What Weapons Are Used in Martial Arts? The Complete List
Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan, and has been popularized around the world for its emphasis on discipline, focus, and physical fitness. With its roots dating back to the 14th century, karate has evolved into a dynamic and widely-practiced art form that has become a part of popular culture. If you are interested in learning Karate, it’s important to know what weapons are used in this martial art. In this article, we will provide you with a complete list of the weapons used in martial arts and Karate.Bleow are some of the more well know martial arts weapons.
The bo staff is a long, cylindrical wooden weapon that is approximately six feet in length. It is one of the primary weapons used in karate, and it requires a great deal of skill and practice to master. The bo staff is used for both striking and blocking techniques and is an essential part of traditional karate training.
The nunchaku, also known as “nunchuks,” is a weapon consisting of two wooden or metal sticks connected by a chain or rope. This weapon is typically used for striking and trapping techniques and is a popular weapon used in martial arts movies.
The Sai is a three-pronged metal weapon that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It is a versatile weapon used for blocking, striking, and trapping techniques. The Sai is often used in pairs and requires a great deal of skill and practice to master.
The Tonfa is a wooden weapon that resembles a police baton. It is used for striking, blocking, and disarming techniques and is commonly used in law enforcement. The Tonfa is also an important weapon used in traditional karate training.
The kama is a sickle-shaped weapon that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It is a versatile weapon used for blocking, striking, and trapping techniques. The kama is often used in pairs and requires a great deal of skill and practice to master.
The eku is a traditional Okinawan weapon that resembles a boat oar. It is typically made from hardwood and is approximately six feet in length. The eku is used for both striking and blocking techniques and is an essential part of traditional karate training.
The tekko is a metal weapon that resembles brass knuckles. It is typically worn on the hand and is used for striking and blocking techniques. The tekko is a popular weapon used in martial arts movies and requires a great deal of skill and practice to master.
The kusarigama is a weapon consisting of a sickle attached to a long chain. It is a versatile weapon used for both striking and trapping techniques and requires a great deal of skill and practice to master. The kusarigama is also a popular weapon used in martial arts movies.
Karate is a martial art that emphasizes discipline, focus, and physical fitness. Knowing what weapons are used in karate is an essential part of traditional karate training. The weapons listed above are just a few examples of the many weapons used in karate, and each requires a great deal of skill and practice to master.
If you are interested in learning karate and weaponary or improving your karate skills, we recommend finding a qualified instructor who can provide you with proper training and guidance. With dedication and hard work, you can master the weapons of karate and become a skilled martial artist.
List of Traditional Martial Arts Weapons
Whether you’re a novice to the world of martial arts or an experienced practitioner, every fighter has their own unique arsenal. From bow and arrows to shuriken stars – these are some classic weapons used in hand-to-hand combat.
Bagh Nakh: The Bagh Nakh is an Indian martial arts weapon known as “Tiger Claws”. These four curved metal claws are worn on the hand and used to trap and disarm an opponent.
Balisong: Also known as the Butterfly knife , the Balisong is a folding pocket knife with two handles that rotate around the tang. This weapon can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Baraw: The Baraw is a knife used in Filipino martial arts. It is made of wood and typically has a single-edged blade. This weapon can be used for both slashing and thrusting techniques.
Bankaw: The Bankaw is a wooden staff used in the Filipino martial arts. This weapon is typically five to six feet long and can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Bo Staff: The Bo staff is a wooden staff used in many martial arts styles. This weapon is typically six feet long and can be used for blocking, striking, and trapping techniques.
Bolo: Arnis, Eskrima & Kali machete. The Bolo is a large machete used in the Filipino martial arts. This weapon has a single-edged blade and can be used for offensive and defensive techniques.
Bokken: Wooden practice sword used in Japanese martial arts such as Kendo and Aikido. The Boken is a wooden sword typically made from oak and is used for both striking and blocking techniques.
Canes: Canes or walking sticks are used as weapons in martial arts such as Hapkido.
