Shuriken

Tanaka

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What is the common efficiency range for throwing small(lightweight) spikes and knives?
Or should there not be a difference in your ability to throw a heavier spike/knife versus a lighter spike/knife?

This is in reference of using the "no-spin"(very little spin) throwing technique.
 

Bruno@MT

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The effective range for bo shuriken? I can't put an exact number on it. It will depend greatly on skill, as well as weight of the shuriken. Heavier spikes will fly better than lighter ones. I'd guess something like a dozen meters if you are good?

In fluid dynamics (which apply to air as well) it is difficult to keep something going straight without making it rotate. Arrows and bullets rotate along the axis.

So for no-spin throwing, the range will be shorter, and depending on the exact construction of the thing you are throwing (point of center mass). rotating throws are generally stable as far as you can throw whatever it is you want to throw.

If you want to increase stability, you can tie a ribbon or something like that to the blunt end of the spike / knife. This will slow it down, but also keep the sharp end pointing forward.
 
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Tanaka

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The effective range for bo shuriken? I can't put an exact number on it. It will depend greatly on skill, as well as weight of the shuriken. Heavier spikes will fly better than lighter ones. I'd guess something like a dozen meters if you are good?

12 meters for lightweight spike or knife?
Ah, that would be very difficult. My skill level is very low, so I could not imagine myself doing that with no spin.

With a heavier knife or spike. I can throw around a little more than 20 feet with no spin. In outside wind conditions.
 

Bruno@MT

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I meant as a theoretical maximum. My skill is not anywhere near that.
But 10 to 12 meters is what I think possible for someone who is really skilled.
In other words, very limited. Rotational throws otoh are limied only by your range.
 

Chris Parker

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Hi,

The dimensions, weights, shape etc of Bo Shuriken change from Ryu to Ryu, however most have similar "effective" ranges, which are typically less than Bruno has suggested.

We'll use as an example a single pointed shuriken, a la Kukishin Ryu or Katori Shinto Ryu, with the weight spread evenly throughout the length of the spike. If you are within about 6 feet (2 metres), then you have the point aiming up in your hand as you throw it, and it'll go straight to the target, point first (without spinning). Move out to 12 feet (about 3-4 metres), and it's generally a good idea to turn the blade around so that the point aims towards the base of your hand. When thrown, the blade will do a "half spin", turning to aim the point at the target again for impact. To go further out (18 feet - up to 6 metres), turn the Shuriken again to have it tip up, and the throw will turn it 360 degrees to strike the target again. Any more than that, and there's too much risk of not impacting with the point. You can help this by chosing a double bladed version, such as the Ikko Ryu versions, or ones with larger points, making them tip heavy, and helping to ensure it always points forwards (without spinning) as it flys, such as the Negishi Ryu Shuriken.

For longer range, use Shaken, as no matter how much they spin, they will always end with a point forwards. However I'd still keep to within about 8, maybe 10 metres myself. Not only because they get harder to aim with the further they fly (actual Shaken, particularly ones like Togakure Ryu's Senban Shuriken, are incredibly light, making them easy to carry, and throw, but they can get "taken" by the wind, and move off target the longer you need them to go through the air. The major exception are the earlier tsubute variant, essentially one step past throwing a rock at someone. But their weight means that you need to be closer to be effective, anyway), but also because the longer they are in the air, the easier they are to see/avoid. And as these weapons are ideally a distraction, the element of surprise is essential, and that means employing them from a closer distance.

Oh, and for your interest, here is a link to designs of various Bo Shuriken from a range of schools: http://www.secrets-of-shuriken.com.au/design.htm
 
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Tanaka

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So basically for example the Enmei Ryu knife, even though more heavier than the Katori Shinto Ryu spike. It would still have to be thrown similar, since the weight is evenly distributed. As well as them being one sided points. But I'd say physics wise the knife, which is heavier, would do better from longer distance. From a traditional combat standpoint I could see how this wouldn't matter though, since(as you mentioned) they were used for distractions.
 

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It can be, but the holding position is slightly different for the Enmei Ryu variant. For those unsure, Enmei Ryu is the earlier name for Musashi's system, and there is still a branch teaching using that name (rather than Niten Ichi Ryu). Musashi said at one point that the art of Shuriken is the art of throwing a short sword, rather than what most mean when they mention Shuriken (hence the shape of the Enmei Ryu Shuriken being tanto-gata [knife shaped], as the skills are more knife-throwing than Shuriken).

As to the relative weight affecting range, there is a fair bit of trade off between them which actually just evens things out. The heavier ones will travel true-er (straighter), whereas the lighter ones will be more susceptible to be off-target, but the weight will mean gravity will affect them a bit more, limiting their range before they start to drop.

On the topic of Enmei Ryu Shuriken, Musashi was said to have used this concept in a duel against Baiken, who wielded a Kusari Gama. Musashi couldn't get past the swinging weight attached to the long chain, so he threw a short sword or knife into Baiken's chest, and as Baiken went to remove it, Musashi moved in and killed him with his sword.
 

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It can be, but the holding position is slightly different for the Enmei Ryu variant. For those unsure, Enmei Ryu is the earlier name for Musashi's system, and there is still a branch teaching using that name (rather than Niten Ichi Ryu). Musashi said at one point that the art of Shuriken is the art of throwing a short sword, rather than what most mean when they mention Shuriken (hence the shape of the Enmei Ryu Shuriken being tanto-gata [knife shaped], as the skills are more knife-throwing than Shuriken).

