weapons art from Thailand has a panoply of arms, including different shields.

The shields are usually combined with offensive weapons. During a fight/show the participants often switch weapons/shields or pick up weapons others dropped. Thus many combinations are possible.

Two different shields used in Krabi Krabong


Shields were used historically in Chinese martial arts, made of woven stems such as rattan, or wood covered in leather, in various sizes and designs.

In Shaolin Kung-Fu, a round rattan shield (Tengpai) is sometimes used with the single-edged sword (dao).

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The Indian MA Kalaripayattu focuses on weapons and includes shield combined with various weapons, to include sword and spear.

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