These past few years there seems to have been a surge in the interest of shuriken-jutsu, both within the Bujinkan community and in the overall martial arts scene in general. So, at BKRBUDO we have started to carry a special line of hand-made shuriken on our website by the martial artist SHIZUMA 静馬 or “calm horse”. Pictures and custom order instructions will be on the site soon!!!
So, in that regards, I thought this little essay may be pertinent.
It is a passage on the art of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu’s shuriken-jutsu by Hatsumi Soke from 1964…
Pic 1 – Senban
Pic 2 – せんばんを投げる初見先生。Hatsumi Sensei throwing a senban.
An oddly shaped shuriken, like the shape of a spool, with a square hole opened in the center used as a nail puller.
It seems that the senban was exclusively for Togakure Ryu ninja. Togakure Ryu senban-nage is a method of holding a stack of nine in the right hand and throwing them by using a snap of the wrist.
The bladed corners are used to cut ropes, dig in the ground, etc.
Shurikenjutsu is one of the arts of the bushi class, and by no means exclusive to the martial arts of the ninja.
There are many schools, and depending on the school, the shape of the shuriken used is different.
Not only ninja used strange types of shuriken, various shuriken have come about by many martial artists devising various shapes.
Shuriken started with throwing stones, and iron plates cut in various shapes giving birth to the eight pointed and six pointed types.
So, if you look at the shuriken that was thrown, you can immediately know what school the ninja that was attacking was from.
Top pic – 棒手裏剣 Bo-shuriken (spike style shuriken)
Middle pic –
四方手裏剣 Shiho-shuriken (upper right and middle right)
十方手裏剣 Jippo-shuriken (upper middle two)
小づか Kozuka (left vertical)
十字手裏剣 Juji-shuriken (lower right)
Caption of bottom left pic – 一発で命を奪う棒手裏剣。The Bo-shuriken that takes a life in one shot.
八方手裏剣 Happo-shuriken (top and bottom right)
六方手裏剣 Roppo-shuriken (top and bottom 2nd from right)
万字手裏剣 Manji-shuriken (top and bottom left)
三光手裏剣 Sankou-shuriken (bottom 2nd from left)
Bottom pic – 十法手裏剣をかまえる忍者。A ninja poses with a Jippo-shuriken
Shuriken, as you can see come in many styles. Each has its own purpose, but the more teeth it has, the easier it is to damage the enemy. But as the puncture wound is shallow it is not enough to down the enemy. Those with few teeth, such as the bo-shuriken and the four-pointed shuriken, are more difficult to stick in but, when they do, they penetrate deeply and down the enemy.
From Hatsumi Sensei’s 1964 book;
Ninja / Ninpo Gaho 忍者/忍法画報
Translation by; Sean Askew