japanese martial arts weapons

Are you getting adventurous today and thinking of carving the Thanksgiving turkey with a samurai sword? Let's hope the turkey's tender as can be this Thanksgiving so you don't bend your blade cutting through it!

The subject of Japanese swordsmanship during the holidays is a delicate one. Thanksgiving Day is definitely not the time for practice. When you're standing in front of a roasted turkey,katanadrawn and relatives looking on, the last thing you want to do is rehearse your swing. It won't impress anyone.

The time to hone your technique is now. Then, when the moment of truth arrives, you'll be able to razor off perfect slices of juicy white meat like Miyamoto Musashi. (If you tried to slice up your bird this Thanksgiving and ran into trouble, then this article is for YOU so you can bone up for next year's Thanksgiving.)

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Black Belt columnist Dave Lowry examines the role that scrolls and tablets played in the transmission of the budo in ancient Japan!

In 1588 the famous samurai swordsman Kagehisa Ittosai started thinking about which of his two students would officially inherit his itto-ryu. Always enigmatic, he told them they were too equal in skill for him to decide. They’d have to come up with a test of their talents. The men, Zenki and Migogami Tenzen, decided to duel with real swords. They met in a clearing with their teacher sitting off to the side, watching. He’d brought a scroll that symbolized the authority of the school’s head mastery, and the winner would receive it. Zenki and Tenzen squared off, and after a long, tense encounter in which neither could find an opening, Zenki turned and ran — straight for the scroll. He grabbed it and took off, with Tenzen in pursuit. Tenzen cornered Zenki, who died under Tenzen’s sword, the stolen scroll still clutched in his teeth. From our perspective, the story seems bizarre. What did Zenki expect to gain from stealing the scroll? Ittosai was standing right there. He could simply write another scroll with a note that the one Zenki had wasn’t legitimate and give it to Tenzen. If I steal the deed to your house, it doesn’t make me the owner, right? To understand the importance these scrolls had for the feudal Japanese is to gain insight into the culture of the traditional martial arts.

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The eku bo—also known as the kai—is a martial arts weapons that was began as an oar used by Okinawan fishermen. Most of the techniques for using the eku bo are much like those of the bo staff, another Okinawan weapon. In this video, Fumio Demura sensei covers basic stances, proper grips, defense movements, blocks and counters. A basic "beginner's" kata is also covered in this volume. Fumio Demura studied under Japanese master Ryusho Sakagami and Okinawan master Kenshin Taira. Fumio Demura has won the All-Japan Karate Free-fighting Championships (1961), twice been voted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame and is recognized the world over as one of the premier martial artists of all time.

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The kama a martial arts weapon that started as a sickle that Okinawan farmers used to harvest their rice crops. Unlike other tools such as the bo and sai—which are normally made of wood or bamboo—the kama has a sharp cutting edge. In this video, Fumio Demura sensei teaches the fundamentals of proper kama use, including proper grips, strikes, stances, counters and defenses. Fumio Demura studied under Japanese master Ryusho Sakagami and Okinawan master Kenshin Taira. Demura has won the All-Japan Karate Free-fighting Championships (1961), twice been voted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame and is recognized the world over as one of the premier martial artists of all time.

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