With delicate training, both wind and fire aligned jutsu may be fanned and amplified by the gunbai, increasing their destructive force minutely or exponentially depending on the fan's size. Due to it's broad and almost shield-like stature, the fan may also be used as an improvised shield from harm and, if needed, a bludgeon.
Despite the varying designs, regalia and artistry used, gunbai end to retain their gourd or hourglass-like structure. Sizes range drastically; the fan may be the size of a concealable, common table tennis racket to man-sized depending on the individual's tastes. The materials used during construction are commonly made of wood, solid metal of a mixture of both, making the gunbai a very robust tool.
Historically, gunbai were used by samurai warlords and officers in order to communicate orders to their troops in the midst of battle. In modern times they are now traditionally used by umpires at sumo wrestling matches to announce the victor.