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Weapons / Nunchaku (ヌンチャク)
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:33:40 am »
The nunchaku (ヌンチャク) is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. Used by Okinawan farmers, it was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time, and because few techniques for its use existed. The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or a metal chain. The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate, and is used as a training weapon, since it allows the development of quicker hand movements and improves posture.

In modern times, nunchaku (Tabak-Toyok) were popularized by actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto, who introduced this weapon to the actor. Another popular association in modern times is the fictional character Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Organizations including the North American Nunchaku Association, World Amateur Nunchaku Organization, Fédération Internationale de Nunchaku de Combat et Artistique, World Nunchaku Association, and International Techdo Nunchaku Association teach the use of nunchaku as a contact sport.

Modern-day nunchaku can be made from metal, wood, plastic or fibreglass. Toy and replica versions made of polystyrene foam or plastic are also available. Possession of this weapon is illegal in some countries, except for use in professional martial art schools.

Weapons / Tonfa (トンファー)
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:22:45 am »
The tonfa (トンファー) also known as tong fa or tuifa, is a melee weapon best known for its role in the armed component of Okinawan martial arts. It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and is about 15–20 inches long. It was traditionally made from red or white oak and wielded in pairs. The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia where it is used in the respective fighting styles. A similar weapon called the Mai sok san is used in Krabi-krabong and tomoi.

Although the tonfa is most commonly associated with the Okinawan martial arts, its origin is heavily debated. One of the most commonly cited origins is China, although origins from Indonesia to Thailand are also possible. Okinawan tradition derives the tonfa from a millstone handle. The Chinese and Malay words for the weapon (guai and topang respectively) literally mean crutch, which may suggest the weapon originating from the crutch. In Cambodia and Thailand a similar weapon is used consisting of a pair of short clubs tied onto the forearms, known in Thai as mai sok and in Khmer as bokgatau. In Thailand and Malaysia the mai sok often has a similar design to the tonfa, with a perpendicular handle rather than being tied on. This weapon might be the original version of the tonfa.

Weapons / Sai (釵)
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:15:41 am »
The sai (釵) is a traditional piercing melee weapon used in Okinawa. The basic form of the weapon is that of a pointed, prong shaped metal baton, with two curved prongs (yoku) projecting from the handle (tsuka). 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. It may have been brought to Okinawa from one or several of these places simultaneously. Silat practitioners typically refer to the sai either as chabang in Indonesian or tekpi in Malay. Based on the Indian trisula, early evidence in the form of Japanese art shows that the chabang predates the sai's use in Okinawa and China. The word trisula itself can refer to both a long or short-handled trident. Because the trisula was created in South Asia, it is possible that the sai originated in India and spread along with Hinduism and Buddhism. This is supported by the fact that the trisula is important as a Hindu-Buddhist symbol.

In Okinawa the sai was used by domestic police (ufuchiku) to arrest criminals and for crowd control. Use of the sai was perfected in 1668 by Moto Chohei, an Okinawan prince.

The sai eventually reached Japan in the form of the jitte, which usually has only a single prong although some jitte have two prongs like a sai. Both are like truncheon weapons, used for striking, bludgeoning.and also for multiple punctures over different positions on the body.

Weapons / Kun
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:12:55 am »
The kun (Japanese: bo) is usually made with hard wood or a flexible wood, such as red or white oak, although bamboo and pine wood have been used, more common still is rattan wood for its flexibility. The kun may be tapered in that it can be thicker in the center (chukon-bu) than at the ends (kontei) and usually round or circular (maru-bo). Some kun are very light, with metallic sides, stripes and a grip which are used for XMA and competitions/demonstrations. Older kun were round (maru-bo), square (kaku-bo), hexagon (rokkaku-bo) or octagon (hakkaku-bo). The average size of a kun is 6 shaku (around 6 ft (1.8 m)) but they can be as long as 9 ft (2.7 m) (kyu-shaku-bō).

A 6 ft (1.8 m) bō is sometimes called a rokushakubō (六尺棒: ろくしゃくぼう). This name derives from the Japanese words roku (六: ろく), meaning "six"; shaku (尺: しゃく); and bō. The shaku is a Japanese measurement equivalent to 30.3 centimeters (0.994 ft). 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 (chukon-bu) to 2 cm (0.75 inch)at the end (kontei). This thickness allows the user to make a tight fist around it in order to block and counter an attack.

