SHO KOSUGI: WEAPONS MASTER, WEAPONS DESIGNER


NINJA, SAMURAI, AND KOBUDO WEAPONS


SICKLES and CHAINED WEAPONS

 

  KAMA () Sickle

 

  KUSARI-GAMA (鎖鎌) Sickle & Chain

 

  KYOKETSU-SHŌGE (距跋渉毛) Double-Edged Hook-Knife

 

  KUSARI-FUNDŌ (鎖分銅) Weighted Chain

 

  NUNCHAKU (ヌンチャク) Chain-Linked Sticks

 

 

KAMA(鎌) & KUSARI-GAMA(鎖鎌)

The KAMA is a traditional Japanese farming implement similar to a sickle used for reaping crops and also employed as a weapon.  It is often included in weapon training segments of martial arts.  The weapon was most likely brought to Okinawa from Southeast Asia and incorporated into the martial art of te (hand) and later karate (empty hand).  It also spawned the use of the kusari-gama and the kyoketsu-shōge.

The KUSARI-GAMA (sickle and chain) is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of a kama attached to a kusari-fundō - a type of metal chain (kusari) with a heavy iron weight (fundō) at the end.  The kusari-gama is said to have developed during the Muromachi period (between 1336 and 1573).


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Some of the Red Ninja who attack and massacre the family of Cho Osaki (Sho) while he's away were armed with KAMA.

 

 

 

One of the Red Ninja also had a KUSARI-GAMA with an extremely long chain.

 

 

Cho had a pair of KAMA hanging on the wall of his dojo, and Braden had a KAMA in his case of weapons...

 

 

But the best one in the film was without a doubt the KUSARI-GAMA with the extra-long weighted chain hidden inside its extra-long handle.

 

 

 

 

One of my all-time favorite weapons, this awesome KUSARI-GAMA also had a spring-loaded foldable blade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


One of Hanjuro's ninja was armed with a KUSARI-GAMA in the severely edited-down flashback scene in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

The Master - ''Fat Tuesday'' (1984)


Okasa (Sho) wielded an awesome pair of KAMA in his ambush on his former sensei in the 6th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

Later in the episode, The Master used another KAMA to intimidate and question one of the bad guys.

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


Okasa's KAMA returned in the 8th episode of THE MASTER, but this time in a weapons collection owned by Simon Garrett (George Maharis).

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten) uses a KUSARI-GAMA to free The Master from a police van in the 9th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''The Java Tiger'' (1984)


In order to help free McAllister from the bad guys in the 10th episode of THE MASTER, Max once again uses McAllister's KUSARI-GAMA.

 

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


A number of KAMA can be seen very briefly during the opening scene in PRAY FOR DEATH.  The first one is only seen from a distance, but it appears to be identical to the ones used in almost all of Sho's previous ninja projects.

 

 

The second pair of KAMA were quite different as they not only had unpainted handles but their blades were a noticeably darker grey.

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Kama'' (1986)


The KAMA was featured in a number of segments of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI, including one focused on the weapon.

 

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Katana'' (1986)


 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Self Defense'' (1986)


 

Rage of Honor (1987)


One of the Prison Ninja (Masafumi Sakanashi & Kiyatsu Shimoyama) wielded a pair of KAMA against Shiro Tanaka (Sho) in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第11回 父子の悲劇
  Dragon Spirit - ''A Father's Sorrow'' (1993)


Keitai (Noriyuki Higashiyama) wielded a pair of KAMA in a battle against invading samurai in the 11th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

 

琉球の風 第13回 首里城明け渡し
  Dragon Spirit - ''Surrender of Shuri Castle'' (1993)


Ryukyu villagers of all ages used KAMA to defend their homeland against invading samurai in the 13th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


Sho wielded a pair of KAMA in at least one segment featured in his SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS TV series.

 

 

 

The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


Tiger (James Okada) wielded a pair of KAMA in Sho's second stage show, THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 

 

 

Ninja Assassin (2009)


One of Ozunu's ninja uses a KAMA to attack a terrified and fleeing Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) in NINJA ASSASSIN.

 

 





 

KYOKETSU-SHŌGE(距跋渉毛)

The KYOKETSU-SHŌGE is a double edged blade with another curved blade attached near the hilt at a 45-60 degree angle.  This is attached to approximately 10 to 18 feet (3-5 m) of rope, chain, or hair which then ends in a large metal ring.  Likely used by ninja of the Iga province, it is thought to be a forerunner to the later more widely known kusari-gama.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The KYOKETSU-SHŌGE was one of the weapons featured in both the opening credits of ENTER THE NINJA, and in the film itself.