Daab Song Mue: The Daab Song Mue are two-handed swords used in Thai martial arts. These weapons typically have a curved blade and can be used for offensive and defensive techniques.
Dan Bong: The Dan Bong is a short stick used in Korean martial arts. This weapon is typically made of wood and can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Dao: The Dao is a Chinese saber used in martial arts such as Wushu and Kung Fu. This weapon typically has a curved blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Eku: The Eku is a wooden oar used in Karate. It is made of solid oak or maple hardwood and is approximately six feet in length. The eku can be used for both striking and blocking techniques.
Escrima Sticks: Escrima sticks are short wooden sticks used in the Filipino martial arts such as Kali and Arnis. These weapons can be used for blocking, trapping, and disarming an opponent.
Hanbo: The Hanbo is a three -foot wooden staff used in the Japanese martial arts. This weapon can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Hu Cha: Hu Cha are two, four-foot staffs used in Chinese martial arts. These weapons can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Iaito: The Iaito is a Japanese sword used for practice in the martial art of Kenjutsu. This weapon typically has an unsharpened blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Jang Bong: The Jang Bong is a long stick used in Korean martial arts. This weapon is typically made of wood and can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Jian: This Jain is a double-edged sword used in Chinese martial arts such as Wushu and Kung Fu. This weapon typically has a straight blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Jingum: The Jingum is a Japanese sword used in the martial art of Kenjutsu. This weapon typically has an unsharpened blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Jiu Jie Bian: The Jiu Jie Bian is a chain whip used in Chinese martial arts. This weapon can be used for trapping, blocking, and disarming an opponent.
Jo: The Jo staff is a four foot wooden staff used in the Japanese martial arts. This weapon can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Jutte: The Jutte is a short metal truncheon used in the Japanese martial arts. This weapon typically has a curved blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Kagum: This is a blunt metal sword used for training purposes in Korean martial arts such as Haidong Gumdo.
Kama: The Kama is a curved blade attached to a handle used in many martial arts styles. This weapon can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques. It is based on a small scythe for cutting rice.
Kanabo: Also known as the Tetsubo, the Kanbo is a metal mace used by Japanese samurai.
Karambit: This is a Southeast Asian claw-like weapon typically made of metal or wood. It is used in many martial arts styles such as Silat and Muay Thai.
Katana: The Katana is a Japanese sword used in martial arts such as Iaido and Kenjutsu. This weapon typically has a curved blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Katar: This Indian dagger is typically made of metal and has a blade at the top of the handle. It can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Krabi Krabong: This Thailand curved sword is used in martial arts such as Muay Thai and Krabi-Krabong. This weapon typically has a sharp blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Krabong: This Thailand staff is used in martial arts such as Muay Thai and Krabi-Krabong. This weapon typically has a curved blade and can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Naginata: The Naginata is a Japanese polearm with an axe-like blade at the end of its shaft. This weapon can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Sai: The Sai is a Japanese short sword with a curved blade, which is typically used in Okinawan martial arts such as Kobudo. This weapon can be used for blocking, trapping, and disarming an opponent.
Shinai: Training with a shinai, a bamboo practice sword used in Kendo and other Japanese martial arts, guarantees the safety of its user while still providing realistic combat experience. Unlike metal katana or hardwood Bokken swords – which can cause severe injury – training with this lightweight equipment ensures maximum protection without diminishing any potential lessons learned during battle. Consisting of a tip (sakigawa), four shafts of split bamboo for the “blade” and a handle, the shinai is generally between 3 to 4 feet in length.
Kunai: The Kunai has been used for centuries by the Shinobi, commonly referred to as Ninja in the West. It was an essential tool utilized during secret missions such as espionage and assassination. It could perform a variety of tasks like digging through walls, stabbing adversaries, or even climbing up buildings! The original design of this multipurpose weapon stemmed from a Japanese farming tool – namely, a gardening trowel. To maintain efficiency while utilizing it against enemies on these secret operations only the tip would be sharpened traditionally.
