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  • kusari gama

    There hasn't been a new thread in this section for quite some time, and this has been chewing on me for quite some time...

    Does anyone here study kusari gama? Kendou is great, and it is one of the few things that makes life in Japan bearable, however, I really wanted to study kusari gama (someday I'd like to study jodo as well, but that's a long way in the future). Supposedly, one of the koryu native to the area where I live now is a kusari gama ryu, but I've been unable to track down any practitioners.

    Any hints?

    c

  • #2
    taking my life in my hands here but what is kusari gama?

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    • #3
      I think its a scythe-like weapon attached to a chain with a metal weight at the end of it used to grapple and disarm swords in the olden samurai days. Originally used by farmers to cut ricestalks and grass during harvest season. There is a thread somewhere showing a kendoka against a kusari gama.

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      • #4
        Hmm... harvesting rice stalks with kusari-gama....

        <visions of deadly ninja farmers flying through the fields whirling their kusari-gama as the rice stalks fall in slow-motion>

        And aren't nunchakus just grain threshers. Thank goodness nobody gave those ancient farmers a pencil sharpener. That would have been the end of civilisation.

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        • #5
          Some photos of a real Kusarigama:

          http://www.rivertop.ne.jp/rivertopsabu/nif/1042gt.html http://www.hamono.co.jp/coment/coment170.htm

          A Kusarigama consists of 3 parts:
          Kama= sickle
          Kusari= chain
          Fundo= metal weight

          Shishido Baiken, one of the defeated enemies of Miyamoto Mushashi, was a well-know master of the Kusarigama. (Mushashi won by pulling his Kodachi out?! This may also be half-fictional.)

          Got my hands on the tape of The 11th Nippon Kobudo Taikai recently. It features some Kusarigama techiques of Nito Shinkage Ryu and Suio Ryu. From what I observed:-

          The metal weight and the chain form primary defence for the person. Basically, you'll be swinging the weight right from the start (acts much like a shield). There are 3 basic ways to swing it: helicopter, vertical, and butterfly/8-shape.

          A hit of the weight can go directly onto your opponent' body parts, eg. Kote, Men . A hit towards the hilt of you opponent's sword can be so strong that will make him drop his sword.

          If the chain part (the far end 1 inch that is attached to the weight) is in contact with anyhing, it will wrap/tie the thing up. Eg. use the chain to tie your opponent's Kote, or their sword. After tying, you can pull the chain, and use the sickle to hook on your opponent's neck, or their forehead. Or go for empty-hand techniques.

          Nito Shinkage Ryu is the one who also uses Kusarigama in both hands

          There were a few threads in E-budo about Kusarigama.... I guess it's under Jodo forum there.

          Have fun

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          • #6
            To little activity in the kobudo department

            I saw a nice embu- fight in Kyoto between kendo and kusarigamma at the world championships in -97. I think two kusarigamma were used, the shinai was tangled in the ropes, the shinai was forced backwards trough jodan, and both kusarigammas were thrusted to the kendokas kidneys.
            Veery nice

            Most jodo-people I know of, do not do kusarigamma. those who does, have practised jodo for twenty years or more, and know already most of the jo-curriculum(64 katas?), as well as the kenjutsuforms, hojojutsu and jittejutsu. Not many, of the whole jo-crowd.
            The kusarigammakatas of smr jodo looks quite interesting.
            It would be easier I guess, if you have the opportunity, to find an obscure ryu who has an easier access to kusarigamma-practise.

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            • #7
              There are 64 jodo kata? Great scot. That's a joke right? I just started last week, but no one told me there were 64 kata.

              c

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              • #8
                Originally posted by roar View Post
                Most jodo-people I know of, do not do kusarigamma. those who does, have practised jodo for twenty years or more, and know already most of the jo-curriculum(64 katas?), as well as the kenjutsuforms, hojojutsu and jittejutsu. Not many, of the whole jo-crowd.
                It varies from group to group though. I learned some of the kusarigama after having only learned the omote and kenjutsu sets, although as you say, a number of the groups seem to wait until much later to introduce it.

                edit: damn this thread is really old... how did it end up in my "what's new" listing?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by munenmuso View Post
                  Originally used by farmers to cut ricestalks and grass during harvest season.
                  Other than some morphological similarities, as far as I know, there is no direct connection between this weapon and the tool used to harvest rice. Ellis Amdur discusses this at length in his excellent book Old School

                  I believe that Shishido Baiken is entirely fictional as both a person and I don't know that there is any evidence of Musashi having actually been involved in a duel with someone using kusari-gama. I don't actually know of any historical records of the actual use of this weapon in combat. If anyone here can cite any I would be really interested to learn about them. As an interesting aside, this weapon is often assigned to the "bad guy" in both Japanese fiction and film.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rennis View Post
                    edit: damn this thread is really old... how did it end up in my "what's new" listing?
                    It was replied to by a spammer, whose reply I subsequently deleted.

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                    • #11
                      To make it short: In Shinto Muso Ryu there is an auxiliary school called "Isshin-ryu Kusarigama". This school was said to have been founded in the 14th century, though I'm guessing it doesnt look like anything like todays IR kusarigama. The school is today an auxiliary art of Shinto Muso-ryu jodo.
                      It was passed on to SMR-teacher Shiraishi Hanjiro in the late 1800's and afterwards passed on as a side-school to SMR-Jo. To this day it is still passed on as a sub-art to SMR-jo.


                      And yes there are 60+ jo-kata depending on how you count the specific number of kata in the SMR-jo system. (there are a number of variants which som people pererr to count as individual kata as opposed to a single kata)

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                      • #12
                        The Masaki Ryu, taught in conjunction with the Suio Ryu

                        This kusarigama tradition has its roots in the techniques of manrikikusari developed by Masaki Taro Dayu. It was then passed down until the 9th Soke of the Suio Ryu Fukuhara Shinzaemon Kagenori devised arts of kusarigama from the manrikigusari techniques. From this time the Masaki Ryu has been transmitted in conjunction with the Suio Ryu.
                        The body of the kusarigama is roughly 40cm in length with a chain of approximately 2.5 meters. The blade portion is 15 cm in length and is sharp on its 3 protruding edges.
                        The tradition contains a total of 16 kata in the Omote and Ura sections all of which are performed in a highly realistic manner. A real kusarigama has a steel weight, which is swing by the chain, however for safety’s sake a less dangerous substitute is used in practice. The techniques include receiving the opponent’s blade with the chain portion, wrapping the opponent’s body and weapon, receiving the opponent’s blade with the body portion and then wrenching it away or stealing it. In particular striking the opponent with the weight portion is deemed the most effective.

                        Through actually seeing the techniques of the tradition, not just the kusarigama, I think you will be able to understand everything. The simplicity of the techniques that you will see represent the characteristics of the Suio Ryu. This painful simplicity is the essence of the Suio Ryu and the essence of my path.


                        Bu creates the Man

                        By Katsuse Yoshimitsu Kagehiro

                        Katsuse Yoshimitsu is the 15 Soke of the Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo and 12th Soke of the Masaki Ryu, succeeding his father Katsuse Mitsuyasu in 1982. He is the teaching master of the Suio Ryu headquarters, the Hekiunkan Dojo, and Chairman of the Shizuoka Prefecture Kendo Federation Technical Council.

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                        • #13
                          Forgot to mention the official name of that tradition is "Masaki Ryu Fukuhara-Ha Kusarigamajutsu".

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