As with all weaponry, the knives, swords, staffs and other weapons used in martial arts practice should be treated with great respect and care. While using them is definitely VERY COOL, it takes patience, practice, and prudence to learn to use them properly.
In contemporary martial arts practice, weapon training is not only cool, but it also sharpens the students overall martial arts discipline. Historically, however, martial arts weapons had a purpose far beyond being for show. They were used to gain a competitive edge in a fight. Today, we’re going to explore the stories behind 5 historical martial arts weapons, including how they were originally developed and used–not just for training, but also for survival.
Test Your IQ
How much do you know about the five weapons on our discussion list today? Can you categorize them? Do you know where they came from? Without reading ahead, can you identify which of the following weapons came from Indonesia, the birthplace of Merpati Putih? Which weapon most resembles a trident?
- Bo Staff (Tongkat)
Don’t worry! We won’t roast you if your weaponry IQ can use a boost. Instead, we’ll invite you to join our Family Martial Arts Program and/or our Athletic Adventure for Adults, where we use both the Tongkat and the Golok to enhance our martial arts practice.
Expand Your Knowledge
If you want the low-down on the categories of martial arts weapons available, please reference our June 2, 2016 blog post called “Martial Arts Weapons.” There, we explained the differences between blunt, bladed and projectile weapons, and we also outlined how being educated about weaponry can help you defend your home and family should a future need arise.
Now that you have some background knowledge, we’re going to drill down with some specifics.
Katana: The Katana is the quintessential Japanese Samurai sword. Its origin dates to the year 1400 C.E., and it has an unforgiving, single-edged curved blade that can cut with precision. HowStuffWorks explains what sets the Katana apart:
“It can take more than a dozen people to make a katana over the course of several months, with the intent that it becomes a lifelong companion for one person to wield and, eventually, be buried with. Although the katana can be viewed as nothing more than a simple tool, the culture surrounding it places a high and often mystical value on the sword. Some believe the soul of the katana’s owner is bound in the sword.”
Sai: Although it is considered Okinawa’s traditional weapon of melee, the Sai was being used in India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia before it was introduced in Japan. Sais are blunted, prong-shaped batons that are used most often in pairs for blocks, parries, strikes and captures.
Nunchaku: The Nunchaku is one of the most famous martial arts weapons. The Nunchaku is a pair of sticks connected by a rope or chain, and it is used primarily to strike, both offensively and defensively. Although the origin of the Nunchaku isn’t clear, this weapon has widespread use in multiple styles of martial arts practice. The use of Nunchaku is recognized internationally as a contact sport.
Bo Staff (Tongkat): Bo Staffs have been used throughout Asia since the beginning of recorded history. While some historians believe they were originally used to balance buckets or baskets during transport, they were used in feudal Japan as defense mechanisms against Samurai weaponry when other weapons had been banned. In martial arts practice, Bo Staffs are used for blocks, strikes, jabs, sweeps, and entrapments.
Golok: The Golok is a cutting tool that resembles a machete and is used both in agriculture and in battle. Goloks originated in the Indonesian archipelago, but they also have widespread use in Malaysia, the Philippines and Sudan. Goloks are considered among the world’s deadliest blades.
Become an Expert
If you’d like to develop personal mastery of the Tongkat and the Golok, MP USA is a place where you can rise to the occasion–and not just with weapons! Participating in our Family Martial Arts Program and/or our Athletic Adventure for Adults can enhance your knowledge, health and lifestyle in so many ways!
We hope today’s conversation about 5 historical martial arts weapons will help you pave the way for a future you never imagined! Don’t wait to begin an amazing journey toward reaching your fullest potential!