Kusari Fundo: The Kusari Fundo, more commonly known as ‘Manrikigusari’, is a refined metal chain weapon steeped in tradition and used for Ninjutsu, Bujutsu, and Japanese feudal police. This martial arts apparatus includes a heavy-duty chain (Kusari) with iron weights (Fundo) attached to each end for superior maneuverability.
Kusarigama: The Kusarigama is an ancient Japanese martial arts tool that consists of a Kama (small sickle) and a Kusari Fundo (weighted chain). Combining these two elements enables practitioners to execute powerful strikes from afar.
Kuwa: Born from the garden hoe, the Kuwa is an ancient Japanese weapon that dates back centuries.
Kwan Dao: The Kwan Dao is a large Chinese saber with a long curved blade. It is used in martial arts such as Wushu and Kung Fu. This weapon can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Kyoketsu-Shoge or Shogee: This hooked dart-rope weapon is used in Ninjutsu . This weapon can be used for entangling and disarming an opponent.
Lathi: This stick weapon is used in Indian martial arts such as Kalarippayattu and Gatka. This weapon can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping techniques.
Liu Xing Chui (or Meteor Hammer): The Meteor Hammer is a flexible Chinese flail weapon with two weighted ends connected by a chain. This weapon can be used for striking, entangling, and disarming an opponent.
Lujiao Dao: Also known as “Deer Horn Knives” or “Duck Blades”, this Chinese short sword is typically used in martial arts such as Wushu and Kung Fu. This weapon can be used for both offensive and defensive techniques.
Manriki-Gusari: The Manriki-Gusari is a Japanese chain weapon with one or two weighted ends. This weapon can be used for striking, entangling, and disarming an opponent.
Metsubushi: Metsubushi is pepper or powder used in Ninjutsu in order to blind or disorient opponents.
Mokgum: Crafted with care, this wooden sword is precisely designed for practice and development in the Korean martial art of Haidong Gumdo.
Nunchaku: The Nunchaku is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected by a chain or rope. This weapon can be used for striking, blocking, deflecting, and trapping an opponent
Nagamaki: The Nagamaki is an iconic Nihonto (traditional Japanese blade) featuring a longer Tsuka handle that effectively transforms the weapon into a polearm. This particular handle can reach up to three or four feet long, matching the length of its sharpened edges.
Naginata: The Japanese halberd-like weapon known as the Naginata features a curved blade fixed to an extended pole, and its use is emphasized in the art of Naginatajutsu. Martial artists have been trained with this formidable tool for centuries, making it renowned among martial arts circles worldwide.
Nunchaku: This is a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected by a chain or rope . This weapon can be used for striking, blocking, and trapping.
Nunti Bo: Hailing from Okinawa, the Nunti Bo was fashioned after a fisherman’s gaff- a pole with an attached sharp hook. This weapon has become iconic in Okinawan culture and is used to draw in large fish.
Pho Bak: A Pho Bak is a rope or belt utilized for self-defense in Hapkido. This traditional weapon can be used to incapacitate attackers and holds the advantage of being more easily concealed than larger weapons such as swords or staffs. With its effective yet less intimidating properties, it makes an ideal tool for defending oneself against assailants without causing significant harm.
Plawng: The Plawng is a traditional Burmese sword and is used in the martial art of Lethwei.
Police Baton: Law enforcement officers have been leveraging the power of a police baton for centuries to protect themselves and defend against any attackers. This martial arts weapon is used for various techniques such as self-defense, restraining assailants with joint locks, crowd control – all these and more! Commonly known by other monikers like night stick or billy club, this tool is an essential part of law enforcement today.
Pu Dao: The Pu Dao, or Horse Cutter Sword, is an iconic Chinese martial arts weapon that looks like a staff topped with a sword. Comparable to the Kwan Dao, its head differs in being smaller and lighter than the latter’s. This graceful yet dangerous tool has been employed by traditional masters for centuries!
