One of the five major martial arts weapon categories (see subcategory Martial Arts Weapons) are the projectile weapons. They are also sometimes known as hidden weapons because of how they would often be concealed on a person before being thrown.
The most well-known projectile is the knife, whether it was used in entertainment, sport or combat. The Japanese projectile shuriken (ninja-throwing stars) also has received a lot of notoriety in the West because of its popularity in film and television in the 1980s.
A weakness of projectile weapons is that if the thrower misses the target, he is now weaponless. Generally, warriors carried a backup edged or blunt weapon to use after throwing their projectile. However, some practitioners would attach the projectile to a chain or rope in order to retract it after it was thrown. This is a martial arts weaponry skill in itself.
Commonly used martial arts projectile weapons include darts, flying locust stones, bow and arrows, sleeve swords, wolf-teeth hammers, nine-section whip, double-flying claws, dragon-head stick, flying weights, meteor balls, rope javelins or rope darts, and throwing axes.
– November 8, 2011