Learn about the Sansetsukon - Okinawan Kobudo Weapon

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Learn about the Sansetsukon - Okinawan Kobudo Weapon

The Okinawan Sansetsukon is one of the few martial arts weapons in the Kobudo arsenal that is not derived from a tool or agricultural implement. Rather, it is a slightly modified version of an all out battle weapon, the Chinese Sanjiegun or 3 section staff. The Sansetsukon is a relatively recent addition to the list of Kobudo weapons in that it wasn't incorporated in traditional Kobudo until the early part of the 20th century (around 1925). The Sansetsukon differs slightly from the traditional Chinese version of the 3 section staff in that it has slightly shorter and thicker staves (each stave is around 2 feet in length and between an inch and a half to 2 inch in diameter).

Though the Chinese and Okinawan versions of the 3 section staff are slightly different in construction, the overall use of the weapon remains the same. The Sansetsukon can be used to perform some Bo Staff like techniques. By spinning the weapon using the central stave as an axis, centrifugal force effectively straightens the conjoined staves. However, actually striking with the Sansetsukon requires much more skill and practice as the independently swiveling staves are subject to rebound when used to perform Bo like strikes.

As well as Bo like techniques, the Sansetsukon can also be used to perform Nunchaku like techniques. This is accomplished by either holding the central stave in one hand and striking with one of the outer staves or by holding both the central stave and one of the outer staves in one hand and swinging the remaining outer stave in an arc against the opponent. All 3 staves can also be held in conjunction to use the weapon as a straightforward baton.

The Sansetsukon can also be held in a double handed grip by the central stave thus allowing the 2 outer staves to be swung or spun independently in order to deliver strikes and parries. The weapon can also be held by the 2 outer staves, one in each hand, to perform double stick techniques, though this requires some degree of skill to master owing to the presence of the central stave. The Sansetsukon is also used to great effect as a long reach weapon by holding the end of one of the outer staves in either a 1 or 2 handed grip in order to use it to execute whip like techniques.

As well as its impressive range of striking abilities, the Sansetsukon is also a very effective defensive weapon as any of the 3 staves can be used either in conjunction or individually in a great number of ways to block the oncoming strike of an opponents weapon. As if all of this wasn't enough the Sansetsukon can also be used to effectively trap either an opponent or their weapon, to choke an opponent or even to throw an opponent.

As with its slightly longer Chinese Cousin, the Okinawan 3 section staff takes a great deal of practice and skill to master but it is one of the most effective and versatile of all Kobudo weapons.

For other Okinawan weapons, please visit the main Kobudo Weapons or Martial Arts Weapons sections.

Video Demonstration of Sansetsukon against Tinbe Rochin


  1. Matayoshi Kobudo Kodokan Honbu, Matayoshi Kobudo Weapons, http://www.matayoshikobudokodokan.com/Weapons/WeaponsIndex.htm, Added - 08/13/14

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