Qiang: The deadly Chinese spear that has been a weapon of choice for centuries. Its sharp tip and heavy shaft make it an ideal tool for both hunting and warfare, making it one of the most prized weapons in history.
Quarterstaff: The Quarterstaff, an iconic wooden staff of British origin measuring from 6 to 9 feet long, has made a lasting impression as the weapon of choice for heroes like Robin Hood in centuries-old legends.
Sai: The Sai is a dynamic weapon utilized in many Eastern martial arts, such as Karate and Okinawan Kobudo. Born from Asian origins, this three pronged tool offers defense against enemy attacks through blocking maneuvers or by striking with its hilt. Therefore the Sai provides an effective means of self-defense for any trained fighter – even when outnumbered!
Sanjiegun: The Sanjiegun, also known as the Panglong Gun, is a legendary Chinese martial arts weapon that dates back to the Song Dynasty. This triple-section staff consists of three sticks measuring between 24 and 30 inches in length connected by chains or ropes of 4 to 5 inch links. In Western countries it’s more commonly referred to as the 3 Section Staff.
Sansetsukon: Unique amongst the Kobudo armory, the Okinawan Sansetsukon is not derived from any tool or agricultural implement. In fact, it is a slightly modified version of its Chinese predecessor: The Sanjiegun or 3 section staff. A relatively new addition to traditional Kobudo practice in comparison to some other weapons, only being integrated at the beginning of last century; however its modern presence stands strong and can be seen all over Japan today.
Sarong: In martial arts like Silat, the Sarong is a highly effective and versatile weapon crafted from rope-like materials. Most commonly worn as a traditional skirt in many cultures, it can also be utilized as a sash to strangle, immobilize and ensnare opponents during battle.
Shaolin Spade: For centuries, the Shaolin Spade has been a go-to weapon for those practicing Chinese martial arts like Shaolin Kung Fu. It is also known as Yue Ya Chan and Chan Zhang in China, while monks have traditionally deployed it as Monk Spade or Shaolin Monk Spade. Showcased prominently in classic Chinese films over the years, this traditional weapon remains an iconic symbol of martial arts prowess to this day!
Shuang Gou: Shuang Gou, a hooked sword that is well-known in Chinese martial arts such as Kung Fu, has a wide range of capabilities for defensive and offensive maneuvers. From the ability to latch onto an adversary’s weapon with its hook to slicing through objects with its lengthy blade or stabbing foes with its pointed end – this versatile tool gives practitioners unrivaled advantages during combat.
Sheng Biao: Sheng Biao is a rope dart weapon used in traditional Chinese martial arts. This weapon consists of a long rope (usually 10+ feet long) with a metal dart at the end of the rope. Today, the Chinese Rope Dart is often used in martial arts demonstrations given its unusual and exciting fighting style.
Shillelagh: Originating in Ireland, the Shillelagh is an ancient martial arts weapon and walking stick crafted from Blackthorn wood to ensure long-lasting durability. This wooden staff was designed as a traditional tool used for Bataireacht or Irish Stick Fighting, which has been passed down through generations of warriors.
Shinai: A shinai is a bamboo-crafted training sword used in Japanese martial arts such as Kendo, designed to reduce the risk of serious injury while simulating combat with real weapons. Shinais are generally three to four feet long and comprise a tip (Sakigawa), four sections of split bamboo for the “blade,” and an ergonomic handle – providing practitioners with realistic experience without compromising safety.
Shinken: Shinken is a Japanese word that translates to “real sword” and signifies an authentic forged blade with sharpening capabilities. This stands in stark contrast to Bokken, which are wooden swords; Shinai (bamboo swords); and Iaito, being unsharpened metal blades.
Shuko: The Shuko, or Tekagi-Shuko, is a lethal ninja weapon originating from Japan. Its sharp claws can be used to strike opponents or climb walls and trees with ease. With its ruthless yet effective design, the Shuko continues to remain an essential tool in any Ninja arsenal.
