A Monk spade, also called a Shaolin spade, is a Chinese polearm consisting of a flat spade-like blade on one end and a crescent-shaped blade on the other. In old China, Buddhist monks used to carry around spades for three purposes: Primarily used as a means of carrying burdens, the weight was distributed on both ends and the spade carried on the shoulders. Another use was to bury any corpses they came across on their travels and give them Buddhist rites; the last use was to fend off bandits if attacked (basically a shovel that doubles as a battle-axe and vice-versa). Eventually, they were stylized and given a crescent blade on the other end.
The weapon is most effective against the undead when used as a thrusting weapon (particularly to the face or cranium); it is slightly less effective as a slashing weapon, where attacks to the neck can sever the spinal column. Max Brooks controversially calls this the best hand-to-hand weapon in event of zombie outbreak since it combines the killing power of a katana with the range of a spear.
- Essentially a polearm; very effective for keeping zombies out of reach.
- Has two blades on either end so you can use both of those in combat, though this can make it more dangerous to the user, especially if the user lost their footing.
- The shovel part can (obviously) be used to bury dead corpses, though doing so would be extremely difficult, as the spade portion is shaped poorly, has to curve, and would provide no mechanical advantage to the user.
- Can be used to help carry supplies if on foot, though carrying supplies in this manner would quickly cause the user to become exhausted, due to hauling the weight far from the body and constantly balancing a shifting load; most loads would be difficult to attach to the spade as well, without being tied on, and would be equally difficult to remove if the spade were needed as a weapon.
- Bulky and sharp, so carrying it around will be hard.
- Very rare.
- Weighted and used differently from many other melee weapons. Somewhat steep learning curve.
- Difficult to conceal from other humans.