Today I thought I’d talk about a very old weapon. The good old stick. Yes. You know, your basic tree branch. Club. Truncheon. Baton. Night stick. Yep. A blunt impact weapon. Yes, yes, yes, I know its not a bladed weapon. But I thought it was worth a post, especially since I recently ran across a reproduction of an interesting feudal Japanese variation of the ubiquitous stick, in the form of a class of weapons called Jutte.

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wrapped Steel Grip)

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wrapped Steel Grip)

Jutte or Jitte (ten-hand) are, for all intents and purposes, short steel clubs. But they are very special clubs. They are the medieval Japanese equivalent to the modern day billy club, or night stick. And they were engineered to be used defensively against one of the more lethal weapons of the era, the equally ubiquitous sword.

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wood Grip)

Ikkakuryu Jitte (Wood Grip)

As you can see, the Jutte (or Jitte) is basically a steel club with a single, forward facing prong, called a Kagi. Much like a Sai, except with only one prong. Incidentally, a Sai is also a form of club. Not a dagger. But I’ll reserve that discussion for another post. Back to Jutte. The kagi on the wooden handled jitte above is oversized, as it was designed for sword catching practice with thick bladed wooden swords called boken. In essence a Jutte could be used to block or parry a sword strike, and then the prong could be used to trap, or even break, an attackers sword.

The beauty of the Jutte was that it could be used to subdue both armed and unarmed attackers in a nonlethal way. You could say it was one of the first nonlethal tactical police weapons. (Heh.) It was a versatile and effective. I daresay they would be as effective today (if not a little more intimidating) as it was back in feudal Japan, if our modern police force were of a mind to use them.