Shurikenjutsu was usually taught among the sogo-bugei, or comprehensive martial arts systems of Japan, as a supplemental art to those more commonly practiced such as kenjutsu, sojutsu, bōjutsu and battlefield grappling kumi-uchi (old form jujutsu), and is much less prevalent today than it was in the feudal era.
The origins of shurikenjutsu are shinobi in origin, as there is a lack of reliable documentation regarding the art's history when compared to other arts. However, there are various oral traditions peculiar to each school (Ryu), that describe how their art developed and came to be used within their system.
The art possesses many originators and innovators who discovered and developed their own various methods of adapting everyday objects into throwing weapons, hence the wide variety of both schools and blades. Furthermore, the art itself is typically quite secretive, as shurikenjutsu gains its tactical advantage by using stealth and surprise. Shuriken are small and easily concealed, yet they have the versatility of being used as a stabbing weapon at close range (called shoken if used in this manner), as well as a longer range thrown weapon).
Types of shurikenEdit
Shuriken consist of two basic designs:
- Bo-shuriken - straight metal spikes, usually 4-sided but sometimes round or octagonal. They were normally single-pointed but variations exist that are double pointed. The average length was 16 cm and the average weight was around 50 grams. The bo shuriken is thrown by holding it in the palm with the shaft resting between the first and second fingers. They are thrown from either hand, overhand, underhand, or sidearm from standing, seated, and lying positions. This is the most common form of shuriken used in traditional shurikenjutsu.
- Hira-shuriken, shaken (or "throwing stars") - flat, wheel-shaped plates of metal, with sharpened points. Usually 3 mm thick or less, about 11 cm wide, with a variety of tips ranging between 3-20. The hira-shuriken can be thrown either from overhead, or horizontally with a quick wrist-snap, depending on the weapon.
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