In the world of Asian martial arts, there are very few weapons among the ones that started as something else that can be as fearsome looking and effective as the Kama. Originally used as a real farming tool by 15th and 16th century Okinawan and Japanese rice farmers, this sickle came with all the basic ingredients needed to bake up a good self-defense weapon. We’re sure that when the need came about to have some kind of weapon to defend themselves against roving bandits, or even pushy Japanese samurai warriors, these farmers or peasants or others who were forbidden by the ruling class to carry real swords and knives took one look at this curved-blade tool and immediately saw a lot of potential in it.
Let’s examine a typical Kama for a minute. It has a handle ranging from 12 to 16 inches, which is an ideal length that will allow a person to easily swing it around. It also can come with a wicked-looking, semi-curved blade that runs 6 to 8 inches in length from its butt-end, which begins at the top-end of the handle, all the way down to a very sharp point. That point, by the way, turns out to be excellent for gouging or digging into something.
So, back then, all the ingredients that make a good self-defense weapon were there from the beginning. Excellent possibilities for honing the blade to razor sharpness existed, especially if the metal was really good. The wooden handle of the Kama allowed the hand holding it to slide up and down it with ease, and that would let someone who was using it to run the Kama further away or closer into the hand, depending on how near or far the attacker was from the defender. Also, the handle could be used to block a sword or wooden staff strike. If the Kamawas used in pairs, it could also trap the staff or sword, which would prevent it from being drawn back. A skilled Kama artist could make good use of all these weapon qualities that were within the simple Okinawan farm tool, just as we too can in this day and age. Today, the Kama is one of several traditional Okinawan weapons that are included in the study of what’s known as Okinawan or Ryukyu Kobudō. The word “Kobudō” simply refers to the weapons systems of study on Okinawa, in general. Sometimes, this study is called “kobujutsu,” which is a more accurate Japanese term. Other weapons included in kobujutsu include the wooden staff, or Bō, the Tambo (a short staff), the nunchaku, and several others, depending upon the school of Kobudō that’s doing the teaching. All of these weapons are available for viewing here at bukiyuushuu. Buki Yuushuu is the premier maker of very up-to-date versions of these traditional Japanese or Okinawan self-defense tools.
Making the Kama a part of learning a martial art of any type, whether it’s Okinawan or Japanese forms of Karate, or different styles of Chinese Kung Fu, or even Korean taekwondo can make you a better martial artist. Learning to use a Kama or Kamas in pairs, in a weapon kata (form) or even in a kumite (freestyle fighting within a martial art…the word is pronounced “koo-meh-tay” or “koo-muh-tay,” depending on your accent), will help your martial spirit grow, and also will help your mind, your, body and that spirit eventually become a single unit.
At Buki Yuushuu we have taken this once deadly weapon and make it Kid safe with all it's functionality. Children can safely use professional quality kamas that are truly kid safe. Our childrens kamas we have for sale are made of the same quality of the adult kamas but are more rounded to be child or kid safe. The childrens kamas are perfecly balance for the children and also are smaller and easier to handle. Truly the best kid safe children's Kamas on the market for sale.
Sooner or later, a child who is studying a martial art will want to train with one or several of the different weapons we associate with the Asian martial arts. This can be something as simple as learning how to handle a wooden staff correctly or as complicated has using a set of Flying Kamas in a safe manner. Whichever the case may be, it is always a smart move to assess the child’s abilities and his or her physical readiness to take up this section of the art of self defense.
In almost every case, a boy or girl’s actual height will come into play. We don’t mean this say that some child who stands smaller than another cannot be equally as skilled with a Bo staff or a pair of Nunchaku (“nunchucks”) or the Kama (sickles). We just mean that the weapon itself might possibly need to modified in a way that makes it possible for children to do everything they’re supposed to do with it, both in training and in testing or self-defense situations.