In some cases for training purposes or for a different style, rattan was used. Some were inlaid or banded with strips of iron or other metals for extra strength. The kun range from heavy to light, from rigid to highly flexible, and from simple pieces of wood picked up from the side of the road to ornately decorated works of art.

Weapons / History of traditional weapons
« on: March 26, 2017, 09:06:49 am »
It is a popular story and common belief that Okinawan farming tools evolved into weapons due to restrictions placed upon the peasants by the Satsuma samurai clan when the island was made a part of Japan, which forbade them from carrying arms. As a result, it is said, they were defenseless and developed a fighting system around their traditional farming implements. However, modern martial arts scholars have been unable to find historical backing for this story, and the evidence uncovered by various martial historians points to the Pechin Warrior caste in Okinawa as being those who practiced and studied various martial arts, rather than the Heimin, or commoner. It is true that Okinawans, under the rule of foreign powers, were prohibited from carrying weapons or practicing with them in public. But the weapons-based fighting that they secretly practiced (and the types of weapons they practiced with) had strong Chinese roots, and examples of similar weapons have been found in China, Malaysia and Indonesia pre-dating the Okinawan adaptations.

Okinawan kobudō systems were shaped by indigenous Okinawan techniques that arose within the Aji, or noble class, and by imported methods from China and Southeast Asia. The majority of Okinawan kobudō traditions that survived the difficult times during and following World War II were preserved and handed down by Taira Shinken (Ryūkyū Kobudō Hozon Shinkokai), Chogi Kishaba (Ryūkyū Bujustsu Kenkyu Doyukai), and Kenwa Mabuni (Shito-ryū). Practical systems were developed by Toshihiro Oshiro and Motokatsu Inoue in conjunction with these masters. Other noted masters who have Okinawan kobudō kata named after them include Chōtoku Kyan, Shigeru Nakamura, Kanga Sakukawa, and Shinko Matayoshi.

Okinawan kobudō arts are thought by some to be the forerunner of the bare hand martial art of karate, and several styles of that art include some degree of Okinawan kobudō training as part of their curriculum. Similarly, it is not uncommon to see an occasional kick or other empty-hand technique in an Okinawan kobudō kata. The techniques of the two arts are closely related in some styles, evidenced by the empty-hand and weapon variants of certain kata: for example, Kankū-dai and Kankū-sai, and Gojūshiho and Gojūshiho-no-sai, although these are examples of Okinawan kobudō kata which have been developed from karate kata and are not traditional Okinawan kobudō forms. Other more authentic Okinawan kobudō kata demonstrate elements of empty hand techniques as is shown in older forms such as Soeishi No Dai, a bo form which is one of the few authentic Okinawan kobudō kata to make use of a kick as the penultimate technique. Some Okinawan kobudō kata have undergone less "modern development" than karate and still retain much more of the original elements, reflections of which can be seen in even more modern karate kata. The connection between empty hand and weapon methods can be directly related in systems such as that formulated in order to preserve both arts such as Inoue/Taira's Ryūkyū Kobujutsu Hozon Shinko Kai and Motokatsu Inoue's Yuishinkai Karate Jutsu. M. Inoue draws direct comparisons between the use of certain weapons and various elements of empty hand technique such as sai mirroring haito/shuto waza, tonfa reflecting that of uraken and hijiate, and kama of kurite and kakete, as examples. The footwork in both methods is interchangeable.

Thailand / MOVED: Traditional Thai Weapons
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:58:10 am »

Korea / MOVED: Traditional weapons
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:57:43 am »

India / MOVED: Traditional Indian weapons
« on: March 26, 2017, 08:55:38 am »

Weapons / Three section staff (sanjiegun 三節棍)
« on: March 25, 2017, 06:32:26 pm »
The three-sectional staff, triple staff, three-part staff, sansetsukon in Japanese, or originally sanjiegun (三節棍), is a Chinese flail weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. The weapon is also known as a "coiling dragon staff," or in Chinese as a "panlong gun" (蟠龍棍). A more complicated version of the two section staff, the staves can be spun to gather momentum resulting in a powerful strike, or their articulation can be used to strike over or around a shield or other defensive block.

Although there is no historical evidence to support it, a popular modern-day legend states it was made famous by Zhao Kuangyin, the first Emperor of the Song Dynasty (960 AD).

Historically made of white oak, waxwood or Chinese red maple, modern staves are constructed from rattan, bamboo, various hardwoods or aluminum. For optimum fit, each of the three sticks should be about the length of the combatant’s arm (usually 60 centimetres (24 in) - 70 centimetres (28 in)) and have a combined diameter that easily fits in the hand. (usually about 1.25 inches (32 mm)). These are connected by chains of rings (usually of five inches (127 mm)) ; modern versions use ball-and-socket joints.