 

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The KYOKETSU-SHŌGE could be seen amongst the weapons in the Black Ninja Hanjuro's secret cave stash in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


The KYOKETSU-SHŌGE was featured in the weapons collection owned by Simon Garrett (George Maharis) in the 8th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


After falling into a trap, the KYOKETSU-SHŌGE proved very useful for Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja Assassin (2009)


A very different and unique version of the KYOKETSU-SHŌGE was the main Ozunu clan ninja weapon used by Raizo (Rain) in NINJA ASSASSIN.

 

 

 

 

 





 

KUSARI-FUNDŌ(鎖分銅)

The KUSARI-FUNDŌ, also known as MANRIKI-GUSARI (万力鎖, "ten thousand power chain"), is a hand held weapon used in feudal Japan, consisting of a length of chain (kusari) with a weight (fundō) attached to each end of the chain.  Various sizes and shapes of chain and weight were used as there was no set rule on the construction of these weapons.  Typically, the length of the forged chain could vary from around 12 inches (30 cm) up to 48 inches (120 cm).  The chain links could have many different shapes including round, elliptical, and egg-shaped.  The thickness of the chain also varied.  Usually the first link of chain attached to the weight was round and often larger and thicker than the rest of the links of the chain.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The KUSARI-FUNDŌ was used as a choking device by both Hasegawa (Sho) and Cole (Franco Nero) in ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A number of very unique KUSARI-FUNDŌ were used REVENGE OF THE NINJA, including a very cool one hidden inside a kokeshi doll used by Grandmother Osaki (Grace Oshita).

 

 

 

 

 

The Silver Masked Ninja also used a couple of KUSARI-FUNDŌ-like weapons featuring a metal wire instead of a chain in two different scenes.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


Yamada used a KUSARI-FUNDŌ in his epic final battle against the Black Ninja (doubled by Alan Amiel) in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


Numerous KUSARI-FUNDŌ were used in almost every episode of THE MASTER.  Many of these were used to disarm enemies, but they were also used to restrain them.  Similarly, a simple rope could also be used as a KUSARI-FUNDŌ substitute to achieve the same result by using Torinawajutsu (捕縄術 "Restraining Rope Techniques"), as it was in the first episode of the series.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


A black metal KUSARI-FUNDŌ was amongst the weapons in McAllister's briefcase in the 4th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


The same black metal KUSARI-FUNDŌ along with a KUSARI-FUNDŌ with wooden weights were seen in the 4th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''High Rollers'' (1984)


 

 

The Master - ''Fat Tuesday'' (1984)


 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


 

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


 

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

Okasa (Sho) wielded the distinctive KUSARI-FUNDŌ with wooden weights in the 9th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''The Java Tiger'' (1984)


 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


In the hands of Spike Shinobi (Sho), the KUSARI-FUNDŌ was once again used as a choking device in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


Similarly, Akira Saito (Sho) used the distinctive KUSARI-FUNDŌ with wooden weights to subdue and choke out a taller man in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Manriki-gusari'' (1986)


The KUSARI-FUNDŌ (aka MANRIKI-GUSARI) was also one of the featured weapons in the NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Eagle (1988)


Despite no longer playing a ninja, it seems that Sho couldn't resist at least using a KUSARI (chain) in BLACK EAGLE.

 

 

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王
The Fighting King (1994)


Similarly, in THE FIGHTING KING, which was directed by Sho, one of the bad guys fighting Ken Oshiro (Kane Kosugi) wielded a KUSARI (chain).

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


Sho used a KUSARI-FUNDŌ in at least one segment featured in his SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS TV series.

 

 





 

NUNCHAKU(ヌンチャク)

The NUNCHAKU is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected together by a short chain or rope.  The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or a metal chain.  The exact origin of the nunchaku is unclear, though it has been alleged that it was adapted by Okinawan farmers from a non-weapon rice-flail implement for threshing rice.  It was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time like the katana and the naginata.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


Three different NUNCHAKU were featured in ENTER THE NINJA.  The first of these was used in the iconic opening credits.

 

 

The second one was an Octagon Swivel-Chain NUNCHAKU that should be instantly recognizable to anyone who read any of the numerous American martial arts magazines in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, as it was manufactured and sold by Dolan Sports.

