Weapons Of Shotokan Karate
The Origin and use of weapons in the Shotokan style of karate has an interesting history. The tradional weapons that are taught at Shanaki Martial Arts were first nothing more than farming tools. be patient with me as I tell one of my favorite parts of this history.
When the Japanese invaded Okinawa and set up a police force in the capital of Nada, they quickly banned the military class and confiscated all arms that were a means of protection for citizens. With these acts, the Japanese felt confident that the islanders would not rebel against their invasion. However, the invaders had not taken into consideration the heritage of the islanders - that of the martial arts. This was, in part, due to the close trading ties with China. The kung Fu styles and methods of the larger country were mixed with the islanders indiginous fighting arts. After consulting with the old monks, the islanders began to toughen their knuckels and elbows on straw pads and wet sand. Eventually graduating to striking tree trunks. They pounded their fists into the trees day after day until eventually huge callouses built up on various parts of their bodies.
The armor of the Japanese troops and the Samurai was made of laquered bamboo and leather thongs. When the islanders decided the time had come to fight back in guerilla attacks, their hardened fingers and hands easily penetrated the armor of their opponents. When mounted troops were sent in, the islanders devised a series of lethal kicks executed while airborne, so even the mounted forces proved to be no obstacle.
The Farmers played their part in fighting back by transforming their farming tools into deadly weapons. They are as follows:
--The TONFA was the handle of the rice grinder.
--The KAMA was a sickle used to cut crops.
--The NUNCHAKU was used to seperate grain by beating the plant material.
--The SAI was a pronged instrument used for planting seeds.
--The BO (staff) was used to carry water buckets from to fields and homes.
The above mentioned weapons, and a few more borrowed from other disciplines, are what we teach at Shanaki. You will encounter these weapons during different belt levels. If you are interested in competition, Master Shannon will create a unique kata that will display your martial arts strengths.