SNARED and SNAGGED… SASUMATA Style indeed. Unique and Classic Weapons of Ancient Japan. Ninjutsu has become synonymous with unusual weaponry. This is derived in essence, from NINPO. Whereby nothing, something, anything and everything is a weapon…or can be…or not. Unusual or unique weaponry examined herein. Some indeed full of surprise it seems. 9 OF Shiro’s select. Photos galore.
NINPO LEGENDS ARTICLE.
WEAPONS INTEL #2
9 UNIQUE AND CLASSIC
WEAPONS OF ANCIENT JAPAN.
Ninjutsu has become somewhat synonymous with unusual
weaponry. This is derived in essence, from NINPO.
Whereby nothing, something, anything
and everything is a weapon…or can be…or
Unusual or unique weaponry
truly has a long history and connection
ALL over the World.
ANCIENT MAP OF THE WORLD…ASIAN STYLE…
9 Unique and Classic Weapons of Ancient Japan.
Wherever we so fight…they may be…
in some form.
1. The SHURIKEN.
1. The SHURIKEN…: The linkueininja collection. Showing several variety of star or projectile type. Can also be bladed. The iconic ‘ throwing star ‘; SHURIKEN’s literal meaning is ‘ palm blade ‘. In olden times too, the SHURIKEN was often referred to as a ‘ hibuki/kakushibuki ‘ or ‘ secret/concealed ‘ type Weapon. Oft. carried in loosely tied packs/bundles within one’s clothes. A distracting/hindering weapon in concept though other uses such as aiding punching/striking/blocking are noted. The art of use soon became a Tradition, usually being referred to as SHURIKEN JUTSU. They appear first chronicled around 1080 ish, being referred to as ‘ shuriken ni utsu ‘ in the HIYORI no KI which describes events of the Later Three Years War ‘ Gosannen no Eki ‘. An olden RYU still continuing the Tradition is that of the MEIFU SHINKAGE RYU. Many of the techniques inherent mainly involve both Sword and SHURIKEN, in combination or consecutive movements/actions. Btw…BOTH of these weapons…Can be used/thrown to surprising effect…or to effect surprise indeed. photocredit/thanks:thelinkueininja
SHURIKEN + co…MODERN REPRODUCTIONS… LARGE VARIETY PACK… photocredit/thanks:voanews
2. The SASUMATA.
2. The SASUMATA… photocredit/thanks:wikimedia
GOTCHA…the SASUMATA ( and variations ) can indeed be non-lethal weaponry whilst still possessing high offensive/defensive potential. A stereo-typical olden police/guard ‘ restraining/capturing weapon ‘. With it’s long reach and the shaped catch area being made of metal, extremely useful too against even armored opponents. High-defensive structure and capabilities and intent. The STAFF/handle could be metal or wood, possibly with further attachments. As with others in this review; there are historically many with subtle yet very effective add-ons/variations. Tips, barbs, chain/rope attached, hook devices and more. This type of common-sense approach to a weapons development meant that most opponents could be confidently approached then somewhat easily levered or pressured against, as well as the opponent’s weapon if so req. With unique versatility, the SASUMATA, with a long history too, probably not as bloody as some. But still a classic.
SASUMATA TIP ENDS VARIETY PACK… photocredit/thanks:frank151
The 9 weapons herein are not necessarily confined to the NINJA and KUNOICHI Traditions. Many other Martial Traditions from Japan and around the World utilise similar weaponry…for similar reasons.
Useful and oft. readily available and many with non-lethal potential. With both offensive and defensive applications inherent. Some relatively simpler to learn too.
Ideal for Self-defence.
3. The JUTTE.
3. THE JUTTE AND CO… photocredit/thanks:ebay
The JUTTE…another unique weapon classic with high non-lethal potential as well as high offensive/defensive capabilities. Similar in concept/theme to the previous SASUMATA though directed primarily at bladed weapon defense rather than personnel; in particular, the SAMURAI’s KATANA sword. Aka the SWORD/Blade CATCHER. Technically, a rather sophisticated weapons combat form developed involving skillful parries of the opponent’s blade combining with effective percussive and thrusting strikes/blocks. If the blade was caught and trapped, simple leverage/pressure/twists etc would remove the opponent’s hands from their weapon. The hilt could also butt-hit with force as with the main rod; the weapon sometimes thrown if req. Wordplay with it’s name has also revealed one of it’s inner secrets,.. for the word ju(t)te literally means ‘ has the strength of ten hands ‘.
