Naginata is a Japanese martial art.It's not only combat, it is also technique, precision and a whole philosophy

History of Naginata

Naginata has a long history dating as far back as the Tengyô disturbance (935-941). Being longer than the average sword, it was advantageous for engaging in battle with enemies from a distance. The Naginata was probably developed by making the handle of a sword longer.

At first. Naginata was written with Chinese characters which literally translates as 'long sword". However. from the Nanboku-chô period (1336-1392), swords of extraordinary length came iota use. ln order to distinguish between these 'long swords', the characters for Naginata were changed from 'long sword', to 'mowing sword" , in reference to the characteristic use of the Naginata in 'mowing', or 'sweeping' at enemies or horses.

The Naginata became the preferred weapon of warrior monks (sôhei), and as time progressed, the blade became bigger with more curvature. By the Muromachi Period(1338-1573). Naginata with blades measuring 4 shaku (1 shaku=30.3cm) attached to shafts of the sallie length became vogue. During the Sengoku Period (1477-1573) tsuba were also attached. However, with the growing popularity of the yari (spear) in the battlefield, and the introduction of firearms changed the method of warfare, making the Naginata obsolete as a battlefield weapon. Gradually. the Naginata became a weapon used exclusively by warrior monks. physicians. and women.

During the Edo Period (1600-1868). the Naginata became considerably shorter in length as predominantly women of samurai families trained in ils technique as a form of selfdefense. The Naginata shaft became very omate as it was decorated with mother-ofpearl. and it became as essential item in the dowry of women from warrior families. From this time. many schools of Naginata-jutsu flourished ail demonstrating their own unique techniques and characteristics. From the Meiji Period (1868-1912) onwards, the art of Naginata was used in schools asaway to develop the spiritual and physical wellbeing of girls, while boys trained in Kendo for the samepurposes.

Today it is practised as well by men as by women, young people and old people, and is increasingly widespread all over the world.

"Sports V Course:Naginata"
(traduction by A.Bennet)