In cases like the above, there are plenty of outlets available where a martial arts instructor or the child’s parents can find a weapon that’s appropriate for the size of the boy or girl who will be using it. In the case of the Bo staff, the Kama, and certain other martial arts “fighting sticks” for example, a good weapons maker or merchandiser will be able to supply these weapons in sizes suitable for both training and weapons kata (“forms”) competitions. Buki Yuushuu is such a maker and seller. Take a look at its online catalog to get an idea of the sizes and specifications for the weapon you and your little martial artist may have in mind, and which they’d like to begin using in a training manner.
As to physical grip strength -- in order to begin using any sort of weapon properly – this would again be a question for the instructor and the parent(s) of the student. Any good instructor will have taken this into account and set up a training program to bring the child along gradually, to the point where he or she will feel comfortable in handling a weapon. Remember, some of these tools – not toys – weigh a bit more than others.
In cases where it’s decided that it’s the right time to begin training with a weapon, a Bo staff -- if cut to the right size -- can be easy enough to physically handle. A pair of “nunchucks,” though, has certain length requirements that may make it unsuitable at very young (5-7 years old) ages. This not only is because the instructor hasn’t had enough time to create the right amount of hand-eye coordination in the student, but also because the actual height and arm length of the student may prevent him or her from using the weapon properly. Over the last decade or so, though, there have been advances in so-called “training nunchucks” which make this problem rarer as the years go by.
Each child advances at their own rate, in many cases. One child may instantly take to the use of a pair of Tonfa (batons) while another finds himself not yet ready for them. Sometimes -- where a child is on the younger side (under 10 years, or so) -- the simplest weapons are sometimes the best. Bo staffs, the Tambo (half-staffs) and Escrima/Kali “fighting sticks” always make good weapons that let children explore their desire to learn this part of the Asian martial arts experience.
Sooner or later, when a parent has a child undergoing martial arts training, the question of learning to use a weapon will come up. This is true even in traditional forms of self-defense that never had weapons as part of their system at one time in their past. Nowadays, almost every good instructor will look to include some form of weapons training to further his or her students’ ability to improve hand-eye coordination and general physical abilities.
So, when it’s time for you and your child to decide on a weapon, what are some of the things you should be taking a look at in order to help you make a smart choice? This is important not only for the type of weapon with which to begin training but also the stage of physical readiness your child is in at the present time. Can he or she handle what would normally be an adult-size weapon, like a “regular” Kama (sickle), or should you look at finding a children’s version of it? This is for starters.
Another issue when it comes to weapons training for children is the comfort level you as a parent may have with the idea of your little boy or girl throwing a sharp object around. Of course, as martial artists know, sooner or later your little karateka (karate practitioner) will have to progress further in the self-defense arts if he or she is to get “better” at it. You and your child’s instructor can consult with each other and decide when and with what weapon or weapons he or she can begin training.
As to exactly which kind of weapons training will make a parent most comfortable, almost nobody would dispute that basic work with a wooden staff – called a Bo in Japanese and a Guan in Chinese – is probably the way to go. It has the advantage of not having any sharpened edges, which is always a good thing, to start. And the Bo requires someone to gain critical hand and eye coordination which will only benefit a student when it comes time to pick up a more complicated or potentially harmful weapon down the road.
Another fine weapon to start a child on is the Tambo, or half-staff. Used in pairs, Tambo make a good choice, are relatively inexpensive, and won’t keep a parent up at night worrying about Junior running around the dojo or dojang (Korean word for a martial arts studio) with a sharp instrument! Of course, once your child’s skills have been improved and honed, to use a blade term, you can feel better about him or her picking up a Kama or other sharp weapon like a samurai sword, for example.
Parents should always be rightfully cautious about their children and the martial arts, and especially about when the time is right to allow them to begin training with the various weapons used in many Asian martial arts. Bo staffs always make a great starting point. In fact, most any single staff or half-staff – like the Tambo – makes a great weapon to start your child on. And when they develop good coordination and a sense of awareness about themselves and what a weapon can do, then it’ll be time to let them graduate to the Kama or sword forms of self-defense.
The folks at Buki Yuushuu offer many of the weapons we’ve discussed in this article. They also have children’s versions of the Kama, in addition to the ability to custom-make Bo staffs and any other weapon they offer. Please go to the online catalog at bukiyuushuu.com to see the kinds and types of weapons available.