Discussion in 'Weapons' started by karate P.belt 2, Aug 21, 2005.


have you heard of the naginata

  1. no

    3 vote(s)
  2. yes

    25 vote(s)
  3. trained with it

    6 vote(s)
  1. karate P.belt 2

    karate P.belt 2 New Member

    in my opinion the naginata is underestimated I mean I never here about it but it is one of the best weapons IMHO it is much more effective than a spear but it has around the same length and because of that you could take out a sword-fighter with almost no trouble but you never here of it does anyone here train with a naginata? (or even heard of it?)

    P.S. I think it is called a pudao in kung-fu
  2. SCP_Kensei


    The Naginata is not underrated, I have NEVER heard anyone dising the Naginata, at all.

    It is widely known to be an effective practical weapon.

    Unfotunately it is not taught widely outside Japan so few are skilled in it's use.

    It's nhot called the Pudao in China, the Pudao is the Pudao. The Naginanta is the Naginata.
  3. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Problem with a naginata is that it is a pretty long-range weapon. Aye, you could use drop it back so that the blade is closer to yourself for closer range, but that probably would be less than ideal use of it.

    From the Earth Scroll of "The Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi -
    I have highlighted what I think are the important bits of the passage.

    From what I have seen, the halberd (of which the naginata is the Japanese name) is used in many MA's. Chinese MA's such as kung-fu (though I dont know the name), Korean MA's, where it is called the kwan-dao (correct me if I am wrong) and Western MA's (Stolenbjorn, Cudgel or Louie want to help?). Uses in WMA can be found in Paradoxes of Defence.

    As you can tell by the above, I have heard of the naginata, and was actually going to buy one (then changed mind for sword, now mind is changing again :rolleyes: ), but I havent trained with one (wouldn't mind training with one though!) :)
  4. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    It's not exactly a concealable weapon. LOL!

    Is that your naginata in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? :D

    So I don't think it's people underestimate it... it's just that most people don't have a very good grasp of history... they think Japanese shogunates and the like waged war with armies of Samurai wielding swords.

    More realistically they like every other army in the world relied heavily on foot soliders with long range weapons... bow and arrow, spear and the naginata.

    A bit of background for those interested:

    Here's a shot of modern day competition.

    Attached Files:

  5. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  6. karate P.belt 2

    karate P.belt 2 New Member

    the spear is not better than the naginata, the spear can jab and do very minor slashes and you have to have the tip just right for a slash while with the naginata you can slash very effectivley and jab just as effectivley and when in close combat their both about as effective but the naginata, as you pointed out, can be brought back and you can fight with the blade while your bareley able to fight if you bring a spear back
    people may not dis it but I have never heard of it outside 1 MA magazine/catalog, (can't remember wich it was a while ago) soul calibur2, and samurai warriors and I saw the pudao in a catalog when ordreing my tonfa and thought it looked like a naginata

    P.S. hm did the naginata come after the halberd?
  7. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Your somewhat comparing apples to oranges here. There are pro's and cons for each. And not the least of which is that much of it comes down to the individual user and scenario.

    That's not saying much. Whether people know what it is or call it by the right name is a different issue than people 'dissing' it. Given that it has very little application in modern combat, that it was probably not held in as high regard as the sword then it's understandable that you've never heard of it... or rather that it's not as common as something like Kendo and Iado etc.

    Soul Caliber and other games are no surprise either. They're from Japan.
  8. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    My quote was (as I noted) from The Book of Five Rings, written by probably (and in many people's opinion) the greatest Samurai who ever lived. What he said was in a battlefield context. I think the reason you do not agree with what is said is because theres been considerable advances in warfare since the book was written. Nowadays, the closest people come to seeing a pitched battle (as was the norm back then) using bows and arrows, swords, halberds and spears are movies and re-enactments of famous battles.

    The halberd (naginata) and spear have (as slip said) different pro's and cons. The spear was used at the front of an attack, when they could be used as a javellin if required towards a mass of enemy. If it didnt hit someone, a volley of spears flying towards the enemy might just dishearten them (especially if they werent experienced soldiers) and end the battle before it even started. If the attacker didnt want to use the spear in that way, they could wait until in the thick of it and use it "normally" (stick it in an opponent) and use it as a staff.

    The naginata (as said in my 5 Rings quote) was used as the rear-guard because it has different properties. It would probably (using that word as I dont have any experience to back up the thought) be ideal for taking out any stragglers who manage to get round to main attacking force (possibly to flank them).

    The spear has a small contact area (the tip/edge of the blade), making it ideal for thrusting or (mentioned above) use as a javellin. If an attacker is right in front of you, you are happy. However, if an attacker is coming at you from an angle and you cant turn that point towards them, it could be game over (link to your "Soul Caliber" source ;)). As for the naginata, it is the opposite. The naginata has a curved edge, making it better for swinging blindly (not good if a dozen of your mates are in the same area, like). Where the spear has a small contact area, the naginata has a larger area. An opponent comes running straight towards you, you can swing upwards (an "upper-cut" if you like) for the chin, you can swing downwards (executioner style, as I imagine you can get one heck of a power-load on the end of that thing!), or you can swing from the sides, all depending on where the blade is at the time you see the attacker coming into range.

