Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons

Posted on August 31, 2007

From iron claws and meteor hammers to deer antler blades and emei needles, ancient Martial Arts weapons range greatly in shape and design, yet all have only one purpose – to injure. In the hands of a skilled assassin, even the humble chopsticks can become savage weapons.

Brutal metal-link whips, miniature swords disguised as tobacco pipes, fans edges with razor-sharp blades and poison-tipped arrows are all lethal in their own right but pale in comparison with an almost mystical weapon of decapitation.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

1. The Urumi
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Also known as “chuttuval,” which means “coiled sword,” this flexible weapon is used in the South Indian Martial Art of Kalaripayatt.

The blade (or multiple blades, as in the urumi pictured here) is flexible enough to be rolled up and stored when not used, or even worn as a belt and whipped out on demand.

The blade or blades are typically razor-sharp and bad news for anyone standing in the vicinity of the person wielding the urumi.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

2. The Tekko-kagi (“hand claws”)
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Ninjas would use the tekko-kagi claws to guard against sword attacks, allowing them to swipe and potentially knock the sword from an assailant’s hands.

Or, ninjas could use claws the claws offensively against their opponents with devastating results.

Typically made from aluminum, steel, iron or wood, tekko weapons are believed by martial arts historians to have originated when the Bushi in Okinawa, Japan began wielding the steel shoes of their horses as a means of self-defense against assailants.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

3. The Kusari-gama
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Kusari-gama is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of Scythe-like blade,Kama, on a metal chain with a heavy iron weight at the end.

This weapon came from the design of the farmer’s scythe but this was not a weapon that farmers used.

The art of handling the Kusarigama is called Kusarigamajutsu.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

4. The Nunchaku
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

A nunchaku is two sections of wood (or metal in modern incarnations) connected by a cord or chain. Chinese nunchaku tend to be rounded, whereas Japanese are octagonal.

The traditional nunchaku is made from a strong, flexible hardwood such as oak, loquat or pasania. Originally, the wood would be submerged in mud for several years, where lack of oxygen and optimal acidity prevent rotting.

The end result is a hardened wood. The rope is made from horsehair, and was traditionally claimed to be able to block a sword. Finally, the wood is very finely sanded and rubbed with an oil or stain for preservation.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

5. The Meteor Hammer & Rope Dart
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

This weapon is comprised of a long rope with twin metal weights, “hammers”, or darts on each end. When used as a weapon, the hammer or dart on the front end is used for attack and the other for protection.

The rope wraps around the neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, thigh, foot, or waist. When the hammer or dart is released, it strikes outward with stunning and surprising speed. It is one of Chinese martial arts’ most unique and difficult-to-master weapons.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

6. San-Jie-Gun (Three Section Staff)
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

The three sectional staff, is a historical weapon, which appears in the Chinese book “Sangokushi”. Its distinctive feature is three 70 cm sticks chained together making it much longer than a long staff.

It can be swung around, or as a staff, using one’s whole body space to fend off an attacker. A Chinese weapon constructed from three pieces of wood connected by metal rings at their ends. Lengths of the sections are roughly equal, each about the length of the practitioner’s arms (with the diameter around one inch).

The three sectional staff can be used as a long range weapon when held at one end and swung freely, or a short-range weapon when two of the sections are held and used to strike or parry.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

7. Shurikens (Throwing Star)
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

One of the most popular weapons of the Ninja, the shuriken was used as more of a distraction than an actual weapon. Although they can hurt they rarely penetrate deep enough to kill. Shurikens come with anywhere from 4 to 12 points traditionally.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

8. Tessen (Iron Fan)
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Folding fans with outer spokes made of iron which were designed to look like regular, harmless folding fans or solid clubs shaped to look like a closed fan.

Samurai could take these to places where swords or other overt weapons were not allowed, and some swordsmanship schools included training in the use of the tessen as a weapon.

The tessen was also used for fending off arrows and darts, as a throwing weapon, and as an aid in swimming, like hand-flippers.

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture

Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture
Sun Tzu has spent about 7 years in Asia traveling through Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Korea. A true fan of everything that is weird and strange, he decides in the end what is displayed and published on this site. Sun has previous experience writing for numerous print mags such as XLR8R, URB, and Movement Magazine.
Weird Asian Martial Arts Weapons picture
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80 comments
Evan
Evan

Combat is the Least important skill the Ninja Posses..

