Chanbara Long Range Weapon

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Long-range weapons (bo, yari, naginata) can flail and slash at blinding speed. In a few short moments, one can experience the reality of combative, long-range weapon sparring.

Up until now, all long-range weapon practice was mostly done through pre-arranged forms and controlled drills. One wrong move and a nasty lump on the head, bashed finger or worse could result in days or weeks of lost training.

Yari:

The yari was the foot soldier’s long-range weapon of choice. It was easy to learn, simple to manipulate, and economical to construct. In Japan, spears were mostly made from two to three meters of bamboo; one end was whittled as sharp as a hypodermic needle, to easily penetrate an object.

The spear offers a very fast and accurate game of chess, which in the right hands can hold one or more opponents at bay with lighting-fast linear thrusts. The yari has 20 inches of striking area with 52 inches of handle.

Yari

Scoring Points:

The head, throat and chest/stomach are the three general target areas. They are called mein-tsuki, tsuki and do-tsuki. For a point to be scored, the combatant must attack these three areas. The strike must be a stab or thrust. A strike to arms, legs and other lesser parts of the body will not receive a point.

Naginata

Naginata (halberd/bladed spear):

Whether on the battlefield or guarding the castle and its emperor, the samurai employed a long-range bladed weapon known as a naginata. It averaged two to three meters in length. In battle, the naginata proved to be one of the most feared weapons, since it could stab, thrust and cut from any angle.

Thrusting and cutting at full speed using the naginata drains one’s power and quickly leads to fatigue. One must kiai (give a shout of encouragement) much louder when wielding a long-range weapon. The naginata has 26 inches of striking area with 46 inches of handle.

Scoring Points:

The target areas of the body are head, throat, torso, legs and arms. Cutting, thrusting, slashing and stabbing techniques receive points. All completed mein, kote, do, ashi and tsuki strikes are legal. The strike must be clean and swift, not allowing the opponent to make a counterattack.

Bo Staff
Bo Staff

Jo Staff
Jo Staff

The bo and jo were considered ancient weapons in many Japanese farming communities. In many instances the bo or jo were the only long-range weapons the farmer had for protection. To the samurai warrior the bo (staff) was a spear with the tip broken off.

A well-versed warrior could wield the staff either as a short-, medium- or long-range weapon, depending on the situation and placement of hands. Many choose to spar and practice using various lengths. As a long- or medium-range weapon, the staff offers the combatant the most versatile fighting applications to gain a winning point. Discover what length works for you.

Scoring Points:

The target areas of the body are head, torso, legs and arms. Striking and thrusting techniques receive points. All completed mein, kote, do, ashi and tsuki strikes are legal. The strike must be clean and swift, not allowing the opponent to make a counterattack.

4-Foot Jo and 5-Foot Jo (staves) are used in chanbara.