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The History of Weapons in Martial Arts Part I

Posted by Century Martial Arts on 10/5/2016 12:33:00 PM

Just about any martial arts school you go into today will offer some form of weapons training. This is especially true if the school teaches karate, the art responsible for developing the use of many of these weapons. Given how ubiquitous this training is today, would it surprise you to learn that there was a time when weapons training was carried out in utmost secrecy?

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In the 1600s, Japanese samurai invaded the Okinawan islands and prohibited the native inhabitants from possessing weaponry. This was to prevent possible rebellion.  No weapons meant no fighting, right? However, the Okinawans adapted Chinese martial arts and found ways to utilize everyday items as effective weapons. In fact, many of the most iconic martial arts weapons started out as nothing more than farming tools.

Here’s a quiz – see if you can match each weapon to its original purpose.


1) Grinding rice or beans

2) Paddling a boat

3) Cutting grass

4) Threshing grain

5) Carrying water buckets

6) A pitchfork


A) Kama               B) Bo                    C) Eku                   D) Nunchaku                      E) Tonfa               F) Sai


We’ll reveal the answers in next week’s Centurion post, so stay tuned! Until then, you can shop our weapons selection here.

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