Military Weapons
Military Weapons

With the whole thing that seems to be developing throughout this particular area, a significant percentage of opinions are relatively stimulating. Nonetheless, I am sorry, because I can not give credence to your entire theory, all be it exciting none the less. It looks to us that your comments are not totally rationalized and in simple fact you are generally your self not really thoroughly confident of the point. In any case I did take pleasure in reading through it.

melody
melody

so obessed in weapons, married to them!

MMA Black belt
MMA Black belt

I love the weapons! I myself know how to use the nunchaku. I wish they didn't leave out the other things I am learning to use like the Roku-shaku-bo (six foot staff), tonfa (wood wepons that greatly resemble police nightsticks used for blocking and punching), Zai (dual weapons used for ofense defense throwing and breaking swords, used sort of like a police badge), and just the blade kama! I mean they left out like half the weapons hidden and disguised in Japan!

Shuriken
Shuriken

nice throwing star!(shuriken) and claws =]

Kaamos
Kaamos

What about the kusari fundo (rope), Otani (HUGE axe), Nyo Ibo (oversize staff), Tchoka (umbrella), Tchigiri-oto (sash filled with blinding powder), Toami (fishing net), Shuko (spiked hand band), Ashiko (spiked foot), or even a grappling hook. Those are much stranger than some of these weapons, mostly because they a seen to most as "useless" in battle.

Dan Cosgrove
Dan Cosgrove

Another thing about the shuriken: It didn't need to be dipped in poison. Because tetanus vaccines weren't available, a scratch from a rusty ninja star could prove deadly. Soak it in water for awhile, and you've got an assassin's weapon! Good collection of weapons in the article.

Jayne
Jayne

I want a fan, elegant but deadly I love delicate deadly things

chingkulingkang
chingkulingkang

Why the yoyo is not included in here, that's a wierd weapon also. Deadly and it's easy to use just your like toying with it :)

whiteninja
whiteninja

The weapons are ok but it is the trained martial artist who makes them truly deadly. I have trained for years. I can stick nails, bic pens, pencils in solid wood from 10 feet away. I can sink a nickel straight through a sheetrock wall. I can usually hit where I am aiming with some certainty. Shurikens must have been truly deadly. 9/11 was carried off with crude weapons, razor bladed box cutters. Carried by men small of stature. Look at all the crap in the world in its aftermath. One man aboard the plane who knew how to throw a decent combo could have saved the world! Who says there is no place for martial arts in modern warfare.

kELVIN
kELVIN

bleh YOU SHUT UP

kELVIN
kELVIN

I THINK THER WEAPONS ARE REALLY COOL!!!! I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE ONE OF THEM

bobby
bobby

Grow up people. although it's nice to have a sense of history, but when you start dreaming about "i wish i had some hand claws" wake up and smell the java.

Kaamos
Kaamos

So now you are just gonna take peoples interests and make fun of them for it? That's like me saying "Why do you like posting messages, why don't you just grow up".

shahnawaz
shahnawaz

hai iam shahnawz ansari indian karate & martial art school tenshinkan karate-do (sotokan) with out martial art there is no life in present age every person may cused by diabities martial art is fit our body balance

Magnus
Magnus

heh, now i really want a urami, any idea where i can get one?

Lyrise
Lyrise

I miss the neko-te! D: I bet those make alotta kills too.

zaid
zaid

You missed the ekor pari, a silat dagger made of a stingray spine. Serrated bone, poisonous to boot!

Big_G
Big_G

Forgot kyoketsu shoge, bisento, jutte, kamayari. All weirder than most up there.

Dr.D
Dr.D

Where`s my all time favorit? The Sai or in Indonesian, the Tjabang? Grabs like a claw, blocks like a Tongfa, punches like an iron fist and cuts like a sword...

sai
sai

it dosn't cut, it does not got sharp edges...

Kusari
Kusari

Aluminum (as referneced in Tekko-kagi) wasn't even discovered till 1808 & never occurs in it's elemental state in nature. It was still several years later before people could even consistently extract it.

Uncle Slappy Nuts
Uncle Slappy Nuts

DUDE, Those fricking things are SWEET !!!!! Man I'm so pumped I could assplode !!

Casual Adventurer
Casual Adventurer

Man...... You could easily cut yourself shaving with one of those!

Killa Bot
Killa Bot

exactly why you dont shave with them...

Indiaholic
Indiaholic

I have seen the urmi in action. The amount of control they have over the weapon is amazing... And i love the meteor hammer, very graceful.

