There were 2 types of pole weapons to dominate samurai use in Japan. These were the yari (槍), and the naginata (なぎなた, 薙刀).
The yari came in a huge number of varieties, with each having different blade designs and purposes. The shafts also came in different varieties. Although yari were predominantly used on the battlefield, and as a palace or castle protection weapon by samurai, they were also kept at home as a weapon to deal with intruders.
The naginata didn’t have as many varieties as the yari, but it did come designed differently for both men and women. The type used by men was called ō-naginata, while the women’s edition was the ko-naginata, mostly used by the upper-class female warriors, the onna-bugeisha.
The Japanese martial arts are known for their use of pole weapon. They have been used in many different samurai fighting arts and in modern times, they can be seen in film and video games.
The art of the pole weapon is one of the most important aspects of the Japanese fighting arts.
Japanese Pole-Weapon History
The history of Japanese pole weapons dates back to before 1868 when Japan had its modernization period. This was a time when samurai were not needed anymore and this led to a reduction in Japanese martial arts training schools. The schools that were left became much more focused on teaching skills related to agriculture, fishing, and other trades rather than traditional samurai fighting training skills such as swordsmanship or skill with a spear or naginata (a type of pole weapon).
Pole Weapons are considered an ancient type of weapon, but they are still used in modern warfare. Japanese pole weapons are called “sai” and they were used for both dueling and social rituals. Spears were an ancient samurai weapon that could be thrown at the opponent or used to stab them.
Japanese Pole Weapons in Ancient Times
The yari is an ancient Japanese polearm. This weapon was used by the samurai class, which was the most powerful group in ancient Japan. The yari is a long spear with a blade at one or both ends. It can be used for stabbing, hacking, and thrusting attacks.
It is very difficult to beat the yari because it is both fast and agile. The blade at the end of the spear can kill an enemy with one stab through his armor; this weapon also has the ability to easily cut off limbs. Yari is now used as ceremonial objects in Japan, but they were once widely used on battlefields during ancient times.
Where You Can Study Traditional Japanese Martial Arts Today
Traditional Japanese martial arts are still practiced in Okinawa, Japan.
Located on the southernmost island of Japan, Okinawa is home to many traditional Japanese martial arts schools. These include Ryukyu Kempo, Shito-Ryu Karate, Kyokushin Karate, Tenjin Shin’yo-Ryu Jujutsu and Jigen-Ryu Iaido.