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Although it may not seem like it, these things are actually highly effective weapons

Posted September 6, 2019

Humanity has been at war for most of its existence. Even when no major conflicts were taking place, people were fighting each other all the time. For power, for resources, for freedom – there was always a violent struggle for something somewhere. And so we made a lot of bizarre weapons along the way. Just look at these things – do you imagine how they were employed as weapons?

Homemade suntetsu – these examples show several different designs that could be used. Image credit: Shadowleafcutlery via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

These are Suntetsu – an ancient Japanese cold weapon. It doesn’t have a blade nor any moving parts. However, it was highly effective just due to the fact that it was easy to conceal. Suntetsu’s construction was hilariously simple – there was a metal rod with two (or one) pointy ends and an attached ring in the middle.

Suntetsu was typically formed from mild steel, but other metals could be used as well. Some Suntetsus were very ornamental, while others were very simple. Interestingly, for its effectiveness very sharp pointed ends were not necessary.

Suntetsu could be very simple, but it could also be highly ornamental. Image credit: Hyakuraiju via Wikimedia

The effectiveness of Suntetsu was it’s concealability. It became a ring, with a tightly clasped metal rod in the hand. It could easily disappear in clothing and it would be very hard to find without using modern equipment. That is what made Suntetsu so effective – it could be deployed quickly, delivering deadly blows to the head, especially temple area.

It was especially suited for carrying out assassinations. In head-to-head combat it wasn’t entirely that effective due to its short length, but experienced masters could spin their Suntetsus around, causing a great distraction to the enemy. Suntetsu could be used for stabbing, poking, pinching, striking, smashing, scraping and even throwing.

Emeici – an ancient Chinese weapon used in a similar way. Image credit: Deity pjb21 via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chinese version of the same weapon was called Emeici. It was a bit different – it was a much thinner rod with two arrowhead-like structures at each end. Of course, Emeici also had that ring and could be spun or held in a multitude of ways.

Emeici was very effective at distraction, which allowed people to get close enough for a stab. Of course, just like Suntetsu, Emeici was the most effective when the victim did not know about the incoming attack. Of course, it was also very easy to conceal just for those surprise attacks. Emeici was lighter than Suntetsu, but not as suitable for throwing.

Both Emeici and Suntetsu were almost always used in pairs. Today they are not used in a practical sense, but sometimes practitioners of traditional martial arts still use them in their training.

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