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Samurai Weapons, Samurai Armors and the Samurai way of life

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Samurai Weapons:
Manrikigusari, The Metal Chain

Besides the Samurai sword, the Samurai of Japan had many other weapons. One such was the Manrikigusari, which is still in use today. The Manrikigusari is a chain, made entirely of solid metal, about 2-3 feet in length. Both ends of the chain is enclosed or capped with a heavy metal tip or with metal handles, making the Manrikigusari look somewhat like a short jump rope.

The Manrikigusari, which means "strength of a thousand men," is an ingenious samurai weapon. It was created to be easily concealed and yet is still very effective and dangerous when used. The heavy weights at the end could be used to strike an opponent by imparting a swinging motion to the chain. The enemy could receive many broken bones after being hit by the weighted ends of the Manrikigusari.

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As a defensive weapon, the Manrikigusari's versitality meant it could be used to block and parry attacks from an opponent. An additional use of this samuarai weapon was to pin the opponent down once he fell or found himself driven to a wall.

The manrikigusari, also known as the gusari is thought to have been developed by Dannoshin Toshimitsu Masaki. Makasi was the head sentry at Edo Castle, sometime during the early 1700s. According to legend, Masaki was inspired to create this unique weapon to prevent unnecessary bloodshed while his guards defended the castle from intruders. This is another example of how thoughtful the Samurai were towards their enemies... As with other weapons, the use of this weighted chain soon spread to the constable samurai and proved useful in disarming and controlling criminals.

It is interesting to note that the manrikigusari was adapted by Ninja warriers. Because of the weighted ends, a Ninja can knock out an enemy with a nearly silent swing of the chain against the skull. Another typical way to use this weapon is to bunch the chain in one's fist and then fling the weighted end into the face, groin or solar plexus of an opponent.

The Manrikigusari is a flexible samurai weapon both in its construction as well as in its usage!

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Sherlock Holmes Pastiches, How To Do Card Tricks, and Bonsai trees.

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