As to the relative weight affecting range, there is a fair bit of trade off between them which actually just evens things out. The heavier ones will travel true-er (straighter), whereas the lighter ones will be more susceptible to be off-target, but the weight will mean gravity will affect them a bit more, limiting their range before they start to drop.

On the topic of Enmei Ryu Shuriken, Musashi was said to have used this concept in a duel against Baiken, who wielded a Kusari Gama. Musashi couldn't get past the swinging weight attached to the long chain, so he threw a short sword or knife into Baiken's chest, and as Baiken went to remove it, Musashi moved in and killed him with his sword.


I have a sinking feeling this comment is going to be one of the "ridiculous things that get said about Samurais just like with Ninjas or King Arthur's Knights" but I was under the impression that as a matter of honour, a Samurai would never throw his sword? Is that more of a wartime thing which changed over the years or just a hollywood fantasy in general?
 

Chris Parker

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Yeah, kinda ridiculous....

If it means staying alive, do it. The idea of "only following the Code of Honour of Bushido/Chivalry" is a romantic ideal removed from the actual reality. When Sasaki Kojiro met Musashi, he demonstrated his willingness to go to any length by throwing his scabbard into the water off Ganryu Island (off course, Musashi took advantage of that by taunting Kojiro, and getting inside his head....).

Really, the reason you don't throw your sword is that once you have, what do you use? That said, there are some kata within Togakure Ryu Bikenjutsu that involve throwing your sword, but they are best thought of as desperation methods.
 

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Really, the reason you don't throw your sword is that once you have, what do you use? That said, there are some kata within Togakure Ryu Bikenjutsu that involve throwing your sword, but they are best thought of as desperation methods.

That, and the fact that if a sword hits the pavement, there is a significant chance that you'll chip the edge. At best you'll dull the blade, and worst case the chip makes the blade worthless as a weapon (because it'd break upon impact) or it would be impossible to repair. That consideration is just good sense and care for a tool, rather than a romantic or emotional notion.
 

Supra Vijai

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*sigh* I'll stop taking on board things I hear in movies one of these days... I promise

Romance really is dead huh? At least in the context of martial arts fantasies anyway
 

Bruno@MT

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Yes and no. Some of the romantic stuff (like not throwing a sword) has a basis in reality, but for pragmatic reasons (like Chris and I mentioned). It's only when peace broke out that the romantic side got embellished. Kinda like how people talk about the 'good old days'. Especially those people who never lived through those days.
 

Supra Vijai

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Thanks Bruno, when I said romance really was dead, I was referring primarily to the "living by the code" stuff as opposed to the pragmatic which is understandable and logical when you think about it. That being said, could someone please explain if there was any truth behind the Samurai topknot and why?
 

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The topknot was absolutely fact. It was really a badge of office, or rank, more than anything else, a way of displaying that you were Samurai. A modern form that still exists is the topknot worn in Sumo for the highest ranked wrestlers (Yokozuna), known as Oichomage (the younger wrestlers, once their hair has sufficient length, wear a more "plain" form of topknot, called Chonmage). They are not allowed to cut their hair until they are ranked below that position, and there is an elaborate ceremony of cutting the hair on retirement.

If you see any examples of Samurai helmets, there is a hole at the top which was originally designed to allow the Samurai's topknot to be pulled through. Even when that style of wearing it went out of fashion, helmets continued to feature such details, with the common reason being given that it is for ventilation.
 

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That, and the fact that if a sword hits the pavement, there is a significant chance that you'll chip the edge.

Yeah. The only thing worse than all those samurai fighting on the pavement was the manholes they had to worry about falling down, and getting their wounds coated in sewage.

;)
 
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Tanaka

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very possible, even further with some heavier/bigger weapons, though as you said not possible without spin

Well even no spin has no spin.
I've seen very long distances with the spike only doing a quarter of a spin.
 

Chris Parker

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Okay, from checking with a few sources, most seem to agree that the typical effective range for a Bo Shuriken is within 6 metres. This comes from, amongst other sources, Otake Sensei in his Katori Shinto Ryu book from Koryu Books. If anyone has another source that gives anything close to the 12 metres, can they post it, as it seems to be pure conjecture at this point.
 
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Okay, from checking with a few sources, most seem to agree that the typical effective range for a Bo Shuriken is within 6 metres. This comes from, amongst other sources, Otake Sensei in his Katori Shinto Ryu book from Koryu Books. If anyone has another source that gives anything close to the 12 metres, can they post it, as it seems to be pure conjecture at this point.

What do you mean by effective?

Effective in a combat perspective? Or effective at hitting target without spinning? Because I know someone who throws spikes close to 18 meters very accurately.
 

Chris Parker

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Effective, I would say (without trying to put words in Otake Sensei's mouth here....) means that it has combative applications, in that it is a powerful enough throw to have a desired effect (most commonly distraction, although injury to the hands is a secondary ideal), and has a reasonable chance to reach the opponent. It also implies the use of the tactics associated with the weapon, meaning that it is applied in it's proper range (beyond the reach of long arms, such as spears).

Honestly, 18 metres sounds rather extreme. 18 feet, I'd go with, which is back to the idea of 6 metres, 18 metres is an incredibly long distance for such a weapon.
 

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