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:
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.
Kama are one of the classical weapons of Okinawan Kobudo. They are short sickles that have been developed from agricultural tools into cringe-inspiring weapons.
As time has passed, these simple implements have diversified and can now be found in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and capabilities. Because of this new diversity, martial artists can be easily confused and bewildered by the options available to them.
One artist in particular asked: “Why do some kama have holes in the blade? Does it make them faster or better?“
This inspired me to take a look into the development of the weapon, and offer up some explanation as to where the kama came from and how you can discover the appropriate style for you.
Check it out:
As you may know I help the KD team when it comes to matters of traditional martial arts. It’s a great pleasure because I get to answer questions, talk about weapons and stuff…basically the things us martial arts geeks do anyway.
Every now and then we get a question that inspires me to dive a little deeper into the matter and explore the concept in question. User TheShadow1928 asked a short and sweet one: “What are sai good for anyway?“
At first you might laugh a little…but then you might stop and say: “Yea, what ARE sai good for?”
In this video I dive into the background of the weapon, how it was useful to the Okinawans who created it and how it can still be useful in modern society. Check it out!