The Sansetsukon: Three Section Weapon


The Sansetsukon: Okinawa’s Three Section Weapon

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Sansetsukon – the Okinawan three-section weapon. If you’re a martial arts enthusiast or practitioner, then you know that there are countless weapons out there, each with its own unique style and purpose. But today, we’re going to delve deep into the world of the Sansetsukon, examining its history, construction, techniques, and more. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a thorough understanding of what makes this weapon so special, and why it’s worth adding to your arsenal.


The Sansetsukon, also known as the “triple-section staff,” is a weapon that originated in Okinawa, Japan, and was used primarily by martial artists in the Ryukyu Kingdom. The weapon is made up of three wooden or metal sections, connected by chains or rope, and can vary in length depending on the user’s preference. The Sansetsukon was traditionally used as a defensive weapon, as its length and versatility allowed for quick, fluid movements that could block and strike from a distance. Over time, the weapon has evolved to include a variety of techniques and styles, from basic strikes and blocks to more advanced acrobatic maneuvers.

The Sansetsukon from Okinawa is a unique weapon in the Kobudo arsenal, as it isn’t derived from any tool or agricultural implement. Instead, it’s a slightly adapted version of the Chinese Sanjiegun, or three-section staff. This weapon was incorporated into traditional Kobudo relatively recently, around 1925, making it a newer addition to the roster of Kobudo weapons.

The Sansetsukon deviates a bit from the traditional Chinese three-section staff, featuring slightly shorter and thicker staves, each about 2 feet long with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 inches.

Despite the minor differences in construction between the Chinese and Okinawan versions of the three-section staff, their overall usage remains largely the same. Like the Bo Staff, certain techniques can be performed using the Sansetsukon. By rotating the weapon around the central stave, the joined staves straighten due to centrifugal force. However, striking with the Sansetsukon demands more skill and practice because the independently pivoting staves are prone to rebound when executing Bo-like strikes.


When it comes to constructing a Sansetsukon, there are a few key elements to consider. First and foremost, the material used for the sections themselves is crucial. Traditional Sansetsukon are made from wood, usually white oak or redwood, as these materials are sturdy and can withstand the force of impact. However, modern versions of the weapon can also be made from metal or plastic, depending on the user’s preference. The chains or ropes that connect the sections should also be durable and flexible, allowing for smooth, fluid movements.


One of the most appealing aspects of the Sansetsukon is the variety of techniques and styles that can be employed with the weapon. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced martial artist, there’s always something new to learn. Some basic techniques include strikes, blocks, and sweeps, while more advanced techniques may involve spins, flips, and other acrobatic maneuvers. It’s important to note that mastering the Sansetsukon takes time and practice, but with dedication and patience, anyone can become proficient in its use.

In addition to Bo-like techniques, Nunchaku-like techniques can also be performed with the Sansetsukon. This can be achieved by holding the central stave in one hand and striking with one of the outer staves, or by holding both the central and one outer stave in one hand and swinging the remaining outer stave towards the opponent. The weapon can also be used as a simple baton by holding all three staves together.

The Sansetsukon can be held with both hands on the central stave, enabling the two outer staves to swing or spin independently for strikes and parries. The weapon can also be held by its two outer staves, one in each hand, to perform double stick techniques. However, this requires significant skill to master due to the presence of the central stave. The Sansetsukon is also effective as a long-range weapon when held at the end of one of the outer staves in either a one or two-handed grip, allowing it to be used to execute whip-like techniques.

In addition to its wide array of striking capabilities, the Sansetsukon also serves as an efficient defensive weapon. Any of the three staves can be used individually or jointly in numerous ways to block an opponent’s incoming strike. Furthermore, the Sansetsukon can trap an opponent or their weapon effectively, choke an opponent, or even be used to throw an opponent.

Similar to its slightly longer Chinese counterpart, the Okinawan three-section staff requires a considerable amount of practice and skill to master. However, it ranks among the most effective and versatile weapons in martial arts.


If you’re interested in learning how to use the Sansetsukon, there are a variety of resources available to you. Many martial arts schools offer classes specifically focused on weapons training, and there are also countless instructional videos and books available online. It’s important to remember that safety is always a top priority when training with any weapon, so be sure to practice in a safe, controlled environment with a trained instructor.

Final Thoughts

The Sansetsukon is a fascinating and versatile weapon that has a rich history and a variety of techniques and styles to explore. Whether you’re a martial arts enthusiast or practitioner, adding this weapon to your arsenal can help you improve your skills and expand your horizons. With the right training and practice, anyone can become proficient in the use of the Sansetsukon.

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Updated: February 9, 2024 — 11:55 am