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Training (fighting) with weapons is quite different from training empty handed (Taijutsu). Distance, judgment, precision and timing are just a few of the more critical factors, which must be carefully assessed so as not to hurt your opponent. Concentrating fully upon the moment and not letting ones mind wander while one has a weapon in hand is very important. Not taking the training experience seriously, one could end up maiming themselves or their opponent for life. Training with weapons demands that both combatants be mature enough to respect the potential of the weapons they hold and that horseplay will not be tolerated for even an instance. The saying, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye", vividly comes to life when facing an equally armed opponent.

Working with weapons helps to continue our ancient martial traditions as well as hone our Taijutsu (empty hand) techniques to a fine edge. Once someone trains with weapons for a while they see that their Taijutsu has improved considerably. This is because of the seriousness taken on by the artist for weapons sparring.

Following are a list of some of the more commonly used weapons of the ancient ninja. Some may appear to be in the wrong column but are grouped according to their major uses.

 

Shinken Gata

(Unarmed against an armed opponent)

 

In a street confrontation chances are that the would be attacker will be armed. Seeing how most of us carry no visible weapons we are prompted to use the best one in any situation, our minds.

 

When training against someone with a weapon it should be the same as training against an unarmed opponent. First and foremost we must control the degree of fear within ourselves. When attacked by an aggressor with a weapon the chances of getting cut or injured are greatly increased, this depending on skill levels of both the defender and attacker. Don't believe that you'll come away unscathed, even great masters are injured during battle. Takamatsu Sensei of the Togakure Ryu once had a fight against a master of the Musashi Ryu. The jujutsu master trapped and broke Takamatsu Sensei's arm. Takamatsu Sensei ignoring the pain threw his opponent and knocked him out thereby winning the contest.

 

When training against an armed adversary keep in mind that the weapon is not an extension of your (their) body. The weapon itself can't hurt you and feels no pain, so hitting it might not have any effect upon the situation the attacker could simply release the weapon and punch or kick you to defeat. When your opponent comes at you, seek a safe area inside the attack and strike his hand or wrist causing him to release the weapon from it's evil purpose, thus allowing it to be used by someone for a good cause.

 

Feedback.

If you have any ideas that you would like to share with me, do not hesitate to contact me on 01454-853508 or alternatively e-mail me at Ninjutsu@blueyonder.co.uk.

 

I hope you will continue to enjoy training.

 

John.

 

                                

Flexible Weapons

Kyoketsu Shoge

Hooked knife with weighted rope

Kusari Gama

Sickle with weighted chain

Kaginawa

Grappling hook with rope

Kusari Fundo

Weighted chain

Nawa

Rope

Stick Weapons

Bo

Staff

Hanbo

Cane (half staff)

Yari

Spear

Nyo Ibo

Heavy war club

Jutte

Truncheon

Tessen

Folding fan

Naginata

Halberd

Bladed Weapons

Shinobi Gatana

Ninja sword

Tanto

Knife

Yari

Spear

Naginata

Halberd

Shaken & Shuriken

Throwing blades

Specialty Weapons

Toami

Net

Yumi/Ya

Bow & arrows

Tetsubushi

Caltrops

Metsubushi

Blinders (smokes, etc.)

Shuko/Ashiko

Hand & foot claws

Fukiya

Blow gun

Tanegashima/Teppo

Firearms/cannons

 

Everyday Weapons

 

People often ask martial artists what the most versatile weapon to use is. Among the myriads of answers I've heard, not once did someone say that their mind was the best weapon they possessed.

 

By having a well-trained mind one is never at a loss for a weapon if ever in need of one. Hairbrushes, telephones, credit cards, paper, books, jewelry, umbrellas, the list could go on indefinitely. What? You ask yourself did he write down paper. Surprisingly paper has many combat uses which most people take for granted, one being used as a medium for information such as hate messages, false information, etc. or as a burning medium to start a fire. This all depends upon the ingenuity of the human mind. It is because of this adaptability that the ninja where able to utilize farming tools as formidable weapons against trained warriors when all weapons were banned in ancient Japan.