The naginata has been referred to by many names such as halberd, pole arm, sword spear, and curved spear. It consists of a curved blade approximately one to two feet long mounted on a hard wood shaft usually between five and nine feet long.
The naginata began its history with the earliest beginnings of the samurai warrior. It was heavily relied upon as a battle field weapon because of its length and cutting and thrusting abilities. Opponents both on foot and on horseback were successfully nullified by the long range capability of the naginata.
Off the battlefield the naginata was a favorite weapon of warrior monks and ladies of the Bushi (samurai) class. It was used by samurai women as a means of self defense. It was a way to protect their children and themselves from marauders that occasionally attacked villages while the men were in the field or away in battle.
Today the naginata is still practiced in Japan and in traditional martial arts dojo around the world. Many dojo practice the more modern sport adaptation of naginata-do, but at Shobukan Martial Arts Center, koryu (old style) naginatajutsu is practiced. Individuals interested in more information regarding naginatajutsu may contact Sensei Gray at:
Martial Arts for Body, Mind and Spirit