JUTTE COMPONENTS… photocredit/thanks:kesshi
SHIRO’s JAP. JUTTE 1990. The JUTTE was another also mainly used historically by police/guards as a ‘ disarming/restraining ‘ tool. Usually non-sharpened, ( though rare, bladed examples are known of ), a solid metal rod with a catch tine/fork; more than adequate against armor too. Can be easily enhanced by addition of rope/chain attachments on handle end or inside a special hollowed handle cavity section. Some had a hilt-guard and were oft. carried in a scabbard too. Usage of the JUTTE became so prevalent ( +effective vs sword ) that at times in history it became the ‘ symbol ‘ for the civil police forces. Renegade/criminal Samurai…beware… JUTTE will catch you out…
4. The KUSARIGAMA.
4. The KUSARIGAMA…the chain and sickle blade combo well known to martial art movie-goers. Another unique weapon classic with high potential offensive/defensive capabilities. Many women of the EDO period for example recognised this and became proficient in its use. It’s relatively light-weight construction and flowing CHAIN movement possibly enhanced/understood by female innate rhythm kept training levels high. The infamous MIYAMOTO MUSASHI NITO KEN ( double/twin SWORD techniques ) were even adapted by such as NITO SHINKAGE RYU to accomodate twin sickle usage. Needless to say the training was long and arduous.( Refer to intel #3+4 for DIY KUSARIGAMA + other training weapon manufacture ideas ). A uniquely effective weaponry combo. Though…during training you may well find yourself wrapped in chain…Shiro did. photocredit/thanks:mlppolska
SHIRO’s DIY KUSARIGAMA: NOTE the CHAIN CAN BE NEAR BLADE OR END HANDLE…also note… Whilst SHIRO has favourite weapons…he does not favor weapons…even such as this awesome weapon has limitations as with ANY/EVERY other…
For example; the great Sword Master MUSASHI, when experiencing difficulty getting his weapon into range due to his KusariGama wielding opponents chain’s ability to create space- eventually…though a lil desperately too…threw his sword through the air-space quite some distance to effect a victory. Great throw…bad catch. To reiterate/stress this point of learning to use AND KNOW any/all weapons whenever you train…also consider the Life of Weapons Master YAMADA SHINRYUKAN who lost it when his opponent Master Swordsman ARAKI MATAEMON overcame SHINRYUKAN’s KusariGama techniques and capabilities of creating space…by removing such space-by confining and trapping him in a Bamboo Grove where his Sword had enough room to move… whilst the Kusarigama met and chopped only fresh wood Bamboo entangled at every turn of the Chain… The next hungry wandering Bamboo Rat got his meal…sliced and diced. Just like SHINRYUKAN. Noted. photocredit/thanks:ebay
5. The KAKUTE.
5. The KAKUTE…The finger sized knuckleduster ring. A very large range of types and varieties in this category show use historically. Many semi-concealable, if not fully… esp. at night/dim light. High offensive/defensive potential, combined, very likely, with the element of surprise, shock and subsequent onset of intense pain and loss of confidence for the opponent as a probable result. The opponent may indeed ‘ not know what hit them ‘ and has also been struck bewilderingly forceful. Some, if not many are also semi multi-purpose. The hand-claws ( SHUKO ) for example are oft. alternatively used as gripping/climbing aids, just as well as in combat. The LEGENDARY COMIC HERO WOLVERINE grows his own unique and stylish long version of this type from the inside out… The KAKUTE and etc are also another unique weapon classic that has a low learning curve; requiring little training time to ‘ grasp ‘ the fundamentals whilst instantly adding much ‘ oomph ‘ to your blocks/strikes/grabs/slaps etc. Semi-useful too against armor and blades, easily hidden…yet …readily at hand…or is that ‘ under-handed ‘.?. photocredit/thanks:pinterest
KAKUTE…GET A GRIP!..THAT’S HANDY!! photocredit/thanks:bujinkantraininguii
FINGER-RING SET… KAKUTE…WITH THIS RING I THEE… DEFEND QUITE WELL THANK-YOU... photocredit/thanks:taringa
Some unique and versatile modern day Weapon
training variations/alternatives such as
key ring items, backpack, cup of hot tea, the broom or iron and cord, your mothers rolling pin, a helmet, pepper shaker +contents, your dog, bicycle lock and chain, hairspray, ashtray +contents, coat-hanger, the coat etc etc are prime examples of daily items easily doubling as self-defence weaponry if so required.
