Nunti Bo

Nunti Bo

Nunti Bo – An Okinawan Spear With Hooks On The Side

In the world of martial arts, there are countless weapons that one can use to gain an advantage over their opponent. From Nunchaku to Katanas, the variety is endless. However, one particular weapon that deserves more attention is the Nunti Bo – an Okinawan spear with hooks on the side.

The Nunti Bo is a unique weapon that combines the length of a spear with the versatility of a staff. This makes it an excellent choice for both offense and defense. The hooks on the side of the spear make it even more deadly, as they can be used to trap and disarm an opponent. This weapon was originally developed from a fisherman’s gaff (pole with a sharp hook used to draw in a large fish).

History and Origin

Like virtually all Okinawan weapons, the Nunti Bo primarily served agricultural purposes, a consequence of the weapon restrictions imposed by the Satsuma rulers. Specifically designed for fishing, this tool had practical applications in this domain.

The blade’s pointed end could be employed for stabbing fish, and the inward-facing side-guard proved useful for pulling fishing nets into the boat. Also, the outward hook played a role in pushing the fishing boat away from the dock. Some contend that the origins of this weapon trace back to China and reached Okinawa through trade around 1600 AD.

Over time, the Nunti Bo became a popular weapon among Okinawan martial artists. It was included in the curriculum of several martial arts styles, including Karate and Kobudo. Today, the Nunti Bo is still used by practitioners of Okinawan martial arts, as well as those who have an interest in weapons-based martial arts.

Design and Construction

The Nunti Bo is typically made from hardwood, such as oak or hickory. It is approximately six feet in length, although the exact length can vary depending on the user’s height. The spearhead is usually made from metal and is around 12 inches long. The hooks on the side of the spearhead can be made from metal or wood, depending on the user’s preference.

The Nunti Bo is a well-balanced weapon, with the weight evenly distributed along its length. This makes it easy to handle and maneuver, even for those who are not experienced with weapons-based martial arts.

Now, let’s explore the distinct components of the Nunti Bo. Given its derivation from the Sai, the construction closely parallels:
• Moto: the central point located between the two sideguards
• Mae Monuchi: the frontal section of the shaft
• Ushiro Monuchi: the rear segment that fits into the Bo
• Mae Saki: the pointed tip of the Mae Monuchi
• Ushiro Saki: the extremity inserted into the Bo
• Saki: the tip of the blade
• Yoko: the sideguards, with one oriented upwards and the other downwards

Techniques and Usage

The Nunti Bo is a versatile weapon that can be used in a variety of ways. Some of the most common techniques include thrusts, strikes, sweeps, and blocks. The hooks on the side of the spearhead can be used to trap an opponent’s weapon, allowing the user to disarm them.

One of the key advantages of the Nunti Bo is its reach. The six-foot length of the weapon allows the user to keep their opponent at a distance, making it difficult for them to close in for an attack. The Nunti Bo can also be used to control an opponent’s movements, making it easier to set up a counter-attack.

Modern Day Hunti Bo

The contemporary Nunti Bo measures approximately 5-6 feet, featuring a wooden shaft and a metal head. The head of the weapon adheres to tradition, resembling a ‘Manji Sai,’ which is a Sai with one prong facing upwards and another pointing downwards, forming the shape of a Manji. Consequently, certain Nunti Bo techniques share similarities with Sai techniques. Fundamental maneuvers encompass blocks, thrusts, strikes and trapping techniques.

Hunti Bo Training And Kata

In the realm of martial arts, specifically within the domain of Okinawan kobudo, there are two prominent forms, or ‘kata’, associated with the use of the Nunti Bo, a traditional Okinawan weapon. These two kata are known as Nunti Sho and Kata Nunti Dai.

Nunti Sho is the first of these two kata. As an introductory form, it is typically taught to beginners who are just starting to learn the art. It focuses on fundamental techniques and movements that are essential for mastering the use of the Nunti Bo. This includes basic strikes, thrusts, parries and blocks using the weapon.

On the other hand, Kata Nunti Dai is a more advanced form, typically taught to more seasoned practitioners. This kata builds upon the foundations laid down in Nunti Sho, introducing more complex movements and techniques. It requires greater skill and precision, challenging the practitioner’s control, coordination, and understanding of the Nunti Bo.

Both of these kata play an important role in the overall training regimen for the Nunti Bo. They provide a structured and progressive approach to learning this unique Okinawan weapon, helping to cultivate both physical skill and mental discipline in the practitioner.

Final Thoughts

The Nunti Bo is a highly effective weapon that deserves more recognition in the world of martial arts. Its unique design and versatility make it an excellent choice for practitioners of Okinawan martial arts, as well as those who have an interest in weapons-based martial arts. If you are looking to add a new weapon to your arsenal, the Nunti Bo is definitely worth considering.

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Updated: February 5, 2024 — 1:46 pm