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Several Medieval Japanese Weapon Notes


During the war of the Heike (the middle ages) one master archer sunk two boats with one shot of his massive bow. 

In those days bows were measured by how many men were required to string it, the average being a three man bow, this monster that sunk two boats being a seven man bow! 


kodachi (小太刀 or こだち, shield-sword, pictured above), literally translating into "small or short tachi (sword)", is a Japanese sword that is too short to be considered a long sword but too long to be a dagger.

weapon (melee)

Since this sword was only about 70 cm (28 inches) in length, it did not exceed the blade length limits of non-samurai during the Edo period and could be worn by merchants.
kodachi’s length is similar to that of the wakizashi, and though the blades differ greatly in construction, the kodachi and the wakizashi are similar enough in size and technique that the terms are sometimes (mis)used interchangeably. While the kodachi was a set length, the wakizashi was forged to complement the height of its wielder or the length of the katana it was paired with, and thus varied. The kodachi also features greater curvature than a wakizashi, and typically has a longer handle.
The kodachi has also been said (Rurouni Kenshin vol. 4, by Nobuhiro Watsuki) to be a medium length sword, shorter than a katana but longer than a wakazashi, with easy manueverability making for higher defensive capacity. It is known as the ‘shield-sword’, the o- (long) wakazashi, or naga- (long) wakazashi.

The prefix “ko-” means “short,” and can be attached to any of the names of specific types of swords to indicate something shorter than “normal.” As the prefix “ō-” can mean “great” or “long,” it follows that the opposite end of this length spectrum of the tachi is the ōdachi.  Here is a link beautifully describing the master craft kodachi pictured above - http://new.uniquejapan.com/a-moriie-kodachi/

The yoroidōshi (鎧通し "armor piercer" or "mail piercer" were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihontō) that were worn by the samurai class as a weapon in feudal Japan.



The yoroidōshi is an extra thick tantō (Japanese dagger-like sword) which appeared in the Sengoku period (late Muromachi). The yoroidōshi was made for piercing armour and for stabbing while grappling in close quarters. The weapon ranged in size from 20 cm to 22 cm, but some examples could be under 15 cm, with a "tapering mihabaiori-mune, thick kasane at the bottom, and thin kasane at the top and occasionally moroha-zukuriconstruction". The motogasane (blade thickness) at the hamachi (the notch at the beginning of the cutting edge) can be up to a half-inch thick, which is characteristic of the yoroidōshi style of tantō. The extra thickness at the spine of the blade distinguishes the yoroidōshi from a standard tantō blade.

Yoroidōshi were worn inside the belt on the back or on the right side with the hilt toward the front and the edge upward. Due to being worn on the right, the blade would have been drawn using the left hand, giving rise to the alternate name of metezashi (馬手差), or "horse-hand (i.e. rein-hand, i.e. left-hand) blade".


Manrikigusari (萬力鏈) meaning ten thousand power  (weighted on each end) chain, useful when carrying a sword was not allowed or impractical, and samurai police of the Edo period would often use it as one of their non lethal arresting weapons.


Kaginawa (鈎縄) is the combination of the words kagi meaning hook and nawa meaning rope.  The kaginawa is a type of grappling hook used as tool in feudal Japan by the samurai class, their retainers, foot soldiers and reportedly by ninja. Kaginawa have several configurations, from one to four hooks. The kagi would be attached to a nawa of various lengths, this was then used to scale a rather large wall, to secure a boat, or for hanging up armor and other equipment during the night. Kaginawa were regularly used during various sieges of miscellaneous castles. The nawawas attached to a ring on one end which could be used to hang it from a saddle.



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Kung Fu Hustle

In the film, during the last fight with Beast, Sing uses the Buddhist Palm leaving a massive palm-shaped hole in the building. In the real Buddhist Palm fighting style, however, the fighter delivers powerful punches using his palms. A relatively modern Southern Shaolin style of Kung Fu, Fut Gar Kuen, or the “Buddhist Family Fist,” utilizes mostly punches, palm strikes, low kicks, and evasive footwork to beat the opponent.


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On 11/17/2017 at 10:09 PM, megaplayboy said:

Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Burma/Myanmar and India also have their own martial traditions and legends.  

Pfft. My hometown has a martial tradition. It involves getting really drunk, and then taking wild swings until you collapse on each other, at which point the guy with the most in his stomach wins in ways that I don't want to explain here. 

Beat that, wuxia guys!

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To contribute, I worked up the maneuvers of the card game Lunch Money as if it was a martial art. A prefab can be found here, and it's also on the Surbrook's Stuff page here. There was a thread here that I started about it, but it's gone into the ether...


In the brawls that spring up in the yard over the lunch money each kid brings to school, it is the girl who fights with the most savagery, the most viciousness, who wins. The little girls, who have practiced their craft, develop the maneuvers and techniques that make up the essence of this art. They tend to be the ones walking away with a jingling purse while their opponents lie bleeding and unconscious on the asphalt behind them.

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