Fundamental techniques...fundamental weapons?
When we talk about training there is always an emphasis on the kihon happo and san shin no kata - the fundamental kata that are the building blocks for techniques within the Bujinkan. This is absolutely imperative if you are to begin to understand the more involved techniques - which by the way are just the principles contained within Kihon and San shin.
But if there are fundamental techniques to learn are there fundamental weapons? These need to be weapons that will have inherent principles that can be applied to everyday objects, or develop understanding of timing of distance in weapon based conflict. We therefore require short range, medium range and long range weapons - and sharp as well as blunt force trauma weapons. Oh, and flexible and rigid weapons....and combinations of these. A bit of a tall order.
Short range weapons
Tanto - short range and sharp.
Kunai - short range and blunt force trauma - with a point
Shuriken - held in the hand for leverage with a point.
Medium range weapons
Hanbo - blunt force, highlighting angles and leverage
Jo Staff - blunt force bridging the gap between Bo and Hanbo staff
Kusarifundo - blunt force trauma, flexible and concealable
Katana - various lengths, curved blades, sharp used in close and medium range
Metsubishi - close quarter casting to disorientate and create openings
Shuriken - thrown sharp weapons to create distractions
Long range weapons
Bo Staff - six foot blunt force trauma
Yari - various spear lengths, sharp and blunt force trauma
Kuasrigama - sharp edge trauma kama and a long weighted chain for blunt force trauma
Kyoketsu shoge - sharp edge trauma with a hook knife blade, and a long rope with a heavy ring for blunt force trauma
As you can see the range of weapons is...comprehensive. Just because you train with a shuriken does not mean you need a shuriken to use those principles of accurately throwing distractions at people. You don't need an egg filled with blinding powder to use powder, liquids or other debris to affect your opponents ability to see - a torch at night is the same principle. All these weapons show the possibility of what can be achieved at any range with commonly found items to gain an advantage and escape. As with the Kihon happo and San Shin no kata, the key is to find the underlying principles in the techniques so that they can be applied no matter what is at hand.
Remember, 'unarmed defence is an act of desperation...'