There are numerous traditional offensive martial weapons. These are weapons whose primary purpose is to attack and kill the enemy. Some of these weapons have been adapted to modern self-defense usage.
Although Taekwondo does not train with weapons, there are many traditional weapons used by other martial arts. Training with traditional weapons assists students in their understanding of body dynamics, structural alignment, and power generation, as well as increasing their reaction speed. Although most people would never carry traditional weapons in today's society, an understanding of the theories, concepts, and principles of their use are easily applied to any common item the one may have at hand.
Some the more popular traditional weapons, such as the nunchaku, tonfa, and sai, were developed in Okinawa. Most modern martial arts students are taught that Okinawan kobudo developed because the Okinawans they were stripped of their weapons and had to resort to using farm implements as substitute weapons. Although some of the traditional weapons were adaptations of farm implements, there is disagreement on whether Okinawan metal weapons were ever confiscated. The development of traditional weapons may be because of the scarcity of ordinary weapons, scarcity of metal in the islands, or possibly because the peace loving Okinawans did not desire weapons. After all, they did not resist the invasion of the Shimazu clan of Kyushu.
The first time that the Okinawan samurai's weapons were supposedly confiscated was during the reign of King Shoshin (1477-1526). Although it is documented that King Shoshin ordered his provincial lords, or aji, to live near his castle in Shuri, many historians no longer believe that he totally disarmed his ruling class. Although a famous stone monument, the Momo Urasoe Ran Kan No Mei, which is inscribed with the highlights of King Shoshin's reign, tells of the King seizing the aji's swords and how he amassed a supply of weapons in a warehouse near Shuri castle, some Okinawan historians believe that King Shoshin was actually building an armory to protect his ports and prepare for any potential invasion by wako, or pirates, not that he was stripping the Okinawan samurai or the general population of their weaponry.
The second time that the Okinawan samurai were purportedly disarmed was after the Satsuma invasion of 1609. However, documents have been recovered that state that, although the Satsuma outlawed the ownership and sale of firearms, Okinawan samurai of the Pechin class and above were allowed to keep those muskets and pistols that were already in their family's possession. Documents show that in 1613 the Satsuma issued permits for the Okinawan samurai to travel with their personal swords (tachi and wakizashi) to the smiths and polishers in Kagushima, Japan for maintenance and repair. From the issuance of these permits, it is logical to infer that there were restrictions on the Okinawan samurai carrying their weapons in public and that these weapons were not confiscated by the Satsuma.
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