 

 

 

The third NUNCHAKU was wielded by Sho during his demonstration for Mr. Mesuda (Joonee Gamboa) and Mr. Parker (Constantin De Goguel).

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


NUNCHAKU were amongst the weapons on display on the wall of Cho Osaki's dojo in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

A black octagon with white rope NUNCHAKU was one of the weapons seen inside Braden's weapons cabinet.

 

 

Additionally, a number of silver NUNCHAKU were used by the Tattooed Torturer (Al Lai) and Kane Osaki (Kane Kosugi), and featured in the weapons montage during Cho Osaki's pre-battle ritual.

 

 

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


In a previous section we discussed how Okasa (Sho) had used a double-bladed TE-YARI (hand spear) in the very first episode of THE MASTER.  What wasn't mentioned is that mid-way through this scene he pulled the two ends apart turning it into NUNCHAKU-YARI (Nunchaku Spears).

 

 

 

 

 

A ball-bearing swivel NUNCHAKU-YARI that did not turn into a TE-YARI was also featured in a number of promotional photos for the series.

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


A SWIVEL-CHAIN NUNCHAKU was amongst the weapons owned by Simon Garrett (George Maharis) in the 8th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''A Place to Call Home'' (1984)


As he'd done in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, Kane Kosugi wielded a silver-painted plastic NUNCHAKU in the 13th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


The silver-painted plastic NUNCHAKU returned for many more scenes in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

 

While in disguise as an old man, Spike Shinobi (Sho) wielded a different white round NUNCHAKU that he'd taken from one of his attackers.

 

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


The white round NUNCHAKU returned in PRAY FOR DEATH, this time wielded by Takeshi Saito (Kane Kosugi).

 

 

 

 

Also making a return in the hands of Akira Saito (Sho) was the NUNCHAKU-YARI from the first episode of THE MASTER (or one very similar to it).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Class (1985)


Silver Foam Rubber NUNCHAKU were used by both Sho and Kane in the instructional home video MASTER CLASS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Nunchaku'' (1986)


A distinctive bamboo NUNCHAKU was the subject of a NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI segment.

 

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


In RAGE OF HONOR, Shiro Tanaka (Sho) unveiled some spectacular NUNCHAKU-KUGI (Nunchaku Spikes) that were specially designed by Sho.

 

 

 

Wide Show 11PM - "Ninja Boom, Landing in Japan!" (1987)


Sho and his two sons Kane and Shane wielded NUNCHAKU in front of their home in California in a great segment on the Japanese Late Night TV program WIDE SHOW 11PM.

 


琉球の風 第3回 父子の再会
  Dragon Spirit - ''Reunion'' (1993)


Ken (Kane Kosugi) wielded a NUNCHAKU in his battle against bandits in the 3rd episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

琉球の風 第11回 父子の悲劇
  Dragon Spirit - ''A Father's Sorrow'' (1993)


The NUNCHAKU was also the weapon Kane used in his battle against invading samurai in the 11th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

A variation of the NUNCHAKU, the "Two-Section Staff", was also used by Kirahamaru (Kojiro Shimizu) in this episode.

 

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王
The Fighting King (1994)


Ken Oshiro (Kane Kosugi) wielded an octagon wood and rope NUNCHAKU in a practice duel against his father Kiyotake Oshiro (Hiroshi Miyauchi) in their home dojo in California in THE FIGHTING KING.

 

 

 

 

Also visible on one of the dojo walls was a NUNCHAKU-like "Two-Section Staff" (possibly the one used in DRAGON SPIRIT).

 

 

Later, in Japan, Kane's character picks up and uses some NUNCHAKU that an attacker had been using against him.

 

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王2
The Fighting King 2 (1994)


In the sequel, THE FIGHTING KING 2, Kane's character turns the tide in another battle by taking two NUNCHAKU from his attackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


NUNCHAKU were featured in at least one segment in the SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS TV series.

 

 

 

The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2001


A young performer demonstrated his skills with a NUNCHAKU in THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2001.

 

 

The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


More young performers demonstrated their skills with bamboo NUNCHAKU in THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 

Little Lamb (Christie Taniguchi) also wielded a bamboo NUNCHAKU, successfully defeating all her opponents, until . . .

 

 

 

. . . a mysterious figure played by Sho stepped forward and quickly took the bamboo NUNCHAKU from her.