You’re unlikely to need any weaponry if you’re a beginner karateka simply looking to get fit whilst enjoying some fun karate workouts. However, if you do progress through the Obi ranks, you may decide it’s time to have a go at the many karate styles that make use of weaponry. Here are some of the key karate weapons you may require in your further training.
The Bo is simply a 1.82m (6ft) long staff made from a variety of woods. It can be used as a long or short-range weapon, working in conjunction with a number of traditional karate techniques.
This is a straight wooden sword used in many martial arts, including karate. Bokken techniques are combined with more traditional karate movements in a high-skill contest of the mind, body and sword.
Although potentially a deadly weapon, the Nunchaku has been popularised by Bruce Lee films and TV shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Made up from two pieces of wood — around 30.5cm (12in) in length — joined together by a cord or chain, this is a weapon that should only be used by the most skilled karateka.
The Tonfa resembles a traditional police baton, with a short handle stemming from a 50.8cm (20-inch) length of strong wood. Sometimes deployed in a pair, the Tonfa can add an extra dimension to heated kumite contests.
Staying safe for karate
Karate training offers a fun and rewarding route towards fitness success, with a range of body benefits. However, before you jump in at the deep-end it’s important you get the equipment that’s right for your training. Karate can be a dangerous sport if it’s not conducted safely so make sure you’re taught by a fully-qualified teacher, using the best possible kit that your budget will allow. As long as you don’t cut corners, you’ll be enjoying safe karate in no time!