ALL can be used offensively or defensively.
SKILLS TO USE…ALL.
ALL will distract giving time and distance,
ALL will trap/hook/strike/hinder etc,
ALL will block…all of course to varying degrees and manners depending on the nature of incident and their application. By using your imagination within training and trying different items and combos…you may well end up inventing a Unique Weapon variation of your own…
maybe even a Classic.
6. The KAGINAWA.
6. The KAGINAWA…A uniquely simple weapon combo+multi-purpose tool. A hook and rope. Simple. Akin to the usage of the LASSO rope it’s historical uses are very many…by very many (people). An all round effective restraining/binding/trapping/tying weapon type. Doubles as a climbing aid and for snaring wild game…or wild men. Offensive/defensive indeed can the KAGINAWA be. The rope was cut to a length that enabled at least 1 man to be very well tied up. The hook, if reqd. would aid capture…then ‘ clip ‘ the tied rope all tight/firm. Variations of hooks to suit intended use would apply… just like…fishing perhaps. During the reign of the TOKUGAWA SHOGUNATE for example, many in Law-enforcement were given the opportunity to immerse themselves in such weapon training. Learning the ropes …by the sound of it...
The KAGINAWA will leave the crim all tied up. Are you hooked yet ?… ROPE TYING became a specialty, an art and a Tradition and the involved RYU would endeavor to create workable, both quick and slow, effective rope tying techniques and methods capable of binding the captured; possibly for days on end during transport to places of judgement. Such methods displayed an intimate and thorough anatomical understanding. As generally noted in the literature on the subject; these skills were perfected whilst ALSO having to maintain a certain aesthetic look. This was dependent and corresponding ONLY to such as the known TOTAL ‘ status ‘ ( incl.such as social / sex / profession / convictions etc ) of the captured party. Basically, this means indeed,..= your own ‘ unique character ‘ defined the way and manner of your own classic ropey restraints…and number of knots. Tying it all together using only a rope and hook. Oft. termed HOJOJUTSU or NAWAJUTSU etc. Ropes btw were usually and mainly made from HEMP.
KAGINAWA data… photocredit/thanks:keywordsuggest
7. The KYOKETSU SHOGE.
7. The KYOKETSU SHOGE...A stylish Ninja variation of the previous classic Kaginawa with farming tool/blade add-ons to boot. Consisting of hook-dagger, rope+ring this weapon’s name has one of the more endearing meanings. A literal translation of ‘run around fields and mountains‘. ( Apart from being a ninja pastime…its relative meaning is unknown to Shiro at the moment ). The hook-dagger blade tends to be double-edged, attached to some 4 to 6mtrs of rope, chain or…hair, with a ring-weight on the other end. YES…HAIR…human or horse the mentioned preferred sources apparently. Indeed, another unique weapon with high offensive/defensive potential and capabilities. As with others herein, the usual multi-purpose weapon/tool label rightly applies. KYO. SHOGE techniques include Blade slash/thrust/hook actions into armor/personnel, usual rope/chain and (not-so-usual) HAIR abilities of creating space and distance from opponent( or incl. as a climbing aid etc ) and a multi-purpose ring too. Such as a weighted end wrap-around item ( like Spanish BOLOS ), or as a foot-step during climbing , a knuckle-duster device during combat and as a weapon encircling/catching aid too. …So, are you thinking of owning a unique HAIR powered SHOGE..? …well,…i hope RAPUNZEL has a Japanese cousin whose father is a Blacksmith?…Me too.
