Shinken Kan and the United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance studies 11 traditional Okinawan weapons. Weapons training and empty-hand kata compliment one another, but without a solid foundation of empty-hand kata, weapons are limited at best. Weapons training has countless other benefits including teaching us how to harness energy from an exterior source and direct it. There's an understanding of our empty-hand technique that can be gained in weapons training that is difficult to be expressed in any other way. Weapons practitioners have greater understanding of the movements of their body as they relate to the closed hand. Any implement in the hand of a skilled individual must be a truthful expression of their entire being.
The bo is a wooden staff normally 6 feet long. The bo was a common weapon of the gate guards at the castles of Okinawa.
The chizikunbo are a short hand-held wooden weapon used in pairs. Chizikunbo have a small rope loop which is slipped over the fingers to allow the chizikunbo to be held in the palm of the hand.
The eiku developed into a weapon from its traditional use as the steering oar from small boats. The eiku is a heavy weapon which develops strength and flowing motion.
The jo is shorter than the bo, commonly being 4 feet long.
The kama are short sickles which developed into a weapon from their original use as a farm tool.
Kama are usually used in pairs, although they can be used singly. Training kama have either lightweight metal or wooden blades.
As the name indicates, these are a type of sai. The manji sai however are quite different to normal sai. Manji sai require a high level of coordination to use well, thus making them a difficult weapon to master.
Often referred to as "Okinawan handcuffs." When properly used, the Nunchaku can render an attacker helpless quickly.
The nunchaku originated as a pridle for workhorses - quite different from the modern shape.
The nunte bo is a cross between a normal bo and the manji sai. Combining the best elements of these two weapons, the nunte bo is similar in appearance to an Anglo-Saxon polearm.
The steel sai were originally truncheons used by Okinawan warriors. Sai are normally used in pairs.
Tanbo are short batons typically 24 inches in length. They can be tapered. Larger at the handle and reducing in size down to the striking end, or they can be straight.
Tanbo are commonly used in pairs.
The tonfa are reputed to have developed from the handles of a wheat grindstone. Like the sai, nunchaku, tanbo, and kama, tonfa are usually used in pairs.
The shape of the tonfa varies dramatically depending upon the place of origin.