Shuriken: Shuriken, a small hand-held weapon of Japanese origin, is primarily used by Ninjas in the martial art form of Ninjutsu. Yet, many Bujutsu and Kenjutsu Ryu also wield this powerful implement to thrust or slash at their adversaries from close quarters! With its wide acceptance among these ancient combat systems comes immense potential for you to expand your knowledge far beyond the scope of traditional martial arts weapons.
Surujin: The Surujin (otherwise known as the Suruchin) is a classic Okinawan martial arts instrument composed of weighted chains or ropes. As per the Ryukyu Kobujutsu Association GB, this weapon has been used for “concealment prior to use”. Initially, stones were linked at each end; however, later on metal weights (Fundo) and sharp metallic points (akin to Kusarigama and Kusari Fundo) replaced them.
Tambo: The Tambo is a classic Okinawan (Japan) Kobudo martial arts tool, resembling a baton. It measures from 1 1/2 to 2 feet in length and stands out among the Bo at 6 foot long and Jo at 4 foot long.
Tanto: The Tanto is an iconic Nihonto (traditional Japanese blade), instantly recognizable by its small form – the blade alone reaching 6 to 8 inches in length, while the handle being 4 to 5. This makes it ideal for Kenjutsu and Budo/Bujutsu techniques, as well as a key component of Ninjutsu approaches due to its concealable size.
Tekko: The Tekko, a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon, resembles brass knuckles or a hand-held metal buster. In feudal Japan, non-Samurai were not allowed to carry weapons for self defense; as such ,the Tekko was designed with concealment in mind and often fashioned from horse shoes to avert suspicion.
Tessen: The Tessen, a type of metal fan used as a martial arts weapon in ancient Japan, was employed for strikes and joint locks alike. On top of that, it also served as an effective shield against incoming attacks. Popularly known today as Tessenjutsu -during the days with no air conditioning- samurai were actually allowed to carry Tessen fans into areas where swords weren’t permitted.
Tetsubishi: The Tetsubishi was a legendary Ninjutsu-affiliated weapon – an intimidating metal caltrop studded with spikes. This instrument of war was used to impede the advance of pursuers, be it infantry or cavalry, by inflicting malicious damage on their feet and hooves.
Tinbe Rochin: The Tinbe Rochin, an Okinawan Kobudo weapon combination from Japan, is a unique pairing of a shield (tinbe) and short spear (rochin). This traditional self-defence setup often features the use of large turtle shells or even farmer’s conical straw hats to trap opponents’ weapons with its tightly woven structure.
Tomahawk: The Tomahawk, a Native American hatchet-like weapon, is commonly utilized in martial arts disciplines like Okichitaw. With this capable tool, practitioners are able to hone their defensive skills and improve their overall strength.
Tonfa: The Tonfa, or Tuifa, is a unique weapon developed in Okinawa, Japan that resembles a wooden baton. It stands out from other martial arts weapons due to its extra handle—which has been adapted and used as the model for modern police batons today!
Wakazashi: The Wakizashi, an exquisitely crafted Japanese sword, was proudly carried by the Samurai of feudal Japan and stands as a symbol of bravery and honor.
Yantok: Popularly used in the renowned Filipino martial art of Eskrima, Yantok is a wooden stick weapon that serves as an ideal tool for Kali fighting. Revered around the world for its impressive stick-fighting techniques and capabilities, this traditional weapon has been handed down through generations of masters and their students alike.
Yari: The Yari, a Japanese spear employed in martial arts such as Sojutsu (Yari Jutsu), consists of an elongated wooden shaft topped with a straight metal blade that is typically double edged and pointed. Furthermore, some variants of the Yari feature side blades or prongs akin to the Okinawan Nunti Bo. This traditional weapon has been utilized for centuries in Japan’s martial arts practice.
Yumi: The iconic and highly skilled Yumi bow is utilized in a variety of Japanese martial arts such as Kyudo, while simultaneously being employed within the realms of classic Bujutsu and Ninjutsu schools.