The total length of the weapon is about the same as the Chinese staff, the gůn and greater than that of the single staff (known in Japanese as a bō); Its larger size allows for an increased reach compared to the staff. Some of the techniques are similar to that of the staff, so spinning moves over the head and behind the back, such as helicopter spins and neck rolls, can be practised with a regular staff. Other weapon techniques the three section staff makes use of are similar to that of a pair of sticks used escrima, a simple short chain, a whip and the two section staff. It is therefore advantageous for the user to have some familiarity with these weapons. The three-section staff has the advantage of being used as a long-range (whip), intermediate range (flail or two section staff) or a short-range (pair of escrima) weapon. Acting as an extension of the users arms, the three sectional staff can strike, flail, block, choke, trap, disarm and whip, often with different sections of the staff acting at the same time. The chains or binding ropes of the staff are used to entangle an opponent and their weapons. While it has three ranges, the three section staff is best used as a short range weapon against long ranged weapons. In this configuration, a skilled practitioner can nearly simultaneously block an opponent's strike, trap his or her weapon and disarm them while executing their own strike with the free side of the staff.

While some martial artists have held that the three section staff was used on the battlefield to entangle horses' legs or to strike around shields, the complexity of the weapon and the length, difficulty of use, lack of sharp tips or edges and other advantages of such traditional battlefield weapons as spears, polearms (such as the yan yue dao), swords and so forth meant that the triple staff was more likely restricted to personal self-defense.

Weapons / Straing sword (Jian 剑)
« on: March 25, 2017, 06:24:05 pm »
The jian (剑) is a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years in China. The first Chinese sources that mention the jian date to the 7th century BCE during the Spring and Autumn period; one of the earliest specimens being the Sword of Goujian. Historical one-handed versions have blades varying from 45 to 80 centimeters (18 to 31 inches) in length. The weight of an average sword of 70-centimetre (28-inch) blade-length would be in a range of approximately 700 to 900 grams (1.5 to 2 pounds). There are also larger two-handed versions used for training by many styles of Chinese martial arts. Professional jian practitioners are referred to as jianke.

In Chinese folklore, it is known as "The Gentleman of Weapons" and is considered one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun (staff), Qiang (spear), and the Dao (sabre). These swords are also sometimes referred to as taijijian or "t'ai chi swords", reflecting their current use as training weapons for taijiquan practitioners, though there were no historical jian types created specifically for taijiquan.

Weapons / Polearm (Ji 戟)
« on: March 25, 2017, 06:09:29 pm »
The ji (戟) was a Chinese polearm used in one form or another for over 3000 years, from at least as early as the Shang dynasty until the end of the Qing dynasty. They are still used for training purposes in many Chinese martial arts.

The ji was initially a hybrid between a spear and a dagger-axe. It was a relatively common infantry weapon in Ancient China, and was also used by cavalry and charioteers.
A qinglong ji (cerulean dragon ji) from the Qing dynasty encyclopedia Gujin Tushu Jicheng.

In the Song dynasty, several weapons were referred to as ji, but they were developed from spears, not from ancient ji. One variety was called the qinglong ji, and had a spear tip with a crescent blade on one side. Another type was the fangtian ji, which had a spear tip with crescent blades on both sides. They had multiple means of attack: the side blade or blades, the spear tip, plus often a rear counterweight that could be used to strike the opponent. The way the side blades were fixed to the shaft differs, but usually there were empty spaces between the pole and the side blade. The wielder could strike with the shaft, with the option of then pulling the weapon back to hook with a side blade; or, he could slap his opponent with the flat side of the blade to knock him off his horse.

Weapons / Spear (Qiang 枪)
« on: March 25, 2017, 06:05:08 pm »
Qiang (枪) is the Chinese term for spear. Due to its relative ease of manufacture, the spear in many variations was ubiquitous on the pre-modern Chinese battlefield. It is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun (staff), Dao (sabre), and the Jian (sword), called in this group "The King of Weapons".

Common features of the Chinese spear are the leaf shaped blade and red horse-hair tassel lashed just below. The tassel shows elite troop status. It also serves a tactical purpose. When the spear is moving quickly, the addition of the tassel aids in blurring the vision of the opponent so that it is more difficult for them to grab the shaft of spear behind the head or tip. The tassel also served another purpose, to stop the flow of blood from the blade getting to the wooden shaft (the blood would make it slippery, or sticky when dried). Nine kinds of spears popular in the Song dynasty.

