A rather long wooden naginata used in classical naginata practice.
(Photo courtesy of Koryu Books.)
Naginata is a traditional Japanese martial art
of both power and grace. It is the study of the use of a sword
like weapon similar to the European halberd or glaive. The
weapon was a short sword mounted on a long pole or staff.
It was first used on the battlefield, and then in the Edo period
samurai women took it up as a method of defense and self-development.
Today, most though not all naginata practitioners
are still women. In countries outside Japan there are more men
studying the art. Naginata can be enjoyed by all people who are
interested in either competitive fighting, or in the beauty of
choreographed, practiced movements, called kata. The practice of
naginata helps to foster physical and mental discipline, grace,
and awareness of self and others. A further aim of the ANF is to
encourage cultural exchange between Australia and Japan through
visits, seminars and other shared activities.
Today's Naginata practice weapon is made from
a wooden staff with bamboo slats in place of the blade. Naginata
kata (or form) is practiced with a weapon that has a wood blade
fashioned similarly to metal blade. During sparring and at other
times when there will be contact, armour is worn by the participants
to protect the target areas. The dojo can provide armour and practice
weapons for beginning and intermediate students.
to Atarashii Naginata