Martial arts are a system of combat practices. Most were previously used for warfare and combat. Today, these are used for self-defense, physical fitness, and spiritual enlightenment. It can be a good pastime and can be rewarding.
Martial arts come in different variations: unarmed and weapon-based. Traditional martial arts that use weapons are commonly used in armed combats using diverse weapons, ranging from sticks to swords.
The sai is a three-pronged metal baton used in the Okinawa martial arts. This weapon is suitable for blocking and trapping enemy attacks. In Okinawa, police use sai for crowd control and arresting criminals.
Sai was already used in other Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and China. Sai was referred to as tekpi in Malay and chabang in Indonesian. The sai is used in pairs with different combat styles, including strikes, parries, and blocks.
The jian is a double-edged sword used in China for thousands of years. This weapon is used for both Wushu and Tai Chi.
It is said that the jian dates back to the 7th century BC. Previously, it had a one-handed version with 80-centimeter blades. In Chinese folklore, jian is known to be the “gentleman of weapons” and is one of the four major weapons.
This is a traditional Ninjutsu weapon used by a shinobi or ninja. The kunai was originally made for farming use but evolved to weaponry. Before, the peasants used the kunai for gardening, farming, and masonry.
This Japanese tool was usually used during assassination or spying. It’s a multipurpose weapon that can be used for stabbing or digging a hole.
Yantok or rattan stick is the basic weapon of arnis or eskrima. It is lightweight and durable, which makes it effective against blades.
Although the history of eskrima is disputed, it is said that this has been practiced by the early Filipinos even before the Spanish rule. Since civilians were prohibited to carry swords during the Spanish regime, sticks were used instead. Learning eskrima starts with a pair of sticks and emphasizes on keeping the hands full but never going in the same direction. It trains the practitioner to be ambidextrous.
The yumi or asymmetrical bow is used for the Japanese kyudo martial art, which is based on kyujutsu or Japanese archery. Archery in Japan was first documented around 297 AD wherein people used a wooden bow that is long from the top and short at the bottom.
The earliest forms of yumi varied in size but were usually short and had a center grip. It was an important weapon for the samurai warrior during feudal Japan.
These martial arts weapons have interesting histories. However, to master them, you need to be disciplined and worthy. Not everyone is given the privilege to learn the use of these weapons today. Most of their disciplines have been slightly modified to become non-combat weapons and were used in for sports and recreation purposes only.