DEFENSIVE/OFFENSIVE CAPABILITIES… photocredit/thanks:picssr
Do not be led into thinking that the CORD/ROPE/CHAIN/HAIR section of some of the ANCIENT WEAPONS herein is just a simple item or after-thought. Great care and technical production was put into their manufacture according to the need. The making of CHAIN for example became a sub-speciality within the Blacksmith’s Trade. This was due to the intensive labour and time req. to forge high quality chain-links. The end-product had to withstand strong forces indeed. Defending against such as the KATANA Sword, YARI Spear or even larger NAGINATA Halberd is wrought with danger. A special smithing forge process of ‘ wakashitsuke ‘…=of ‘ first seperate+then join ‘ became necessary. Each and every chain-link was to be forged individually and then hammered PERFECTLY together. Special MUD was applied to the link joins during such processes…ANY weak link…would be fatal. The Metal used was usually an IRON composite which, if worked and forged correctly; formed CHAIN RINGS of ultra high strength. Able to take on the HEAVY WEAPONRY. The weakest link…would now be hard to find indeed. Another classic.
KYOKETSU SHOGE STYLE…SWORD IS SNARED…NECK TOO NOW… photocredit/thanks:doktora757
BALANCING THE SCALES OF JUSTICE.
A POINT OF LAW…
As a matter of interest; shiro noted that impressions/opinions of MANY of the sources used: indicated that many such unique and unusual classic Weapons as like those reviewed herein were; very possibly DIRECTLY a result of the ruling Samurais attempt to monopolize the KATANA sword for their legal use only.
By simply banning the public from using such a favored weapon, whilst retaining the rights ONLY for Samurai led to somewhat dramatic increases in unique and unusual weapons with high offensive/defensive capabilities being made…and used.
I’M NO JUDGE…BUT THESE SCALES BE…UNBALANCED…BY LAW.
The LAW was not balanced for ALL.
A classic problem.
Thus- to compensate the obvious gap and bias;
the Common People need self-defence too.
Such as the 9 Unique and Classic Weapons of Ancient Japan herein.
8. The TOKKO.
8. THE TOKKO...LAYOUT PLAN…UNSURPRISED… A unique Weapon with a surprising Religious twist. A somewhat specialised item. During troubled times a Priest may find much to fill time and travel, yet travel itself can become troubling. Many such took regular and necessary advantage of the many WALKING STICKS/STAFFS which at this time in History were an essential travel aid item. However…the usage of such indoors where space was limited and the Weapons reach advantages etc negated – a more personal defence system was req. In self-defence of the Religious…how far would you go ? The Priests of Buddhism and Tantrism were oft., like the renowned SHAOLIN MONKS in China, subject to particular persecution- Considering the Profession, a Symbol from Heaven was perhaps needed ? Introducing the surprising TOKKO, an iconic Weapon, an icon that became a Weapon. Classic…and Unique indeed…not surprised ?…yet… photocredit/thanks:heianperiodjapan
The TOKKO, according to the LEGENDS was styled on the indestructible HEAVENLY THUNDERBOLT representation. A symbolic and ritual item. Usually hand-held though mounted types known as well. Could be mounted on a variety of weapons, both LIVE or CEREMONIAL though the STAFF type appears most prevalent in this mounted group. The concept historically has links to the Ancient Worlds of INANNA’s INDIA and other Asian regions. Deriving from such as the Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism Traditions. The founder of Shingon Buddhism for example, KOBO DAISHI KUKAI ( 774-835 ) is oft. depicted pictorially and documented with such items. Akin in theme to the KAKUTE mentioned earlier and with many of the same advantages and applications; though not so easily hidden and concealed. An added bonus here is that the TOKKO could however, practically go ‘ anywhere and everywhere ‘ the Priest went, whilst WEAPONS per se Legally…could not; due to weapon bearing restrictions and/or security reasons. Go anywhere TOKKO indeed. Surprised ?…let’s OPEN up shall we… photocredit/thanks:dreamstime
THE TOKKO SURPRISE… Another unique Weapon with high offensive/defensive potential and the surprise shock value too. The prong ends were ideal for self-defence application allowing penetrating stabs and thrusts to have good effect whilst defences/blocks would be greatly enhanced. The prong number could be varied too. Percussive effects obvious. A couple of variations in design of size, shapes and symbol style noted. Some were single -pointed basic stab type, others shaped and curved for use as per knuckle-dusters etc. Metal used was BRONZE or IRON. Primarily manufactured using the period CAST FORGING Smith techniques which in turn seem inherited from both Siberian and Chinese metallurgical sources. Having high inherent strength, there is mention too of its use to block and deflect, even shatter blades of the enemy strikes. That’s a classic surprise…Go TOKKO indeed. photocredit/thanks:pinterest
