Were martial arts ever banned in feudal Japan?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by hardball, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    And two handed flails, but not oars or a hoe or a rock-on-a-rope or a single handed sickle.

    While I completely agree that many tools were utilized as weapons, it just seems odd to me that there appears to be so much emphasis on "peasant" weapons if this was an activity of the warrior classes as has been presented.

    Coming from a FMA background, our weapon training mostly aims at knife, short blade/club, and spear/staff. From those base training modules you can adapt the spear/staff material to a hoe or an oar. Or short blade to sickle or some applications of tonfa for lack of a better term. Obviously an specialized tool, like the sai or tonfa will have particular tricks to that particular item, but from an outsiders perspective it seems odd to focus training on the esoteric weapons, the oh-crap-I-dropped-my-sword-I-found-"this" situation rather than focusing on weapons that I would expect a warrior class to focus on; polearm, sword, shield, maybe knife.
  2. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Perfectly respectable weapon the oar is!
  3. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    Would you chose an oar over a glaive?
  4. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    I thought Okinawan Kobudo had sword, shield and short spear.
  5. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    For what?
  6. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I think it does as well, but if you examined the art(s) by the core material taught, would your impression be that it is part of the core material or more ancillary?

    If you were training a soldier in medieval Okinawa, would you start your training with a staff or a spear? Once you got a basic level of competance with whatever the core fighting method is of your kingdom/province/whatever how soon would you start shifting training to totally random improvised weapons? If I was training a soldier, the progression would be something like spear, club, knife, and then unarmed. I wouldn't spent whole training modules (kata) on very specific makeshift weapons.

    I have spent alot of time at karate tournaments, including more traidional tournaments from my Isshin-ryu/Goju-ryu days. I have never seen a sword and shield kata done by a traditional kobudo practitioner, I have seen it on video but never in person. I have never seen a spear kata performed. I have seen countless bo, oar, kama, sai, and nunchaku performed. I will be the first to say that my experience in the US should not be reflective of the historical art of kobudo, but in looking at the lists of kata for even the Okinawan organizations it seems heavily slanted away from purpose built combative weapons.
  7. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    As a weapon, a glaive would suck for navigating rapids.
  8. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member


    In what context?

    Not being funny but it does matter.
  9. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member


    I'm fairly clueless about the Okinawan arts.
  10. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    Those guys over there (points) want to invade your home and do nasty things to your wife and kids, do you want to use the oar from the canoe or that glaive with the 6' haft that for some odd reason is leaning against the car?
  11. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Can't I just throw the mother-in-law at them?
  12. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Which are you more likely to have immediately to hand?

    *realises with Dean it's probably the glaive*

    Never mind.......
  13. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    However, if I couldn't afford an expensive purpose forged weapon but needed a paddle to go fishing.....
    From 1609 wouldn't military matters have been dealt with by the Shimazu anyway?
  14. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Considering the size of Okinawa and the devastation it suffered in WW2 I think we are very lucky to have as much surviving evidence and material as we do.

    With regard to Okinawa my interest is more on Karate than Okinawan Kobudo, but I would be interested to see if there was a marked class difference between the (aristocratic) families we know to have taught karate and the families that taught 'implement' weaponry systems. Other factors to bear in mind are the reduction of status of aristocrats when the class system was abolished and whether the 'implement' systems were created and taught by them as a hobby based on the armed systems, the majority of which did not survive as they were not passed on or survive WWII.
  15. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  16. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    1) in 'feudal" japan, the carrying of weapons were outlawed:
    a) for non-samurai or bushi class,
    b) the wearing and carrying of swords during the meiji restoration (though the meiji era was the end of "feudal" japan and the start of the "industrial/ imperial" age of japan.

    2) in the modern era, the ban on martial arts was enacted by the occupying allied forces after world war 2. general douglas macarthur oversaw the destruction of many heirloom swords (some say as a sign of crushing japan's military spirit).

    3) in other countries, the spanish government banned the public display of martial arts in the philippines as well as the carrying of swords. the filipinos resorted to:
    a) training in secret
    b) hiding martial movements in dance (see the likes of tinikling, manlalatik, fandanggo sa ilaw, etc.)
    c) hiding martial arts in sport (see traditional sikaran game)
    d) using only "farm/ utility" blades.
  17. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Seems like people have done this in Okinawa, Japan, China, and India as well
  18. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    africa/brazil too, if the capoeira origin stories are to be trusted.
  19. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    Wearing the wakizashi was permitted for the merchant class, there is some commentary about how some of the merchants would wear a longer scabbard to give the appearance of a long blade.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  20. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    Thank you for this. I had read that once, somewhere but did not see it again. Do you have a source I can read?

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