Classical weaponry makes up a large segment of the curriculum studied a the Yasuragi Dojo. While many of these weapons may seem unconventional for modern day application in close quarter engagement, the ardent study of weaponry allows a student develop a sense of conforming their skills to practically any instrument they’re capable of picking up.

Weaponry not only serves the obvious role of being a force multiplier in the pursuit of self preservation, but also conditions a student physically and mentally.


短刀術   Tantōjutsu

Tantōjutsu is the term for knife fighting with the use of the Japanese tantō. Worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, the tantō dates to the Heian period (794-1185), when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts and saw a resurgence of use in the West in the 1980s as the design made its way to America and is a common blade pattern found in modern tactical knives. 

The Tantō is commonly referred to as a knife or dagger, the blade is single or double edged with a length between 6-12 inches. It was designed primarily as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well. Tantō are generally forged in hira-zukuri style, meaning that their sides have no ridge line and are nearly flat, unlike the shinogi-zukuri structure of a katana. Some tantō have particularly thick cross-sections for armor-piercing duty, and are called yoroi toshi. Tantō were mostly carried by samurai, as commoners did not generally wear them. Women sometimes carried a small tantō called a kaiken in their obi primarily for self-defense.

Tantō were sometimes worn as the shōtō (short sword) in place of a wakizashi in a daishō (matching pair of short and long sword), especially on the battlefield. Before the advent of the wakizashi/tantō combination, it was common for a samurai to carry a tachi and a tantō as opposed to a katana and a wakizashi.

棒術   Bōjutstu

6 Shaku (1 shaku equaling 11.9 inches) and 3 Shaku staff techniques of the Kukishin Ryū Happo Biken.

Bōjutsu literally meaning “Stick technique” is best described as a method used to defeat/trick wielders of other weapons. It has special striking techniques that allow the Bō to feign quickly and re-direct its aim; a special method of “twirling” (Bofurigata) designed to confuse opponents and keep them at bay, alongside a large assortment of strikes and thrusts. 

Aspects of the Bōjutsu are gleaned from two other weapons, naginata and the spear.

槍術   Sōjutsu

The Kukishin Ryū spear has a total length of 270 cm. The 36 cm to 45 cm spearhead is connected to the shaft with wire, and it has three edges or “blades.” It is used to parry, slash, stab, strike and to unbalance opponents. 

The spear techniques in Kukishin Ryū integrate a myriad of complex variations and nuances and this is perhaps the most difficult weapon in the curricula to learn.

It has a number of targets which can be reached from both long and short distances and at each distance, a slight divergence in the way the weapon is used is needed in order to make it effective.

This makes it one of the most complicated and complex weapons, depending entirely on distance and timing for the wielder to use it correctly.

十手術   Juttejutsu

Literally meaning “ten-hand” (i.e., the weapon with the power of ten hands),the jutte is a specialized weapon primarily used by Japanese law enforcement during the Edo era. 

The jutte was a substitute for a badge and represented someone on official business and was carried by all levels of police officers including high ranking samurai police officials and low-rank samurai law enforcement officers. Other high ranking samurai officials carried a jutte as a badge of office.

鎖術   Kusarijutsu

The kusarifundo is a hand held weapon used in feudal Japan consisting of a length of chain (kusari) with a weight (fundō) connected to each end of the chain.

Various sizes and shapes of chain and weight were used as there was no set rule on the construction of these weapons.

The kusari-fundo was useful when carrying a sword was not allowed or impractical, samurai police of the Edo period would use a kusarifundō as one of their non-lethal arresting weapons.

The founder of the Masaki Ryū, Masaki Tarodayu Dannoshin Toshiyoshi (1689-1776) is said to have developed a version of the kusari-fundowhile serving Lord Toda as a bloodless weapon that could be used to defend the grounds of Edo castle.

鉄扇術    Tessenjutsu

Tessenjutsu is the martial art of the Japanese war fan, tessen. In the Jinen Ryu, it is trained as a companion with the jutte as it would have been used by Edo law enforcement.

The use of the war fan in combat is mentioned in early Japanese legends. Yoshitsune, a hero of Japanese legend, is said to have defeated an opponent named Benkei by parrying the blows of his opponent’s spear with an iron fan. 

薙刀術  Naginatajutsu

The Kukishin Ryū Naginata is 7 feet and 4.5 inches in overall length. It has a blade that is roughly 10 inches long. It is used to slash, parry, strike, stab and deflect; the blade is also used to hook and arrest. 

Naginata is a weapon of primary importance in Kukishin Ryū as the Bōjutsu owes its origin to the Naginata. It stands as another signature weapon of Kukishin Ryū and it is perhaps the base of the ryu’s creation.


Reflections on Kobudo training and lifestyle, written and shared by Adam Mitchell. 

Kobudo Going Forward, with Manaka Unsui

Jun 05, 2024

Japan Trip, 2024 Day 1, Kusarifundo Chi no Kata

May 27, 2024

Finding The Dao in Violence, with Jack Schaefer

May 15, 2024

Reflection 4: Stealing from the Mongolian Tiger

May 11, 2024

Death and Rebirth of the Bu Jin, with Sean Askew

May 07, 2024

Jishu Geiko, A Guide to Solo Practice in Kobudo

Apr 16, 2024



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571 Route 6
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