The Fēi Zhuǎ 飛爪 – Flying Claw – is never mentioned with more than a few words these days. The truth is that people no longer know what it is, or what it was used for. The weapon is simple, but its physical use can be complex and requires some serious training.
飛爪 Fēi Zhuǎ in Mandarin dialect
飛爪 Fei Jow in Cantonese dialect
The weapon/tool can be used by the Midnight Thief for scaling walls, trees etc. The most important historical use, however, was to catch and pull horsemen off their mount. The loose end of the rope was pinned to the ground and the claw used to catch the rider. As the horse continued on, the rider was jerked off his saddle, hopefully with a nasty wound to add to his fall. On the ground he could be dispatched with accordingly.
The weapon has a satisfying psychological aspect to it. Somehow it reaches down to our primeval responses and the thought of being raked by a rusty claw is just not appealing to the receiver.
For short range combat, the claw is held in the hand and used to rake the opponent in the soft areas of the body.