Shaolin Weapons have great variety. According to the legend, after the thirteen staff bearing monk soldiers rescued the Qin prince Li Shimin in the fighting against the Sui general Wang Shichong, the relations between the Shaolin Temple and the Imperial Court became very close. The Imperial Court often sent generals and officers to the Shaolin Temple to learn Kung Fu from the monk soldiers. At the same time, the Imperial generals and officers also brought their own Martial Arts skills to the temple. General Guan Yunchang, Cheng Yaojin, Luo Cheng, Gao Huide and the yang family members, for instance, taught the Shaolin Monks their characteristic fighting skills with the broadsword, the crescent axe, the plum blossom spear and the black tiger hammer.
All these weapons were skillfully mastered by the Shaolin fighting monks. After repeated practice and research, Shaolin fighting monks developed many different weapons and create their unique styles. The variety of Shaolin weapons eventually increased to over 120 after the Song dynasty. Now the spear, sword, staff, broadsword, monk's spade, straight sword, cane and 9 section whip are in common use.
(Excerpt from 'Shaolinwolf')