The kusari-fundo is a very unique yet simple weapon based on the Ninjutsu concept of concealment. It’s easy to hide from your attacker and the design is very deceiving. It’s quite the deadly weapon in the right hands. Unlike its counterpart, the kusarigama (a long chain with a kama on one side and a weight on the other end), you have to be close to your opponent to maximize the effectiveness of the kusari-fundo. The kusari-fundo consists of two parts: the kusari (chain) and the fundo (a weight on both sides). This design makes it perfect for close grabs, throws, chokes, and strikes. Let’s go over 6 fundamentals with the kusari-fundo:
1. Rolling Around the Neck
This is one of the first things you should learn using your kusari-fundo. Momentum and movement with both your kusari-fundo and body together helps you to swing, catch, and strike with. This particular tutorial shows some basic rolls around your neck. There’s a triple hand roll which involves a roll, a catch, a throwback with your backhand and release. The throwback is important because it’s very easy to choke the back of your neck with the first part. Also, if you are moving in a specific direction, it helps to spin then strike. You’ll gain more torque for your strike and your adversary won’t see it coming. When you get good with the basics, you can move to a one hand roll. This is a great tutorial video on how to properly wield your kusari-fundo.
2. Basic Kusari-fundo Strikes
Once you’ve developed good technique in your rolls around the neck, you can learn how to strike. There’s a top strike, back hand strike, and an upward or uppercut strike. This is a quality tutorial because it teaches you how to catch the fundo to set up strikes for incoming attackers in a combination that will put them on their backs. You’ll find a weapon such as a nunchaku and a kusari-fundo operates differently. A nunchaku is wood so it has more bounce. A kusari-fundo’s metal properties causes the weighted side to drop down after impact. This changes the dynamic of how you’ll utilize each weapon. Overall, this is a very useful tutorial.
3. Grabbing the Arm
If you are in close proximity to a punch, this would be a great way to set up a grab, lock or take down. A kusari-fundo is great for creating a parry to help you offensively and defensively. The tutorial shows a possible situation where an attacker throws a punch and you use a kusari-fundo to grab the arm. The attacker throws another punch and you use leverage to create a lock that’s hard for him to release. A flexible weapon provides great opportunities that other weapons don’t have in sticky situations.
4. Footwork and Spacing
This is another good insight into the usage of the kusari-fundo. While the demonstration does not show any contact, the teacher gives good insight into footwork and spacing. The video shows how you would move with the kusari-fundo when you are advancing and retreating in your bout. Also, it shows why spacing is important in case you have an opportunity to strike, parry, or lock for a manoeuvre. It’s always important to know how your flexible weapon works to maintain your safety due to the swinging nature.
5. Chest and Throw Combination
This would be a good real life example of using a kusari-fundo in combat. An attacker is prone to grab you. The video shows how you can break free and cause serious damage to the sternum, the nose, and even the neck in dire situations. The instructor shows a specific looping technique that will help you stay in control of your kusari-fundo. You never know what can happen in a high adrenaline situation, so it’s always to your benefit to be safe than sorry. It’s one of those tactics where the sternum hit should immobilize your adversary. However, you’ll really be safe after the throw.
6. Short Chain Choke Throw
Man, I would not want to be on the business end of this technique! This brief video shows how fatal one wrong step your opponent makes can be your triumph in keeping you alive. This shows you how to immobilize your attacker by creating a choke with a kusari-fundo. You can use this to take him down with a brutal throw. This is one of the more aggressive throw combinations you’ll see using a kusari-fundo. What a way to just keep your fight short and sweet! It’s a great setup that works well in your favor.
As you can see, the kusari-fundo is quite useful weapon. It takes a lot of time to wield a flexible weapon such as this in combat. However, you can apply these moves to real life threatening situations. What are some of your favorite kusari-fundo techniques? Are you more into the locks or strikes? If so, please leave a comment below.