A rope, ring, and wood. To be specific, the ring in this photo is made from a dog chewie. This is the training version. The ancient ninja version would have been made from an iron ring, and used among other things to hit the hands of sword wielding opponents, causing them to drop their sword.
Last summer Mark and I co-led East and West coast summer camps where we had the kids make their own kyoketsu shoges. We realized that branches from trees made perfect handles. It was amazing to watch the focus (and quiet!) that kids put into carving, sanding, burnishing, and oiling their wood.
Then we started to train with them. OMG! Sooooo fun.
Target practice, wrapping around branches, spinning drills. I can't tell you how high the youth stoke factor was, and for the instructors too!!!
What was really cool was how the kids used their creativity with these. They quickly figured out that with the right throw, that they could wrap them around branches and use them as a rope swing, or to climb up into the tree.
Then Mark showed them this "advanced" neck spin in the video below. Check it out. So much fun. But...you have to make one first! I'll save that for the next blog entry. For now, enjoy this one.