Nagamaki – Japanese Martial Arts Weapon
The Nagamaki is a type of Nihonto (traditional Japanese blade) with an extra long handle (or Tsuka) that essentially turns the weapon into a polearm. The handle of a Nagamaki is usually around 3 or 4 feet in length usually around the same length as the blade. This opens up a different set of techniques to the blade (typically Katana like in shape and size ) and allows users to employ Sojutsu techniques (or spear techniques) with this weapon.
As with other traditional Japanese pole arms such as the Naginata and Yari, the Nagamaki was especially useful to bridge the distance between a combatant on foot and a combatant on horseback. The warrior on horseback would take advantage of the blades longer reach to slash or thrust downwards at an opponent at ground level. Also a foot soldier or a samurai who had found himself dismounted could take advantage of the longer weapon to thrust upwards in order to reach an opponent on horseback. Another more brutal technique, historically employed on the battlefield by foot soldiers using Katana, Nagamaki and Naginata was to hack off horses limbs to bring down a mounted opponent.
For other Japanese martial arts weapons, please visit the main Traditional Martial Arts Weapons section.
Video of Nagamaki Techniques