Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ninja Stars

We all wish we were a ninja right? To have the stealth, cunning, strength, and diverse technology to kill any opponent. While there are many tools in a ninja’s arsenal, today I wish to highlight perhaps their most renowned weapon to date, the ninja star. Or to the overly devoted, the sacred skuriken.

A traditional Japanese weapon, the shuriken (literally meaning “sword hidden in the hand”) is concealed during the majority of battle but revealed for throwing and occasionally stabbing and slashing. Used mainly as a secondary weapon to the katana (sword) or yari (spear), they were used for means of distraction.

Targets included the face, hands, or feet where a samurai’s (the ninja’s ultimate foe) flesh was exposed. There have been unverified reports of ninja stars’ tips being dipped in poison as well as being buried in dirt or fecies to rust. If an enemy was cut deeply enough, they would be infected with tetanus which was then incurable.
While mostly associated as a throwing star, there are actually two main types of shuriken:
1. Bo-shuriken: Consists of a straight, iron or steel spike, usually four sided but can also be round and octagonal in shape. Normally single-pointed but have been seen with both points sharpened, they range from 5”- 8 1/2” in length and weigh about a quarter of a pound. They were made of everyday items such as nails, needles, and knifes. Other items were also thrown in this fashion including the kogai (ornamental hairpin), kogata (utility knife), and chopsticks (What good that’ll do you!?).

2. Hira-shuriken: Thin, flat plates of metal made from coins, carpentry tools, and washers. They typically had a hole in the center; inherit from their constructed materials that allowed for storage on string, as well as yielding aerodynamic benefits. Temporary ninja stars are made of stainless steel. Average width is 11 cm, thickness is near 3 mm, and number of tips can range from 3-20.

Hira-shuriken were also known to be embedded into the ground to injure advancing soldiers or wrapped in fuse and lit to cause fire. The art of throwing these weapons is known as shurikenjutsu. Shinobi in origin, its ways are very secretive as schools are difficult to locate.

If you’re thinking about purchasing some of your own ninja stars, whether for real use or aesthetic purposes, PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!!! You will normally find shuriken for sale in knife stores and in most states need to be 18 or accompanied by a guardian to buy some. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, the websites and contain a vast selection of stars and related equipment such as target boards and ninja apparel.

I want to know…What martial art weapon do you want to learn the most? Do you wish you had advanced numb chucks skills or an expert wielding of the longbow? Leave a comment and stir up some discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Great post shared by author. I appreciate it. Thanks for sharing this informative post. Keep posting updates.
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