The art of Ju-Jitsu was originally based on the teaching of the art of war in ancient Japan. While Ju-Jitsu flourishes today as an art devoted to unarmed self defense, using and practicing the traditional weapons has benefits.
Handling weapons that are used to strike improves power and control, as well as imparting muscle memory. In the same manner, blocking and defensive strategies are improved with weapons practice.
The S.J.J.A.M. teaches weapons entirely in Kata form, both individually and in pairs. The student is expected to perform a specific Kata for each weapon, to a standard set according to grade. The following are the weapons taught at our clubs:
The katana is a curved, single-edged sword, its blade is generally around 70 centimeters long. The katana may be used with one or both hands. Of all the weapons taught, the sword is of paramount importance. All students reaching their Black Belt will be expected to begin training with the sword. Having been described as the "Soul of the warrior", the sword is the symbol that captures the spirit of the martial arts.
A short pointed weapon, made from metal. Usually it is between 37 and 50 centimeters long and tapers slightly from pommel to point. It has two tapered tines projecting from the main shaft opposite each other. Almost all the hand techniques can be preformed with the sai. Although it looks like a thrusting weapon, the sai is primarily for hitting and blocking.
It is composed of two pieces of hard wood, usually connected by rope or chain. The wooden section of the weapon are generally 30 to 34 centimeters in length. The length of the connecting links is critical because it controls the swing-arc of the weapon. Within patterns are blocks, chokes, locks and strikes.
Used originally as a handle to turn a small millstone. The tonfa is generally used in pairs - one in each hand - the basic action is a crisp rotation of the shaft in a full or half strike, vertically or horizontally. Thrust and blocks can be executed with the shaft held along the forearm.
Probably the most widely used 'natural' weapon there is, a stick. The Bo varies in size and shape but generally it is a smooth 2 metres length of hard oak, tapering from the middle (30mm) to the ends (20mm). The bo may be used to strike, poke, block, parry, deflect, sweep or hold. The position of the hands on the bo determines whether the strike is made from long or short distances.
A bokken is a training sword, used as a relatively safe and inexpensive substitute for a real blade in several martial arts. The Bokken is a wooden Japanese sword, usually the size and shape of a katana, but can be made to replicate any type of sword.
The kama itself is a stabbing and slashing weapon that is most effective for any type of hand-to-hand combat but originally they were farmers tools. The development of this tool as a weapon began after Japan annexed Okinawa and outlawed all traditional weapons.
The Baton is perhaps the simplest of all weapons. A Baton is typically carved from a single piece of wood or steel. Any piece of wood that is narrow enough on one end to be grasped by the hand of its wielder can be used as or made into an improvised Baton.