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  • Writer's pictureDave Giddings

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...'

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