The rope dart is an ancient Chinese Martial Arts weapon, thought to have originally been developed for an infantryman to use against a cavalryman. Modern use today is all about whirling it around with precise control, almost like a choreographed dance form. The main parts are the weighted dart, rope, rings (allows the rope not to get twisted and tangled), and a silk cloth (serves to add drag to the flight of the dart, for greater control).
3/16 " diameter braided nylon cord - about 12 ft. (4 m)
3 to 5 split key rings - 1 inch (2.5 cm)
4 oz. bank fishing sinker (113 g)
pack of Size 1 barrel swivels (fishing gear)
standard bandana handkerchief (22 in. x 22 in., 56 cm)
roll of plastic electrical tape.
Step 1: Preliminary sizing of the cord length.
Hold the end of the cord in your left hand between the thumb and index finger. Loop the standing end of the cord around your right thumb, and bring it back again to your left hand. Extend your arms out at shoulder height as far as you can reach. Add 6 inches (15 cm) to the length and cut it. This is your preliminary working length.
Step 2: Attaching the rings.
A. Attach one split key ring to the top loop of the bank sinker. (Note - you can use a lighter sinker, 3, 2, 1 or 0.5 oz. if you are more comfortable with that weight as a practice dart. Wu Shu darts are about 7.5 oz.)
B. Attach the 2nd split key ring to the first.
C. Attach the 3rd spit key ring to the 2nd
D. Attach one end of the barrel swivel to the 3rd split key ring
E. (Optional - attach two spit key rings to the 2nd, being careful in their placement, to make a cruciform appearance once finished)
Step 3: Making the wrist strap.
Tie a slip knot in one end of the cord. Make sure that it will easily slide over your non-dominant hand ("weak hand") onto your wrist, but is not too tight. Leave about 2 inch (2.5 cm) of loose end. Wrap the loose end tightly with a short length of plastic electrical tape.
Step 4: Final sizing and attaching the dart.
A. With the wrist strap in place, tie an overhand knot into the free end of the barrel swivel with the standing end of the cord.
B. Extend your arms out at shoulder height, as far as you can reach. Hold the standing end in the web of your dominant ("strong") hand, allowing the dart to drop down to the floor.
C. The bottom of the dart should be about two to three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) from the floor. If it is not, adjust the length of the cord, then try measuring again.
D. Once the cord is the proper length, change the overhand knot to either a figure of eight knot or a square knot.
E. Cut the excess loose end of the cord, leave about 2 inch (2.5 cm) of loose end. Wrap the loose end tightly with a short length of plastic electrical tape.
Step 5: Attaching the bandana.
"Rat-tail" one corner of the bandana to make it thin and tight, like a cord. Tie that end with an overhand knot to the first split key ting that the dart is attached to. Wrap the knot tightly with a short length of plastic electrical tape.