The length varied from around 9 feet long, increasing up to 21 feet. According to general Qi Jiguang, the Ming military categorized spears above 9 feet as short spears, 14 feet as long spears, and spears below 9 feet as spiked staffs, which were used more for hitting than stabbing. Spears used in war are typically made of hard wood. Martial arts (wushu) spears are typically made of wax wood, a lighter and more flexible wood better suited for performance; these are called flower spears. Six kinds of spears popular in the Ming dynasty.

Many Chinese martial arts feature spear training in their curriculum. The conditioning provided by spear technique is seen as invaluable and in many styles it is the first weapons training introduced to students. Moreover, some schools of empty handed fighting in China credit spear technique as their foundation, notably Xingyiquan and Bajiquan.

Weapons / Butterfly Swords (蝴蝶双刀)
« on: March 25, 2017, 05:54:53 pm »
The butterfly sword (蝴蝶双刀) is a short dao, or single-edged sword, originally from southern China, though it has also seen use in the north. The blade of a butterfly sword is roughly as long as a human forearm, which allows easy concealment inside loose sleeves or boots, and allows greater maneuverability when spinning and rotating during close-quarters fighting. Butterfly swords are usually wielded in pairs. A pair of swords will often be carried side by side within the same scabbard, so as to give the appearance of a single weapon.

The butterfly sword has a small crossguard to protect the hands of the wielder, similar to that of a sai, which can also be used to block or hook an opponent's weapon. In some versions the crossguard is enlarged offering a second handhold, held in this position the swords can be manipulated in a manner akin to a pair of tonfa. They may also be used as brass knuckles when non-lethal application of the weapon is desired.

Traditionally, the blade of a butterfly sword is only sharpened along half of its edge - from the middle of the blade to the tip; this can be seen in all vintage specimens from the Qing dynasty. The blade from the midpoint down is left blunt so that it can be used to deliver non-lethal strikes and to block without damaging the sharpened edge. Butterflies were generally commissioned for individual martial artists, not mass-produced, so every set of swords is different, however an average blade today is about 11˝" long with a 6" handle.

Weapons / Broad Sword (Dao 刀)
« on: March 25, 2017, 05:50:20 pm »
While dao have varied greatly over the centuries, most single-handed dao of the Ming period and later, and the modern swords that are based on them share a number of characteristics. Dao blades are moderately curved and single-edged, though often with a few inches of the back edge sharpened as well; the moderate curve allows them to be reasonably effective in the thrust. Hilts are sometimes canted, curving in the opposite direction as the blade which improves handling in some forms of cuts and thrusts. Cord is usually wrapped over the wood of the handle. Hilts may also be pierced like those of jian (straight-bladed Chinese sword) for the addition of lanyards, though modern swords for performances will often have tassels or scarves instead. Guards are typically disc-shaped often with a cupped shape to prevent rainwater from getting into the sheath, and to prevent blood from dripping down to the handle, making it more difficult to grip. Sometimes guards are thinner pieces of metal with an s-curve, the lower limb of the curve protecting the user's knuckles; very rarely they may have guards like those of the jian.

Other variations to the basic pattern include the large bagua dao and the long handled pudao.

The earliest dao date from the Shang Dynasty in China's Bronze Age, and are known as zhibeidao (直背刀) – straight backed knives. As the name implies, these were straight-bladed or slightly curved weapons with a single edge. Originally bronze, these weapons were made of iron or steel by the time of the late Warring States period as metallurgical knowledge became sufficiently advanced to control the carbon content. Originally less common as a military weapon than the jian – the straight, double-edged blade of China – the dao became popular with cavalry during the Han dynasty due to its sturdiness, superiority as a chopping weapon, and relative ease of use – it was generally said that it takes a week to attain competence with a dao/saber, a month to attain competence with a qiang/spear, and a year to attain competence with a jian/straight sword. Soon after dao began to be issued to infantry, beginning the replacement of the jian as a standard-issue weapon. Late Han dynasty dao had round grips and ring-shaped pommels, and ranged between 85 and 114 centimeters in length. These weapons were used alongside rectangular shields.

By the end of the Three Kingdoms period, the single-edged dao had almost completely replaced the jian on the battlefield. The jian henceforth became known as a weapon of self-defense for the scholarly aristocratic class, worn as part of court dress.

China / MOVED: Traditional Chinese Weapons
« on: March 25, 2017, 05:44:10 pm »

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