Below is a list of the weapons currently taught at Ryuuko Dojo, (starting at green belt level).
4. Bo staff
The sai is a traditional weapon used in the Okinawan martial arts. The basic form of the weapon is that of a pointed, prong shaped metal baton, with two curved prongs projecting from the handle. It is generally used in pairs. There are many types of sai with varying prongs for trapping and blocking.
Before its arrival in Okinawa, the sai was already being used in other Asian countries including India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In Okinawa the sai was used by domestic police to arrest criminals and for crowd control, the use of the sai was perfected in 1668 by Moto Chohei, an Okinawan prince.
The sai eventually reached Japan in the form of the jutte, which usually has only a single prong although some jitte have two prongs like a sai. Both are truncheon-like weapons, used for striking and bludgeoning.
Bo Staff -
The bo is usually made with hard wood, such as red or white oak, although bamboo has been used. The bo may be tapered in that it can be thicker in the center than at the ends and usually round or circular. Older bo were round, square, hexagon of a bō is 6 shaku (around 6 ft (1.8 m)
A 6 ft (1.8 m) bō is sometimes called a rokushakubō. This name derives from the Japanese words roku, meaning "six"; shaku ;a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters and bō; staff. Thus, rokushakubō refers to a staff about 6-shaku (1.82 m; 5.96 feet) long. The bō is typically 3 cm (1.25 inch) thick, sometimes gradually tapering from the middle to 2 cm (0.75 inch)at the end. This thickness allows the user to make a tight fist around it in order to block and counter an attack.
The Japanese art of wielding the bo is called bojutsu. The basis of bo technique is te, or hand, techniques derived from Quanfa and other martial arts that reached Okinawa via trade and Chinese monks. Thrusting, swinging, and striking techniques often resemble empty-hand movements, following the philosophy that the bō is merely an "extension of one’s limbs". Consequently, bōjutsu is often incorporated into other styles of empty hand fighting, such as karate.
The bō is typically gripped in thirds, and when held horizontally in front, the right palm is facing away from the body and the left hand is facing the body, enabling the bō to rotate. The power is generated by the back hand pulling the bō, while the front hand is used for guidance. When striking, the wrist is twisted, as if turning the hand over when punching. Bo technique includes a wide variety of blocks, strikes, sweeps, and entrapments.
There are a few different names for this weapon, which is of varying lengths. A Kubo is generally a small, hand-held stick that has become popular the last few decades as a self-defense tool.
The yawara is a Japanese weapon used in various martial arts. The Yawara originated from the use of Kongou, a Buddhist symbolic object, by various monks during Feudal Japan. The Yawara takes the form of one or two small, thick sticks which stick out about an inch from each side of the hand. They are usually used in pairs to initiate throws, bone breaks, and pressure point strikes.
Yawarajutsu is a martial art focusing on the yawara. It is sometimes simply referred to as yawara, and this name has been used interchangeably with jujutsu. The yawara movements are believed to have been derived from the sheathed knife techniques of tantojutsu.
A knife is a cutting tool with a cutting edge or blade, hand-held or otherwise, with or without a handle. Knife-like tools were used at least two and a half million years ago. Originally made of rock, bone, flint and obsidian, knives have evolved in construction as technology has, with blades being made from a variety of materials from copper to titanium. Many cultures have their unique version of the knife. As such, we study many different versions of the knife in Gogyo Goshin-jitsu.
Most modern-day knives follow either a fixed-blade or a folding construction style, with blade patterns and styles as varied as their makers and countries of origin.
The kama is a traditional Filipino and Japanese farming implement similar to a sickle, used for reaping crops and also employed as a weapon. The kama is often included in weapon training segments of Karate, Silate and in some Chinese martial arts
Before being improvised as a weapon, the kama was widely used throughout Asia to cut crops, mostly rice. It is found in many shapes and forms in Southeast Asia and is particularly common in
martial arts from Indonesia and the Philippines. It is also used in Chinese martial arts, but not often. From one or both of these areas, the kama was brought to Okinawa and incorporated into the martial art of te (hand) and later Karate.
The kama can be used singly or in pairs. Both the point and sharpened edge of the metal blade are called into use. It can also be used to block, trap and disarm an opponent's weapon. This weapon not only is very sharp and can inflict damage, but is also said to hold a fear factor against the opponent.
The kama is a popular weapon for kata competitions but modern forms competitors often simply adapt their empty hand routine while holding kama with little actual kama technique, or employ elaborate weapon-juggling routines that differ radically from the focused Okinawan forms. At Ryuuko Dojo, we learn the practical applications of this weapon, not the fancy tricks used to score higher 'points'.
The Nunchaku, often referred to as "nunchuks" is a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. It was used by Okinawan nobles rather than rebelling peasants, but was not a popular weapon since it was not efficient against widely used weapons of that time, and few techniques for its use exist. The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or sometimes a metal chain. The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudo and karate, and makes for a good training weapon, since it is allows for developing quicker hand movements and improves posture.
In modern times, nunchakus were popularized by Bruce Lee in his respective movies.
Modern day Nunchaku can be made from metal, plastic or fiberglass. In addition, toy and replica versions are available, made of styrofoam or plastic. Except for use in professional martial art schools, possession of this weapon is illegal in some countries.
The word nunchaku comes from the Japanese Ryukyuan languages, though the origin of this word is unclear.
The origin of the nunchaku is unclear, though one popular belief is that nunchaku was originally a short South-east Asian flail used to thresh rice or soybeans. This gave rise to the theory that it was originally developed from an Okinawan horse bit, or that it was adapted from a wooden clapper called hyoshiki, carried by the village night watch, made of two blocks of wood joined by cord. The night watch would hit the blocks of wood together to attract people's attention and then warn them about fires and other dangers.
Regardless of its origins, the nunchaku was not a popular weapon, since no known traditional kata (choreographed practice movements) for it exist, possibly as a result of its lack of efficiency against contemporary weapons such as the katana. Although illegal to possess here in Canada, this weapon works very well in modern attack situations where people aren't likely to be carrying around katana or pole-arm weapons.