Yari - Japanese Spear

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Yari - Japanese Spear

The Yari is a spear used in Japanese martial arts such as Sojutsu (Yari Jutsu). This traditional martial arts weapon has a long wooden shaft with a straight metal blade usually double edged and pointed attached to the top.Some versions of the Yari have side blades of prongs similar to the Okinawan Nunti Bo. The yari is one of the 3 main pole arms used on the battle field by Samurai (the other 2 being the Naginata and the Nagamaki though there were other less common variations.) Historically, the Yari could reach lengths of up to 20 feet. Nevertheless, it is usually 6-10 feet long at most martial arts schools that practice with a Yari. Sojutsu is still taught in traditional Bujutsu and Ninjutsu arts. The main use of pole arms such as the Yari was to either reach an opponent on horse back for foot soldiers or conversely for mounted Samurai to reach opponents on foot. In ancient Japan in times of war conscripts or low ranking Samurai would be taught basic Sojutsu techniques to be used with sharpened (and usually fire hardened) bamboo poles. As well as the various blocks, thrusting, stabbing and slashing techniques taught in Sojutsu some Bo techniques are also applicable to the Yari.

For additional martial arts weapons, please visit the main Traditional Martial Arts Weapons section.

Picture of a Samurai with a Yari

Yari & the Martial Arts of Sojutsu

Reference Sources

  1. Yari picture is courtesy of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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