Weapons of Ryukyu Kobujutsu

Surujin is introduced as the eighth and last of the Ryukyu weapons and it should be acknowledged and recognised that as it is introduced at Yondan level, few practitioners get the opportunity to work with this fascinating weapon.

Its origins are to be found throughout the world and its style of usage is by design common in the family of ensnaring weapons.

Found in two kinds, Tan Surujin (short) and Naga Surujin (long) the lengths are about 150-152 cm and 230-240 cm respectively. It is a weapon with the essence of concealment prior to use, which can extract a substantial price from the victim. Traditionally found with a bladed instrument at one end and a weighted end at the other, the Surujin techniques are very akin to those of the Nunchaku.

The Kihon like the Nunchaku requires much swing practice and the use of Hara with the need to not rise during rotational phases. In addition the changing lengths of the chain demand a serious study of control and distance maximums. Too long and you lose control, too short and the distance advantage it gives you is lost. Many practice the swings very slowly which is correct in early phases of study but a quickening of action along with greater control must be explored.

For Kumite training the chain is replaced with cord, usually made of leather for safety, facilitating more speed and agility. The throwing end of the Surujin usually of a weighted rectangular metal shape is replaced with a leather or soft material pouch. This allows for the throws to the head, the swings to the groin and the attack generally to the body.

The hips need to be centrally fixed with a low centre of gravity and the swing should be through the arm to the shoulder without moving the head. The recovery from the swing is dependent on the dexterity of the user, as it is critical to the final attack before the stab. The knife can remain although some use a wooded one demanding work on the control of the stabs in the final phases.

Historically this weapon is very prevalent and can be found attached to a weapon or used separately. It is undoubtedly a weapon designed for warfare and not for agricultural usage.

Nagai Kusari
Mijikai Kusari
There are 2 Kata practised (the long and the short Surijin), which are usually demonstrated with a chain link Surujin to emphasise the potential in the weapon. The difficulty in the Kata is the control of the swing and the awareness of the length required in respect of the fighting distance that needs to be shown along with throwing control and recovery.