Among the most interesting martial arts weapons used in Taekwondo is the Ssahng Nat. Similar in appearance to a scythe, the weapon often comes as a paired set. The weapons are small and light enough to use with a single hand and the forms used rely on using a pair. As with many other martial arts weapons, this weapon is incredibly deadly and is particularly unique given its history and particular technique.
If you were a farmer during the feudal days of Japan, life was hard and the odds of a Samurai coming to your village and murdering you and your family was particularly high. Weapons were outlawed for all but the ruling noble classes, which forced farmers to put their ingenuity to the test and create many of the martial arts weapons we know and practice with today. Among these was the “Kama”, or as Taekwondo practitioners call it in Korean, “Ssahng Nat”. The Ssahng Nat’s original use was in the rice fields of Asia so its availability as well as its spectacular efficacy led to its popularity.
Proficiency of Weapon
What makes the Ssahng Nat so deadly is its versatility in combat. Using both the pointed edge as well as the blade, the Ssahng Nat can be used to disarm, trap or kill an opponent. Given its size and lightweight, it makes it ideal for martial artists to include in several forms. Several blunt forms were created for practice within early Asia, as sharper weapons often led to injuries by those unskilled in their use. The Ssahng Nat is not used in many different types of martial arts, however is highly popular in Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines. Its shape and design was particularly useful in blocking and trapping swords, a useful skill when fighting the noble warrior classes in Japan. The size of the weapon allows for easy maneuverability and control over highly deadly strikes. Every strike of the Ssahng Nat is impressive as it relies heavily on body movements and mechanics. During Taekwondo tournaments, it is most definitely a crowd favorite.
The free flowing movement often looks like an elegant, intricate dance. The blades used by martial artists today are a far cry from the ones used in the rice fields’ of centuries ago. Today the blade is primarily for show and many of the forms are purely designed for showmanship, regardless, the Ssahng Nat’s deadly ability can still be seen. It’s aesthetically pleasing design and sleek look has increased its popularity among practitioners of Songahm Taekwondo. Many Songahm Taekwondo practitioners in past years have found that the lightweight design allows for the mixing of other advanced martial arts movements that wouldn’t necessarily be possible with some of the other weapons made available. On the whole, the Ssahng Nat is most definitely one of the more interesting weapons that martial artists train with.
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