Weapons
nunchaku
 

Traditional nunchaku are held together by horse hair and could be used against armed or unarmed assailants.  The nunchaku was originally an agricultural tool used for thrashing grain.

As a weapon, it is used in conjunction with various stances and techniques.  The sticks can be used for spearing or striking, and the horse hair rope can be used for choking, blocking, or trapping. 

The rotating of the nunchaku comes from the wrist motion.  As the nunchaku rotates, the two sticks should stay in line with each other.  The free hand can be used for other movements of blocking and defending and as the chances occur.  The nunchaku delivers smashing blows to the face, hands, wrists, knees, shoulder blades, or the ribs.
 

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sai
 

The sai was derived from a farm tool.  The handles were held and stabbed into the soil to make holes for planting seeds.  Often two or three sai were carried, one in each hand and a third in the belt in reserve. The sai is restricted to Okinawan based Karate systems.

Sai are used in pairs. In close range fighting, the shorter prongs of the sai can be used to trap an opponents weapon, and the longer prong for spearing and striking.

The use of the sai requires a very high standard of training and skill. Each sai must function in harmony with the other. Proper use of the sai requires many years of training. 
 
 

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tonfa
 

Originally a bean or rice grinder handle, the tonfa's circular movements as a farm implement evolved into its rotating strikes.

Like the sai, the tonfa is used in pairs. The side of the tonfa is used for blocking, and the ends are used for direct punches.

The tonfa takes time to develop smooth techniques. Each tonfa must work in harmony with the other. Proper spinning, rotation, and control require many hours of practice. 
 
 

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kama
 

In 1470, when traditional weapons were confiscated by the Japanese military, Okinawan commoners utilized the kama as a fighting blade, often attaching a chain to the base for greater reach. This longer weapon was known as a kusarigama. 

The kama, a hand-held sickle, was originally used for cutting grass and sugar cane or rice harvesting. In close range fighting, the sickle could be used to trap an opponents weapon, or for striking.

Typically, two kama are used together. Because of the difficult techniques used, the kama is considered an advanced weapon. Great care and focus is required as well as many hours of practice. 
 
 

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bo
 

The bo (staff/stick) is probably one of the oldest weapons/tools known to man.  It could be easily found (a broken tree branch), easy to use and had many purposes.

In Okinawa, the bo most likely originated from either the long walking sticks that monks used for easing hiking, or from a farm tool called the tenbin.  A tenbin was a long stick slung across the shoulders on which fish or water buckets could be hung.

A typical bo is 6 feet long and has a 1.25" diameter in the middle.  It is round and smooth and can have a taper at either end.  The tapering gives the bo flexibility and strength.  As with every other weapon, the bo accomplishes many of its striking techniques with spinning and twirling.  The long reach of the bo makes it a formidable weapon to encounter.
 

 

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