Posts Tagged ‘Shadow’

Steel Hands of Shadow… Tekko-Kagi Revisited!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Not too long ago I posted about of my favorite Ninja tool, the Tekko-Kagi, (or Tekagi), featuring an outstanding example of workmanship by one of my readers, Matthew Wright (who posts here as Mangetsu) of NineDirections.com. I have always been particularly impressed with the authenticity of his work, however he recently put together a refreshed version of the aforementioned tool, as well as his website, and I thought I’d talk a little about my opinion of his the modifications to the traditional design.

So here it is, The Signature Tekko-Kagi from Nine Directions, which he most appropriately called “Steel Shadow”…

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

The word Tekagi (which is the abbreviated form of Tekko-Kagi) is, if memory serves, a contraction of two Japanese words, “Te”, which means “Hand”, and “Kagi” (a variation of “Kage”), which means shadow. In other words, this is the “Shadow Hand”. This makes a whole lot of sense when you consider that the Ninja (or Shinobi) were also called “Shadow Warriors”, due to their predominantly clandestine methods.

Their specialty was working from, or in, the shadows. As in, the most efficient way to plant a steel claw upside a marks head from a dark corner while their back was turned… 😛

But back to the weapon at hand. This ain’t yo grandmas Tekagi! This design, while fundamentally similar to the traditional tekagi design, differs in two very important respects. First, where there used to be a narrow forearm/wrist band, Matthew has extended the band to an almost full forearm-length leather bracer, to which the rear of the claws are riveted.

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

This, by itself, is perhaps the single most useful and functionally outstanding improvement I have ever seen in a tekko-kagi. It provides some additional much needed support, giving the tool much more strength, and should be significantly more comfortable than the traditional design, allowing for the wielder to use it with a lot more power.

Tekko-Kagi - Full

Tekko-Kagi - Full

The claws themselves appear to have been extended to the full length of this longer bracer, creating a full forearm cage that drastically increases the defensive capabilities of the weapon. In addition to this, he has shortened the top hoop, the hand grip, our control point, as it were, so that a much more natural, solid, closed-fist grip can be used to manipulate the claws. This is a *massive* improvement over the old large wide grip of the previous design, as your hand muscles are in a more natural and stronger position this way.

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

I have always held that while adherence to tradition is certainly of value, tradition should never get in the way of improvement. The old school ninjas did things the way they did because that was the best way to do them at the time. However their fundamental methodology was not one of stagnation. They constantly improved and modified their techniques and weapons, and were there not so many more effective tools of the trade to use, they would have upgraded their tekagi in much the same way Matthew has done.

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

So I say to Matthew, kudos for a job well done! These are perhaps the best designed Tekko-Kagi I have seen in a long time, and I doubt I will see any better. This is outstanding work folks, created with an eye to replicating the look and feel of the traditional design, except much, much better.

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

This Tekagi has single-handedly made NineDirections.com my next Site of the Month. If you want some truly outstanding replicas of traditional ninja gear, made with an eye for practical use, as well as authentic construction techniques, Nine Directions is the place to go…

You really can’t go wrong. 😀

Signature Tekko-Kagi – [Nine Directions]

An Animated Glaive!

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Ok, So while I was doing posts on movie glaives, I happened to run across a folding throwing weapon from one of my oft watched animes. I thought to myself “Why not do an anime weapon?” Now this may sound crazy, but I heard myself answer: “Because that would show you up for the nerd that you really are.”

Of course, I had to I answer right back: “Hah! It’s too late for that suckah!! Not to mention it isn’t that far of a leap from the fictional hollywood action movie weapons you’ve been pimpin’ so far.” I couldn’t very well argue with this logic. Though I suspect that any logic that is a product of inane psychobabble may not be particularly reliable. Dunno whether y’all will be more disturbed by the fact that I am blogging about an animated weapon or that I talk to myself. Either way, it doesn’t matter. ‘Cause, like I’ve said many times before, I’ve never professed sanity to begin with.

But anyway, here I am, getting ready to talk about an interesting kind of throwing blade that makes an appearance in the anime Naruto and also in the video games Final Fantasy and Ninja Gaiden. We will be focusing primarily on the only folding version of this blade, which was used by Sasuke in the Naruto anime series. We are, of course, talking about the Fuuma Shuriken, AKA the Fūma or “Wind Demom” shuriken, more commonly known as the Shadow Windmill Shuriken.

Fuuma (aka Shadow Windmill) Shuriken

Fuuma (aka Shadow Windmill) Shuriken

Now, in spite of being an anime weapon, it actually fulfills all of the criteria for the hollyood glaive. It is a multi-bladed throwing weapon. It folds up. And it has boomerang-like qualities to boot. Lucky for you, I just so happen to have an (all too brief) clip of one in action:

Fuuma Shuriken - Opening

Fuuma Shuriken - Opening

Sweet eh? Now I will mention that the game and anime versions of these types of weapon have one major difference to their live action movie counterparts. They are huge! They are not normal hira shuriken sized by any stretch of the imagination, being quite a few orders of maginitude larger than any of the others I have mentioned so far. In fact, a single blade of this particular monstrosity is about the size of a full-sized machete. When it’s closed it’s the equivalent of holding 4 large cutlasses side by side. Heh.

Fuuma Shuriken - Partially Closed

Fuuma Shuriken - Partially Closed

Now of course I do have a couple of reservations about it. Like the fact that I don’t see a way to lock it in the open position. Not particularly confidence inspiring. Not to mention that, given it’s size and potential weight, it would almost have to be your primary (if not only) weapon. Let’s face it. If you carried one, you might be hard pressed to carry much else. I mean look at it. It’s almost as big as Sasuke. Granted he’s just a kid, (a highly trained, very skilled killer ninja kid) but still. Any weapon that is almost as large as a teen-aged boy has some serious size issues… But then again we are talking about a fictional animated weapon that routinely defies the laws of physics, so what do I know.

Sasuke's Monster Fuuma Shuriken

Sasuke's Monster Fuuma Shuriken

But given what it could do, (if it were real) the simple but robust construction, and it’s intimidating appearance, (Did I mention that it is usually portrayed as a black weapon… Yes! Bonus Points!!) it would most certainly be quite an effective, durable and lethal weapon to wield. Assuming, of course, that you are A) a highly trained animated ninja, or B) carry steel I-beam girders around for a living…

But strength requirements aside, it seems that this weapon could actually be combat worthy. Unlike most of the other glaives I’ve blogged, this weapon has ample space on each blade for a handle grip throw to be used, though it would require some serious training to get good rotation and a clean release using it.

But the truth is, this is such a beautiful and intimidating (albeit impractical) weapon, I really don’t care bout it’s shortcomings. I’d buy one in a heartbeat. I have actually been toying with the idea of designing a working one, just to see if I can overcome the challenge of inventing a strong, reliable blade locking mechanism for such a weapon. Would be pretty awesome… But that’s probably just my inner nerd talking…

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