Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Traditional Ninjutsu weapons with Bill Patterson…

A ninja was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, assassination and open combat in certain situations. The ninja used a range of weaponry.

A selection of Ninja weapons:

Bo Staff:
This was an important weapon in the ninja’s arsenal. The ninja’s bo differed from others in that it was hollow. This allowed the ninja to launch a poison tipped dart or small knife out of the open end of the staff by flicking it at great speed, often taking the opponent off guard.

The tanto was not made of the high quality steel that the samurai's sword was but the ninja made up for this by using the tanto as a multi-purpose tool. It could be used to pry open doors, dig holes or small ditches, or it could be thrown like a shuriken. It was also used to cut and stab an opponent.

The Shuriken was simply a flat piece of metal with sharpened points that were thrown at the enemy. It was not originally designed as a killing weapon and was mostly used to distract or deter so the ninja could escape. Although the Shuriken was not intended to kill, it was easily made lethal by dipping the edges in poison.

Shuriken were also designed to hit the opponent then bounce away out of sight. This way a ninja could fool an unsuspecting guard or sentry into believing he had been cut by an invisible swordsman. (One of many mental tricks).

This is a hand held weapon consisting of a length of chain (kusari) with a weight (fundo) connected to each end of the chain. Various sizes and shapes of chain and weight were used as there was no set rule on the construction of these weapons.

Kama is a paired weapon reminiscent of a pair of sickles. They are usually swung in various arcs, crescents etc. All sorts of slashing motions combined with the forward momentum of the ninja caused some devastating damage. The blade of the Kama is roughly around 11-12 inches. The handle is slightly longer. Original sickles had a longer blade and shorter handle.

This is a combination of a sickle (short scythe) and a long chain with a weight attached to the end of it. The sickle was used in a slashing or stabbing motion, as well as used to block and hook opponent’s weapons. By holding the chain portion of the weapon, the sickle could be swung around to get a greater reach with it.
The chain portion of the weapon was most often used for trapping an enemy or his weapon. Once tangled up with the chain, the ninja could finish him off with the sickle. This was a weapon the ninja invented out of farming tools they used.

Koppo stick or shobo:
This is a short, palm held stick used for attacking pressure points. It was attached to the hand via a ring which fitted on the middle finger. There are many variants of this weapon, collectively known as palm sticks and there usage is similar to that of the yawara stick: the principle areas of attack including bony, fleshy and nerve targets such as knuckles, forearms, bridge of nose, shins, stomach, solar plexus, spine, temple, ribs, groin, neck and eyes.

Who is Bill Patterson?
Bill Patterson is a 4th dan in Ninjutsu traditional weapons. He also holds 3rd dan in Battojutsu Ryu. He has trained in martial arts for over 30 years and studies and teaches in Katori Shinto Ryu, Iaido and Battojutsu – all martial arts that use swords and related weapons. He is currently teaching in ninja weapons (including the ones above) plus the katana.

Sensei Patterson has studied under several grand masters: Dr Masaaki Hatsumi, Harunaka Hoshino (Koga Ryu), Takayuki Kubota and Risuke Otake. 

At the marfest…

Sensei Patterson will demonstrating from a range of traditional ninjutsu weapons and sword….

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