    The naginata is the Japanese version of a halberd. In the same way as swords are different between countries (claymore from Scotland, katana from Japan. Both swords, different styles of fighting, different localities), the halberd has different variations :)
  9. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    If anyone reads the Wheel Of Time series I think Matt uses a Naginata.

    From what I have read (Which is very little) it was common for women in Japan to learn the Naginata, anyone heard anything about this?
  10. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Your right.. there are many examples of traditional Japanese wood block prints showing women bearing naginata's. I believe there may even be one by the Hokusai, the japanese artist know for the quintessential japanese wave tht you see on all manner of tourist items these days. As for the womans role and relation to the naginata... here's some background:

    Fascinating stuff.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  11. SCP_Kensei


    ONe thing here, it is pretty obvious you have never trained with the Japanese spear (Yari).

    Often the blade of the spear was over 12" long and Sharp all the way round

    It was an effective slashing AND pirecing weapon. Better than the naginata for piercing armour if used in a thrust, but not quite as effective slashing (As you can hack with a naginata againsta an armoured opponent).

    There are manye xamples of Yari blades being used as short swords when attached to asword hilt, and the many variant sof the yari (including the Te yari and other such horrors) make it a vey effective weapon.
  12. Aaron Fields

    Aaron Fields Valued Member

    Besides the grappling that I practice, I also practice Araki-ryu, which is a koryu that uses both naginata and yari, among other weapons. They both are effective and have their use. But the spear and bow (not including modern weapons) throughout history and culutral divide are the most effective battle-field weapons, in the context of pure people knocked off. As to dealing with the naginata or yari, for a swordsman it was more than likley a done deal. The range is very difficult to overcome, even if the swordsman was good. The naginata is often consdiered a women's weapon, but that trend comes along later.

    Just a side note, Musashi, by today's standards would likely have been consdiered crazy, as he exibited classic paranoid symptoms. Also he was an accomplised swordsman but a failure as a bushi.

    Aaron Fields
  13. SCP_Kensei


    Quick OT question:
    Do you do much Nagamaki work in Araki Ryu, I see it is listed as one of the main weapon focuses, but it's equally a rare thing to be taught these days.
  14. Ran Pleasant

    Ran Pleasant Valued Member

    This is very true. Pole arms were the real killers in almost all battles, East or West. Another thing many people over look is that, unlike a swordsmen, the user of a pole arm does not have to be as "highly trained" in order to be highly effective. Worst case for any swordsmen is to have to go up against some with with a pole arm who is hightly trained with the weapon.

    Only fools underestimated pole weapons.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2005
  15. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    Or as was likely to happen... several at one time. :eek:

    It's interesting to note that all naginata students wear a black or navy blue hakama as does the instructor.... there is no differentiation by belt color as in other traditional Japanese martial arts.

    If one watches many of the Akira Kurosawa films they often have scenes showing many foot soldiers either bearing the Yari or in some cases the naginata. It often seems that people today fail to take into account what an effect weapon either the yari or the naginata would have been against a person on a horse.
  16. Aaron Fields

    Aaron Fields Valued Member


    Yes Araki-ryu has a full nagamaki curriculum. It is not a weapon that I have taken up yet, save a little in passing. I will say that it is difficult weapon, based off its size and weight. I use pikes on a regular basis, besides budo, I am a firefighter and we use pike-poles all the time. The intent and job is very different between the two, but the transmission of power and economical movement actual crosses over more than one would think on casual observation. The nagamaki is a power weapon, often used to "break through" the opponents weapon and help close. Often after closing you use a smaller weapon for the kill. Keep in mind that the Araki-ryu line that I practice is pre-1600, so the postures, tactics, and techniques take into account the option of your opponent being armored.

    Aaron Fields
  17. Te no kage!

    Te no kage! New Member

    I practice Atarashii Naginata under the guise of the Southern California Naginata Federation. It's not unlike Kendo where it's a sport, and it is a lot of fun. As far as uselfulness, who knows? It's not like anybody is every going to run around looking for ne'er-do-wells carrying around a naginata. I believe the only places to train in Atarashii Naginata in the US are listed on the SCNF homepage. Our club is affiliate with Leslee Williams Sensei in Tallahassee, FL.
  18. Colin Linz

    Colin Linz Valued Member

    The Naginata was the weapon that many wives of samurai used to defend their homes when their husbands were away. Because of this it has become an art practiced by mainly woman in Japan today. This shouldn’t limit its discussion in martial arts circles outside of Japan, but it probably does. Their was a famous sensei of this art featured in the BBC series Way of the Warrior. In this episode she discussed the history and modern teaching of the Naginata. Her class was all female. It was interesting to note that she had travelled overseas (I think USA) to teach.

    Lack of media attention is a problem that many non-commercial styles face. Magazines are moneymaking businesses that rely mainly on advertising income. Magazines tend to support those arts that support them through advertising their schools. If you teach an art that does not advertise then not many magazines will write a story on your style or school.
  19. Bellator Manus

    Bellator Manus Warrior of the Hand

    I have heard about it yes. It is only one of my favorite weapons (that I don't train in). I just love the idea of a Bo staff that cuts people in half, I know it's not quite that simple however. It's just my fantasy weapon.

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