9. The SHIKOMI ZUE.
9. The SHIKOMI ZUE…A Walking-stick ?…LOOks can indeed deceive…or deceive indeed can LOOks…A HOLLOWED STICK, CANE OR STAFF. A hollow w/stick with concealed add-ons ( or should that be add-ins…). Another unique Weapon within the surprise theme. High potential. Staying with the theme of public safety and self-defence and as mentioned earlier the w/stick was a travel necessity in the days of old. Nobody went out without one…or two. Constant and persistent travel on unsealed roads, paths and trails oft. thru somewhat mountainous country was physically challenging…just like Bandits tended to be. A w/stick should suit both of these occasions just fine. Culture and movie MARTIAL LEGEND ZATOICHI, the Blind Weapons Master is an ideal classic representation of the perennial wandering HERO and is one who carries the SHIKOMI ZUE STICK… that is a WEAPON-in-disguise. photocredit/thanks:glowingmobiru
A SHIKOMI ZUE VARIETY PACK COLLECTION…The ‘Stick‘; when grabbed and pulled would reveal it’s concealed SCABBARD Nature. Ideally, this split/pull would leave the ‘ Handle ‘+Weapon in YOUR hands…the now empty stick scabbard in your opponents…hopefully some surprise, wariness and fear creeping in their Hearts too. Ideal for NINJA and KUNOICHI. Many RYU techniques devised specific solutions and feints to encourage the grabs…and further offensive/defensive actions to follow up. Just remember to hold the SHIKOMI ZUE the correct way…blind or not. photocredit/thanks:senpuu
A very olden concept; variations abound here historically with the SHIKOMI ZUE… As does potential, capabilities and applications. Changes to such as special features, size, shape, blade or weapon inclusion type and number of hollow sections noted. Blade/Weapon items include a variety/selection of spear-heads, short(er) swords, daggers, spikes, rods, chain lengths and even a JUTTE ( reviewed earlier ) could all be concealed in a hollow w/stick. BLOW-PIPES naturally suit. Lots of choices. Other hollow sections could hold any number of things; a fire-starter kit, blinding powder, powdered herbs and foodstuff…basically whatever the SHIKOMI ZUE’s owner desired/preferred…or could fit. Mention is made too of quite a few rare examples of particular designs that resemble other social and cultural items of everyday use…besides the STICK that is…that could also be used to accommodate/conceal a Weapon. Examples include a long barrelled FLUTE concealing a long blow-pipe or thin short sword/dagger…and still play… hopefully. Short versions of these available of course as well. Another noted was a metallic SMOKING PIPE, almost club-length, which had a Hilt-Guard and oversized metal tobacco bowl the size of a basic hammers head…and surely hurt as much too. Many such unique SHIKOMI ZUE’s special w/sticks were likely made-to-order per se…whether you be blind, flute play, tobacco smoke…or not. Classic indeed.
9 UNIQUE AND CLASSIC WEAPONS OF ANCIENT JAPAN.
NINPO IKKAN NINJA +KUNOICHI.
SHIRO’s SWORD OF UMBRELLA BONUS PIC… A modern and non-lethal but classic wannabe, themed on levity and personal dryness. In honor of the reversal of the unique SHIKOMI ZUE concept THE SWORD OF UMBRELLA takes it’s deserved place
in on…SHIRO’s Weapon Clothes Rack…YEP…LOOks like a Sword…LOOKS lil cloudy out too…classic, i need something unique…gotta keep me and my blinding powder dry ! Gotta Go training…
9 UNIQUE AND CLASSIC WEAPONS OF
dreamily and visually too.
…SLEEPY SHINOBI… NIGHT…KEN…+ BUDDHA TOO…