Shuriken the most fascinating ninja weapon

It's awesome to be a Ninja. That's pretty much universally agreed upon. Almost all dictionaries will show you a picture of a ninja when you look up the word. Whatever the case, we all love ninjas. Another aspect that makes ninjas so cool is the way they use their weapon; the shuriken, or throwing star.

Ninja stars have been ingrained in our pop-culture since their introduction as weapons. Every story with ninjas involves it, from video games to anime. Media has overstated their role as a lethal weapon, but in reality its original purpose was suppressive. This image has endured and contributed to their popularity. 

So, these days, there are no shortages of throwing stars to choose from. You can throw them pretty easily once you get the hang of it. In fact, you can't do much worse than the ninja star for target practice if you're looking for something different.

Quick History of Shuriken 

The shuriken is any thrown weapon consisting of a thin metal plate shaped as a teardrop with one sharp edge which would typically be attached to the end of a length of cord. The blade could be either rounded or pointed, and often had some form of socket to aid in gripping it. 

These blades are used for throwing, stabbing (as with the Japanese kunai), catching (as with the Japanese naginata), or striking (as with the Kobudo weapons) techniques. It is frequently used by ninjas in movies and fiction as their primary weapon.

The first historical usage of these weapons can be found in the 13th century Kenjutsu Monogatari, which describes throwing stars being used to distract mounted samurai by their enemy's seconds, while they were dismounted. 

A popular account is a duel between Hojo Shigetoki and Asakura Yoshikage, in which Shigetoki threw stars at Yoshikage while riding past him, dismounting his opponent. Speaking of historical usage of throwing blades, it is believed that they were first used by ninja in Japan as a useful tool for sabotage and assassination.

Throwing stars

Shuriken - The Ninja Throwing Stars for Combat

Throwing stars are known as shuriken in Japan. Ninja stars are literally the pointed, star-shaped blades that come to mind when we think of ninjas; they're how we picture them in our minds.

It is more complex than that, of course. The term ninja star is probably more commonly referred to today as a hira. Due to its technical meaning, this word simply refers to any throwing, bladed weapon.

  • This star-shaped weapon is considered more powerful than the bo star, the most common throwing weapon.
  • Bo ninja stars are straight-bladed weapons, resembling western throwing daggers, as opposed to the stars we are used to thinking of.
  • Many variations were available within each of those categories, depending on the number of blade-sides, the weight, and many other factors. As throwing stars have become more commercialized in recent years, the only real difference between a bo and a hira will be what you choose.

Bo Shuriken VS Hira Shuriken

  • Hira Shuriken

Throwing stars are commonly associated with these ninja stars. Their sharpened edges are generally formed into a star shape on a small, thin blade. They can be described as having a unique, iconic appearance because they were originally made from improvised materials, such as old coins or unused tools.

A hole in the center of the hira, in addition to its iconic star shape, is one of its most distinguishing features. The original design of the string allowed them to be strung together in order to be transported, or even made into other improvised weapons.

This hole also helps to improve their aerodynamics by distributing weight evenly. These characteristics make these stars easier for beginners to learn. Their star shape is more like a disc, something people are more familiar with than a box, and they are smaller than a box.

  • Bo Shuriken

Unlike other stars, these are more similar to western throw knives. Many people confuse them with the kunai, a weapon designed to thrust and stab rather than throw. These stars are usually 5 to 9 inches long, have roots in improvisation, and can be played by either hand.

In the beginning, they were often made from easily accessible materials. Different types of bo shuriken have their own names derived from the materials from which they were originally created.

It is common to throw a hira only one of two ways, whereas a bo shuriken can be thrown a variety of different ways, mostly based upon the variety of bo that are available and the techniques that emerged based on them. As they are most natural and easiest to learn, overhead and underarm throws are the most commonly used methods.

Shuriken throwing star

Are You Holding Your Shuriken Correctly?

The art of the shuriken is an ancient Japanese weapon that requires special training from the moment one is first able to handle it. Now, after practicing for hundreds of years, a few tools have been developed for easy and efficient execution of basic skills. 

These are one of the most common weapons and tools in a ninja's arsenal, so if you're interested in this kind of training, then this post will definitely come in handy!

To start with, you'll need to get your hands on some ninja stars. This is easy, as they can be found at many local martial arts supply shops. Once you've got your throwing stars, it's time to learn how to hold them properly. 

To do this correctly, it can help to imagine that the blade is being gripped between the thumb and index finger (and little finger for extra grip). This wrapped fist should be held loosely for maximum control over release and aim.

  • One-Hand Or Two-Hand Grips:

The one-handed grip should be held perpendicular to the ground with the arm locked and elbow straight, so that the shuriken itself is parallel to the ground. This position should be maintained until just before release when the arm is brought down to around a 45 degree angle.

This method of holding a ninja star is often preferable for beginners, as it aids accuracy and helps keep an injury-free training session. 

Once you've mastered holding them in this manner, you'll want to move on to throwing them with a two-handed grip. In order for this grip to work properly, your hands should be spread fairly wide apart. This is an advanced grip style that can only be learned through repetition.


Using Ninja Stars: Various Applications

  • A shuriken is primarily an offensive weapon that was traditionally used in feudal Japan by ninjas. It is a sharp, hand-held object (although there are minors who use them as tools). Ninjas would usually carry a variety of different stars with varying shapes, sizes and patterns for different purposes.
  • These tools played an important role for the ninjas: they could be attached to strings and then deployed from special scabbards on the back or waist of the ninja. The hidden weapon could then be quickly drawn and wielded, often catching opponents unawares.
  •  It also provided secondary uses for checking foliage for enemies hiding there or cutting trip wires or vines around campsites to make sure that no enemies were concealed nearby. However, its primary use was as a weapon. 
  • Shuriken are sharp and so could cause severe wounds depending on which part of the body was targeted. Similar shaped objects were also used for different purposes such as mirrors in the form of ninja stars for signaling or weights for fishing lines or similar.
  • They were traditionally known as "hidden blades". They could be used to throw at enemies from a distance, much like a modern day handgun. Some of them are very unique and even modern replicas of them would be hard to distinguish from the originals.

Shuriken for Self-Defense: Should You Consider them?

The use of shuriken for self-defense is generally less preferable than that of other throwing weapons. They are real ninja weapons that rely on the force and momentum of the throw in order to make an impact, they are extremely reliant on perfect form in order to function as intended.

These throwing stars were very rarely used as the first weapons in history. Most often, it was used for distraction and suppression, rather than as a primary weapon.

The ninja stars or any other throwing weapon for that matter, isn't really for this purpose, especially in modern times. To throw weapons these days is a hobby for players looking to improve their skills. These stars are perfect for improving your skills in that regard.

Read Also: Modern Shuriken VS Traditional Shuriken