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Showing posts from December, 2017

Kusarigama - Rope vs Chain, Spear Taking vs Jo Taking, Relevant Training & the Edge of Expertise

This is the last of 42 posts this month relating to Kusarigama - who knew there would be so much to say on the subject?  To close, I would like to make an observation on the training weapons commonly used that has a broad application across any art. In the photo above you can see one of my rudimentary training weapons - I like to construct the right training weapon for the right job - they enable the practice of skills that you otherwise can't practice - however you have to be careful. You will notice that this weapon has a chain - I use this to practice casting.  (If you are interested I use 2.5mm curb chain 16mm x 10mm, with the blade part of the Type 3 being a hardware store wall bracket so it is properly reinforced). On practicing with the rope, I found I could do quite a lot with it.  I began to focus on the recovery of the rope so I could continuously cast and recast.  This became easy with the rope - I could stand with my left leg forward, cast the rope straight down the cen

Summary of the Common Elements Seen in Type 1 & 3 (Chain & Sickle) Kusarigama Ryuha

After having as detailed a look as possible at these types of weapons, we can draw out a template of the things you will need to cover in using these types of weapons - there is indeed some crossover with flail types. Most importantly, you will need to be able to cast the chain to strike a target. You will also need to be able to flail hit a target with the uncast weight. You will need to deal with a situation where you miss the target and/or hit the ground, and are attacked before being able to recover the weight (which would also suggest you need to be able to recover the weight after missing if possible). You will need to deal with a situation where the opponent entangles the chain, probably with their own weapon and then attacks you. You will need to defend yourself at close quarters using the sickle, including grappling at close distance. Probably not all that many surprises, indeed perhaps you could have sat down and worked these things out yourself once you understand the weapon

Kusarigama & Chigiriki - Making a Large Weight for Training Weapons

Nagae Kusarigama (Type 4) - An Ill-conceived Theory as the Basis for Jo in Shinto Muso Ryu

The above sequence is the end of the Jodo Kata 'Ranai'.  The Jo having missed and touched the ground, strikes away the sword on the way back up and then strikes the suigetsu from the side. This is a nice combination but I always wonder how good the final hit can be, given the angle. I can say one thing for sure - it would be far more convincing if there was a 20cm right angle blade at the end, as is the case with the Nagae Kusarigama. On observing the use of the Type 4 Kusarigama, being the long handle variant, one cannot help but notice how this weapon encapsulates the features of several weapons in one.  Most obviously, there is the types of Kusarigama, however is also encapsulates the methods of the Jo. On considering the use of the Jo in Jodo in general and Shinto Muso Ryu in particular, I must confess that in my limited experience I would still have selected the sword over the Jo if given the choice. On observance of the companion method of Kenjutsu, Kasumi Shinto Ryu, we

Kusarigama of Isshin Ryu 一心流長柄鎖鎌 (Type 4) - Nagae Kusarigama

I do not have much information on if this is a survivor, is recreated or belongs to a particular group however it is a rare example of the long-handled Type 4.  The picture below from Kaminoda's book on Isshin Ryu shows the practice weapon. An imporatnt point is that it means the Ryu had the idea of a flail type as well - it must have beena case of choosing to keep the chain and sickle type seen in Isshin Ryu rather than converting to a smaller flail type. I like the look of this weapon! The weight is in motion. Weight downwards at hands. Block with the blade. Rake down between the hands. To show length.  Miss, hit the ground. Come back up between hands. Right hand away. Single off-hand stab. Entanglement. Weight hit downwards. Maki otoshi style catch. Rake the front arm. Release hand. Single hand cut. Maki otoshi style catch. Rake the other arm. Jump the sweep. Continue sweep, high. Foot entanglement. They perform a level change. Attack with other foot. Hard downwards. Half sword