Bobby Boom
Bobby Boom

Thank you very much. Thank goodness that these people are in our world still today. In a day and age of modern weapons used by questionable people, we need martial artists more than ever.

wutang44
wutang44

what's wrong with MMA? Why does it have to be used by thugs? Police are actually being enrolled in MMA training as of a few months ago, should a situation arise where they can't reach their "modern weapons..." also, if you check, you'll notice that MMA is actually a conglomeration of several distinguished martial arts, most noticeably Brazilian Jiujitsu

sam
sam

i love mma!!!!!

mb
mb

Yeah, swords and kicks are most effective against nukes, drones, and the stupidity of the Bush family. I love martial arts too but they aren't going to be used against "modern weapons used by questionable people." Or are you planning to kick a little terrorist butt: "Put down that box cutter or I'll knock it out of your hand with a scissor kick!"

Minase Gazi
Minase Gazi

martial arts are indeed still needed to this day, the reason it sounds odd is simple though. If im faced with a situation against, say a Breatta knockoff and i got my Tanto, it i cant get that weapon out of his hand and at NOT discarge it at the same time (success is extreemly low, to be honest, i wont even try) then forget you have that tanto and run. no one is Keano Reeves.

Maria
Maria

I agree. I don't see what's questionable about this comment. We do need people who specialize in these weapons. I'd hate to see all fighting redefined by Western standards.

sjkio
sjkio

What's odd about that comment? We do need martial artists. Real ones, mind you, not MMA thugs.

J
J

WTF??

Trish
Trish

Thank you very much.

Malayali
Malayali

To know how furious were Urumi wielding Kings and fighters from Kerala, you have to check their history. Reading few samples can even piss off current day Jihadis. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamankam_festival Colonial British enjoyed a long time fighting with small Kings here.

Trish
Trish

In the section on the Urumi, it says that "the Urumi can be worn as a belt and whipped out when needed." This might sound like a juvenile question, but, how do they keep the Urumi from cutting the belt loops on the pants? The weapon is razor sharp, so logic dictates that whipping them out would cut through the loops holding them on your pants. I am asking a serious question here. My son wants to know all about ninja and martial arts. He will eventually ask me this question and I would like to be able to answer him honestly and truethfully.

Hig
Hig

Well back then i dont think that they had belt loops haha so they didnt have to worry about it.

jon
jon

not all belts use loops.

ben
ben

yeah well its loops or u tighten it really really really tight and i dont think they did that with a bunch of razor sharp metal strips

Malayali
Malayali

Hi Trish, Urumi is indeed a dangerous weapon and is used by experts only. But marital artists in Kerala are well used to it. Urumi comes with various lengths as per expertise of person who use it. Check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urumi Its mainly used by warriors when they have to oppose multiple enemies. Its kept coiled like a belt around ones waist (in Kalari Payattu one's waist is always protected by thick cotton cloth - ara kachha which protects them from falls, etc.). There are wide variety of weapons in Kalari Payattu and will be more interesting than ones shown in this site. A cinematic presentation can be thought like female actress fighting scenes in film Mummy 2. Google for Kalari Payattu and you will get a lot of info. In youtube.com there are clips.

tony
tony

look at how most martial art uniforms stay on, they usualy have a length of fabric coloured to match your proficiency and tied around the waist, no belt loops present.

olstar18
olstar18

Its only modern martial artists that use the belts to determine proficiency. They didn't give rewards like that because of the belief that it put to much emphasis on those who were better skilled when the instructor should be focusing on those who need more help. But as for belt loops youa re right their robes had no loops to hold a belt in place.

Malayali
Malayali

'The Urumi' is from Martial Art Kalaripayatt from Kerala. Kalari Payattu is told to be the most ancient martial arts in the world. The Urumi a dangerous weapon - its a long sharp sleazing metal belt which novices must avoid - it would cut self if you don't know how to use it. If you check youtube.com you will find many performances by Kalari Payatti artists. Its a dying or dead art. Google for Zamorin, Mamankam, Chekavar for ideas

ap
ap

badasssss

Nerd of All Trades
Nerd of All Trades

Not that this really has anything to do with weapons, but I thought it was cool that The Nunchaku clip from "Enter the Dragon" comes complete with Jackie Chan's uncredited screen time with Bruce Lee (even though he only lasts about 4 seconds - it starts at 3:04 - don't blink or you'll miss it). Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao had much more screen time as the Shaolin fighter and a tournament fighter, respectively. Yuen Biao didn't get to fight Bruce, though. Too bad.