I got one of these for my birthday:
It's a rope dart. Somewhere along the lines of Chinese civilization, someone thought it would be a real hoot to tie a sharp, heavy metal object to a 15 foot section of rope and watch the fun ensue!
For a few years, I've been fascinated with the idea of learning to manipulate this weapon. Flow, angles and distancing all play very interesting roles with this weapon. What I've always found most interesting is how the rope is manipulated around the body with various wraps to maintain shorter distances and then rapidly releases to the full length and quickly brought back.
I'm not really approaching this from a traditional martial arts perspective. For me, this is really more of a "skill toy" such as poi or nunchaku. I get more out of the attributes that are built from using this weapon than being concerned with transmitting a historical or cultural preservation of the weapon. For me, this approach helps me more deeply appreciate planes of motion, linking movements, and performing techniques efficiently.
I'm going to stop this post now, before I go off on a tangent thinking about "traditionalism" and "practicality."