A Note About Kama Wrapping

As I mentioned in the previous video, kama come in many shapes and forms. One thing I didn’t mention though is the matter of kama wrapping.

Take a look at these traditional kama:

kama wrapping

You’ll notice that all of these kama feature wrapping up around the top of the handle. This style is pervasive in classical kobudo but has fallen out of fashion for many modern adaptations of the weapon.

Unfortunately, a misunderstanding of this component has led to some bad practice. You see, the wrapping makes for a very comfortable handle. At a glance, one might even assume that it’s primary function is to provide a handhold at the top of the weapon. In fact, that’s not it’s purpose at all.

These days we are rather spoiled with construction methods like pop rivets. They make attaching the blade to the handle a rather simple and inexpensive affair. But back in “the day”, a little more ingenuity was needed. The old time weapons needed to function over long periods of time both as tools for everyday use and as units of conflict resolution. The wrapping therefore helped keep old style kama construction solid and reliable. Shifting, cracking, and weather damage were all minimized thanks to tightly wound cordage.

When it comes to holding the kama, your grip belongs at the bottom of the handle. This optimizes the efficiency of the weapon and allows you to gain maximum distance, momentum, and hooking ability. Holding the weapon up top by the wrapping would be exceptionally dangerous when the weapon is sharpened, not to mention weak and ineffective.