By The Tai Chi Ninja
(a.k.a. Kyle Connally)
The “Manrikiguasari” (10,000 Power Chain) or Kusari Fundo (Chain Weight) is an extremely adaptable and concealable weapon, consisting of a chain anywhere from 12” to 48” long with various sized weights attached to the ends, and comes in a variety of chain styles. Whipping and spinning around the weighted ends gathers tremendous centrifugal force for long range striking. Gathering and concealing it in the hand with the weighted ends protruding from the fist, for close range striking, is also immensely effective. The chain can also be wrapped around the hand, like brass knuckles, to produce devastating fist strikes. This weapon is exceptionally versatile even in grappling range to entangle and trap an opponent’s limbs or weapons, apply chokes, as well as grind into an opponent’s soft tissue while in a clinch. Any range that you choose to use this weapon in, if used skillfully, you will quickly feel the superior advantage you possess.
Japanese written history reports the use of this weapon being used in combat as early as the mid- to- late 14th century, though it is certainly possible that the weighted chain was used as a weapon in Japan before that time. In China, this powerful chain weapon, sometimes known as a “Chain Whip” or “Nine-Section Whip”, is said to date back to the Jin Dynasty between 265 – 420 AD. Even in medieval Europe the chain with a weighted end was prominent with flail like melee weapons, which were used with devastating effect on heavy European armor. It was probably not long, and only a matter of time, after metal smiths of the world developed how to make chains, that someone who had already discovered the use of centrifugal momentum to amplify power, attached a weight to one end of the chain with the express purpose of increasing the weight’s force generation, then decided to smash it into something.
There are many martial arts schools that give formalized instruction of this weapon, but a few of the more popular schools are Meifu Shinkage Ryu, HotenRyu, and Masaki Ryu. Meifu Shinkage Ryu, founded in the 1970’s, is one of the more resents schools to develop a curriculum with a variety of striking, blocking, and kata with the Kusari Fundo. This school’s Kusari Fundo is designed with a small ring at one end of the weight chain that goes over a finger for weapon retention and control. Hoten Ryu is a traditional weapons school specializing in hidden weapons that came about in the early 17th century, which also teaches a wide variety of offensive and defensive techniques as well as fighting forms. The school Masaki Ryu was created in the 17th century by a samurai named Masaki Tarodayu Toshiyoshi, supposedly during his time as head of the palace guard. Though he was already a master with many other weapons, he taught the Manrikiguasari to the palace guards because it was a powerful non-lethal arresting weapon. Many martial art researchers from Bujinkan Ninjutsu believe that much of the weighted chain techniques taught within the Bujinkan come from this school.
Ninja Training TV’s Kusari Fundo video, featuring 15th Dan Sensei Mark Roemke, is a top quality learning aid for anyone seeking instruction on the multi-purpose uses of this weapon. In this video, basic offensive and defensive techniques, and the movement flow to do them, are taught in detail by Sensei Roemke. Two of the most valuable lessons and critical concepts that Sensei Roemke demonstrates and breaks down with the Kusari Fundo are: 1) to know when to use soft flexible power to bend and wrap, and, 2)to know when to use hard flexible power to strike and block in a solid way. Integrating just these two concepts of the Kusari Fundo into your individual taijutsu will immensely expand your skill level not only with this weapon, but also with all other aspects of your Bujinkan Ninjutsu martial arts training. Go out, find a chain or rope, attach a weight to one or both ends, and purchase this video. Explore the potential that the Kusari Fundo has to offer and just KEEP TRAINING.
Check out Ninja Training TV’s video Kusari Fundo Basics- 10,000 Power Chain