In our martial arts training we make use of a variety of traditional training tools: yari, katana, bo, jo…
…and on the more exotic side the shinobi zue- the hidden cane.
The shinobi zue is a traditional training tool used in ninjutsu where the stick is combined with a hidden element. Often a jo (5ft stick) where an end has been hollowed out and hidden with something.
One of the shinobi zue in our dojo consists of a five foot staff, where the end has been hollowed out and a chain and weight has been inserted- similar to a kusari fundo. The end cap of the stick fits over it and one would only know of the false end on very close inspection.
So what place does such traditional ninja tools have in the modern training of today?
We use them as a way to explore taijutsu movement and understand the linking of concepts as opposed to actual weapons.
First use of course is as a stick- using the movements of bojutsu and jojutsu.
Second use, once the chain is deployed is using kusari fundo movements.
Third use is a hybrid taijutsu movement of using both concepts stick and chain at the same time.
Can you do it with correct distance and timing?
What about flow?
In using the shinobi zue there is a also a question of being in the right moment at the right time. That moment when you deploy the hidden aspect of it- in such a way that it takes advantage of kyusho and openings- tsuki in your training partner.