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Flail Type Kusarigama

When inspecting the available material on Koryu that maintain some sort of Kusarigama tradition, it is apparent that the majority are of the Type 2 variety, being flails. Whilst the length of the chain varies somewhat, the Type 2 examples are typically used with one hand and there is no need to cast the weight - the weight is accelerated via the length of the handle.  I would contend that this reality is different from the popular association, being the Type 1.

Whilst I may be interested primarily in the non-flail types, it is important to understand and differentiate the weapons - they may all be referred to as Kusarigama however they are entirely different weapons and used in very different ways.

Understanding the typology also changes how much information we can take from various anecdotes. If we pause to think about the duel between Shishido Baiken (who may or may not have existed & probably had a different name if he did) and Musashi unless we know the type of Kusarigama being used we have to consider the dual and Musashi’s tactics from the viewpoint of both types of Kusarigama.

In the coming posts, I will have a brief look at some of the existing schools maintaining a Type 2 syllabus and then try to summarise tactics on which they intersect. I have broken each one into a separate post so I can add to it later if need be (all of this originally being a single document).

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