weapons


Sai

The sai is a weapon found prominently in Okinawa (there is evidence of similar weapons in India,China and Indonesia). Sai are often believed to have originated as an agricultural tool used to measure stalks, plow fields, or to hold cart wheels in place, though the evidence for this is limited. The sai's utility as a weapon is reflected in its distinctive shape. With skill, it can be used effectively against a long sword by trapping the sword's blade in the sai's tsuba. It has been alleged that skilled Shorin-ryu practitioners were able to snap a caught blade with a twist of the hand. There are several different ways of wielding the sai in the hands, which give it the versatility to be used both lethally and non-lethally. Traditionally, sai were carried in threes, two at the side, as primary weapons, and a third tucked behind, in case one was disarmed. As a thrown weapon, the sai have a lethal range of about 20-30 feet. Throwing the sai was typically used against an opponent with a sword, bo or other long range weapon.

   

Nunchaku

The nunchaku was invented in Okinawa from the humble beginnings of a short flail used to thrash rice (separate the grain from the rice). Its development as a weapon supposedly grew out of the moratorium on edged weaponry under the Satsuma daimyo due to their restrictive policy of weapons control after invading Okinawa in the 17th century. The nunchaku as a weapon has surged in popularity since martial artist Bruce Lee used it in his movies in the 1970s. It is generally considered by Shorin-Ryu Karatedo practitioners to be a limited weapon. Complex and difficult to wield, the nunchaku lacks the range of the bo (quarterstaff) and the edged advantage of a sword or sai. It is also prone to inflicting injury on its user.

   

Tonfa

The tonfa were were originally used as wooden handles that fit into the side of millstones, or as horse bridles, and were later developed into weapons when peasants were banned from using more traditional weaponry There are numerous ways to defend and attack with the tonfa. Defensively, when holding the handle, the shaft protects the forearm and hand from blows, and the knob can protect from blows to the thumb. By holding both ends of the shaft, it can ward off blows. When holding the shaft, the handle can function as a hook to catch blows or weapons. The tonfa is traditionally wielded in pairs, one in each hand, unlike the police nightstick which is a single-hand weapon. As the tonfa can be held in many different ways, education in the use of the tonfa often involves learning how to switch between different grips at high speed. Such techniques require great manual dexterity, as they involve flips and slides with the weapon.

   

Kama

The kama are Okinawan and Chinese weapons that resemble traditional farming devices similar to a small scythe or a sickle. The development of this tool as a weapon began after Japan annexed Okinawa and outlawed all traditional weapons. The kama itself is a stabbing and slashing weapon that is most effective for any type of hand-to-hand combat.

   

Bo

The bo is a long stick usually made out of wood or bamboo, but sometimes it is made of metal for some extra strength A full-size bo is also sometimes called rokushakubo (???). This name derives from the Japanese words roku (meaning "six"), shaku (a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters, or just under 1 foot) and bo (kanji, Chinese character meaning "staff"). Thus, rokushakubo refers to a staff about 6 shaku (181.8 cm, about 6 ft.) long. The bo may also be thrust at an opponent, basically allowing for a punch from long distance. It can also be used for joint-locks, thrustings of the bo that immobilize a target joint, which are used to non-fatally subdue an opponent. The bo is a weapon mainly used for self-defense, and can be used to execute several blocks and parries as well. Martial arts techniques, such as kicks and blocks, are also often combined with the weapon techniques when practicing this martial art to enhance its effectiveness